Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Re-assessing: Purpose of Activities - to open up possibilities

Article:  23 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report

Book Review (or Book Report, in this case) - We'll usually associate it with lines and lines of words. 
Let's re-visit the purpose of the activity: 
- It's about drawing out key ideas from the reading?
- It's about synthesising? 
- It's about developing communication skills?
- It's about cultivating creativity in expression?
... or it's about practising summary skills (which I think that's what the teachers had in mind all this while, especially in my school days)?

With technology use, we could do it differently! and we could definitely do more! So, we really need to be clear of the purpose of the activity, and not be greedy to accomplish too many at one go, else, we may lost sight of what we want to achieve.

The article gives some suggestions how a Book Review could be presented differently. 
Well, this 'model' of thinking is not limited to "Book Review". It could be applied to other contexts too!

Some Thoughts: What to consider for eBook implementation

The article listed 14 things that we should look at before implementing eBooks (schoolwide):

I think, the key considerations before we embark on the project would be 
(1) Purpose - not just for 'convenience', but what else (experience) eBooks can provide that traditional hardcopies can't. At the same time, we also need to know what are the experiences that we'll be omitting when not using the printed version.

(11) Instruction - how would classroom instruction change with the new media. Not so much of how to manage the 'hardware', but what else we could do that previously we can't do with the hardcopies? What are some 'strategies' that works in the past now no longer works. We have to be mindful of these. Else (borrowing an analogy I read from another book, no matter how good and reliable a 'delivery service' is, if fails when there is no recipient to receive the goods.

(12) Roll-out plan - planning is important. More importantly, the need to monitor the implementation and gather feedback from both teachers and students are important so that the process could be refined over time. Else, some sceptical people would take opportunity to pass death sentences to the initiative. 

(13) Professional Development - Do not undermine this, although many a time, those who 'push' for the implementation might "sell" it such that it's idiot-proof, or it's soooo.... simple to use. PD could include the change in mindset and the building of a community to support the change, the change for the a better learning experience for the students, and a better delivery experience for the teachers.  

Below are the 14 things listed in the article 

1. Purpose
2. Devices/Portal
3. Content Decisions
4. Funding (long term/short term)
5. Pricing
6. Ownership of content
7. Formats
8. Number of circulations
9. Number of access at one time
10. Enhancements
11. Instruction
12. Roll out plan
13. Professional Development
14. Publicize it!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Technophobe vs Technophile

Source: http://inservice.ascd.org/technology/are-you-a-technophobe-or-a-technophile-in-the-classroom/

According to online Oxford dictionary,
a technophobe is a person who fears, dislikes, or avoids new technology
a technophile a person who is enthusiastic about new technology

The write-up in the above link succinctly highlighted the response/ reaction of each of these people when technology fails to work out at the 'critical moment' that it should prove itself worth the use (in the eyes of the technophobe).

Well, it's about attitude, I think, for a technophobe to acknowledge the fact that technology is here to stay and it's no point trying to prove its 'unworthiness' by all his/her means. Instead, these people should sit down, take a deep breath, and take a good look at what it is and accept that they have no choice, but to be eventually be immersed and embrace it... else, one would be there to wait to be drowned by it.