Learning With Lucie Archive 2006-2013

February 13, 2011

Technology and Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — Learning with Lucie @ 4:35 pm

Having been directly involved in the evolution of technological changes since the days ‘before’ IBM introduced the PC  and ‘before’ the Internet included the “world wide web” has given me an incredible opportunity to witness and understand the changes of technology on our world over time.   There is no questioning that the biggest change in technology is the “exponential” rate at which change occurs.  Trying to keep up with the “amount”  of change is no longer adequate,  you  must also find ways to “increase” your own ability to process more and process it faster than ever before in order to effectively function in a system of exponential growth.  

But increasing your ability to process more and process faster is not enough, as technology has made the changes more complex, more dynamics, and more interdependent than ever before.  Technology has increased the number and location of players that impact and are impacted by change. Not only has technology made understanding the global perspective of any issue imperative in what Tom Friedman calls “the flat world”,  technology tools  have also made it possible to gain a global perspective and become a player in this flat world. Global participation (anywhere, anytime, anyone) made possible by technology has changed the way we live and learn. 

The facets of technology that have significantly contributed to these changes include:

  • The networked environment that we live in (made possible by the Internet)
  • Moore’s law – increasing power and decreasing cost of technology
  • User interfaces that make the technology more ubiquitous, transparent, and accessible
  • Mobile access to resources made available by today’s technology 

The impact that these changes in technology have had on the way we live and learn include:

  • Increased accessibility to tools and resources that we can use to 
    • Support complex and critical thinking
    • Communicate, collaborate, and interact
    • Create and Innovate
  • Increased and  broader participation using different modalities of learning and processing information (i.e. audio, video, interactivity)
  • Increased freedom about “space” due to mobile and wireless access to resources and tools

These changes have huge implications for us as educators.  Not only do these changes and technological resources offer potential for us as educators in the way we do business in the education industry,  they also impact our responsibility to examine the way we prepare our students for their future.   As a professional educator who takes seriously my role in preparing the next generation,  I have continuously been aware of changes in the world outside my classroom and always eager to pro-actively engage in these changes.  This makes it challenging for me to limit the ways I have changed with technology to only the past 5 years.  

I feel that the story of how I have changed with technology must include the fact that my students and I were engaged in an online chat at 9:00 a.m. on September 11, 2001 and that  I actively participated in their discovery and processing of the events of 9/11 even though I was miles away from the brick and mortar school where they were learning.  I can still access the blogs that allowed me to watch my students reflect on history in the making, even though I was traveling around the state as a teacher leader. 

I feel that the story of how I changed with technology  must also  include a description of the impact on my classroom  in the late 90’s when “local”  Internet access became available inside our Northeast Kingdom school.   The world became our textbook and our audience.  The scope of our Project Based Learning “projects” reached outside our classroom walls as we collaborated with community partners from the Chamber of Commerce or students from Asia. 

I feel that the story of how I changed with technology needs to include the fact that the availability of resources provided by the Internet totally changed my role as an educator.  I was no longer the one who “SELECTED”  and “PREPARED” resources for my students and “DECIDED” what content they would be exposed to.  No longer could I “CONTAIN”  their questions and curiosity to  domains of knowledge I felt comfortable with.   I will never forget the summer I spent learning all about “computer networks” and preparing to teach my first class on the topic.  This was the  first summer my students had “Internet”  access and they came back to school having learned more about new technologies than I could have taught them, and I threw out my newly designed curriculum and I became a “resource” guide for them as they put their new knowledge to use building our school’s first Linux Web Server.   My classroom became a truly inquiry based and project based learning environments.

For the first time I no longer felt like a “cutting edge” techsavvy teachers “leading”  students.  I was no longer learning fast enough to adequately support my students.  The next year I went back to school and enrolled at the Graduate Center at Marlboro College in the Masters of Science in Internet Engineering programming. Here is where I truly experienced what it was like to learn at a pace that extends way beyond your comfort level, in a world where there were no published “cookbooks”  of how to master these new technologies, but where  the knowledge base was being created  and made available to anyone with an Internet connection using mass collaboration technology tools.

And for the next several years,  my students and I learned together in a learning environment that is similar to the one educators are currently “envisioning”  as a 21st century learning environment.  I was fortunate enough to have experienced it because I got in on the ground floor with these tools and experiencing their power, unleashed.   I got in “before”  some of the recent constraints to learning with technology were conceived and implemented.  There were no “federal compliance laws” restricting our access to technology tools or filling our plates (as educators)  with mandates to to “test”  and “test prep”.  These were the changes that mattered – seeing with my own eyes what happens when technology bring resources and tools to support the curiosity and love of learning.

There is more –.much more to that story,  but let’s fast forward to the past 5 years.  I can only say that the ways that I have changed in the past 5 years is simply an amplification of the changes that started more than 10 years ago. Here are just “10”  of the many examples I can share of ways that I have changed with technology in the past 5 years: 

1)      Expanding  from a local network of colleagues to a global personal learning network. Finding my tribe and using them as a center for learning and growing professionally.   Groups that I belong to such as the  Google Certified Teacher network or the Classroom 2.0 network,  have provided me with anywhere, anytime, anyplace  inspiration and resources in ways that would have never have occurred before today’s current technology tools.

2)      Organizing physical resources and reference materials to having access to an “anywhere, anytime, library”  of materials through my (and my network’s) “delicious” account and the collection of Google Sites, and blogs I have created (many of which are linked to my website at www.LearningWithLucie.com

3)      Enrolling in online and hybrid courses, instead of being limited by face to face  professional development offerings.

4)      Delivering “training workshops”  and graduate courses using ‘hybrid”  and “online workshops”.  I am currently working closely with Vermont Virtual Learning Co-op designing courses and conducting action research on how to make virtual learning effective for middle school students.

5)      Making all materials I create available online through a Creative Commons License and helping other educators and students locate Open Source tools and Open Education materials

6)      Sharing my knowledge locally to teachers within my building and/or around the state to sharing my knowledge globally by blogging for Infinite Thinking Machine and micro-blogging using Facebook and Twitter.

7)      Constantly scanning,  following, and watching the innovative and complex thinkers of the world. (from TED Talks to educational technology bloggers)

8)      Being more discerning about where I spend my time online.  Yet taking some time to just “peruse, discover, browse” and be curious.

9)      Understanding that I learn through sharing new knowledge, therefore looking for opportunities to ‘present” collaboratively at conferences. This pushes me to grow my expertise in certain areas.  I post all my presentation and presentation materials on a site called “Learning With Lucie”.

10)  Learning more about leadership, management, policies and procedures that can support change or manage risk that comes with new opportunities.  Whether it be staying up to date with legal compliance issues (such as COPPA, CIPA,  and FERPA) or physical network securities issues (such as viruses, data security),  I am always looking to better understand both the “big picture”  and the “details” in such a way that I can provide leadership and be a resource to those I work with.  This also includes non-technology coursework (i.e. Critical Friends,  Foundation to Administration, etc)



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