Monday, 11 January 2010

New Year

Sorry for not writing in a while. November/December is always a busy time for colleges as the January exams loom and students begin to realise that they need to cram over Christmas. I took the holidays off this year and decided to forget about work, studying and everything else that seems to plague my mind. The first week back at work was great because we only worked three days and had two off due to snow! I ended up playing Xbox and watching a Law and Order marathon on Hallmark. What a way to start the new work year!

But now we are back at work and I'm already planning my next escape. I'm going to the BETT show on Friday. If you've not been I would highly recommend that you do. It is a worthwhile day out of work ( Anyway, while I was looking jotting down the names of some suppliers I wanted to see at the show, I flicked back through my note book to the last day out I had at a Guardian workshop. It was an interesting workshop and I've added the links they showed us to my Handy Library Links list for you all to see. There were also some thought provoking topics raised.

The first speaker was Dr. Baldev Singh, who spoke on the topic of tools, technology and teaching in support of the Google Generation. He talked about the fact that in real terms we are only in the beginning stages of using modern technologies to teach. He talked about how often technology is used inappropriately and with a lack of imagination. He did, like many speakers at workshops, use high lofty phrases like "the best way to predict the future is to build it", which can come across as corny and trite. But saying that he did make some good points. He talked about how educational professionals are often afraid of using technology in their classrooms because they don't know how to use it and the knock on effect being that it takes them longer than if they didn't use it. He felt that teachers especially should be helped to find technologies that would aid them in low input but high output lessons. Now that's something I would like to be able to do. There are so many wonderful sites and programs out in the wide world that can help people if only they knew how to use it. And being a librarian I need to figure out how to help them and determine their needs. Anyone have any ideas?

The next speaker talked about Children and Technology - the main focus being that while many children are very tech savvy they don't know what to do with information once they find it and they don't know how to assimilate it. Many children are bouncers and flickers - once they find a web page 98% don't get past page 3 and 40% never revisit a site. They are e-reading but not e-learning. They also talked about how VLEs can become information dumping grounds - full of useful stuff not in no way accessible for students as they cannot assimilate information in this way. Children may be able to read but that does not mean that they are taking any of it in. Students need to be set tasks that compel them to learn and transform information

"We should be creating innovative, creative and effective learners not literate users." Rob Todd

I think the most interesting thing for me that the speaker said was that schools are built on the premise that we don't trust our children to learn. An interesting thought to ponder on.