Wednesday, 26 October 2011

It's not about the vehicle....

Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) Operating in Afghanistan

Like all kids who come into a technology rich environment, they are overwhelmed about the 'bling bling' and not focussed enough on the 'learning sting'.  I actually say to my kids constantly "It is not about the bling bling, it is about the learning sting!"  Kids love to make all of the 'bells and whistles' shine and it can be annoying for teachers who get caught up in it constantly.

This is my second year of operating in a 1-1 laptop environment and both years a similar thing happened.  For the first three or four weeks of the school  year, the kids were excited and tried to make everything pretty and neat.  If they were doing an audio reflection, the mixed in music, edited it and made it perfect.  Whilst I appreciated the effort that they went to, they were too focused on the vehicle and not about the learning.  At the end of term 1 a light bulb moment seems to occur.  By that time the students are very entrenched in using technology as a tool to aid their learning and they realize that it is about using the best tool for the job.  They move on from seeing PowerPoint as the be all and end all of everything and realize that it is truly evil.  

So how do we move kids quicker away from the shinny new object syndrome to just realizing that they should expect it as a part of their learning, not just as an add on.  My solution is simple: we need to get our educators on board with understanding this notion.  To be honest (and I may ruffle a few feathers here) we (as in teachers) are still caught up in the tool itself rather than the pedagogy behind it.  I am over hearing excuses!  21st century kids expect and more importantly deserve 21st century pedagogy.  I am not saying that we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Just today my kids were handed their maths investigation for the week and the easiest method of undertaking the task is the old trusty pen and paper.  When I said to the kids "How are you going to undertake this task?" they all looked at me stupid.  Then one of my quiet girls put her hand up and said "Just paper and pen Mr Proud.  It is the easiest way to show what I know."  It bought a smile to my face and I thought to myself that I have done a good job preparing my kids to be creative problems solvers for the unknown future that they face.

As per normal I would love to hear your thoughts!  Blog 2 of 33 done!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with the sentiment on your blog here Ashley. One way we can better overcome the shiny new toy syndrome is have all teachers in our education systems on board (not sure how achievable this will be) and to be teaching kids to use high order thinking skills & strategies so they can better select the right tool for the task. This needs to be done from an early age. There is no "right time" to introduce digital tools to learning in educational organisations -- our children are beginning school already equipped with so many experiences with different tools already (including digital) that we should be capitalising on this and hit the ground running so to speak and using these to teach & learn with ourselves. We need to see more embracement of these digital tools along side our traditional tools in our early years classrooms. This would diminish the shiny object syndrome significantly, and allow for significant learning to occur earlier.