As I continue to read the articles in course 1 in addition to blogs on my RSS feeder, the same question comes up in my head. In his article, Prensky states that the biggest question about technology and schools is , “When will I get to do it?” I would challenge that and argue that the biggest question relating to technology and schools in the 21st century is , “What is the purpose for the technology?” Without purpose, technology is a useless tool. Without a sense of purpose, anything we do or use is useless. I think the guiding question for examining technology and learning is , “What purpose does the technology play in moving learning forward?” Whether it is my own pedagogical development or student learning in the classroom, we need to first spend a lot of time determining the purpose for the learning. Once our learning has purpose, we can then look at technology as a tool to build and support our purpose.
I see it in the classroom with the students. When there is no specific purpose for the technology, the technology itself becomes an immediate distraction and is perceived as a toy rather than a useful instructional tool. We just need to remember that learning is driven by purpose and that we need to devote a lot of time to establishing the purpose first. Once students start to see the ‘why’ behind their learning, then technology turns into a powerful tool to assist their learning. At that point, I agree with Prensky that students will be able to determine what technology they will need and will seek it out. The students have a wealth of knowledge about technology and we need to ask them about it; once purpose is provided.
For me, one of the purposes for course one is to raise the concerns I have about technology; to voice the challenges I have to current views of tech integration, creating a PLN through twitter, facebook and whatever other social avenues exist. I am enrolled in this technology program to educate myself about the positive contributions of technology to student learning and to my pedagogical growth as well as to the potential negative effects of technology. New knowledge, new ideas and new ways of thinking can only be derived from challenging our current views and biases. As I learn about technology and reflect on its applications, I wonder about the effect it is having on a person’s ability to be patient. Even while writing this blog, my screen froze for a few seconds and I actually got a little irritated! Does there exist the possibility that with this new speed of tasking and access to knowledge, we are growing more and more impatient. If so, what are the potential consequences of this evolving impatience?
I understand the point about connectivism and can see the benefits. As the author states,”Realizing that complete knowledge cannot exist in the mind of one person” is a very true statement. The power of networking is the continual contribution of ideas and knowledge with the purpose of building new knowledge; moving learning forward. More minds are better than one. Where I am cautious and pause to question is as we shift towards making more connections, networking and connecting our ideas and knowledge, are we losing a critical depthness to our understanding of that ‘connected’ knowledge? There is a insurmountable mass of information on the internet coming at us at a lightening pace, that yes, I can make connections and network with that information, but is it simply too much for us to handle. Thanks to technology, is knowledge creation happening too quickly? Is the speed of new knowledge formation exceeding our own processing abilities to truly understand that knowledge? The page I read about Bloom’s taxonomy for technology had over 100 links to additional resources and knowledge! What is the purpose of that? I realize that is an incredible amount of time required by the author to create that page, but is it actually valuable in terms of developing a deeper understanding of connectivism? Can too much knowledge and connections actually be more detrimental?
After reading the two articles, “Hanging Out” and the chapters by Jeff, a couple of questions came up. First, in the article, “Hanging out”, I came across this quote, “ Moreover, limited availability of unrestricted computer and Internet access, competing responsibilities such as household chores, extracurricular activities (e.g., sports and music), and lack of mobility (e.g., transportation) frequently reflect the lack of priority adults place on hanging out.” I am not sure what the author is trying to say. As parents, should we be seeing social media hanging out as a priority equal to doing household chores and extra-curricular activities? If adults place a lack of priority on hanging out (social media), then what is the recommended percent? How much priority is socially healthy?
Moreover, while our children are engaged in on-line hanging out, is the healthy type of socialization happening? Are children capable of handling seeing their hierarchical restructuring of friendships change in real-time and in many instances when a “live” conversation did not occur first. Is it healthy for students to be introduced to potential friends or a person to hook-up with over the internet through facebook? I watch children struggle with friendship issues in person, where they get to hear the person, see their facial expressions and body mannerisms. How can they be equipped to handle reading comments or handling issues over the internet? Is it possible that children like to hang out on the internet because it is easier. Easier in the sense that they can pretend to be someone else and in essence hide their true selves behind the mask of the internet. The hardest thing is to be who we are and to stand up for ourselves and what we think is right. Does hanging out on the internet promote this? I would challenge that it does.
In Jeff’s article, one question, which popped in my head is our value of time. As teachers, we invest an incredible amount of mental energy in teaching students. In my downtime, I wonder if what is essential is to have mental downtime. Where is the balance between learning, networking, building communities and simply turning it all off? Also, when we are building communities or networks, should we be asking ourselves, “Would I pay to listen to this person I am about to follow?” or “would I invest a chunk of time in my day to sit and listen to this person?” Perhaps these are the questions I should be asking before I friend someone or choose to follow someone.
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