Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Feeling Obsolete?

Here's the deal with Education Technology, or technology anywhere, for that matter: Once you get used to some new idea, activity, or gadget, something newer & supposedly better comes along.  It's like buying a new car; once you drive it off the lot, its value (to some, anyway) diminishes.  Does that make it "bad" or "worthless"? Absolutely not!  (I love to drive my parents old '94 Volvo, even though it has 225,000 miles on it!) But can we find ways to incorporate new technologies into our existing idea of "how school is done"?  ABSOLUTELY!

The reality: Kids today are being brought up differently than kids in the past. (Big news, huh?)  Kids today are being called "Digital Natives," because they have never known a world where they are not "plugged in," or "connected" in some way.  Many of us who teach these Digital Natives are known as "Digital Immigrants," because we've had to learn these new ways of thinking, learning, and behaving, and adapt accordingly. 

Each year, the folks at Beloit (WI) College publish their Mindset List, explaining what the world is like for college freshmen. (For example, "The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables," or "Chocolate chip cookie dough has always been an ice cream flavor choice," and so on.)  They are also a perfect example: during this past year, they published their list on paper, over the Internet, and as a video podcast!  (By the way, take a look at the guys who make the list each year - they've seen their share of education fads come and go, I'm guessing!)

Another more-global point-of-view is expressed by Karl FIsch and Scott McLeod in their world-famous Did You Know (Shift Happens) videos.  Its fourth iteration is below (other versions are available on their wiki site):


With that in mind, here are some thought-provoking posts:

Out With The Not-All-That-Old

21 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade, from the Business Insider

10 Learning Technologies That Became Obsolete This Decade, from BlogU

21 Things That Will Become Obsolete In Education By 2020, from TeachPaperless

In with the New:

iBoard is a site from the UK that would help young (pre-K through 2nd grade) students, students with disabilities, or ESL/ELL students develop basic skills.  These samples would work GREAT with a SMART Board!  Keep in mind, though, that these sites use "the King's English," so some of the prasing &  vocabulary could be a bit confusing.

Six  Resources for Learning about Fair Use & Copyright, from Free Tech for Teachers

Three Ways (Other Than Skype) To Bring Experts Into Class: Skype is a free voice-over-Internet protocol ("VOIP") service that allows you to use your Internet connection to stream voice and video images, much like the Dick Tracy Wrist Communicator.  Plus, ITS FREE!  Skype, plus these other three options, could open up your classroom to a whole new world of collaboration - and a whole lot less hassle with field trip forms, permission slips, etc...

Lexipedia, found in a link from Instructify.  This is a great way to show relationships among words in a visual & interactive format.  Yet another way to use that SMART Board!

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