Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What does it mean to teach in a technology-rich world?

Below is my presentation 'What does it mean to teach in a technology-rich world?' from the ABC Splash Live: Digital Ideas for the Classroom event (see previous post ABC Splash Live). Explanations of the slides are also included. Many thanks to @heyjudeonline for recommending me to speak and the team at ABC Digital Education, especially @edificite@AnnabelAstbury and @ABCSplash

Slide 1 - What is wrong with this slide? Nope, it's not the kid with the slate (get it! :) the image is back to front, the writing on the board goes from right to left. 

Slide 2 - Before Google, the teachers were the sole bastions of knowledge. Post-Google, students can find out simple facts using simple Google searches, Wikipedia (copying, pasting and plagiarising) and even acquire skills e.g. learning the guitar via YouTube, all on mobile phones that are banned in most classrooms. From about 2016 according to the Horizon Reports (or 2020 according to Wikipedia), the Semantic Web will be all-pervasive with a far more personalised online experience.

Slide 3 - Consider the new NSW Board of Studies Syllabus for Australian Curriculum History. If we only ask simple questions of facts, students can answer these in seconds.

Slide 4 - However, if we ask deeper, personal, subjective questions students will not be able to google the answers.

Slide 5 - Ask Ungoogleable Questions (a phrase I heard from @ewanmcintosh). I am not saying Google is bad, but in its simple form it is pretty low-order. We need to offer students higher-order questions and opportunities. At the very least extol the virtues of 'Advanced' Google searches.

Slide 6 - In a techonology-rich classroom students can collaborate with their teachers and each other, importantly receiving immediate and regular feedback through apps like Google Docs and Edmodo.

Slide 7 - Teacher Collaboration: teachers can also take advantage of these technologies and collaborate too, not least with collaborative programming for the Australian Curriculum using Google Docs.

Slide 8 - Teachers don't need to rely solely on formal professional development or the collegiality of the teachers they work with. Through TeachMeets and the networks that ensue, teachers can be proactive in their own professional learning in a fun, informal and highly beneficial environment. (Check out http://www.teachmeet.net/what-is-a-teachmeet/).

Slide 9 - Quick plug for all English and Drama teachers, K-12, to attend the English Australian Curriculum TeachMeet at the State Theatre Company. Should be a great Friday night out! See http://tmsydney.wikispaces.com/TeachMeet+AC+English for details.

Slide 10 - Other ways teachers are collaborating include using things like Pinterest to find teachers from the same subject area to follow, post and share resources with. In the example shown, my colleague Bettina, from All Saints Girls Liverpool, is a Spanish teacher isolated in a local network of Italian teachers. She uses Pinterest to find and connect with other Spanish teachers form North America.

Slide 11 - A quick plug for the great resources on ABC Splash.

Slide 12 - An example of a great resource on ABC Splash - a video from Catalyst by my mate Derek Muller (of Veritasium YouTube Channel fame), alumnus of Sydney University Physics Education Research (SUPER). 

Slide 13 - With most, if not all students having a mobile phone (check out the ABS stats), why are they banned from most schools and classrooms? Now that the Digital Education Revolution has ended and the Federal funding stopped, how are we going to maintain the momentum of embedded technology in the classroom. One answer is to let the students bring their own mobile devices. There are solutions to the issues of cost and equity, not least schools supporting the minority of Australian families that cannot afford any device. There are also technical solutions for the techies. Several schools are running pilots of this including some I work with in low SES areas plus @aliceleung's school, again in a low SES area. 

Slide 14 - A lot of people do not realise that many students already have programming skills and enjoy coding. Under the guidance of my colleague Jason at Good Samaritan College Hinchinbrook, there are Year 10 girls and Year 11 boys writing literacy and numeracy apps respectively for the neighbouring primary school students. The older students are using the actual NSW Board of Studies syllabuses to create and differentiate the questions for the littlies. This is an amazing story - well done to Jason and students! 

Slide 15 - Game-Based Learning: why not use Angry Birds to teach projectile motion as this pic from @aliceleung's classroom shows? There is also a great blog post by Wired on this.

Slide 16 - Taking GBL to the extreme, Michael from Freeman College Bonnyrigg is using WWE Wrestling on the XBox to teach literacy! The students have to write correct instructions on their moves and counter moves. Based on their writing the moves are then entered into the game to simulate the fight. As an incentive, a couple of students get to play at the end of every lesson.

Slides 17, 18 - Global Citizenship: These slides were videos from All Saints Girls Liverpool and a school from China (thanks to Jenny from Liverpool). With Skype in the Classroom and online sharing through things like Dropbox and Google Drive, students from two different hemispheres can collaborate together. The Liverpool girls sent video footage to China of themselves acting out Cinderella. The Chinese students overlay the audio, in particular the dialogue, as part of their study of English. The Chinese students then shared back the finished product which was very funny and a great exercise all round.

In the second video, the Chinese students sent over footage of them playing hide-and-seek around their homes. What was particularly interesting for the students from southwest Sydney (a low socio-economic area) was how salubrious the homes were of the upper-middle class in China. This was a real lesson in global citizenship.

Slide 19 - The resources I used.

Slide 20 - 

Augmented Reality by turkletom, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  turkletom 
A fantastic augmented reality pic to prove the point that if students aren't engaged they will find very creative ways to use their technology instead. Combined with this picture was the quote, often (though not definitively) attributed to Rabindranath Tagore:

"Do not confine your children to your own learning, 
for they were born in another time"