Examining Innovation in Technology Integration

My final and most profound workshop during my time at ECOO12 was a presentation from Rob Policicchio and John Maschak.Thank goodness for the link to their information, as my fingers couldn’t keep up with all of resources that they were sharing and the context in which they were examining the role of technology in today’s educational settings. The most memorable phrase was, ” The role of the educator is to create conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge”. We all know that our youngest students are now arriving at our school’s front doors with the basics of how to use technology. Have you watched a two year old with an iPhone lately?

 They know instinctively how to pinch, touch and swipe, just as my own children, 15 years ago walked into their JKSK classroom knowing how to turn on a computer, load their favourite disc and play “Reader Rabbit”. So, we don’t have to waste precious time teaching them skills that will be extinct within a number of years. Have you ever asked a hockey-loving student, the stats of his favourite team? He instinctively knows how to use a variety of technologies ( iPhone, Blackberry, iPad, computer, laptop, netbook etc) to search for that answer. So, we don’t need to spend precious time teaching facts that students already know how to access and we don’t need to feel that we have all of the answers.

If we go back to the original statement and focus on our role as the “creator” of invention conditions, what does that look like? What do we currently have to let go of in order for our classrooms to be places where students are producing things verses being taught? And from the perspective of an administrator, how do I support my staff in creating those conditions? What learning tools need to be in all classrooms? How do we assess “inventions”? What feedback do we provide our students, if we want them to improve?”

Within their presentation, they referenced the work of Dr. Bill Rankin, wherein he shared the results of one of his studies where students’ brain waves were actually flat-lining, thus resembling their brain waves while sleeping, while they were in class. Now there is some disturbing news!

So, as educators, if we want to avoid “sleep brain waves”, what are we going to do?

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