Wednesday, January 10, 2007

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Grad School

(with apologies to Robert Fulghum) I've been doing a lot of thinking the past several days, and I got to thinking of when I started the Educational Media and Technology master's degree program at Eastern Michigan University and how much technology has changed in that relatively short time.

The big research findings we discussed (way back in 1999 or 2000) were related to ACOT, the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow. So while I was on the Apple website today checking out Apple TV, I wondered if any of the ACOT stuff was still available, and sure enough, it is!

I downloaded the 24 page summary report "A Report on 10 Years of ACOT Research." There are some great quotes that still ring true today, 12 years after this report was published, like this one:

As you work into using the computer in the classroom, you start questioning everything you have done in the past, and wonder how you can adapt it to the computer. Then, you start questioning the whole concept of what you originally did. --Paula Fistick, Columbus, Ohio

Another part of the report talks about the various stages that teachers progressed through--Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Appropriation, Invention-- as they learned to use the technology. And then I had my epiphany! This is the way it has to work with all the Web 2.0 stuff-- blogs, wikis, podcasts, digital stories, etc. Before the teachers can use this competently in the classroom with their students, they have to feel comfortable using it for their own professional practice. How else will they know or imagine what the possibilities are?

And here's some more wisdom from ACOT: "A framework for collaboration can support teachers in the change process." And isn't collaboration and communication what Web 2.0 is all about?

Thinking back on my EMU experience, and how much the technology has changed, there are some things that HAVEN'T changed. The buzzwords I remembered (probably because they were so revolutionary to me at that time) were COLLABORATION, REFLECTION, and PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES. And, again, isn't that what Web 2.0 is all about???

It's all starting to become a little clearer to me now as I've had time to reflect on, process, and synthesize all the stuff that has bombarded my weary little brain.


Anonymous said...

You should check out this online professional learning community. It might be of interest to you.

Dr. E formerly from EMU said...

It is so wonderful to think that even though the technologies have changed a lot since your grad school experience, there are still ways of thinking that have an influence. What does this say about deciding what is important for our students to learn? Maybe all those facts needed to answer multiple choice test questions aren't the meaningful learning we need to focus on. With so much available at the touch of our keypads, how do we teach students to think and critically examine the world.