jeudi 4 septembre 2014

[EDPE 640] First impressions

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I will try to keep a log of my impressions about a class on disruptive technologies for educational change(EDPE 640 at McGill) that I am taking right now.

After the first class, I am still not convinced of anything. I remain highly skeptical about technology in education and its advantages (data supported).

On the negative side, the teacher has hit some of my sensitive points. While I do know that these are only my perceptions, I still look for deep reflection and data supported tools in education. Phrases in form of "Why would you ask your students to take notes, when everyone can take a photo of the board with a smart phone" simply hit on my nerves because they ignore all neurological research and educational theories. We do learn better when we write with our hands because we are:

  • using different parts of our brain when writing, thus multiplying input methods for long term memory
  • forced to re-code the information to write faster, thus forcing the brain to analyse, modify the information and create additional links between previous knowledge and new info.
During the same lesson, the teacher also stated that we should have a Facebook account with students as friends. Of course, this means that we should have a professional one and personal one. However, current (04 sept. 2014) Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities clearly states that:
  • "Facebook users provide their real names and information"
  • "You will not create more than one personal account"
  • "If you violate the letter or spirit of this Statement, or otherwise create risk or possible legal exposure for us, we can stop providing all or part of Facebook to you"
Which means that we should have only one personal account; In caseof multiple accounts,they can removed or deactivated. Moreover, we should behave like good online citizen: we should model the behavior of respect and understanding of online laws and regulations. That is, we should have follow the regulations of every service, know them int he same manner as we know civil rights and responsibilities (do we actually?). I'm not even talking about ethical and legal issues that may arise when by mistake a teacher or as student will move from a realm of polite communication between "Facebook friends" into a realm of real friends.

In the same class, I have heard a quote from a report on future of education. While I haven't found such a report online, it does not matter. Predicting what technology will be most popular in 5 years is hard enough. Predicting that in 5 years the education market will embrace ubiquitous presence of smart phones is at least pretentious. First iPhone was released in 2007 and it was much less capable than the current version; iPad arrived in 2010 and is now one of the most popular mobile devices in education in North America. There are countless examples of accelerating tech development suggesting that in 5 years we will probably have one or two technological revolutions in consumer market spilling over into business and education.  

On the positive side, I have heard a lot of new names:, etc. It certainly looks like I will be bombarded with new tools and websites throughout the course. It will most certainly give me the chance to broaden my view and improve my digital toolkit. 

In short, the two hours lesson was full of various types of information that has interested and engaged me in various ways. An the end of it all, I will try to stay open to new ideas and learning experiences.

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