I have one more photo from the ITL Research Findings report that was released at the Partners in Learning Forum. Previously, I had blogged about ICT Integration and ICT Use. These were all generated from photos taken during the media briefing before the release of the document.
This photo was of a slide about professional development – how teachers learn ICT. (Note that the light is back in the photo!)
As a professional learning leader, I find the results confirm the way that I believe that teachers learn best. Quite clearly, most of the activities above are that – active. I used to offer 2-3 sessions of professional learning a week. The topics were wide ranging to make it appeal to as wide an audience as positive. But, it’s also important that the learning isn’t solely about the mechanics of a particular piece of software. It needs to be a discussion about how it looks and works in the classroom. My standard line was always that the learning didn’t end at the end of the session – we would communicate after the fact to ensure consolidation of the notion and a sharing of successes. It was always a rewarding experience to have a teacher share a product link or to send me a CD-ROM in the courier demonstrating student success with a particular concept.
The bottom line, I’ve always felt, was that learning is hard work and when focussed on a particular topic, it can be effective to a point.
What about listened to a lecture?
Is there a place for that sort of environment then? When you go to a conference, for example, is there a place for a keynote speaker? After all, it’s mostly a passive setting – eyes and ears fixed on the stage or a screen.
I absolutely see a purpose for that. In fact, I think that it’s crucial for a mixture of both environments for the best possible success. You see, it’s only when you have that bigger picture – the message that opens your mind to the possibilities, that lets you realize that things must change does it put all of the focussed learning in perspective. Timely enough, today’s “Daily Papert” includes the following quotation.
“Some of my colleagues are disappointed that School manages to so dilute the ideas or so circumscribe their impact that they can be “integrated” into an essentially unchanged system. I have learned to see things differently through my Piaget-trained eyes. At the core of Piaget’s theory of development is the process he calls assimilation: when new ideas are taken in by a child they are first reconstituted to fit the child’s mental structures. Only later, through the interaction of many such elements, do the structures themselves change in a phase he calls accommodation. I am quite amazed at how educators who try to follow Piaget’s ideas when thinking about children fail to understand that change in School, or any other complex system, must come about in the same way. School has to assimilate new ideas to its own structure before these structures can change. I see what is happening in educational technology today as a late stage of such an assimilation phase of the kinds of ideas prefigured in “Teaching Children Thinking.” The first signs of the accommodation phase are just beginning.”
Papert, Seymour (2005). You can’t think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(3/4), 366 -367 .
While I’m geeked about the list and the possibilities, I’m also saddened that what I consider my current most powerful learning mode is not there. It’s in the connections that I make every single day through this blog, from my Twitter network or from the contacts that I have on Google Plus and Facebook. This sort of JITL (Just In Time Learning) complements all of the others so nicely. I suppose that it could be loosely defined as an amalgam of many of the other techniques in the chart – but I prefer to think of it as an entity unto itself that’s as powerful as the connections that I happen to make.
Regardless, the list on the slide makes for some interesting reading. It’s probably good advice that you reach out to the other modes of learning for a bigger picture and, ultimately, you as a better user of ICT.
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