Remember Pong?

pong Image : Pong

Remember Pong? In 1975 it sold 150,000 units and was the first successful commercial game. On 29th November 1972 Pong was released onto the market by Atari and was the first game we saw on a computer screen in social settings in Australia and here it was often referred to as Pub Pong because the machines were usually found in the lounge bar of a pub and it was creating a lot of interest and fun. If you still want to play it or you want to find out what the fuss was all about back then , go to the Pong site. I have to thank @NotableHistory on Twitter for tweeting about Pong yesterday. This was a game for everyone. It was a very social game. We seem to have lost that aspect and strength of gaming as the years have passed and gaming has become a multi billion dollar industry. Maybe everyone played Pong because there were no other choices at the time.

Should educators blog?

bloggingIf you have been following my blog you’ll know I’ll say yes. You know I have been recommending educators should blog because it strengthens and connects us all. A couple of weeks ago the topic for the #aussieED chat was blogging. One of the questions was Should teachers, students and leaders blog? My answerometer blew up and I tweeted that. It was suggested we should blog an answer. There you go. Participate in a dynamic conversation and you have a blog post. It’s been there, cooking in my brain and now is the time to blog it. That’s why teachers should blog. You get so many ideas coming at you and blogging is a way of sifting, filtering and settling on what is important to you and your students. I still cannot answer that one big question in one blog post so what I’ll do today is give my three best reasons for each of the groups. See? one tweet and I now have a blog series.

Why should students blog?

1. It develops their literacy in mother tongue and other languages they know or are learning. Half way through the year their facility in expressing themselves markedly increases.
2. It backs up and reinforces their class learning. It shows them that learning is a continuum and is connected to the real world.
3. They realise the world will take an interest in what they do and that what they are doing is valid and not just slaving over work.

Why should teachers blog?

1. If you read this post Why blogging makes you better at life it gives the main reason. It joins the dots in your head and makes your knowledge very sound and secure.
2. You can connect with other teachers, experts and the wider community and get invaluable feedback and information.
3. It backs up what you are doing in class. The resources are there for you and others to access.

Why should leaders blog?

1. They can interpret education to the wider community and demystify it.
2. They can promote pathways, thinking, vision for education.
3. They can connect globally and start working on the best of global practice. Blogging makes you look outwards and contextualises what you are doing and thinking.

These ideas are by no means all that blogging is and can be. It facilitates connection and communication. It provides a platform for leading your self out of your own thoughts and space. Isn’t that what education means? In a connected world that is what we need.

Try #aussieED

aussieED Image : aussieED

#aussieED touted itself at one stage as being the best PD in PJs. It wasn’t wrong. If you are on Twitter you can follow the #aussieED hashtag at any time and gain a wealth of interesting education ideas and information. At 8pm Adelaide, South Australian time you can join in the online chat. It includes Australian teachers but there are also teachers from all over the world. It creates an intense feedback loop and for the whole time you are on there you become a contributor, a sharer and someone who offers feedback. Each week there is a different educational topic and the thoughts and ideas come thick and fast. It means you test out your classroom practice, your theory , your knowledge and you feed that all into the chat which grows exponentially as the time passes. It is half an hour of fun, fast ideas, feedback and furious writing. It is interesting, entertaining and I never fail to come away feeling like I have learnt, been exposed to a vast range of ideas and have contributed to that dynamic 30 minute thought field. It builds confidence and enthusiasm. It also connects educators in a very authentic way because they are intensely focused on their job both in practice and theory. As a form of professional development it is unique and demonstrates how powerful Twitter can be to harness ideas and competence.

Is technology a threat to our education?

My short answer ? No. It will change how we educate and what options we have for education. I was asked a question in a survey last night – How do we prepare people for the future of education? That is a tough question to answer in 2014. Technology is rapidly changing how we interact and how we can interact and what our daily lives look like. Watching this video makes it  possible to have a look at some of the implications of technology in an education setting. It won’t just be holograms and virtual objects instead of real ones. Augmented reality is going to play a bigger role as will voice, video and image. Streaming others into a classroom will be a distinct possibility and participating in online collaboration and learning will be ubiquitous. I dread the thought we’ll plug students into a port and download information directly to their brains. That will make humans no different from a computer. You might know things but that is not knowledge. You have to live learning to really know it. I know how to make Vietnamese cold rolls. Putting that information into practice was an epic fail of spectacular proportions last night. So I had to go through the inquiry approach and then the discovery learning and after four attempts I got a respectable Vietnamese cold roll. That is the concept 10, 000 hours of learning which psychologists have discovered you need to master something. I can see a mix of real classrooms and virtual ones. I can see classroom walls dissolving into virtual classrooms when needed and , as a result, learning no longer restricted by time and space.Legally that could cause some real headaches and keeping individuals safe will be an issue.  You might see it differently. We won’t be able to predict how it will be because we don’t know everything about current research. That will determine some of how education is delivered as will economic preferences. It’s a good question to ponder. The possibilities are interesting and the debate should be lively.

Shift Happens – 2014 remix

I remember seeing the 2008 version of this and it gave me so much to think about. Technology is having a significant impact and drawing the world together globally in ways we could not even have imagined. As a classroom teacher it has implications. You have to think technology and not device. You have to work on being a problem solver and teach your students to be partners in learning with you. No one person can know everything and no one device is going to be THE answer. It is constantly finding the means to the end and adapting to new situations. Adapting your thinking and way of doing things is what is constant. The world is but a school of inquiry ~ Michel de Montaigne.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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