Monday, April 24, 2006

A simple idea

One Simple Idea- Present networking technologies to resonate with teachers on the personal/ emotional level, more relevant to their lives.
  • Incentive

  • Build online identity

  • Application to pedagogy
An incentive to stick at it, to put the necessary time in at home, network, build an online identity, gain confidence then apply to teaching and learning. For example; Gently (no innovation overload) encourage colleagues to set up photosharing accounts ( accounts. One 'non-techie' colleague was recently shown how to use flickr, from this she quickly worked out how to put up pictures of what mattered to her and then link to friends. When recently asked to show the rest of the team, she said 'I'd love to' with a new welcome confidence. Initiate a number of people (catalysts) in how to photo share what matters to them, pictures of family, cats, the recent Rolling Stones concert ;-)... with their mobile phone, then maybe a bit of video of kids/ grandkids. They can show their friends and colleagues how to follow their lead, the collective gaining an inkling of how it can used for teaching their classroom tribe, the curiousity, confidence, desire... to ask themselves :-) how difficult can it be? Something I'm still figuring out...time to play with podcasting with delicious to teach, fun for me, unfamiliar for some. Happy to support and share with others what I learn...

Making the human connection

Kids love technology!
Originally uploaded by Steven Parker.
No doubt The Veronicas crowd was into the music! For me the concert was about a ‘collective tribal experience', a refreshing real life exercise & example of a ‘tribes’ positive collective emotional reaction to a shared experience (ie: the concert, the mention of mobiles & mySpace), & that lots of kids dig social software. In reflection, the emotional reaction is important. Their tribe is about is about friends, fun, mobile technology, web communities, girls/boys, favourite bands & punk rock rebellion!!

How do we get the educational system & teachers to realise to capture this enthusiasm to teach & inspire learning?

First we need to acknowledge & understand people's attitudes v's emotional response to technology & pedagogy.

For example; if the curriculum/system does not allow for flexibilty to inspire teachers/administrators to incorporate new Web2.0 teaching practices, then they will be satisfied to work day in & out teaching, happy that they are meeting their job description/requirements, keeping the status-quo. On the other hand you have teachers/administrators who utilise/support new technologies ie: Web2.0 in the classroom.


When you see the tribal connection between the youth, who are embracing Web2.o, & the passionate techno savvy zeitergeist mavericks, who are frustrated by the need to have technology embraced enmasse by the non-initiated (eg: in education), you sense cathexis of the two, an energy that some have captured to move to a more open & networked learning pedagogy

The tribal connections...where do we start? Where are we at with initiating the un-initiated? Should they join the techie tribe? How will they benefit? What is the connection?...I see many adult's who don't see the relevance of technology in their lives, who overlook what’s going on with the younger generation & are happy enough not to join the with internet revolution.

There is no doubt that for many, after holding down a teaching job, family & life...once home, the time to look at a computer let alone explore Web2.0 technologies or engage with all the networking 'stuff' of an evening... is probably not a high priority!

Paradoxically…with younger generations who engage technology [Web2.0] in their day-to-day lives, their experience will effect to drive their desire to learn & evolve, & inturn they will look for accessible mentor’s to facilitate their education in this experience; to incorporate into more exciting pedagogy [from primary to tertiary]…so where are these mentors today, how do we engage a more positive response from the teachers/mentors?

We all have different connections (tribe) to each other, as we do to technology. What tribe you are in drives what connection you have to change & technology. We all have an ‘emotional response’ to technology whether it be positive/negative, excited/uninspired, engaged/closed minded.

At work, the way technology is affecting us emotionally (in some cases) may account for the slowness to change. Whereas others have drive & enthusiasm for new ways of thinking to utilise Web2.0 technology, others may see it as a threat to the status quo, others may simply unaware or at the extreme - be overwhelmed.

Today it is the adults who advocate how technology should be utilised in education eg: learning objects, LMS’s, firewalls… Paradoxically, when looking at what's happening with Generation-Y as an indicator, it's the youth of today who are driving the cultural & economical uptake of a more open internet, with mobiles & mySpace in their lives. Some educational innovators are bringing new web2.0 concepts into the classroom from the street, this is the start. Time will see the realised benefits & effects trickle through to the mainstream, though until there is a wider advocacy to incoporate new technologies in the classroom (or as part of professional development), it will appear the mainstream educational systems are working at a slower pace to adapt....BUT!! it seems to be changing... funding was recently released for several networked learning/ Web2.0 projects in VTE eg.teacherconnect.

If the educational technology (including the pedagogy) doesn't do 'IT' for students or even their parents!! Perhaps when choosing a school, TAFE, UNI they'll vote with their feet and find another progressive institution or something else to stick it to system :-).

The change to a networked society is happening naturally, Web2.0 being one aspect of this.

We need to facilitate the positive/negative emotional & attitudes to engage the two. How we can communicate this to the un-initiated masses in education, we as 'innovators' who's job it is to engage this target group need to show example and emphasis what is changing/happening, and just as importantly we need to re-remind the teachers that the youth of today, not only are adapting with the new technologies, they are easily willing & able to teach themsleves at home and take this enthusiasm to the class; so they will need a reciprocated response/outlet.

In the photo you see kid's using technology, jumping in and teaching themselves how to create their own music using garageband?.

Here's their bluegrass techno funk fusion

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Veronica's.....

The Veronicas April 2006
Originally uploaded by Steven Parker.

Last night I scored free! backstage passes to meet and see ‘THE VERONICAS!’ live at the Metro, thanks to my girlfriend, Belinda. Ha! Yes don’t laugh they rocked!!! (for all the size of them).

I've put up a video of the crowd from the concert.... can you spot me?! surrounded by 100’s of teenagers, average age of 14! As soon as The Veronica's came on stage, on and up went around 100 mobile phones to snap 'n send photos of posterity, though it mainly appeared to be for the videoing of the concert (my girlfriend included). Half way through the gig there was some audience commotion, when Lisa (one of the Veronica's) posed questions to the audience..... ‘Who has a mobile phone!?', followed by 'Who’s on MYSPACE?’. The crowd overwhelmingly screamed back "Yaahhh!!" with 100’s of mobile phones aloft!! …

I was amazed at the crowd’s response, there seemingly felt an awareness in the crowd of a sense of connection and community. 'MYSPACE' is an online community where you can blog, email, post to groups and find out what's going on in your local area/country. Check out The Veronica's MYSPACE.

Based on crowds the reaction, technology is cool, the in thing to be 'hooked up to', is now very well mainstream.

When looking around, it struck me HOW MUCH the mobile phone was part of their concert experience, and mine. As we have ability to take photo and video with our mobiles, people are more easily willing to display their captured images and share their experiences with the world/others/groups/friends/strangers. Right now this is done by blogging (eg: blogspot, myspace) and photosharing (eg: flickr). Where tomorrow?

One could see that as more people (at a younger age) move to embrace this new way of experimenting with technology to 'make a connection', and with the rapid development of these Web2.0 technologies the need for mainstream teachers (primary through to tertiary) to be aware and get involved to understand it's application to utilise in pedagogy is NOW.

Encourage Blogging with your colleagues and students! ... to share views, joke, upload pictures (flickr)... of Easter break, family, friends, The Veronica's concert! or even linking to something fun. This is a valid Professional Development strategy to encourage teachers to put the time into aspects of 'networked learning'. This is just as relevant for teacher realisation to engage students in their day to day lives, to complement the learning environment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tagging the usefulness of Web2.0 to teaching

Originally uploaded by Steven Parker.

I’m interested to know why should teachers invest a large chunk of time in getting to grips with Web2.0 technologies, which include new concepts such as networking and blogging?

I invite anyone reading this blog to comment from your perspective or point me to your posts.

For many teachers new to learning how to utilize these new technologies; the meaning of Web2.0 and it’s application to teaching needs to be understood first. ‘Why should I learn this? How will it be useful for me as a teacher?’

I want to use delicious tags (verbs) mixed and matched to communicate the usefulness of a tool and attributes in a teaching and learning context.

To start with I have chosen verbs to associate with the application of Web2.0 technologies as part of a networked learning pedagogy :
  • Sharing information/ sharing aspects of self
  • Discovering information/ discovering people
  • Engaging with information/engaging with people and what they have to say
  • Participating in tasks/ participation with group or individual in conversation
  • Reflecting on learning/learning from others
  • Inspiring.
As I collect new Web2.0 tools, sites and teaching and learning case studies in delicious as part of the ‘teacherconnect’ project I will associate the verbs as tags .


delicious- also includes tags teacherconnectInfo, teacherconnectTools, teacherconnectBlogs, Jo has them RSS feeding into teacherconnect.wikispaces :-)

The tagging data is searchable and I can then use this in training as another tool to communicate the meaning of Web2.0 and it’s application in a teaching and learning context.

What I want is teachers be able to search on what I want they want do to teach, be presented with the tools, information to do the job (with a peer rating system on how effective they are) with links to their colleagues friends and peers profiles to tell them what to do if they have problem.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Queanbeyan Web2.0 Blogging Posse

Originally uploaded by Steven Parker.
On Friday I jumped in my car to drive the 500 kilometers from Wollongong to Queanbeyan, to make the human connection with a group of 3 eager TAFE teachers from this country town near Canberra. Self-confessing to having basic IT skills they wanted to make the leap from the whiteboard to teaching online. My job was to re-engage them after their 3yr hiatus in how the LMS worked. I also dropped in a few Web2.0 technologies with the outcome of the group creating their first blog and ‘delicious’ account...

One of the teachers (Adult Basic Education), immediately recognized the possibilities of using the Web2.0 technologies to communicate with her students. This was exciting and encouraging, I love to see the sparks of imagination fly for the use of Web2.0 technology, such as Flickr, which was used to facilitate photo sharing.

During the day’s Workshop the ideas of how they could validate to incorporate this technology started to flow; 'We can get the students to take pictures of their day, [post to flickr] write about it and present to each other….’ and ‘.. [the] students will find that fun!… as they switch off when I start using the whiteboard’

The day’s workshop was a small step towards encouraging teachers as a way forward to incorporate more interactive teaching and learning tools for pedagogy. I’ll be tracking their progress with Bloglines and RSS.

Satisfaction for me was to walk away with awareness that there is a growing desire of teachers [in TAFE] out there who may not be initially IT savvy, who may have been out of the loop for sometime, despite this they are keen to jump on board with their own personal development to engage with learning new technologies and to discover their workable application in teaching and learning. A win win outcome