As the completion of my graduate course on the integration of technology in education draws near, one final “Big Rocks” blog is required to summarize my learning. I began this course as a way to tackle my fear of falling behind in my teaching practice when it comes to technology integration. While my fear still lingers, I’m definitely gaining new confidence and perspectives. So what are my ‘big rocks’ of learning?
Few would argue the fact that technology is having a huge impact on education. The World Wide Web has connected people and ideas in ways like never before. Digital tools for locating, creating and sharing information exist for every level of Blooms Taxonomy of Learning. New learning theories, such as Connectivism, Social Constructivism, and Cognitive Flexibility Theory have emerged, changing perspectives on how people acquire and apply knowledge and information. (Downes, 2012; McMahon, 1997; Spiro, 1988). The very concept of knowledgeitself is up for debate. Gilbert (2007) describes how knowledge is no longer viewed as information to be acquired by individuals, but as a process of performativity that happens in collaboration with others. All of these changes have created both opportunities and challenges for teachers, as they try to adapt their practice to fit with the shifting paradigms in education. All of these changes are could be considered ‘big rocks’ that need to be dealt with by teachers and schools.
During a recent Science class, my Grade 6 students described the Moon as a big rock. They learned how it moves through phases in a predictable pattern as it perpetually orbits the earth. Like technology, the moon imparts significant impact on our world, causing the tides to ebb and flow, concealing and then revealing treasures in the sand.
What will the tides of technological change wash in next? The 2012 Horizon Report highlights emerging technologies like augmented reality, in which digital information and experiences are overlaid onto images and environments. Looking ahead to 2025, Darwish, Grimsley, and Moyer describe potential learning agent roles such as Edu-vators and Learning Journey Mentors who create innovative learning experiences and help students to build and navigate through personal learning ecologies. Both have significant implications on the role of teachers and the structures of our school systems, which many believe must be completely overhauled.
Putting all of this together, my really big rock of learning in this course has
been the realization that it may be most beneficial for me to just go with the flow. The tide rises and falls each day. At different times of the year, the tides may be higher or lower as our orbit takes us nearer or farther from the sun. Just as the tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun, changes in technology, content and pedagogy will continue to cause the educational waters to ebb and flow. The proverbial pendulum will continue to swing, just as it always has. We cannot stop it. We must learn to move in harmony with the changes, just as the moon and earth move in harmony with each other and the rest of the galaxy. Efforts to speed up or completely avoid technology will inevitably fail. If you stand with your head in the sand, the tides will come and wash you away. If you fight the waves of technology, you risk drowning in the sea of constant change. The best choice is to move in harmony with the tides: listen, learn and live it.
Blooms Digital Taxonomy. [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved November 2012 from http://www.mtlsd.org/mellon/teams/ironbrigade/bloomsdigitaltaxonomy.asp
Darwish, J., Grimsley, K., Moyer, J. World of Learning Resources. Retrieved from: http://futureofed.org/resources/world-of-learning-resources/
Downes, S. (2012). Connectivism and Connected Knowledge. Retrieved from: http://www.downes.ca/files/Connective_Knowledge-19May2012.pdf
Gilbert, J. (2007). Catching the Knowledge Wave: Redefining Knowledge in the Post-Industrial Age. Retrieved from: http://www.cea-ace.ca/sites/cea-ace.ca/files/EdCan-2007-v47-n3-Gilbert.pdf
McMahon, M. (1997). Social Constructivism and the World Wide Web – a Paradigm for Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth97/papers/Mcmahon/Mcmahon.html
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved from: http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf
Spiro, R.J., Coulson, R.L., Feltovich, P.J., & Anderson, D. (1988). Cognitive flexibility theory: Advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. In V. Patel (ed.), Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.http://www.mrcoombs.com/educ533/docs/CognitiveFlexibility.pdf