Having spent my weekend learning about Google Applications For Education, lots of ideas to bring back to the school were shared by amazing educators. But behind the conversations and collaborations there is still a few questions and concerns about how we share and learn as teachers and what that means for the future of education. Particularly, I see that the technology is changing rapidly with new apps coming out at amazing rates and the continuous growth in GAFE, especially with the increased use of Chromebooks and iPads.
I’m reminded of my own technology learning in the 90’s. I took a few technology courses on geographic information systems using ArcInfo as the main platform. I remember learning the code and systems to create possible scenarios for issues like traffic flow, controlled lights and ease of movement of people. That knowledge of the programme has left me; I can no longer remember the patterns, programming or reflections on the results.
Now what does this have to do with today’s teachers exploring the amazing technology available toys in the classroom? Who cares if I never used he programming skills? By taking the courses, I learnt a skill around my learning, not the actual programming skills.
However, in many of today’s classrooms, we are teaching the current apps (I still like to call them applications, but that’s just a sign of age) in a vacuum of context. Students are using these apps in amazing ways that move their learning beyond the classroom walls. We talk about their digital footprint, citizenship, or tattoo, but are we preparing them for the grand changes that are coming?
It’s not about the app. It’s about learning the skills to be a learner. And the most important aspect of that is the sharing and collaboration. We do this well as teachers, but do we give our students the opportunity to engage in the same level of learning? Our classrooms could easily be like an edcamp, GAFE Summit or mini conference.
If educators are always behind the technology curve, maybe we should change our path.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.