I love the Jetsons. It was a cartoon series which finished in 1963 and had a revival with better technology to produce it in 1985. The Jetsons lived in the 21st century. Elroy’s Dad drove him to school in the flying car and then ejected him in a space pod to Dipper Elementary School. In 2062 Elroy had a robot teacher with all of its glitches. The bad boy is sitting there reading a paper book and watching a video on his phone watch. These watches are just coming onto the market now. Elroy has a jet pack to fly around the classroom and the school reports are produced on tapes to go home. No thought of email and file attachment or an online portal.No thought of e-books and the robot teacher is quite the martinet. So, do we actually have a vision of what we want 21st century schools to look like? Do we want robot teachers? Jet packs in class? Watch phones with wifi access? Flying cars? There is a black board with maths written all over it in this episode. When Elroy gets into so much trouble from his parents he runs away from home. The bad boy rings up his parents on the Visiophone and tells the truth about the report switch. We have video phones and, occasionally, we have children who run away from home. Wouldn’t the report have had the wrong name on it when George was listening to it? Do they not identify children in the 21st century? Why ruin a good story with the truth! So, while we are imagining an 21st education scenario, how much is it going to be as faulty as the Jetson’s predications? I love the Jetsons. My favourite cartoon. It’s a cartoon, though. When we are doing our thinking and planning we are in the real world with real students and their families. We need to be looking at emotional intelligence with regard to technology as well as dedicated use. Relationship building is a core skill of teachers as is trouble shooting. A robot teacher might be useful but is it the answer and if we create robot teachers, what do we actually want them to do and be? If we don’t have input as teachers, we’ll get technology devices which don’t suit our purposes, don’t suit our purposes, don’t suit our purposes.
Nomophobia? What’s that? NO MObile phone phobia. There have been four significant studies which have revealed that people become stressed when they are separated from their phones. This doesn’t surprise me. Phones have contacts, messages, apps, weather information, pictures. Lots of pictures. Do we suffer from anxiety when we are separated from our wallets? Anything which has the things which are important to our identity are going to create a problem if we are separated from them.Students are brought up on mobile phones these days. They are familiar objects and they witness daily their significance. The article on the Psychology Today site which discusses the four research papers states:
My take is that we now have four different studies in four different labs using four different methodologies, all showing the same general effect: Our smartphones make us anxious and that anxiety then gets in the way of our performance and our relationships. Some call it FOMO—Fear of Missing Out—or nomophobia—Fear of being out of mobile phone contact or FOBO—Fear of Being Offline. Regardless of what you call it, this disorder is a manifestation of anxiety, plain and simple.
The article is well thought out because it looks and how you can become too attached to your smartphone and ways and means of dealing with it. It is a very comprehensive article for dealing with nomophobia. It confirms what the original Missouri University study confrmed. When people can see or hear their phones but not access them their stress levels rise because they cannot deal with it. A smartphone has the planet changing activities every 5 minutes because of a mobile phone sound. This is Skinner and his rats all over again which is why the article in Psychology today looks at breaking that connection with your phone. Skinner taught pigeons to play ping pong with operant conditioning. What are we being taught with our bingly bongs and whistles?
Nomophobia is explained really well on the whoishostingthis site and there is a really good infographic which brings to light some fascinating information with regard to mobile use and users.
All of this has implications for us as classroom teachers. I do not separate students and their phones unless 1. They are going to the toilet 2. They have used their phone for private purposes during class time. In both cases their phone is locked in my filing cabinet until they return to class or the lesson has finished. I prefer not to see phones on the desk but that is not always possible if they do not have a bag and their clothes don’t have suitable pockets. Phones on the desk have to be face down. My year 8s were especially good with their phones last year and so I could look more at a responsible use option and that is what I teach with mobile technology anyway. If they asked me and they could show me what they were doing, they could use their phones for French. Sometimes it was easier to run one app on the phone and something else on the iPad or they could take a picture of the board or what they had made or written. I have just used my iPad to look things up while I am on my desktop writing this. We often use multiple devices . They should not be running our lives and we should not be snapping to attention if they make a sound. That is what we have to change.
Teaching in the 21st Century complete with Bloom’s Taxonomy. A video worth watching because it keeps asking the questions which we need to answer. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we have to re-evaluate on a regular basis what students need to learn. The world is moving along at a rapid pace and jobs are shifting and changing. We will always need people who can think, who can participate , who can be a part of a team. We need people with fresh ideas, insight, a capacity to trouble shoot and go out on a limb. We need communicators and we need people who can understand what to keep and what to let go. Students do have access to their own avenues of information. They can learn what they want to but a lot of what they could learn will pass them by without good teachers who can teach the knowledge and skills to make students more effective independent learners who can really take advantage of the information rich age. This video provides a platform for thinking about what you think is important when you are using technology in a classroom and how you can get the best use out of it for your students.
Blogging builds social capital. It is not a deficit model where you know and others don’t know. You launch your ideas and thoughts into the blogosphere and you will receive ideas and thoughts back which can help you, challenge you and move you on in your ideas and thinking. Education comes from the Latin word educere – to lead forth, to raise up, to erect. We are educators. Anyone involved in education is an educator. They are in the position to lead people on from where they are and raise them to a newer level so they can build the things they are capable of building. Leaders in education are in a prime position for forging connections globally, nationally , regionally and creating influence with regard to educational matters. They have laptops. They have devices. They are no longer locked up in offices far from the madding crowd creating policies, guidelines, structures and memos. They are all now netizens and can take their skills and knowledge out on the Net to further the interests of education. Blogging is a mainstream skill now. Big media and software sites have blogs to support their websites. Blogging puts a human face on an organisation and it allows that organisation to clarify what it is doing, add to what it is doing, troubleshoot, explain, gain ideas. Blogging can be used to problem solve and crowd source ideas and people for projects and plans. Add blogging to a presence on Facebook and Twitter and you can connect with a lot of people to further your aims and gain support for what you are doing. Our national curriculum body, ACARA, and our professional standards body , AITSL, both increased their social media presence last year. They have made some big inroads into connecting with others both locally and overseas and have the figures to prove it. We have got to know them in a more personal way and they are no longer disembodied websites or bits of paper with instructions. They are now real people with real agendas and we can connect with them in a real way. Leadership and Influence has ranked the top 100 Leadership Blogs. It might interest you to see what the web thinks is a top leadership blog. Podnosh has written a good blog post about why leaders should blog and it looks at how leaders can use blogging for problem solving. Blogging adds to personal resourcefulness and strength. It also adds to organisational robustness because it creates connections to strengthen the sense of purpose and clarity of direction. So, if we are all blogging, will we all connect with each other? No. There’s a thing called calibration. You come out on the Net and float your content and some of it sticks and some of it doesn’t. One of the invaluable lessons you learn as a blogger is how to connect with others in a way that gets your content heard and seen. Some are better than others at it. Experience is a great teacher. Does it matter if you are not a big success? Not in my opinion. I have one blog about positive thinking which doesn’t get much traffic. I have had it for a long while. Some of the posts take off. Mostly the posts are for me and my information. They add to me and if they add to others , that’s a good thing but it in no way diminishes the real value they have had for me over the years. Take a look at George Couros’ blog. He knows what he is talking about and there is an authenticity there which will lead you into finding the real value of blogging as a leader. He is a Division Principal and he has taught other educational administrators about the value of social media and how to make it work. Everything on his blog post is linked to more information and practical, contextual help. He is doing what I wrote yesterday in my post as to why teachers should blog. He is sharing all he has learnt and knows and you can see just how strong he is as a leader in an online context. Blogging gives you a voice . It increases your reach and therefore your capacity to influence. I think, therefore I blog.
I have had so many visitors from all over the world. Blogging has a long reach! My top 5 countries are US, Australia, South Africa, Germany and the UK. The top 10 posts for the year are interesting. I have always wanted education to be a hot topic because when I first started blogging about education SEO clients considered it to be a fizzer . Education!? Now it is important to the world and becoming more important. Educators need to blog and sustain quality online involvement. So what were my top 10 posts with hundreds and thousands of hits? I am not counting my home page. It is amazing what becomes a top post. The MacBook ones have always been popular as has been the ICT skills checklist and the Padagogy ones. Wonder what this year will bring?