Mimanifesto – Jaye’s weblog

Keeping ahead of the curve

Posted on: March 19, 2013

The problem with technology is that change happens much quicker than most people can cope with. Our evolutionary state adapts at a much slower pace. It’s a fundamental disconnect  and probably affects our interaction with the world in many ways. We, as humans are perfectly adapted for life as hunter-gatherers in a world five thousand years ago.Yet we are expected to cope with changes which occur almost on a monthly basis, particularly where technology is concerned. Add to the mix the fact that some countries and parts of the world are way ahead of others, and the picture becomes even more complicated as some places who are years behind the curve communicate with those who might be slightly ahead.

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Education will probably remain just behind the curve, as far as technology is concerned, not because of a lack of skill or will, but because of a lack of money. Funding will probably always be an issue.However, the increasing acceptance of ‘Bring Your Own Technology’ or BYOT in schools might help us to surf the curve, if not stay ahead of it, This is because some examples of the latest technology will start to appear in classrooms, and as long as teachers are inventive and resourceful, they will be able to take advantage of this influx of the latest kit. Again, its a case for ‘creative subversion‘ (and this link takes you back to a point in time when I had high hopes for a GLOW which might ride the curve  - a hope sadly unfulfilled). Teachers will find ways to use their available resources as ‘disruptive technologies’ but its vital that they are kept informed, or inform themselves of the latest and future trends in technology. There are many sources of information. My favourites are TechCrunch and Forbes but there are many others. But how do we spread this news beyond the echo chamber of our EdTech twitter, Facebook, Google+, bloggosphere community? Chris Pirillo gives us ten suggestions about how we can better communicate with the whole education community rather than just those we know in our own virtual EdTech world. All of his suggestions could be adapted for use in education in our various communities, schools, districts and countries. Perhaps we could have done this better, given more time, during the ICTEx process?  

One of Chris’s ten suggestions jumps out as it rings very true for me and the way that I like to work…

When you force yourself to do something that you don’t understand, the results might be messy – but they’ll be genuine. It’s cool to swim alongside the cool kids, but it’s more cool to be in a clique of one.

I have to admit to liking this one a lot as it resonates with me. Indeed its a place I often seem to find myself inhabiting, for lots of reasons. Its how I’ve tended to work with technology, particularly in the classroom with the help of my students rather than the training manuals or courses. And using technology this way has been messy, but we’ve had fun and learned a lot along the way. Its ‘creative subversion’ in fact…and many others are doing this every day too.

Communicating these experiences to the community beyond the echo chamber is a challenge, but its one we have to grasp, if we want to ride the curve, and maybe, just maybe, keep a little bit ahead. 

Maybe its not only the future technology we should be following, but how we communicate capacity building with technology to as wide an audience as possible…

 

(Curve photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigmacsc99/   PhotosBy David)

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1 Response to "Keeping ahead of the curve"

Spent some time yesterday talking with people dealing with youth exclusion and disadvantage in Glasgow (that’s 1 in 6 youngsters by the way). They expressed concerns about BYOT and the negative impact of highlighting the gap that exists between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. So yes, there is potential to be harnessed in students’ own technology devices – but a danger that needs to be managed too.
So our strategies going forward need to address both challenges?

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