This week in reading.

I am once again in a cycle where reading time is dramatically reduced.  I’ve not opened my current book at all this week.  Thanks to my lovely wife allowing me a lazy Saturday morning (by allowing I mean she has looked after everything), I’ve had some time to catch up on my blog reading and important tweeters.  Two posts in particular caught my attention for various reasons.

  1. Chris Betcher – Five Simple Skills
    In this succinct post, Chris identifies five core skills he believes teachers should possess in order to enable their engagement with 21st century learning.  Now while I don’t necessarily agree with his list, its a great starting point for any teacher wanting to enhance their own skills and knowledge, or a leader designing training to enhance the skills and knowledge of their staff.  So I applaud him for drilling down to identify a definite number of simple skills that can lead to further skill development and increased ability.

    In my opinion, effective searching is the most important skill.  Chris has this at the top of his list but he does not necessarily state they are in order of priority.  Once teachers and students can search effectively (and beyond Google) their access to relevant and valid knowledge is increased significantly.  Knowing how to use web services such as all the options within Google search, certainly makes life easier and a person more effective.  I also like to teach my students (and teachers) to search through dedicated repositories as a launchpad to locating reliable and valid information – particularly for research.  The first three places I send them are my delicious account, wikipedia and slideshare.  Important to note I set these up as launchpads to research – the sites themselves are not citable evidence.

    Editing of photos, pictures and video is also essential.  Understanding the need to manipulate quality and sizes of files for various uses should go hand in hand with this.

    Personally I would add 2 more skills to the list; using RSS and backing up.  I’ve lost count of the times a student or colleague has lost files due to a damaged USB drive or some other occurrence.  A backup solution certainly reduces the stress and pain involved with this.  The backup options these days are many and varied.  RSS is such an effective way to gather information in a time efficient manner, especially when you know a source will continue to produce quality information.

    Thanks to Chris for this post, it has provided me new direction to help develop my teachers for the Transformative Learning Project I am managing this year.

  2. Dean Groom – Class vs. Metaverse pedagogy
    Dean has certainly a strong opinion about the (un)balance between educational policy and 21st century learning.  This post will hold items that many teachers can relate to yet still provide us food for thought and motivation.  I particularly like his identification of “motivation-centred” learning instead of “student-centred” learning.  An interesting concept that could do with some exploration and reflection on my part.

4 thoughts on “This week in reading.

  1. I dont believe the current curriculum will change, as the politcos have just invested considerable money and personal-cudos in the struggling National Curriculum.
    I don’t believe the bureaucrats will provide effective 21C development for staff –they’ve done the maths, and are rather hoping it will occur naturally though new teachers and new studies at University.

    What I do believe is that the current mode of classroom learning – and the curriculum is doomed. We may not see the end of the ‘book’ but certainly the end of the ‘text book’ due to technology – it is less and less relevant to learning (unless you are completing a test or answering chapter questions)

    The sad reality is that lots of high school teachers rely entirely on the text book all too often, and have done for eons due to high-stakes testing. They don’t need to change their modality in order to be perceived – though test scores – as effective.

    There is considerable academic evidence to clearly lay out the terms of reference for effective elearning; virtual worlds and games. This however matters nothing as K12 education is not run by academics, but politicians and office seekers. I imagine most ‘savvy’ edtech teachers have already forgotten more than many bureaucrats are prepared to learn.

  2. Good points. I know many teachers who have forgone the reliance on a sole text book for the learning in their classes. Relying on a text book does not model effective learning to our students, and in my opinion often promotes re-writing or even plagiarism (by not citing the source of information).

  3. What happened to the third post? I can only see two? Both Chris & Deans posts were very thought provoking so thanks for pointing them out. They too have provided me with some food for thought and seem to be embracing what we are constantly struggling to achieve in our restrictive educational settings – Engaging students through real life experiences, and providing them with relevant and meaningful curriculum tasks. The technologies we have to work with though and the restrictions we have applied to us (inc. students), mean that this struggle is made harder. The students know that what we have available to work with in our school settings are outdated, and that they can find more relevant and meaningful information online outside the school environment. So what does this mean for our students – School is nothing more than a social outing with peers. And we wonder why we can’t get them to pay attention!

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