If you’re working with veteran educators, this is especially important. They have been successful in their field for many years, often decades. Perhaps they teach an AP course and are used to a high percentage of 4’s and 5’s on the AP exam. Maybe they teach a writing class and feel that they are effectively preparing their students with advanced writing skills. Regardless of their specialty, approaching a hesitant teacher with an eye to radically change their curriculum and pedagogy can feel threatening and critical.
Instead, try this: observe what they do in the classroom that’s made them successful and build out from there. Offer suggestions on how to make their good teaching practices more efficient or effective, using tools that clearly make tasks easier to accomplish. Perhaps DropBox will facilitate distributing handouts in the classroom, Google Drive is a better alternative to emailing drafts back and forth, or Google Earth can provide more interactive exploration of the Grand Canyon. Tailor your approach to each faculty member, with specific ideas to facilitate and/or enhance their teaching. As they become comfortable with new tech, they will very likely be open to conversations about other digital tools you are using in your own work.
"Young people today have lots of experience… interacting with new technologies, but a lot less so of creating [or] expressing themselves with new technologies. It’s almost as if they can read but not write."
I’m a huge supporter of encouraging students to use technology to create things, and then to share them in some way with the world around them. Aside from encouraging them to be global citizens, I think it has the positive side effect of giving them ownership of content, and the experience of actively wanting other people to share their work with proper attribution (which helps reinforce the importance of not plagiarizing others).
The lastest version of the Indian-designed Aakash tablet could shake up education in developing countries and double the number of people who have access to the Internet. Will DataWind deliver? […] It has the basic functionality of a smartphone, Wi-Fi connectivity, rear and front-facing cameras, and a micro-USB port (!). The parts are assembled in China and India (a sort of nebulous supply chain). It runs Android 4, like many high-end smartphones, but Tuli (Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of DataWind, a British based company) plans to sell the tablet at a fraction of what many of those cost.
"None of these students had met one another in person. The class directory included people from 125 countries. But, after weeks in the class, helping one another with Newton’s laws, friction and simple harmonic motion, they’d started to feel as if they shared the same carrel in the library. Together, they’d found a passageway into a rigorous, free, college-level class, and they weren’t about to let anyone lock it up."
While Albert Einstein’s genius isn’t included, an exclusive iPad application launched Tuesday promises to make detailed images of his brain more accessible to scientists than ever before. Teachers, students and anyone who’s curious also can get a look.
Argh! You won’t be replaced, you’ll be enhanced. And you’ll be a leader in showing them the potential of the technology they take for granted, as well as how to use it in a way that promotes healthy citizenship.
A colleague of mine, Claus Nehmzow, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur… has come up with an innovative way to make learning fun. 3D Avatar School combines the benefits of face-to-face learning with an online gaming experience.