Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's Next in the classroom????

Attended a talk 2 days ago.

2 leading experts in educational technology were invited to give talk about their views on the progress and direction of future technology use in teaching and learning.

Well, I guess many of us are hoping that they could share with us what they glaze through the crystal ball.
Hm... somehow, personally, I could not quite get the answer... maybe we are at the 'future' technological world?

Indeed, about 20 years ago, client-based application was the emerging 'technology', and we looked for innovative ways to use them in schools - as productivity tool, primarily in the early years before a more important 'role' came clear - to benefit the learners' experience.

When IT was first introduced to school (ok... let's put the subject "Computer Applications" aside), it's a novelty, especially when introduced to the academic staff. (Apart from the senior management) The administrative dept was the first to have access, the first to use the email system. When email was first introduced to the academic staff , only the selected few (think no more than 5) were given the email account. Ha! Still remember that kind of "privileged" look my colleague wore on her face. The rest of us? Hm... that envy look. Oh, I only received my email account almost together with the rest. That was when IT was first introduced to the academic staff - through email.

Then through the 1st Masterplan, when internet use was still at the infancy stage (at schools), client-based applications was at the centre-stage. "Teacher-centred" way of using technology was encouraged and the 'trailblazers' were the one who took the lead to use in classrooms. By then, LCD projectors started to make their way to every classroom.

The "Client-based applications" reign lasted for long, and it faced a challenge - to cope with the need for widespread accessibility; and eventually we turned to networked technology. The internet suddenly became so accessible to everybody in the school (but... not quite yet for students). Of course, a handful of schools also started experimenting 1-to-1 computing environment. There were successful cases, there were those who decided to return to the where most schools were, due to challenges.

It was almost a 10 good years before Web 2.0 applications to take centre-stage. I think, there are lots of push factors for this is due to global changes. It's a recogition of the way today's learners learn, and what they are prepared for. Now, in many schools, it's not difficult to hear about web 2.0 technologies playing a role in classrooms. While we are now immersing, 'enjoying' and leveraging on the features and capabilities of web 2.0 environment, the question is... What's next?

Networked technology is here to stay. No matter what. Even if we are moving away from the computer.
It's about "CONNECTEDNESS"... whether via the computer, the mobile phone... or any devices.
It's so powerful.

Somehow, from the talk, "Social Network" seems to be the next wave... OK, we know that social networking platforms like Facebook, Ning, MySpace have made their presence felt and they are growing in an unimaginable rate. But, really, how to leverage such a platform for learning... When I say learning, I'm referring to we are able to capture that process and learners can revisit, to recap what they go through and apply the content generated to their tests or exams. OK, I might sound 'narrow'... there's so much to learn from, learn with and learn through the social network. The benefits is a whole long list... well, back on 'earth', back in 'school', at the end of the day, we want something that is also tangible... er... 'concrete' in some sense.

So, are we expecting to see "Social Network" going to be the predominant technology in the learning environment in the next couple of years to come?

Hm... I think, it would be nice to see examples of lessons leveraging on this environment to value-add the learning experience... I think I'm looking at 'direct benefits'...

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