Sunday, March 1, 2009

Reflections on "Did You Know"

Karl Fisch's presentation Did You know is a must view for educators. One slide states, ...

"We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don't exist ... in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems."

Kinda makes you reflect on global warming! Unfortunately, we are trying to prepare students using an outdated model based on the industrial revolution (I think I got that idea from Shareski - if you can confirm or correct me I will update). Today, while going through the stacks of paper that accummulated on my desktop I was frustrated to find a large package of photocopied Career Education resources based on 2002 information with a note from a well intentioned consultant saying, "It should still be useful". The "yeahbut" inside me screamed as I recalled a website (District School Board of Niagara)I had visited the night before that had all kinds of links to Career Education resources as well as other resources for their students. I wondered where are the visionaries? I am in a system that still relies on sharing information with paper when there are much more effecient and effective ways.

However, complaining is absolutely useless; I am fully aware that sometimes change is more likely to come from individuals than it is from bureaucracies. With this in mind, for the last little while I've been kicking things up at school by engaging as many staff as possible into discussions about school and technology. I would be lying if I said I was being greeted with enthusiasm. Comments range from "we need time" to "kids learn better in face to face settings". Don't get me wrong though, there are those who see the need to learn more. I have two other teachers who have joined me in trying to learn the intricacies of "Moodle" and I have a session with interested staff on Thursday's to explore different web applications available and to discuss their use in school; in two sessions, I've been joined by about 15% of a teaching staff of 32.

Unfortunately, the obstacles or perceived obstacles are compounded by failures in the technology. My last session bombed because our internet was slow! We had long waits for websites to download and my laptop seemed to be possessed with gremlins; things that had worked earlier in my office refused to cooperate in the lab.

Nevertheless, I am passionate in speaking to staff about incorporating technology into their classrooms and I think I know a resource that will help me at our next staff meeting on March 3. You see, I watched the Youtube video, Did You Know, this evening and was even more impressed than I was with the ShiftHappens video that I watched last spring. I have been telling High School teachers (this is my vision of Education in the Future and no doubt influenced by Stephen Downes) that if they don't become comfortable working with technology, there is a chance they will be considered redundant in the educational system. I strongly believe that High School teachers will be expected to know how to prepare courses that can be delivered either face to face or via the internet or some combination of both within the next 10 to 15 years if not sooner. Fisch's video highlights the need for educational systems to change; hopefully, it will also help pursuade some teachers that they also need to change.
Image from: Ruminate which took the image from ShiftHappens.

1 comment:

Alec Couros said...

You're definitely starting to put some very important pieces together. Resistance will always be part of the high school culture, but I do believe that if schools do not adapt, they are moving toward obsolescence. Change is likely more urgent than we think.