Learning With Lucie Archive 2006-2013

May 22, 2006

Differentiation In Tech Integration

Filed under: Uncategorized — Learning with Lucie @ 10:32 pm

This post was originally published as an entry in the VTCITE blog

Differentiation – Key to Tech Integration

Time… Time… and more Time…..

I personally get frustrated at plans that treat everyone like they all have the same amount of time.  I know that each of us has 24 hours in a day…. but we all have different ways of working with the things that pull at us each day.  Some of us are first year teachers; some of us seasoned teachers; some of us are reflective; some of us need to perfect every detail; some of us are experimental, etc. If we are going to advocate or differentiated learning as a best practice for kids, let’s also adopt it for adults.  Tech integration does not look the same for everyone.   We all come in with different prior knowledge;  each of us might gravitate towards a different process or integration; and we will definitely produce different products (integration in literacy will look much different than integration in Phys Ed). Let’s honor those differences as we design our technology integration plans.   

For some tech integration is the perfect vehicle to promote team teaching;  for others it’s the perfect way to stretch oneself (individually).  Sometimes the schedule becomes the single biggest factor in what can and cannot happen.   Sometimes what is needed is the breaking down of paradigms.  I recently talked to several teachers about their technology needs for next year.  When I first posed the question about what would best help them move forward with tech integration next year (the original thoughts were ‘faster computers’ – or ‘more computers’)  but as soon as I encouraged them not to limit their answers to hardware and also think about things like “furniture”  or “where the network wire drops”, it was like a light bulb went off.  I had given them permission to think about technology in a way that focused on improving the learning space –  not squeezing in some comput(ing/ers) .

The concept of a list of skills (i.e. GE’s) is helpful,  but it needs someone who can understand the “big picture” and help each team member (teachers from different disciplines) play their “position’.  (Pardon the sports metaphor…. but sometimes it takes a coach to realize that we have too many people playing outfield, and nobody’s covering third base)  … okay so maybe it’s not a perfect metaphor.  But I think that as tech integration specialist, we can provide a unique perspective of the playing field and help everyone understand their position, the potential that can be developed by playing their position, and help each individual develop the skills they need to play that position effectively, efficiently, and creatively.  With the right approach we can create a winning team, without taking each player through the same path (working through a checklist of skills at the same pace)

I learned so much last year when implementing my Titles 2D grant (Tech Savvy Learning Community).  I had a vision about breaking up the individuals in groups where each of them would work in teams of 5 to create an interdisciplinary thematic based project that integrated technology.  Well schedules,  learning styles, teaching styles, collaboration styles, content areas, and other demands of teaching all came into play and I was pleased that I had enough insight and flexibility to adapt to all of these and support each group to  success by straying from the original plan.

The Wellness team stayed together as a group, but ended up with a  very linear adaptation to ‘team’ work to accommodate or barriers posed by scheduling.

The Creative Expression team ended up frayed into 3 projects (one team of 4 with two very strong collaborators;  one team of two; and one individual who developed an incredible plan/proposal for team members that he hoped to attract).

The Global Economy team each ended up venturing in their own direction with two very strong individual projects and one emerging project and one individual who ended up becoming a strong support to many individuals from all 3 teams.

May 7, 2006


Filed under: Education — Learning with Lucie @ 10:58 am

I’m on vacation this week, but I’m able to keep up to date with my online courses from Block Island because of my new Pocket PC. After a day on of bicycling around the island from beach to beach, I spent a a good part of the evening exploring my new toy and thinking about myself as a digital immigrant trying to come closer to understanding the world of mobile computing as many digital natives experience it. Probably the first clue to the fact that I was indeed an immigrant status was the fact that I had the manual open next to me. Intellectually I understand the concept of Going Nomadic that Bryan Alexander ((http://cet.middlebury.edu/bryan/) describes in his recent article http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0451.asp?bhcp=1 , but I wanted to really “feel it”. And as I read about learning centers as a strategy for differentiated instruction in my online course, I suddently started thinking… about mobile computing and learning centers. I have indeed been able to turn the couch of this time share into a new learning space. I have brought a “learning center” with me. Technology has created new learning spaces. Alexander talks about how older spaces are taking on new pedagogical meaning (wireless café’s). Who would have ever thought of Starbucks as a learning center? Alexander decribes the learning centers that have emerged all as college students turn nomad carrying conversations and thinking across campus spaces. I think you could substitute the word School for the world Campus in Alexander’s writing and come away with lots of ideas of how a mobile computing could be used to create learning centers in schools. Web Cams, weather maps, satellite pictures, GPS units, sensors, probes, can all be at the heart of a learning center that is structured as an interactive learning activity. Students could receive streamed up to the minute data, or could also be providing data that updates a global data base. Alendar asks us to consider moving away from the word “wireless” because it implies a state of “absence” of wires instead of the “presence” of learning. I liked the word mobile learning or m-learning as a place where technology works with an educational purpose. He talks about the current generation as being quite comfortable functioning in a “device ecology”. Why not make these devices to create 21st century learning centers (Alexander, Bryan. Going Nomadic: Mobile Learning in Higher Education EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 28–35. (http://cet.middlebury.edu/bryan/)

Finally today I took a break from my studies to take a peer at what’s going on in Learning Times (a portal that I miss having the time to explore since I started taking these online courses), and lo and behold the first thing I come across is a discussion on mobile learning with very rich resources and lots of great post about the subject.  If you are a mobile learning subscriber, check out this thread (well worth the time to explore).  I’ll try to post some of these resources here in the near future.