Transformational Technology

The use of technology in our education space is an area that is so exciting, so unpredictable, and in every way limited only by our imagination.

I’ve recently joined the many other people challenging the status quo and started using an iPad with my work.

Here at the Institute we have been fortunate enough to be working closely with the Apple team and we have all been blown away in our efforts to discover the functionality and possibilities of iPads and their potential to truly transform education and how we work with students in Australia and throughout the world.

It also led me to reflect on my days as Principal at Cherbourg and how the school transformed to integrate technology into the students learning experience.

As I said to students when I was at Cherbourg all those years ago, ‘The use of computers and ICT’s is like the new literacy. We got left behind in the old literacy, and there is NO way we are getting left behind with this one.’

As a result I insisted that we throw whatever new technologies we could afford and get our hands on, and let the kids loose on it. It was so exciting to watch them engage such tools, often displaying a complete lack of fear that was usually evident within some of us as teachers.

Having spent some hours with the Apple team I feel that same sense of apprehension about how exciting, yet how daunting such pursuits can be. In many ways though I think it offers a challenge to us as educators and how we have done things in past decades. Many of us have been accustomed to being the keepers of knowledge, and handing it out to all hungry minds that will listen. The next few decades I’m sure will tip all of that approach on its head, and require us to be just as excited and just as inquisitive as our students, and be prepared to acknowledge that we may not be the great keepers of all knowledge anymore.

As I have come to know from just the few hours with the Apple team, knowledge is everywhere now, and we have to be ready to go with our children wherever they want to go to acquire it in a virtual sense. Our own sense of fear will make us blockers and stifle learning. Our sense of excitement, enthusiasm for learning, and our own inquisitiveness will make us facilitators of unbounded potential for learning.

How exciting is that?

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How is technology transforming your classroom? Share your stories by leaving a comment.

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6 Responses

  1. I think it is very exciting! Just recently I have undertaken consultancy work for the SA state government, evaluating a program designed to assist ‘at risk’ kids to re-engage with the schooling sector. Not only have I been inspired by the educational leadership shown by the coordinators and case managers of the program based in the schools but I have also identified the principles you promote at the Strong and Smart Institute: that relating to students, and the world in which they live, is as important as imparting knowledge (the instruction side of teaching and learning). Without the former, the latter becomes disconnected or irrelevant to the issues that render young people ‘at risk’. The challenge I hear from my conversations with these coordinators is that it is almost impossible to maintain the ‘keepers of knowledge’ mentality, so the role now becomes one of ‘facilitating’ learning in a way that engages the generation of techno-savvy learners. Linearity in teaching and learning is ‘out’ and the circulatory that accommodates information networks is ‘in’. From what I have observed of this technology in classrooms, it becomes possible to assess the learning capabilities of each student (the evidence based measures) in new ways whilst developing creative ways to teach and learn which emphasises engagement. After all knowledge is about assisting people to know about the world in which they live and that is a shared reality.

  2. When I was introduced to the IWB only a couple of years ago now, I remembered the excitment I felt as a student in primary school many years ago, when the calculator was first introduced into schools .I was so proud when my parents finally purchased one for me and recall the objections from many horrified parents stating that calulators would stop students from learning ; aform of cheating etc .
    That same feeling continues to surface with all new technologies I am exposed to,even my new iphone. So yes,I can’t wait for the ipad to enter my life.
    I also contemplate the fact that if I can have these feelings of excitment for each new technology I am exposed to, then image the impact the same experience has on many students. Getting away from the teacher ‘Blah, blah .blah “to a fresh approach supported by fascinating visual adventure in learning.
    My frustration is often lack of basic computers and technologiy in classrooms, required to run programs for students experiencing learning difficulties.

  3. Nice contribution.. thanks again Heidi.

  4. Heidi – loved hearing your story also – I am looking to research work such as that you describe for the education department in Qld – can we get in touch? jonathan.nalder at data.qld.gov.au – ta!

  5. Hi Chris – was excited to see you adding your thoughts to the educational tech field – and especially to see the challenge to others to engage – or to at least start the journey of engaging with the advantages it can bring for learning. Obviously not as a silver bullet, but the way that devices like apples allows learning to be personalised are something I’m certainly enjoying seeing the results of in Qld schools right now. Look forward to hearing more at Learning@hand (now) in 2012!

  6. Sure Jonathan. Will email you soon. Heidi

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