July 2006


Blogging

One of the simplest explanations of what a blog is can be found here.

Once you’re done reading that, I suppose you would want to know how a blog compares to a website. Sheila lays it down nicely for you here.

If you’ve still got doubts about what a blog is or what it does, post your comments and let’s clear it up.

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Me Speak No Geek

Ok, this is the category where I bury all types of depressing jargon talk and bring you easy-to-understand explanations of today’s Internet technology. I like definitions that speak to me in plain English. I’m sure you’re the same.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

                                           – Albert Einstein

There’ll be lots of linking to other sites – sending you to existent, well-written material by other bloggers and authors. I’ve read many of their materials and am sure you’ll benefit hugely from them.

The litmus test of my efforts would be for you to borrow a six-year-old kid from a neighbour – if only you don’t have one of your own – and explain what you’ve read. If the child doesn’t get it, Blogging Starthen I’ve not done my job. If he throws a better explanation at you, tell him to start his own blog and stop stealing my thunder!

 

 

No Plans Of A Humanoid Takeover

Ok, so you now know that educational technology is a mainstay and is only going to grow in influence through the coming years. You can also rest in the comfort of knowing that your jobs will not be taken over by robots anytime soon; and you can thank the demise of Sony’s Aibo robodog for that. But, your job description is being re-defined as you read this.

Part of this redefinition will require you to be a part-time geek. Part-time because it doesn’t take a full-time geek to win over the confidence of your students and also because educational technology is not really about the technology.

It’s really about communicating and interacting through that technology. It’s about adding your warmth to the cold, heartless, odylic force of technology. Robots can’t do that. Humanoids can’t do that and although Superman is back, he certainly cannot do that (coz I’m finally convinced Superman doesn’t really exist. Oohhh the lies! the lies!).

Is Steve Part Of The Job Description?

Using technology as a communication tool does not require you to have the presentation pizzazz of Steve Jobs (though it certainly wouldn’t hurt), but more importantly, for communication to be effective with your students, it is useful to understand how adults and children interact with information. And surprisingly, there is a difference.

Students LearningAdults tend to absorb their information, choosing a cozy spot to cuddle up and read a good book or a magazine, free from distractions. The young and often the restless, use information as a form of collaboration with peers, as an interface for networking, sharing ideas and building experiences from it. Interacting with information occurs naturally for them. Watch a child (and I don’t mean your husband) play a video game and you’ll see what I mean. New research has also suggested that video games help develop children’s brains. It’s this innate ability to interact with information that influences a youngster’s creativity and propensity for stimulated learning.

 Tech Me Seriously

Armed with this information, I think you can deduce that there are three vital components to this whole equation:

Educational Technology + Your Human Touch + Understanding Style of Interaction = More ‘Teacher of the Year’ Awards

The manner of how information is accessed changes as technology evolves. There is nothing you can do to stop this. I doubt you want to anyway. You and your students will benefit hugely from this and the success that you seek as an educational professional will occur more regularly, when literacy in the vernacular of technology and education is taken more seriously.

My guess is, it’s just a matter of time. 

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The Future of Learning Is Now

The future of learning is here, the future of learning is now and I couldn’t be happier. Technology has crept into almost every nook and cranny of human activity and education is no exception. Though technology in the field of education is playing catch-up when compared to other industries, strides have been made.

The explosive growth in the availability of online instruction, e-learning tools, tutorials, online discussion groups, complementing the traditional methods of pedagogy, makes for a lethal combination of accelerated learning.

Tests can be taken online, allowing for instantaneous feedback from teachers – making the tracking of a student’s progress faster and easier. Data of a student’s progress can then be collated, a database created and weaknesses of the student identified. Tailoring and designing instructional programs for this individual becomes far easier and more accurate. This is a simple example of what technology can do and the variances of such application are ever evolving.

Partner Up With Your Students

As an educational professional in today’s Digital Age, I think the number of ways towards enriching your students’ learning experience is almost limitless. This can only be good for you, with a wider variety of options in your teaching toolbox. Does this mean more work for you though? No, I think the idea is to play the role of facilitator instead of the traditional role of teacher.  Awarding more autonomy to students for independent research on subject information and discovery.

The good news is that many of today’s students are already far ahead of their teachers in computer literacy. Wait, did I say good? Hear me out.

We can learn a lot from Singapore’s youth and the young. They are being raised in an age of technological revolution, interacting more often with gadgets than humans. iPods, Xbox, PS2, cellphones, computers, the internet, instant messaging, are the new toys for the new generation. These kids have what gardeners call a ‘green thumb’ when it comes to technology. I know, plants and technology are not an ideal comparison but you know what I mean. The kids of today have more technological jargon in their lexicon than their mother tongue.

If you have been playing catch-up with technology, then ideally starting a partnership with your students and taking the journey together through this digital learning experience is viable. Although, you do have one ace up your sleeve that your students don’t; this blog (if you grew up in a generation where the abacus was the hottest thing since sliced bread, you can’t make a wiser decision than reading this blog).

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