The art of being a teacher is a lesson based on getting people to be capable of polar thinking. A feeling, a thought and a sense. Where in, you see those that are thought to be mutual opposites, the student and the teacher. Teachers learn to teach, to fill the students with knowledge they don’t have. The teacher is always right because of their status as an educator leaving the student to be always wrong in retrospect until they have learned what the teacher has taught. Normally we think the right and wrong are mutually exclusive but to those who are capable to polar thinking, they can see the two go together and not as mutually exclusive.
Let’s consider what is what is right in education. We have set a ridged foundation in how education is given to the youth. A foundation that is slowly deteriorating; ever so surely as the number of educators who use variances of technology in the class room grows. These are the educators who have allowed themselves to pause and take notice the serious strides in progress the youth have taken in today’s society in terms of equipping technology to be a part of their everyday lives. The children in our school stream today have learned to use technology in such an effortless manner, to take it away in the most important setting of their young lives is ridiculous.
On the 23rd of April the 12th annual ICTEDU conference held at LIT Thurles shall highlight this major issue. Theme “Students as Co-Creators” is a collaboration between the student and teacher as a necessity. No special technology shall be featured at this conference, it is a showcase on how teachers have used technology during classes and what they found helped improve the learning experience for the student. A single day event not to be missed shall also hold workshops and talks by key note speakers; Barry Ryan (Biochemistry – DIT), Steve Wheeler (Educator, Author), Laura Howe (Educator, innovator of Older Voices Online) among many others.
Highlighting adaptions of technology into the classroom is the top priority of the conference and has been for many years. Technology being a medium between student and teacher means that the connection doesn’t stop at school hours.
Recently while at the gym between my own college workload I overheard two apparent 6th year student taking about an Art History essay on Michelangelo due the following day; one student complaining the essay would take ages to research and write. The other was more reassuring, referencing the shared google drive folder between the class and art department had all the required notes. This to me personally is amazing and I wonder how my own Art history essays would have gone had I had a direct link to both the teacher’s online sources and the 500 page book that never left my rucksack. Would I have learned more with two mediums? The answer is a resounding yes. Putting it very black and white; when a student unable to use one source (for lack of a better reason, the student is bored at staring at pages or the student is fed up staring at a screen) they given another, they get a mental “revamp” at their work. In short their work has a 50% more chance of reaching a higher grade mark.
To shy away from having a platform for your students to learn online is ludicrous, as we progress further into the 21rst century the use of online resources shall only grow. A lot has and can come from the written note; a form of cognitive learning, we are not trying to abolish the practical way of teaching, only improve it.
The World Wide Web is the single greatest database of knowledge, one you can’t afford to deprive your students of. Yes one could argue that a young child would rather watch a squirrel water skiing with the aid of a remote motor boat, but how is that any different from the child who would draw stick figures on the corner of their textbook pages and watch their little animation come to life.
It is learning to find the balance between the two, to know when one shall be more beneficial to the learning environment you the educator has devised.
The fact you have taken time out in your busy schedule to read this shows to yourself you are accepting of change.
Hope to see you at The ICTEDU.
List of Guest Speakers: http://www.lit.ie/Tipperary/Schools/Speakers/default.aspx
Written by Stuart Mackey; Creative Multimedia Student, Linda Maxwell and Liam O’Reilly – Digital Animation Students currently attending Limerick School of Art and Design Clonmel.