This is why education must change

When I saw this hyperlink at the bottom of another webpage I thought it was a joke but had to check it out to make sure.

Here is a young child (about 1 year old) interacting with an iPad and then with a magazine.  Even at a young age, this child already knows how to interact with a tablet.  She can make the dashboard move from one page to another.  When given a magazine she tries to manipulate the objects on the page just like she does with the iPad.

Now, let’s fast-forward 4 years to when she enters kindergarten (keep in mind the rest of the world is now playing with the iPad 5 or something even cooler we haven’t even dreamed about).  She is at the bus stop and while waiting is playing an alphabet game on her iPad.  When she gets to the letter “h” and picture of a horse jumping, she wants to know how a horse can jump so high.  WIth her parent’s help, they do a quick YouTube search for horses jumping.  They watch a video of how a horse’s muscle work to make it jump.  The little girl gets so excited and has to share what she learned with someone else in the family.  She checks Skype and see that grandma is available.  She and grandma video chatting until she hears the bus.  The bus arrives and she has to quickly gives the iPad back to her mother.  She enters school and does not have another opportunity to use this kind of technology (or the self directed learning she was doing at the bus stop) until she returns home.

What can teachers and schools do to prepare for this kind of learn?  Here’s the other bit–we already have learns like the one above.  How can teachers and schools continue to develop this sense of self-learning?


Technology use in the classroom (or lack of technology in the classroom)

“Technology use in the classroom depends on how teachers view themselves as tech users.”

This was my “tweet” from technology class earlier today based on the readings from two weeks ago dealing with teacher technology self-efficacy.

I see this everyday in school, especially if the day started with my tech in education small group.  Many of the teachers in the group do not view themselves as technology users.  I would even say that some of them are afraid of the technology in their classrooms.  I fall into this category too from time to time.  I have an IWB and a doc camera in my room and they are mostly used for teacher lead activities.  I’m sad to say that my students do not get to use them as much as I would like.  I am hopeful that as I become more  comfortable in designing lessons for my board I will start to give up some of my control and let me students use the them.

I do see myself as a tech user and as I have modeled to other teachers to usefulness of the available pieces of technology and they have be given time to have guided practice using the technology, they are using it more and more in their classrooms.  As they feel more like a tech user, they are asking questions and sharing how they are using technology in their rooms.  My hope is that this model will continue.

The new app developers are how young?!

Recently while driving home from the grocery store I caught a NPR news story about young app developers.  And I do mean young (tweens and teens).  The app developer that was being highlighted was 13 year old Berry Middle School student Ozair Patel.  He would be characterized as the student in your classroom that is very smart but lacks some organization skills.  The one who can remember everything on the handout but forgets to bring the handout to class.  To help with this problem he, with the help from his father, developed Berry School Mate, an official Apple Application.  Ozair’s app has been well received by those in his school district and other schools.  Tech developer for Hoover School District stated that Ozair is working on apps for other schools in the district.  He wouldn’t share how Ozair would be paid (or how much) but made sure to point out the they would be closely following all child labor laws.

It is predicted that mobile app sales will double in the next year.  As the ability to make apps becomes easier and as students see the monetary advantages of making apps, a reasonable prediction would be that what the .com developers and industry was for 2000’s the app developers will be for the 2010’s.  Or will it even extend to the 2020’s as those just starting to develop apps still have 8-10 years before they finish college?

Are you a good digital citizen?

My answer would be “kinda”.  I’ve been reading Digital Citizenship in Schools for my class and it has opened my eyes to all of the digital citizenship “laws” I have broke/forgotten over the last few years.

I remember in 8th grade Mrs. Smith talking about email and what a wonderful communication tool it was and would become.  Fast forward 20 years and now there are so many other tools we use that fall under the heading of digital communication that we forget how you should use these tools.   One of the nine elements of Digital Citizenship is Digital Etiquette–“the standards of conduct expected by other digital technology users” (from Digital Citizenship in Schools).  I am guilty of not using digital etiquette and I have witnessed others forgetting their digital etiquette skills too. I have answered a phone call while at my Thursday Night Knitting Group.  I have been known to continue to talk when it is my turn to pay in the grocery line.  What would Emily Post say?!

I do feel that people are improving their digital etiquette but it still remains a problem.  People holding up lines in stores because they are on the phone, talking loudly on the phone when they are with a group and the phone conversation does not involve the group, checking for messages during dinner, and texting during movies are all examples of inappropriate digital etiquette.  One example of inappropriate digital etiquette is checking or texting a message while someone is talking.  Where is your attention?  It’s not on the person talking.

Do we need digital etiquette police or can we police ourselves?