What is learning anyway?

I’m the Leader of Learning Technology, and as our journey with 1-1 iPads continues and I plan for the long-term sustainability and development of the program I have been reading up on various things.  One book I am currently reading is Technology Together: Whole-School Professional Development for Capability and Confidence by Renata Phelps and Anne Graham.

Technology Together is a process for developing a whole-school approach to to professional development with ICT.  The book is a fantastic read and I have been getting a lot out of it.  I really want to lead the school in being visionary, competent and risk-taking when they implement and integrate technology.  Chalkboards and whiteboards were once considered ‘technology’ in that they were new and facilitated a different mode of teaching and learning from previous tools utilised.  Whilst 21st technology progresses at a much faster pace, I would love to ultimately see technology such as the iPad, be integrated into the classroom in much the same smooth and seamless way.

Educational leadership cover imageOver the weekend, I was also sent some professional reading to complete for a discussion amongst leaders at school today and it proved to help elaborate and shed light on these issues from another angle.  The article I read was ‘Students First, Not Stuff’ by Will Richardson, from the March, 2013 edition of Educational Leadership.  I loved the article, it was an honest take on how teaching and learning is and always should be about the students, not the tools or the technology.

Some of the other points that were made in the article that really resonated with me were:

“Right now, we should be asking ourselves not just how to do school better, but how to do it decidedly different… Learning is now truly participatory in real-world contexts… But it’s not about the tools.  It’s not about layering expensive technology on top of the traditional curriculum.  Instead, it’s about addressing the new needs of modern learners in entirely new ways.  And once we understand that it’s about learning, our questions reframe themselves in terms of the ecological shifts we need to make: What do we mean by learning?” (p. 12)

So this brings me around to what I’ve been asking myself for many days now: How can I lead my colleagues in integrating technology without focusing too much on the technology but on the teaching and learning?  What does 21st century learning look like at its core? How can staff develop ICT capabilities and become self-directed and motivated to do so? These are questions I really do believe Technology Together will assist in doing.

References

Graham, A & Phelps, R 2013, Technology together: whole-school professional development for capability and confidence, International Society for Technology Education (ISTE). ISBN: 9781564843258

Richardson, W. (2013).  Students first, not stuff.  Educational Leadership, Vol. 70, Issue 6, p. 10-14.

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