A Few Shifts that I See Happening

This was definitely one of the most interesting places to present — and I’ve presented in some strange places.  There was no real sense of the front of the room, which worked well, as I wanted participants to be just that, actively engaged in the conversation.

If you’ve been missing my blog, well I have too.  The last couple of weeks have had me either preparing, traveling, or conducting workshops, keynotes, or presentations — in some of the farthest flung points of North America — at least from the perspective of this small town boy.  I won’t go into details except to say that they were most thankful at my bringing North Carolina weather to Edmonton Canada (67F / 19C).

My work was mostly full day sessions with school leaders and leadership teams, and my expressed goal was to help them achieve a mindset necessary to move their schools and school cultures into more effective and relevant use of their growing technology.  Typically, I talked about and demonstrated aspects of:

  • Contemporary Literacy — Don’t think about how technology has advanced.  We might get further by thinking about how information has changed: what it looks like, what we look at to view it, how we find it, where we find it, what we can do with it, and how we communicate it.
  • Contemporary Literacy & Teaching — What does the new information landscape mean to us in our jobs, and how might we use it to improve and grow in jobs?  How do I utilize my own new literacies to create and maintain my own ongoing professional development, to cultivate my own personal learning network?
  • Cracking the ‘Native’ Information Experience • Hacking the ‘Native’ Information Experience — What are the qualities of our students outside-the-classroom information experiences?  How do they use information to work, play, converse, and learn?  What do those actions look like outside the classroom, and what might they look like inside?

The three mostly separate topics linked together amazingly well.  One of the big pushes in Canada seems to be “student engagement.”  They want to engage their students in learning, and this vision is coming very much from the Provincial Ministries of Education, at least in the few provinces I’ve worked with lately.  But getting that vision to the classroom is an enormous task.  It’s like “integrating technology.”  What exactly does “student engagement” look like?  What do you see when you walk into such a classroom?  Does “student engagement” automatically result in better learning?

I find that when I just start writing with no particular aim in mind, it often results in what I think are my strongest blog entries.  Doesn’t seem to be happening here.  So I’ll close with some shifts that I closed a webinar with last week.  They are shifts that come largely from literacy in a new information landscape, maintaining a personal learning network, and paying more attention to our students ‘native’ information experiences.

Shifts in Education
Not that we stop doing one and replace it with the other.  This is not a dicomedy
F r o m T o
• Classroom/Workshop Learning (time/place-based)
Network Learning
• Institution Dependent Learning Independent (self-directed) Learning
• Literacy Learning Literacy
• Lifelong Learning Skills Learning Lifestyle

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4 thoughts on “A Few Shifts that I See Happening”

  1. This article provided a helpful insight into how one can analyze how technology is changing schools when it comes to ‘student engagement’ and as impacted by technology. I have to wonder how and what school leaders are doing when it comes to changing the direction of their goals – change in education is difficult. What steps are recommended to bring about change and thus more usage of technology in classrooms?

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