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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

ICTEV Conference, Keynote address

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 30, 2009


Here I am at the ICTEV Conference at Melbourne Grammar, hastily updating this blog because I forgot to bring my netbook charger!

Bruce Dixon (Director IdeasLab, Co-founder Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation) gave the keynote address, and he was fantastic.  He talked about so many issues I couldn’t keep up, but it was exciting.  His topic was ‘Emerging Trends that Redefine Education in the 21st Century and Imperatives that are Driving Transformation’.

He began by saying that our strength in OZ is our weakness – we take on innovation readily, but we don’t always consolidate.   There are huge expectations of schools with the major new focus on education, it’s front and centre with our government but also around the world. We are challenged by needing to meet needs of the future  because we’re not just being influenced by countries we’re comfortable with, now also the unfamiliar i.e. India and China (though Dixon didn’t name them).

 We all know the competencies we’re expected to develop:  21st century learners analytic thinkers problem solvers communicators globally aware civic engagement successful learners numerate articulate curious passionate literate collaborators, synthesisers, personalisers, localisers – and they’re just the ones I managed to jot down.  But as we all know, it’s hard enough to achieve traditional competencies and now we need to expand on that.

The Best Job in the World phenomenon is an example of this new kind of thinking that’s happening in the world.  The creation of this ad (because that’s what it was) was clever enough as a means of advertising Queensland to the world but everything else in the thinking behind it, was based on 21st century thinking. It had a huge impact internationally, and the job application  medium was video generating 36000 entries – how many of our students could have engaged in this process?  They should be able to = tThis is the way the corporate world is working – skills demand has now shifted dramatically. Routine cognitive or manual job opportunities have vanished. Anything easy to teach and test is easy to digitize or make a robot for. School has to be different.

But how? No school? Still subject based? Somewhere between these extremes? The frog is in rapidly rising hot water. Social and interactive aspects of schools are still very important. The Singapore classroom of the future (I need to find a link to this online somewhere)  offers every teacher time there because they know they have to change.

Imperatives

1. Globalisation, More than global projects – just a first step – young Oz people more than any other country need to be connected globally – we are the most isolated country are in the world, we do not have a modern network yet – embarrassing lack of languages – we don’t have cultural understanding, and it’s very obvious in Europe.

We need to make more use of phones, VOIP, SKYPE, time zones are a problem but not along our own time zone. More conference environments for young people should be facilitated. Open course ware project in the US – leading universities make available the lectures, PPTs, podcasts, videos etc. These should be used by students e.g. Prof Leewin(?)’s physics lectures. And these are available to kids in the 3rd world as well!

2. 21st century challenges environment, climate change etc – technology has to be a part of the solutions, connecting with other countries to solve them. Precedent of the Human Genome Project. Students connect at home,but not much at school: They used to come to school to use the computer, now they go home to use one. People think differently now about how we use it…

Intimidated by web 2.0? It’s just a ‘toenail’ in the water of what’s ahead. FaceBook is why the world has a different perspective on Obama.  There are new international ways of facilitating all kinds of things, including philanthropy through social networks.

Those schools not letting kids use Google???????????? web 2.0 is the architecture of participation!  ICTEV needs to lead the conversations, not Andrew Bolt!

3.  Content v context. Current model is out of date, informal learning is eclipsing formal learning. Success in the future is being able to do what you were NOT taught to do.  Kisa need to be able to do more complex things than before, things not previously accessible to children. Skilling people in low level word processing and excel is not what it’s about. It’s about how you can use the technology to improve mathematical understanding, Science and so on. 

Possible areas to develop are countless, but here’s one: possibilities for personalisation can address learner diversity. Flexible approaches to learning different learning styles – everyone wants to do this but teachers often burn themselves out trying to do this in traditional ways. With technology it’s possible. Kids can express their ideas with sound, animation, video, images and not just words. Not just expressing ideas for the teacher, kids can publish to the world, to a new audience.

Digital portfolios, knowing prior learning – Ultranet may make this more possible. No one has done it yet, but the vision is good. Schools have been slow to change because the kids don’t have 1-1 computers – they have to have them! Victoria the first teacher in the world to give each teacher a laptop. We need to think differently.

(Dixon is exhausting, but he has an important message and he sees the message is urgent).

Technology is going to allow us to manage all this diversity, assess it formatively and so on. The PbyP learning cycle – web 20 and assessment through personalisation by pieces. Competencies – learners set the goals, submitted (like a PhD?) peer assessed at that level, and the level above.

Accountability: people fear it – No child left behind program in the US emerged because of accountability – but we need to define what we want it to be. First and foremost we should be accountable to Kids. What have we been spending on education and what do we get for it? US spends more than anyone, 13th in the world, Korea is ahead of them. PISA is a picture of the value your education system is delivering. Most people in the world who achieve at the same level of America are low paid workers – not a great future to US – their GDP would improve if they got a better result from their investment in education.

Jazzy new developments in Victoria? : e5, PDPs etc.

 Where and how learning takes place….’free’ time i.e. not at work or school, if we can engage kids to learn anywhere anytime – i.e. move them beyond print era to broadcast era to collaborative age = different environment. Publishing, social networks. Learning is not organised around a school – libraries are not a transformed space – whole new view of what they might be. 1.Technology increases pedagogical capacity. One hour a week access to computers is not enough! 2.What are we going to let go of? Not an add on, transformation. Spaces/ digital content/ digital pedagogies. 3. digital lifestyle 4. Paradox of universal education – media always telling us we’re not doing well, when in fact we are, though there are increasing numbers of disengaged students and these have to be able to do more. Technology can help us address this?

These notes are a mess!  Conference blogging is an art I need to learn!

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