It’s been a busy couple of weeks at a couple of conference days in Taranaki and Napier – and the highlight of Friday was a day spent with the Digital Daze cluster, in workshops and with a keynote, before their community celebration that was their DigiAwards.
A key idea that I and colleague, Chrissie Butler, were keen to explore throughout the day was the absolute importance of focusing on what students need, who they are, what they bring….and that the technology is always in support of that priority.
A central concern expressed by teachers and school leaders several times over the days was that they would “get started on thinking about how to integrate technology once they have ‘caught up’.”
And here’s the rub. We will never catch up.
The development of technology continues at an exponential rate…apps proliferating like amoeba in a petri dish.
So, let’s not even try.
I have written about future proofing before – and the ideas remain important here: we cannot hope to be experts in the workings or every type of technology.
Instead we can ensure that we carry a useful framework in our heads – I use a combination of TPACK and the eLearning Planning Framework – so that, whatever the technology, we can make an appropriate judgement about whether it’s worth using. And that our use of technology, our choice, is driven by what our students need and how they can explore it best.
A mental framework such as this might also help us keep our heads in the face of e- learning hype …. Yes, I’m talking about you, BYOD and ePortfolios;)
It was a privilege to be a part of the audience for the DigiAwards, in which students’ digital photography and animation were celebrated. To see the huge audience of happy whānau, the proud faces of students who may or may not usually win celebrate school achievement, and the dedication of the staff who made it happen, was to be reminded of what an appropriate mix of content, pedagogy and technology can achieve.
The gasps of amazement from the students as the work of their friends was shown on the big screen said it all.