Thursday, September 2, 2010

Web2.0 is NOT the future of Education

Jen from Ingenuity has set out this debate. Many teachers ARE excited about Web2.0. It is probably, rightly perceived, that teachers are saying "Web2.0 is the future of Education". It certainly offers education a whole new dimension of collaboration. As a teacher or parent, what are your thoughts about the hype surrounding Web2.0 as the future of education? Watch the video below and hear the argument. I respond below with my thoughts on the debate. Contribute your thoughts by clicking the COMMENTS button below this post.

Web2.0 certainly offers a number of benefits to education. Manaia Kindergarten has engaged the tools of Web2.0 over the past 3-4years with great success - we blog, connect with other educators and students around the country and the world, - we skype, chatting with family members and teachers in Whangarei, throughout New Zealand, and internationally. In my personal life I am active on Facebook (see the list on the right to view my personal involvement in Web2.0), and Facebook has connected me with friends and family around the world. I learn from them, debate with them, highlight online topics of interest to share with them, and engage them in my philosophy on education regularly.

Web2.0 is not the future of education for me, that statement is a little outdated - it is definitely the present of education. So in that sense it is not the future of education - I hope there is more than Web2.0. BUT if educators have not yet explored the validity of Web2.0, will they be ready for the next step. Engage in it now, so that the tools and language are familiar enough to move to the next advancement in technology.

Web2.0 is not the future of education - collaboration is the future (or present for some). It is not the tool, the Web2.0, that is or is not the future - it is what Web2.0 enables us to do in education that is important. It enables us to collaborate, empower children/students, communicate in a way never before possible.

Web2.0 is not the future of education nor will it be unless teachers and educators are given the space and respect to learn the tools. YES - sometimes it takes time for adults to remember all the passwords, click the right button at the right time, remember new processes. Teachers need to be empowered to learn. Web2.0 wont work in education if the teachers are critized while they learn. Young people remember passwords, they know the processes - these part of their everyday world. But I feel Jen could give adults a break, and be proud that they are taking the time and trouble to learn new ways of doing things.

Web2.0 is not the future of education - open minded students and teachers are the future. I embrace Web2.0 and use it as a tool for my 3yr and 4yr old students to broaden their skills and knowledge. And I will embrace the 'next' thing if it benefits learning opportunities.

Web2.0 is not the future - it is NOW.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mac or PC - the fight gets bigger

My 11yr old nephew shared this youtube video with me last night. I asked him and our niece which they preferred. It is true - the advertising machine of the Mac is a good one and worked once again with these children. And that's great with me.

Needless to say - I'm a Mac girl. I first used a Mac in 1982. A small cube at the back of our classroom. It was the first computer the school had bought for students. Students from other classes came to our classroom to use it. I'm not sure what they learnt. We were taught programming skills using 'turtle'. But it was during our lunch breaks that we learnt the most. We were allowed to 'just play' - and we did. Mostly we played PacMan and fought for position of top score. However, we also played with the programming capabilities and learnt to explore, push buttons, test our skills and knowledge and we were even allowed to take it home for weekends. There were about 5 of us who took up the opportunity to take the Mac home. We each spent most of the weekend trying to extablish the highest score in PacMan. Our families also had the opportunity to learn the Mac operating system from us - a huge boost to our confidence and learning.

I will always be a Mac girl. Since those days in the 80s, Macs have led the way in creating a visual interface that is ideal for children in the early years. The drag and drop of large pictorial icons, the dock, the integration of iphoto in all its applications, provides an easy platform for children to create their own pages of information and manipulate images. All with very little supervision from adults. Today the children of Manaia Kindergarten enjoy playing with KidPix, creating learning stories with ComicLife, and exploring photography with Photobooth and iPhoto. New teachers to the kindergarten are also learning the Mac skills and are excited about the possibilities.

What do the children in your centre use and how?
What is your preference - Mac or PC - and why?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mr Winkle Wakes - Education 100 years on

Ok - I have a number of ideas to share with you. Its hard to decide which should go first. So check back soon....

I am hoping that this first post is out of date and that there are no schools or ECEs who function like this - or at least none that think they should. Here's hoping we are all on the same road to revolutionising education for learners in the 21C. But just in case you need any convincing - this is for you?

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ken Robinson - Education that enriches talent

"Every day, everywhere, children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly" - Ken Robinson.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Adaptable technologies & Global issues

I really want an iphone!

In fact I am in competition with colleagues and friends to be the first to purchase an iphone. Currently I have the oldest phone which my colleagues have dubbed - 'a modern day brick'. I have found this image of it, in a 2007 online article entitled - "How to recycle your old phone"

Ok - you can stop laughing now!! BUT when this phone dies I WILL get an iphone!!

Unfortunately my friends and I have done everything we can to KILL this phone. It has been dropped, thrown across a Greek resturant, and held above a candle flame until the back of it has been badly burnt. It still works! :-( And for a leader in technology in education this may be a very sad sight indeed.

I want an iphone.

Yes technology is doing wonders in creating collaborative learning environments, providing children with an authentic voice, building confidence and leadership. The newest technologies increasingly support these educational opportunities. In 2008 - "An Apple iPhone or iPod touch (became) a central part of Abilene Christian University's innovative learning experience when all freshmen are provided one of these converged media devices". I commend them and argue that in Early Childhood teachers should also be provided with these ever so portable learning technologies.

I want an iphone.
But at what cost?

Maybe there should be two sides to the education of technology in early childhood. Along with the introduction of technologies into our early childhood centres should be an education of fairness, environmental issues, adaptable technologies, trends and marketing ploys. We should be encouraging our communities and society to develop technologies that grow - not replace technologies yearly with the latest and greatest, but adapting what we have to do more. As an education sector we should lead the way in ensuring that our technologies are created with fairness in mind - that children and families will not be accepting technologies made with the sweat and deaths of third world citizens.

Click on the image below and identify the messages our children and families are receiving. Read the words then step back and look at the whole image.

Apple currently has some explaining to do - and so do we. Steve Job needs to act - and so do we. In our quest to use technologies to increase learning opportunities for children we need to ensure we are not also teaching excess luxury consumption and perpetuating our 'throw away' lifestyle.

Unfortunately I am unable to add the capabilities of an iphone to my modern day brick . So
I'm sticking with it until it dies (which is no time soon at this rate). But I challenge you and myself to consider improving the holistic nature of technology in education, and perhaps encourage our sector to continue to consider global issues (perhaps to the detriment of some 21C learning opportunities) and to also stand up for adaptable technologies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Election and National Standards

In November 2008 I posted a subtle cartoon warning readers about the pitfalls of National Standards. I followed through with a post election rant, a skeptical article about the newly elected National Party of New Zealand, their promise to maintain Free ECE and the idea that "what will determine our (individual) success is the unity of purpose".

This month the true colours of our National led government have been glimpsed. Hints about the upcoming budget, spell a demise for nation wide Free ECE for 3-5yr olds. And at the start of 2010 National Standards were implemented in all schools. It is unbelievable to me that anyone can see a logic in a set standard of education outcomes for all children, especially in the primary years. These are the years to be exploring one's potential, interests, curiousities - not trying to fit into a standard mold set by pompous politicians who all dress the same way.

Ken Robinson once again excells as he explains National Standards. In his quiet, confident tone, Robinson points out the pitfalls that National Standards presents.

Be warned - National Standards will be the demise of children's self esteem and a culture of creativity and innovation. See also Do Schools Kill Creativity - Ken Robinson

Thank you to Tania for sharing this great clip with me during our latest Conference and presentation on 21Century Thinking and Learning.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Trust children - and discover what you can learn.

After some inspiring PD over the holidays, I looked for more inspiration as I ready myself for work tomorrow. Again I found such inspiration on TED! The following video is presented by Adora Svitak (author of Flying Fingers) - A "Child prodigy" who says "the world needs 'childish' thinking.... Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach."

At Manaia Kindergarten we truely believe that children are the best teachers and learners. The community at Manaia learns alongside eachother and children are seen teaching adults new ways of thinking and doing. Check them out on their Kindergarten Blog.
Trust children - and discover what you can learn.

A new role, a challenging future.

Wow - its been a while! I logged on to my blog account and found 9 comments waiting. Apologies to those whose comments I only just published.

It was an honour to be appointed head teacher at Manaia Kindergarten. The time now, however, to blog, has greatly been diminished as I seem to fill my days with other thoughts - mostly around the survival of admin. I have also found that to start with I am giving of much energy into the job, and not having a great deal of time to be replenished. So it was great to have some worth while professional development over the Easter holidays. We also have a new team of teachers at Manaia Kindergarten and I look forward to working together as a great team, sharing our learning, challenging our thinking and ways of doing things, and growing together with the children and community of Manaia.