Future Think for Educators

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8]

Great film that helps us envision education and learning in transition. Some things educators, policy makers, parents, teacher, curriculum developers should all be getting excited about…

  • Cloud Computing – In many cases you don’t need to have software installed on your computers.  Content development tools such as Google Docs and many others make it possible to create and share documents, materials, etc. on the web. Students can track changes, add notes or comments and truly author pieces together.
  • Mobile Devices – Mobile devices and smart phones are definitely here to stay. Yesterday I realized that I only use my laptop if I’m working on something complex or lengthy. All other materials for reading or immediate access are funneled through my mobile. Educators can search out or even design learning enhanced by or using Mobile Devices – Why not create or develop learning activities where students can enhance their learning by connecting to materials and resources while they’re learning, or on a field trip? In a previous post I shared a number of different possible learning applications for cellphones. Several are quite ingenious and fun. You can view a detailed mind map of the lecture notes from the presentation where I got those ideas.
  • Leveraging Social Networking and Media Sharing Tools – Students and educators can learn from social networks that have pods or communities built around the topics they are interested in.  I found this great community on Learning Physics Online. You could even find or start communities on Ning or other similar networking site. Students (and or their teachers) can create videos, film projects, and presentations to put up on ‘safe’ sharing sites such as TeacherTube or YouTube. Check out this group of student’s retelling of the Boxer Rebellion. Love how they cleverly used recognizable styles and characterizations from Hong Kong  & martial arts cinema. I shared this some time ago, but I never get tired of watching it.
  • Alternatives to Written Papers – While I still think this skill is absolutely necessary to have. I don’t think the essay is the only way to test someone’s knowledge and grasp of content anymore. Students can put together podcasts. Writing the content and putting together the interview questions for the podcast as well as engaging in the discussion and interviews can help reinforce the content they are learning. Sometimes writing a script for a film, story boarding, and coordinating the filming is way more labor intensive than writing a term paper. Plus you’re actually using far more skills that can transfer to real jobs and life (… outlining, drafting, planning, writing, coordination, directing, … ummmm project management. I actually heard somewhere that film school is the new MBA :))
  • Ethics & Security Education for Parents and Students – yes the web can be a scary place, but so is the street. If we train students  (and parents) to be aware of the dangers and learn guidelines for avoiding them then that’s half the battle. It would also be in our best interests if we teach the younger generation appropriate netiquette.

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1 Response to “Future Think for Educators”


  1. 1 fredaneely July 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you for your post and for embedding the YouTube video. I found them both to be quite inspiring when it comes to use of technology to engage today’s learner! I am currently enrolled in a master’s class in which we are learning about neuroscience and information processing, and how these relate to designing effective instruction. Additionally, I teach 3rd graders who are quite techno-savvy; therefore, I am considering use of technology to promote learning in the elementary classroom.

    Your post reminded me of how critical it is for educators of young children in particular to stay abreast of the technologies their students are using on a regular basis, and incorporate these familiar devices into their teaching. For example, I recently noticed a student recording her voice using her personal Nintendo DSI, and immediately began thinking of ways to use this device in the classroom to improve written as well as verbal communication skills. In particular, I considered having students read their own paragraphs, noting similarities – or discrepencies between what they wrote and what they intended to write (perhaps noting such common errors as omitting small words, etc.). As simple as this idea is, I suspect it would likely be much more engaging to students than merely using written papers.

    Again, thanks so much for your post!


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