I have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about the history of educational technology and my future charge as an instructional coach in order to understand how people develop different mindsets about technology, how education responds to the socio-political climate, and the complexity of quantifying learning in general . As I delved further into the peer-reviewed research on learning theories and the gradual refinement of what educational technology encompasses, I first was overwhelmed with the amount of new vocabulary. It was smart to include a living edtech dictionary on moodle! I also found this one on teachthought.com. How can we possibly move forward with technology and learning in our schools when we don’t even share a common vocabulary? The lack of understanding of terms used during professional development (PD) can cause participants to feel confused and ridiculously behind, both of which aren’t conducive to learning. I plan to carefully introduce sets of educational technology vocabulary depending on the PD I am giving so that I start off without insulting and losing my audience of learners.
The next aha I had during this module was the fact that most teachers desire the “Why and How” behind any new initiative. In my district, technology devices show up in classrooms. Teachers understand that their students know these devices better than they do and teachers often see the devices as expensive toys or distractions to the learning environment. I aim to show and support teachers about how students can include technology in their learning and how teachers can use the data collection to finally use meeting time to discuss solutions. I will now be able to support my recommendations with connections to theory and pedagogy.
As the work of my annotated bibliography came to a close, it was time to write my introduction. What does this collection of research mean to me and how does it support further inquiry? I have always struggled at the idea of working within ONE particular theory. My mind naturally looks for the gems in all things so I often end up with a mish-mash of guiding practices depending on the level of rigor required at any given point in a unit. However, I do find it refreshing to examine learning theory now that information sharing devices are part of the equation. Here is a quote from George Siemens, a founder of Connectivism:
“Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.” (source)
Finally, I am very interested in challenging myself to live out applications of a theory in its totality and see what happens. As well, I want to know more about the idea of information flow within organizations and knowledge management. With as much access to information as we have, it is vitally important that we stop to think about it and incorporate it in a meaningful way before it is lost or we lose our sense of community due to an inability to share out information in a timely and meaningful way.