TEACHING AND LEARNING USING TECHNOLOGY : Lessons to be learnt

Professor Yashwant RAMMA in Le Mauricien writes about the changes and how they might impact students in Mauritius, noting that the majority of ICT use in schools has been mostly PowerPoint. He looks at contextual knowledge, pedagogy and technology – noting that concepts across different areas of knowledge are not connected in teaching areas.

Technology can serve the purpose of helping learners make sense out of nonsense (all the stuff they have to study). We should not forget that a classroom is composed of learners of different abilities, normally categorized in three groups: low, average and high abilities. This means that a teacher can expect that learning will occur if only he/she engages learners…

There is also a fascinating discussion in the comments questioning the impact of technologies in learning in other parts of the world and what is the value.

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The Fears of a (Mildy) Educated Layperson

On the Partikles blog, the author describes how in spite of not being able to afford to go to school, they read books, watch documentaries, learn through searching content on Wikipedia to improve their understanding of science and scientific principles. They highlight how in the US there has been a fear and distrust of science including stem cell debates, campaigning against MMR vaccines etc The author neatly notes how media have contributed to this sacrificing accuracy for entertainment

As a society we do not value education (but damn it, we value missiles!), and it shows. My fear is that we will grow generations of poorly informed people that do not check their sources, and merely believe what the talking heads say on Fox News, simply because we, as a culture, are too intellectually lazy to try and think forward.

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Africa – Incubators and Tech Hubs : A Young Professionals Key to ICT Entrepreneurship

Karen Triquet summarizes recent initiatives which have provided platforms for students to connect with other entrepreneurs and share knowledge. An infographic on the blog shows how everything can become connected through the community. She profiles Afrilabs which include iHub – Kenya, Hive Colab – Uganda, ActivSpaces – Cameroon, BantaLabs – Senegal, NaiLab – Kenya, MEST – Ghana, iceAddis – Ethiopia, Co-Creation Hub – Nigeria, iLab – Liberia, RLabs – South Africa, BongoHive – Zambia, Malagasy i-Hub – Madagascar, m:Lab EA – Kenya, Wennovation Hub – Nigeria.

She includes videos of iHub in Kenya.

Education and Employment are ways of fighting poverty, and these internet HUBs are a way of increasing access to it as well as linking individuals potential to wider audience-more global.

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Moroccan education and the Challenges of Tomorrow: Are our Teachers Prepared?

Abdallah Zbir reflects on the different trends that are forming part of the discussion of educational reform worldwide including development and implementation of technologies across education. He discusses the role of different academic agendas, the role of vested interests in technology and how that will impact teachers and schools

The Thinking of today is a thinking of clicks and buttons. Of course, technology and web-based inventions have been occupying our privacy and have been directing us towards new ends. In the world of today, time and space have new dimensions in the course of our lives. Human activities are influenced now by new trends, and our experiences are centered on new concerns. Cellular phones, Geographical Positioning Systems, LCDs, and so on are offering new sources of information and new sorts and definitions of knowledge

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Does the American elite want real public education

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism posts a video from the Real News Network which looks at the broader societal and financial implications of policies being proposed by US presidential candidates in the upcoming election.

It has provoked an interesting discussion including

It is not a coincidence that the US was amongst the first countries anywhere to pursue mass _public_ education as a matter of policy, since initial European settlements in the parts of the USA where that was pursued had much smaller class distinctions than Europe as a whole, and in particular had relatively few truly rich individuals. But even in that regard, ‘men of property’ in the US have never supported public education as an entire class.

 

Indoctrucation

Lance Christian Johnson:

“I’m a public school teacher, and as we all know, that means that I’m in the business of indoctrinating children.  By the time those kids leave my class for the last time in June, I can assure you that they’re all thinking exactly the way that I want them to think.  No matter what their political/religious/ideological positions beforehand, come that last day they have all succumbed to my will.  I get a particular ghoulish delight when I know that they have thrown out all of the values that their parents have given them.  Oh, and I should probably point out that I get my Marxist/Socialist/Nazi/Communist/Sith marching orders from a secret cabal of liberal elites, which includes Jimmy Carter, Bill Ayers, Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda, and Colonel Sanders.”

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Whether the digital era improves society is up to its users – that’s us

Danah Boyd writes in the Guardian Battle for the Internet series. She looks at the impact of fear and notes how it can be a mechanism of control, how people are responding to overwhelming information through their online connections, where psychological warfare is being used to try and capture and maintain people’s attention. She questions whether radical transparency is worthwhile and mentions how people are

How do these impact people’s online experience through their networks. She notes that people have access to more people through more networks with more visibility and wonders about the implications in terms of their relationships.

it’s high time we examined the values that are propagated through our tools. We all need to think critically about the information we create, consume and share

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Peer-Based Learning in a Networked Age

Mimi Ito’s keynote in 2010 is highly relevant to the numerous conversations that are springing up around educational change. Are we in a networked age? Mimi notes that traditional boundaries of educational institutions are changing with the impact of new networked media where peer based learning occurs beyond the classroom.

Unlike their relationship to mainstream media, unlike their relationship with content and activities that adults provision for them, these smaller scale peer publics are ones that they participate in not just as consumers but as producers and distributors of content, knowledge, taste and culture. They make decisions about how to craft their profiles, what messages to write, and what kind of music, video, and artwork they want to post, link to and forward. And these choices about what media to display and circulate are conducted in a public space visible to their peers that have direct consequences to their reputation in the social circles that matter to them the most.

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Wisdom 2.0: Balance in A Hyper Connected World

Beth Kanter attended the Wisdom 2.0 conference, looking at what makes a good slow information diet, how technologies can help or hinder non-profits in their learning and interactions with the public and overall what is a healthy mind in paying attention to what we are consuming, how much time we are spending and how meaningful it is. She notes a range of interesting resources and speakers from the conferences.

She asks

What ideas, books, or concepts are helping you balance in a hyper-connected world?  How do you practice wisdom to keep your online/offline work and life balanced?

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The myth of online community

There has been a lot of research looking at real and metaphorical online communities as more and more people have started using the web and interacting with others through their connections and interests. Dr Mark William Johnson examines what is a community and whether online ones really exist (beyond their software definitions)

The conflation of the word ‘community’ to create equivalence between the online community and the ‘face-to-face community’ is particularly suspect. So much more happens when people are together: the life-and-death realities of existence are encountered in direct and practically ineffable ways. Online, and the nature of ‘community’ is reduced to text messages made in a strategic way by individuals seeking to maintain their position within the ‘online’ (and face-to-face) community.
I think it’s a mistake to think of such a thing as an online ‘community’. What happens online is strictly ‘strategic’. My tweeting of this blog entry is a classic example: I seek to gain the attention of those I know, and I wouldn’t be so bothered unless I could see some strategic advantage in it for me. I don’t believe I am alone in this egomania!
A very interesting take on community was provided by Stephen Downes in the #change11 week he led : Knowledge, Learning and Community