I am presenting this afternoon at the ACU Learning and Teaching Conference. As a national university, we have five campuses scattered around Australia, the opportunity for all of us to get together to share, collaborate and explore possibilities is few and far between – so what better way to ensure that we are ALWAYS connected than Twitter.
I have so many ideas swirling around in my head, and yes swirling is the correct adjective because that’s exactly what I imagine to be going on in my mind at present – a whirlpool of different thoughts. Actually a whirlpool implies they are moving around in a circular and slightly ordered manner – what’s going on up there is anything but ordered!
I really want to record my thoughts on:
Happy New Year everyone! This is my favourite and most sacred time of the year! I feel energized, reflective, inspired and creative. I feel full of pride, a little relief and a lot of fatigue for the year that was. I have big plans for this coming year and those plans each have a thousand little steps, which I discovered in 2011, is best to approach one at a time.
I also love this time of the year because it is the time when I look back and congratulate myself on a pretty good year. Pretty good because I made it out the other end with all of my limbs still attached and still somewhat sane (although I am sure many would disagree). If I had to give 2011 a letter grade, I’d give it a C with the comments: strong work ethic, conscientious, spasmodic, a procrastinator and at times needs to be encouraged to listen and pay attention (I acknowledge I have a short attention span and easily digress from the topic/task).
As I re-read through my goals of 2011, unfortunately I didn’t experience the euphoria you get from crossing achieved goals off your list as many times as I would have liked (in part due to distraction). So working with what I have I have realized that long-term goals don’t really work for me, so this year I’m not making yearly resolutions, I’m going to make monthly ones.
Having unfulfilled goals doesn’t mean I didn’t achieve anything or have a great year, because I did. It just means that my priorities may have changed as the year progressed or I established new goals and direction.
So this year I have a new and flexible approach to resolutions – monthly resolutions.
My resolutions for the month of January are:
… so I’m off to enjoy the rest of January and feeling a lot more optimistic about the goals I have set myself … why don’t you give it a go too!
One of my friends recently told me I was institutionalised … and before you jump to conclusions no not the mental kind (well, I don’t think so anyway!). So you can imagine my reaction, as I like to think I’m progressive, creative and do things a little differently from the norm.
But it really got me thinking: Have I been institutionalised? If so, why was I? And how, if possible, could I escape and free myself from the shackles that are holding me down?
I have spent over 30 years of my life in educational institutions, herein lays the problem (or solution?). Whilst I understand that policies, procedures and systems are put in place to support us, too often their very nature sees us all doing the same things, in the same ways and then expecting much of the same of our students. How could we nurture and develop the type of thinking and creativity required of citizens to successfully participate in the 21st century if we continue to teach from a model that was conceived in the 19th century, industrial era – and more recently a draft national curriculum that does not reflect the vision or foresight a document of this nature should possess?
So where does this leave me … am I just a cog in a well-oiled system that’s been spinning in the same manner for centuries? What is to be said of all of the work, research, teaching and learning undertaken and administered? Am I institutionalised for life?
There’s little doubt at times I just go through the motions, tick all the right boxes, am limited in capacity … so yes in many ways I suppose I am institutionalised. But on the flip side, it’s the educational institution that has provided me with a foundation, a solid foundation on which to stand and (a) strive to make good, enlightened personal choices; (b) help support my students so that they too can go out and make wise choices, in their lives and the lives of their students; (c) support policies, procedures and systems that encourage people to make good choices; and (d) support and bring upon change to policies, procedures and systems that may hinder and limit wise decision making.
So if institutionalisation is about information, enlightenment, accountability and choice them maybe it’s not such a bad thing!
Do you think you have been institutionalised? Has it had an impact on the way you do things?
Have you ever stopped to wonder about his hyper accelerated state we appear to be caught in? How much faster can we get? How much more could we pack into our burgeoning days? I pass colleagues in the corridor who tell me they have never been more busy and chat to students who are exhausted and overwhelmed. What will the long term effects of our worship of the cult of speed do not only to our health, but our future? Sociologist Elise Boulding diagnosed this problem as ‘temporal exhaustion’ – if we are mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future.
The future … a future that if we continue on this trajectory will be even more techno centric, an existence where we go about our day in a zombie like trance, going through the motions – even more so than we already do today. Never stopping to smell the roses or explore anything with great depth or purely for enjoyment.
Those of you who know my research interests already know that I am an advocate of ‘slow’ (published papers can be accessed via the Publications tab at the top). Whilst I write this 35 000 feet in the air on my way to present at the Vision To Reality Conference, Brisbane – I haven’t quite mastered slow in life (still working on that) However, I believe that slow in education is a must … NOW.
Why? There is little doubt of the increasing reliance on education to generate innovation, wealth and boost the national economy. One need look no further than the National Curriculum and Digital Education Revolution, both initiatives developed from vocationally and economically driven rationales – a concentration on helping students become skilled and employable.
So how do we shift the existing educational paradigm that centres technology, the economy, politics and the immediate present to one that favours people?
In ICT rich education it involves identifying that the technological system is an infrastructure that we use but are not controlled by to transfer the focus to a slower setting (see publications for more on origins of slow), one where deep thought and action are closely connected, one where insight can be gained from unpredictable and unexpected experiences and collaboration is fostered. Students need time to discuss, argue, reflect upon knowledge and ideas and so come to understand themselves and the culture they will inherit.
So what does slow look like?
Google Earth is a great application that enables a direct connection between students and the context. The application has the ability to draw student in to the experience where they long to explore, discover, pursue their curiosity, touch and learn more.
Here is a Google Earth Quick Guide to help you get started. Click Here
Part II of this post will be uploaded after the Vision To Reality Conference presentation, where I will share the many innovative ideas the conference delegates were able to come up with – suggestion on how they would use Google Earth in their learning environment.
A PLN is a Personal Learning Network.
Wouldn’t it be great if every teacher had a dedicated mentor. A mentor that ensured you always had access to a steady stream of relevant and purposeful information, a mentor who was dedicated, creative and thoughtful, who was always ready to listen and administer advice (regardless of the question) and was available anytime, anywhere, 24/7. Well that mentor DOES exist, within your Personal Learning Network.
I am thankful every day for my PLN who ensure that I AM LEARNING EVERY DAY and not just Continue Reading
I love January (and before the month escapes me) let me share with you why. January is one of the few months in the year that symbolises new beginnings; a time to reflect on what was but more importantly anticipate, imagine, wonder and make plans for the months ahead … BIG PLANS!
… whilst I’m not convinced I can single-handedly change the world, I do live by Margaret Cho’s mantra “it’s the small, barely detectable things Continue Reading
I saw the Social Network last week and surprisingly really enjoyed the film … but I walked away with one major gripe, the portrayal (or lack thereof) of females in the film. Now I acknowledge that Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker are lethal combinations of both creativity and clever, but I was really disappointed that the female roles in the film appeared to be included only as trophies for the males. The chauvinistic portrayal saw females who were stereotypically sorority types – included only to populate each scene and fulfill the sexual needs of the males. They were women who could not handle their alcohol, were a little bit nutty and couldn’t even hold the game console up the right way … let alone contribute an original idea!
In the film females are grossly misrepresented, and if the film is to be believed, have little interest or business in technology. So I have put together the following list, an acknowledgment of the women who have influenced the technological domain … to hopefully inspire the many more females to come.
Ten Women Who Have Influenced the Development of Technology
Click image to enlarge
Images retrieved 16th November, 2010
With camera in hand and a room full of experienced computing studies teachers I asked them all to give the computing teachers of the future one piece of advice … the result was the identification of 15 essential characteristics that all teachers should possess.
Whilst the title suggests this is for computing studies teachers only, the charactersitics are actually transerfable to all teachers regardless of stage, subject area or level of expertise.
So how many of these characteristics do you possess? Continue Reading
Monday I was fortunate enough to present some of my research to the many educators who attended the Australasian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities (ACACA) Conference. When I was approached to present I was actually hesitant because my beliefs around ICT rich education are not those reflected by Australian policy and curriculum documents: instead of speeding things up to keep up with technological change I actually believe what we need to do is slow down.
But I would like to thank the many of you who have emailed me and those of you who provided such positive responses and feedback – I was so Continue Reading