Technology is anything invented after you were born. -Alan Kay
At this moment, I’m in the airport in Portland, Maine waiting to fly home. I have been at the Leveraging Learning in Primary Grades Institute as a presenter and keynote speaker for their annual conference in Auburn. This institute is all about customizing learning in the early grades with the use of iPads. As a presenter, it is often difficult to find time to get into another session to hear someone else speak but I was very fortunate to be able to sit in on the final keynote today given by one of Apple’s employees, who serves as Director of Learning.
As the speaker was talking, he showed this graphic on screen by Dr. Eric Mazur:
This graphic represents a 24 hour period of EEG’s taken on the brains of students. It is to be noted that their brains are more active during sleep than during class. This is because learning is passive during lecture. You will notice a similar wave pattern (or non-wave, as the case may be) during the time the student was watching television. Learning simply must be more than the transfer of information. We must focus on creation, curation and collaboration in our classrooms. The richer the experience a student has, the more likely he/she is to learn. The speaker emphatically pointed out that the last thing we need is a monoculture in schools that produces the exact same product. Content without context and community is not an efficient way of learning.
As the opening quote by Alan Kay states, technology is anything invented after you were born. Think about what technologies have been invented since you were born. Many of our students have grown up with some kind of computer technology in their homes. For them, turning on those devices and using them are as natural as using the switch to turn on the lights. Think about it…few of us would think of “lights” as technology at this point. Back in the day, you would see signs such as this posted:
So what do we do now? We know that “the way we’ve always done education” is as outdated as that sign. It was encouraging to see the faces of the educators at the conference in Maine…to see their determination to move beyond using the iPad as a substitution for paper and pencil or as a gaming device. As advocates for our students, we must speak up about creating real change. It starts with each one of us. Plant a seed, watch it grow, change the world. Let there be light!
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!