Day 15 (of 184) change
This weekend I read a great article talking about the ‘end of the iconic school desk’: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/09/it-time-get-rid-desks-classroom
It reminded me also why I’ve been on a campaign for nearly a decade to stop using desktops and move to more portable devices.
My slant continues to be that there have been eras (though maybe ‘generations’ works better) of ‘computers in the schools’
1st came the desktop (1980-2000) where first educators who were ‘early adopters’ (such as my father) were regularly questioned as to why so much time and money was being spent on this ‘fad’. It was good because some students (such as myself) found these tools would even the ‘neatness’ bar that would sometimes separate the ‘achievement gap’.
But. It also took students away from their classrooms – and students usually see ‘leaving the classroom’ as time to do ‘different learning’ (music PE etc) and it was tough to have a limited time (30-45-60 minute blocks) to reconnect to a task and complete work before the next class was at the door.
Schools (such as mine) continue to struggle with this disconnect – with some adjustments such as Genius Hour and other ‘stand alone classes’ are helping make the lab to be seen as a tool that may be used as part of a ‘leaning commons’ but it is certainly difficult for groups of students to huddle around a desktop….which takes us to:
2nd were the laptop labs (2000-2010) which was better as it brought the tech to the heart of the learning environment – the classroom. Sure there was some nervousness (I lived it. I had to address many fears that didn’t pan out) – but it allowed collaboration unlike anything that the labs did before. Students were able to work in the classroom, on the floor, in the hallway, in the library – wherever the wifi allowed then to go – and even where it didn’t as long as they saved on a USB drive (one of the true unsung heroes in the technology education (technologization) paradigm shift.
3rd in 2010 came the start of the next generation: mobile devices – phones iPods tablets etc. This has led to an even greater personalization of what can be done blending technology and curriculum.
It has also led to great discussion over how these tools benefit learning.
Which brings me back to the desk article.
Desks and Labs are conducive to working and learning on ones own. 21st century learning involved collaboration which means the tools and strategies being used need to better link to the 21st ‘information age’ century than the 18th ‘agrarian age’ century.
Not doing learning the way it ‘used to be’ is okay – if anything it’s the right time to be creative (trying and doing new things) collaborative (twitter) and communicative (blogging…;-)