This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Technology Leadership Institute organized by LHRIC. This ongoing institute brings in some of the heavy hitters (nationally known educational technology experts) when it comes to technology and education from Karl Fisch and Eric Sheninger to Marc Prensky and Richard Byrne. Below are reflections on lessons learned from the presentations by author Mark Prensky and Free Tech 4 Teachers Blogger, Richard Byrne.
The first thing that Marc Prensky announced to the group was “don’t get fixated on technology in front of us because technology is always changing.” We talked about technology in terms of Nouns and Verbs. The nouns are the things that we use to teach the skills and action verbs. For the most part, the verbs, what we want our students to be able to do has not changed dramatically, but what we use to teach (the nouns), has changed. The question that educators need to ask today is What are the key skills we want to teach our students and are we using the best technology possible? As teachers we need to be flexible to adapt to the new context in which we live and teach in. And adapting means finding digital wisdom and being digitally wise. Technology is a foundation and it underlines everything we do, it is a foundation for education today. The goal is to become someone better and educators need to create new and better educational experiences that support this goal.
Richard Byrne spoke about making learning collaborative. What does a collaborative project look like in your classroom? Byrne’s expertise is his knowledge of technology applications and programs he writes about on his blog (4 times a day with a goal of 120 posts a month!). He shared collaborative project ideas using TodaysMeet, a backchannel to extend conversations outside of the classroom, Padlet (formerly Wallwisher), Voicethread, Thinglink, and Socrative. He also mentioned Wikis as a great tool for collaboration — one of my favorite collaborative tools with my students — and showed us a choose your own adventure video project using youtube which was creative and new. The idea was that there are so many technology applications out there that teachers can use and adapt for teaching and learning. You have to make it your own and use technology for discovery.