Beyond the horizon

I’ve just returned from presenting at the iNet Conference in Melbourne where I had the opportunity to do a little show and tell…..the iPad.  I brought an iPad to demonstrate the point that learners control the device in the learning and not the reverse.

This will excite some and unsettle many educators but we cannot deny what is happening before us – technology that is mobile, content rich and multi-sensory.

The Digital Education Revolution has taught us a valuable lesson – no learning gain is made from giving every student a laptop computer.  The real learning happens beforehand when teachers engage in a discussion around the  appropriate pedagogies for teaching in an online world.

How do students develop the skills of discernment, research and collaboration using these tools?  And can teachers help students make meaning and contextualise information if they are not themselves using the tools?

ACER released its snapshot of digital literacy last month.  The results show that disadvantaged students especially in rural and remote areas have not improved over three years and metropolitan students who have, have only marginally improved.

I believe we also need a snapshot of the digital literacy of teachers because only then will we see what impact it is having on student learning, skills and understanding.

One of the must-reads for all schools is the Horizon report K-12 edition 2010, which identifies five trends that will drive the adoption of technology in schools within the next five years:

  1. Technology is increasingly a means for empowering students, a method for communication and socialising
  2. Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate and succeed
  3. The perceived value of innovation and creativity is increasing
  4. There is increasing interest in just-in-time, alternate, or non-formal avenues of education, such as online learning, mentoring and independent study
  5. The way we think of learning environments is changing

The challenge for all schools and systems is how do we build a sustainable narrative about learning in today’s world that rejects the outmoded narrative of an industrial age?  How do we ensure schools are ready to deliver the new pedagogies?

Bruce Dixon is the Director of IdeasLab in Victoria.  Bruce and his colleagues already see that the where, what, when and how of teaching must change and they’re working to challenge teachers, principals and policy makers.  Click here to listen to Bruce.

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