Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let go of the word technology

I was so lucky last week at the ECIS IT Conference to meet Silvia Tolisano, a member of my PLN, face to face.  Silvia and I have connected by Twitter, blogging and Skype for more than a year now and it was great to spend time with her and to attend a presentation she made about using Skype to transform teaching and learning, making it more engaging and motivating for the students.

At the conference Silvia and I spoke about the SAMR model we have introduced this year and about automating and informating the way we teach. Silvia blogged about this recently in a post entitled Bringing in Experts.  Transformative Teaching and Learning? The first two levels of the SAMR model are using technology to enhance learning - this is what Silvia refers to as automating:  adding the technology on top of what teachers are already doing which doesn't necessarily improve learning.  The top two levels of the SAMR model are using technology to transform learning - this is informating and allows us to learn in a way that would not be possible without technology.  She quotes from Alan November's article Creating a New Culture of Teaching:
The real revolution is information and communication, not technology.  Let go of the word technology.  If you focus on it, then you'll just do what you're already doing.
This year has seen a big shift in the thinking of our IT and Library departments - we now see ourselves as one information and communication for teaching and learning (ICTL) team and have weekly collaborative planning meetings where we discuss how to support teachers.  Last week we had a long and interesting discussion about how to move forward next year with more students and more classes but  without any increase in the number of teachers in our team.  One of the suggestions was to move away from the separate jobs within our team, to have each of us embrace all the information and communication support across a whole grade level.  The lessons would not be specific to a place (library/lab/classroom) or to a person (librarian/IT teacher), instead one teacher would be responsible for supporting all teachers in a particular grade across all their units of inquiry, maths and language, and all the specialist teachers too.  This makes a lot of sense to me, and all the teachers in our team are willing to give it a try.  We hope that this will be received in a positive manner by the admin, as a way of solving a problem before it even occurs, and as a way forward that truly embraces 21st century literacies and skills.

I would like to acknowledge the work of Dr Ruben Puentedura who has been the force behind SAMR.

Photo Credit:  Seattle Central Library.  Photo entitled I Can Gather All the News I Need on the Weather Report by Thomas Hawk.  Please click on the link to read more about this amazing library.

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