Who Owns Learning? -- Alan November
"We need to empower students to own their learning" -- Alan November, from Who Owns Learning?
November suggests that there are three things students need to succeed:
It has been said that today's generation has so much information it is like drinking water from a fire hose. Students need to know how to filter through this information and become trained in how to use it properly.
2. Working Globally.
We are now in a global world. Business, politics, manufacturing, and so on are all part of a global process these days. We must educate the next generation with a global mindset. Technology can easily aid us into doing this.
3. We need to empower students to become SELF-DIRECTED.
My mother called this personal responsibility. This simply means that you are able to do tasks on your own without anyone telling you to do it. November expounded on this idea. He argues that we can train students to work without supervision and cut through layers of management. November explains that things get done more efficiently when you have people employeed or companies running like this. We must begin to train students and form these habits in the classroom. Companies will look to hire this type of person above those who constantly need direction and supervision.
There are more things that can be learned from Alan November. He has a wealth of information and years of experience to prove his philosphy and beliefs. I highly recommend what he has been sharing as an educational consultant. If anything, you will find it inspirational.
OK. So What? Here is another educator on the circuit with fancy words to make me buy his book, right? No. I don't think so. If you watched the video you will see that he spoke about several personal stories. Well, I am going to let Mr. November speak to his own stories. However, what I would love to share is a personal conversation that I had with a colleague of mine.
I was sharing the contents of this video with her when she mentioned to me that she had one of those moments in her teaching career also. She went on to tell me of a student that she had that couldn't get it together for a project. He said he couldn't draw or do a craft like the others around him to complete his assignment. She said, that was ok, but told him that maybe if he would take this sketchbook around the halls and start drawing, maybe something would come together. The teacher had no idea what she just did. He started drawing like there was no tomorrow! You see, he had this hidden talent that he didn't even know he had until he started sketching in the book she gave him. She told me it was her greatest moment of teaching so far: BECAUSE SHE DID NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO MAKE HIM DO THIS! NO ASSESSMENTS WERE GIVEN! HE FOUND A NATURAL TALENT BY OWNING HIS OWN EDUCATION!
It was a great moment I was abled to share with her!
Google/ android Apps For Mobile Devices
Apple apps for iOS devices
OK, So What??! Apple and Google have ebooks and now you can download them on your devices. But wait... there's more!!
First of all I see kids of all ages at the high school that I work at LOADED down with text books in their back packs. There have been studies that even say that students who carry such a heavy load injure their backs. What happens if we get rid of those books, roughly costing the school about $100 plus a piece (multiplied by the classes a student takes and all the rebinding costs, etc...) and give them an iPad with the books on it. The iPad plus the books would probably cost under $400 total per student...unless the school gets a grant of some type. It can even be cheaper if the school has a bring your own technology program (BYOT). Publishers force schools to buy new books every few years. The running joke among cartogaphers is that a map is out dated is soon as it is printed. It is the same way with some modern history books. What is great about the interactive textbooks is that it can be continually updated without having to repurchase the book -- and it is a simple software update like anything else on a computer.
The interactive book is a wonder in itself. When you open it up, you will find texts and pictures, of course. Apple's textbooks also contain these elements: video embeded into the text, interactive graphics, assesments at the end of the chapters and units, and the ability to highlight and take notes as a student is reading -- all with the swipe of a finger!
Unfortunately, not every child has an iPad and the upfront cost of this type of technology might be high, but the return will be worth it! It is my hope that schools will begin to look at technology as infrastructure just as they do the physical building, gyms, and other sporting venues such as stadiums. In my opinion, it should become one in the same.
There is another app that I personally use that can be a powerful tool in classrooms today: Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter is not free, but costs $5 in the App Store for iPad. For years I have used a notebook to take notes with when I went to class. When I got an iPad, I also found a keyboard that hooked up via Bluetooth. That was nice, but a little awkward. Ghostwriter allows me to use the surface of the iPad as a writing surface and I can take notes with a stylus -- just like if I were writing with a pen and paper. Ghostwriter also comes with a couple of import and export options. Maybe we should reconsider teaching elementary school children penmanship when programs like this still exist! Anyway, it is another great tool for the student!
The future of Technology in Education
Scotty decides to give a future secret to a man in the twentieth century. As he attemps to inteface with the computer, he picks up the mouse and begins to talk into. In the Star Trek universe, a person interacts with the computer simply by talking to it. Yeah, I know...it was a lot funnier in 1986...
The fact is that technology, especially in the last 150 years or so has drastrically effected the way we as humans live and learn. I would like to make mention of a few technologies that are in the works.
The first one is speech recognition. Mashable.com reports that there are significant advances in speech recognition. We already have Siri on the iPhone (and other Android devices have an equivilent software loaded on their phones). I bought a Ford with the Sync technology that allows you to speak commands to the computer via your cell phone -- that was a big selling point. The technology is already here, but how can we implement it in schools? I thought of a few direct ideas, but I think as we increase the use of Siri and speech recognition, it will become apparent that it will become integrated in our everyday lives...just like TV. Personally, I think that children in special education will value from this type of technology, especially those who have the inability to use their arms and hands. I also think languages will be easier to learn using this kind of software.
The next type of futuristic technology is retina or eye print technology. The problem with all this technology is security. Everyone of us has a list of passwords to access our online accounts. What would it be like if your computer, cell phone, or other mobile device only recognized you by your eye print? This might cut down on people stealing your hardware and hacking into your accounts on a physical level. My thought is that student will not have to worry about someone using their device as well...and even better, since the device is unique to the individual, so will tests; this means there will be less cheating.
I also think it is important to note the safety of students in the building. In today's world, schools today function with all of their doors locked and a visitor must be "buzzed" in to get into the building. This usually means that you must also sign in at the front desk and declare why you are in the building. If eye print technology were implemented, a data base could be formed and with a few strokes of a key board, you can either choose to allow a person to come in or refuse them entrance (for a multitude of reasons). Another idea is that it would be a great way to take attendance! Big brother is everywhere!