After twenty years using educational technologies in schools is the learning value of such use clear? We are discussing and clarifying this question and would appreciate any and all views on the matter.

As a starting point, the following list is provided
  • Developing independent choice and use for learning
    eg    Digital Toolkit / PLN
            Learning Online
  • Response to rich tasks that are authentic and of personal value
  • Higher-Order Thinking
    (such as meta-cognition, adaptability, planning etc)
  • Constructing a visible learning journey
    (part Window, part Mirror, part Home)
  • New Digital Learning
    (such as      Information Literacy (Searching)
                        Presenting with Media
                        Visual-Abstract (eg Flash)
                        Digital problem-solving
                        Digital Citizenship)
  • Work Skills                                   
    (such as       managing time
                         meeting deadlines
                         collaborative group work
                         digital communications)
ThinkLab seeks to provide clear, understandable, practical answers to this fundamental question. Please join us.
 
 In mid February I attended the 21st Century Learning Conference at West Island School in Hong Kong. It was a well run and well patronized conference designed for teachers and school leaders. Everything from dig tools for school leaders, to changing learning dynamics, to examples teachers could take to their classrooms was showcased.

Keynote speakers were Stephen Heppell and David Warlick. As can be seen from the following quotes, they are very much into the changing dynamics of learning and teaching:
  • “our business should be making students future ready …. Not about the shoulders but the team” (David Warlick)
  • “21stC learning is about value of questions asked and accepting failure as part of the process… purpose of school too often to not get caught being wrong” (DW)
  • “21stC teacher must be a master learner” (DW)
  • “ problem of /met before’ learning; only good for ‘met before problems’” (Stephen Heppell) 
  • “assessment is now about whether it works or not” (SH)
  • “there is no cap on how far children can go” (SH)
Highlights on the conference included
  • School visits which enabled comparison to approaches in comparable schools
  • 10 Tech Tools PD session by Tim Carroll (Vice Principal of Show Tin College) who reported on a Moodle-based pd approach to Web 2 tool use for teacher development
  • Stephen Heppell’s report on his BVA (Being Very Afraid) student annual showcasing of student digital work.  
  • The opportunity to present to and discuss with the Leadership stream on Strengthening the 21st Century Learning Fabric in a school. See a webcast intro here
Issues to consider included
  •   David Warlick’s keynote on new relationships with content points to need to move beyond traditional perceptions of content value
  • Importance of maintaining and progressing student voice and active involvement in digital learning and IB curriculum
  • Schools at a wide variance re 1:1 laptops. No “best way”. Should be seen a journey towards an undisclosed future. But inevitable that new relationships, requirements and opportunities for valued learning are appearing and will appear as journey proceeds
  • Consideration of Specialist and Generalist teaching / learning spaces. Are 1:1 a general tool or incorporating specialist tools. If latter, where does teacher specialisation come from? Is there a need for dedicated technology spaces with specialist teachers?