Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Myths about learning in the era of technological acceleration

So by now you may be aware we're in somewhat of a technological revolution.  The thing about the technologies flying in and out of our world is not that they're happening fast - they always seem fast - but that the rate is increasing.  I've written about the technological acceleration before but let's take a look at how the technological acceleration affects education, training and learning and let's look at debunking some of the potential barriers and myths that exist.

  1. I can't keep up with it so why bother?  Two things, firstly you're right you can't keep up the technological acceleration in education, but does that mean you simply give up and do what you've always done instead? Hopefully not, the key is not in trying to keep up with all the latest developments but always looking for ways to use the latest things to your advantage.  As a teacher I always tried to stay current with the latest news and trends that affected my students, nowadays that includes staying abreast of the latest in technological world and seeing the possibilties.  If you haven't thought about the applications that wearable technology offer us for just-in-time type learning then are you really looking to offer the best learning outcomes you can for your students?
  2. I don't have the budget.  Chances are if you're in education that there's more than a little truth to that - in fact when I was working more commercial sector the same was true - never enough budget.  What that really means is that you have to imaginative and selective around technologies, you have to know what opportunities exist and what the likely cost will be.  Whilst hardware is always going to be relatively costly there are software solutions and applications that are increasingly not specific on a platform - and lots that can be done at low or even no cost.  Even hardware has its exceptions, think Google Cardboard - a 3D system that could cost you $5 a headset?
  3. I don't have the time.  I've also blogged on this very topic before because it's a common excuse that we all use at times. But let's be honest, the truth is that you don't have enough motivation and desire - it's simply not important enough, if it was you'd make the time.  That may sound glib, but the issue is about how important you view it rather than whether or not you have the time - it may mean you have to drop some things that are less important (like spending your time arguing or complaining about how little time you have :)
  4. I don't know what technologies will take off and what will be gone.  
    Unless you have a crystal ball I'd have to agree you don't (and nor does anyone else of course).  What succeeds and what fails in technologies is about what gets used and adopted; by making a decision to use a technology you're adding to the likelihood that it succeeds - and vice versa of course.
  5. I don't understand it well enough and I'm afraid that my students will know more than me.  You're probably right again, but all the more reason to get stuck in.  The old-school master who knows all and student knowing nothing model is broken, learning is a two-way street and if you've stopped learning then you're in the wrong job.  Try something new, share your journey with your students and learn from them or at least with them.  If you don't take that step how will you ever improve in this area?
  6. The technology might fail... I might fail.  It might and at some point it almost certainly will, that's part of being up-to-date and trying the latest things, but if you're setting up a learning environment then making it safe to fail is of utmost importance and if it's good enough for your students to fail and learn from that the same should be true for you.
  7. Technology sucks.  No, you're wrong it's awesome and the reason is that it will open up possibilities and opportunities that you hadn't even thought of before - how exciting is that from a learning perspective?

That's my take - the barriers that we put up are actually pretty lame, let's get stuck in, look for opportunities and evolve.  Thoughts?

Oh yeah, I wrote this in the back of a minibus between Tauranga and Rotorua so please excuse typos and the like :)