Generation Touch

Generation Touch is already here. We already have students who have grown up on touch screens and we have parents whose children are using touch devices at the age of one and two. You do not have to do much investigating to discover generation touch will engage easily with these devices at a very young age and find them very shiny. If you look further it is at the cognitive interaction level. They are touching and swiping and using gestures to fill in gaps, hear sounds , perform tasks at the automatic level of cognitive interaction as you would to turn on a switch , brush your teeth or run through a series of exercises. It means as teachers we need to get them onto the explicit interaction level to truly engage with these devices and use them as real learning and thought development tools. They may also be a step on the way to real technological interaction and engagement in much the same way many children’s and educational toys are. Just because it is a device doesn’t necessarily mean it is better than Lego , Meccano ,board games or computers in terms of child and brain development. We need to ensure these students are being as well educated as any generation before them and encouraged to think and develop their skills. Both the video and this article from Tech Cruch – Generation Touch will Redraw Consumer Technology give food for thought. As teachers we need to put our educational theories together with our new approaches and then look at what the outcomes are. We need to do that now or we shall have classrooms run by consumer tech and not educational tech and we shall have the marketing done by companies and media rather than educationally driven companies and educators. It is important for us to know the strengths and limitations of devices and then to know which devices fit into which areas of learning and thinking development.

Back up and sync

back up Doesn’t matter whether you call it back up or syncing. What matters is you do it NOW. Keep all your devices backed up. Doesn’t matter whether you choose to sync and back up to a computer or to the cloud or external drive or flash drive, make sure your critical information is backed up. Make sure you have a current back up of your computer. Make sure you back up your email contacts, your phone contacts and important files. We don’t always do it because we get busy. Build it into your routines as you do with any other important task. Put it in your calendar and do it.

New iPods 2013

I feel a Beam me up Scotty moment coming on. Can you imagine if we all have our iPods strapped to our wrists as we go around schools? We’ll never be unplugged and we shall have to find ways of productively including these devices into lessons. I am feeling voice recognition software is going to really take off in 2013. All good. All exciting and all new things to discover. Have a techie New Year.

An art piece a day

daily art It doesn’t matter whether you are a serious student of art , whether you want to find out about art, whether you just like to know about art and artists, then Daily Art is the app which will bring some joy to your life. It’s free. It brings you an art piece a day, explains about it, puts it in context for you and then gives you links to other online resources to follow it up if you wish. it is well thought out and well designed. It demonstrates have i-devices can be used to enhance your life as well as your knowledge. Not everyone can get to the gallery. Not everyone can make that exhibition. It doesn’t replace those experiences but it does a good job of sharing the world of art with people.

Technology in education

technology in education Technology in education is a very good blog for two reasons – it shows how to use Tumblr effectively and it discusses openly and in an interesting way the sorts of issues we all confront with technology in a classroom. As the author states : “However, it is a teacher’s responsibility to actually learn about the technology and use it effectively in a classroom to garner student engagement. ” The latest post Digital Generation Gap looks at how we deal with students doing other things with their devices when they are in class learning. It looks upon it as a generational issue. Every point made hits home and describes exactly the impact it has on you as a teacher and then the thoughts you have. The post is so real. So, how do we react to it, manage it and deal with it? If I find students texting on their phones I hold my hand out and they know I will take the phone and lock it in my filing cabinet for the lesson. I am always clear about what I think about texting in class. With “other activities” I use the argument that is used at the end of the post on the Digital Generation Gap post. If they can do it, well, what if I came into class , texted my friends and family, set them work and did my emails or let them do what they wanted on their laptops so I could get on with my blogging? They understand that. I also say it is very silly to pay me as much as I am paid so they can come to class and text, surf the Net, go on iChat and it is a very silly thing for a teacher to be paid that much while they do as they please…maybe I should! They then get the trust speech. They seem to get that too. When I found some senior students on iChat instead of working on their assignment I asked them to log out of it, but I left myself logged in. iChat is horribly annoying when you have the sound on. It makes all this banging noise when people log in and out. About 10 minutes before the end of the lesson one student couldn’t contain herself any longer and asked me to turn it off. I said that was how often people go on and off of iChat in lesson. We used to use iChat to send each other files until the LMS was up and running and mostly iChat is as the Digital Generation Gap describes. Students see another student they know and just say a cheery hallo. Is there harm in that? No. Is it only that? Don’t have the time to find out. One technician we had in her twenties said we didn’t distinguish between school behaviour and home behaviour with technology. Good point. I have also had student teachers in their 20s who find students doing things other than the set work on their devices abhorrent. We have always had a conversation about how to manage that in class. I have heard of very well credentialled and successful technology teachers refusing to teach any more with technology because students are doing other things. We need to talk about it. We need to get it out into the open. Students are in our care. It is digital citizenship, time and place, financial outlay, cost effectiveness, real time vs virtual time. We do need to establish what we think is a good use of our time , money and devices. Year 8s, for instance, are always very excited to download a French dictionary onto their iPhone or iPod Touch and learn which ones are good. They ask to use their iPhone/iPod and it is something which makes them happy and aware of what are good applications and bad ones. There is no easy answer to this as the Digital Generation Gap quite rightly points out.

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