What has changed? – Part 2 – iOS5 and ATV

Following on from my last post – What has changed? I thought this would be a good time to talk about iOS5 and Apple TV.
The last blog post highlighted how the technologies in our current classroom have failed to inspire the change much needed in education today. The limitation of the early blackboard to a whiteboard and projector have always had or come with a hierarchical structure, again mainly to do with the affordance of these technologies. The biggest problem being having to be ‘at the front’ and by default the teachers have primarily assumed this role.

iOS5 and ATV – A game changer?

If you are not an Apple fan then, with the iOS 5 update and if you have an Apple TV with the latest iOS update for it installed, you can mirror the iPad 2 screen wirelessly on the projector. There are a few things you need to sort out before you are able to do this since most projector in the classroom are not HDMI compatible.

How does this change the game?

Firstly, it tackles the issue which has been at the heart of education for decades, breaking down the hierarchical structure. Now, there is no need for anyone to be at the front of the classroom. Students and teachers alike can share and learn together! Sharples (2002) speculates ‘the tensions between personal technology and institutional education will increase as students breach the sealed world of the classroom by bringing in computers that are capable of communicating with the internet’ (p. 6). What Sharples (2002) here is talking about is the change brought about by students and their interaction with and use if different technologies and tools, which blurs the formal and informal learning context. While this change is driven by students and their use of the tools, can a similar change in the classroom be driven by replacing the primitive technologies that exist and are conducive to traditional learning and teaching paradigms? I argue, it is capable of ‘flipping the classroom’ given the right technological and pedagogical support is provided to the staff and students involved. The affordance of new technologies like ATV, iOS screen mirroring and AirPlay offer more opportunities than the whiteboard or the projector combined.

I am not arguing that technology itself is capable of driving change in the learning process rather the need to be creative and imaginative with these tools accompanied by the right pedagogy. The need to peak outside the ‘box’ and explore what else is possible, to try something different, to be able to think and conceptualise something that does not resemble the practice which is decades old. Something we all know is in a desperate need for change for the betterment of our learners and their/our future.

What has changed?

What has changed?

We have better equipment, most rooms now have a projector and a smartboard but that’s about it. The pandemic that surrounds the lack of innovative and effective practice for enhanced learning is still the wide application of  traditional pedagogies with smart technologies! So in reality nothing has changed! We continue the same practice with new tools. And the implication of this as highlighted in this tweet by @tomwhitby (http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com)

“If we continue to teach as we were taught, we will be doomed to live in the past as we move to the future! “

Back then:

Current:

Difference:

  1. New technology
  2. better seats
  3. Whiteboard (has progressed from Blackboard :-D)
Similarities:
  1. Passive role of the students (sit and listen)
  2. Sage on stage – delivery of information/knowledge to the students
  3. classroom setup – rows and columns
Time for a change:
Involve the students in what we are doing. Better, you get involved in what the students are doing. It’s about them, their future is on the line. Knowing is not enough to survive in this world, but continuously finding ways of knowing what you don’t know is. This is where technology helps the most. It helps by enabling a medium by which you can give feedback, and guide the students when needed. It enables learners to be active knowledge seekers and generators. It allows them (learners) to bring into learning their own experience and knowledge – a level of ownership and this ensures sustained engagement since they are solving a problem closure to their heart rather than something you have pitched (Authentic Learning).

 

TPACK 2.0 – The framework for learning and teaching with Web 2.0 tools

TPACK 2.0 – The framework for learning and teaching with Web 2.0 tools

Competitive Social Learning (Competitive socio-constructivism)

A blog I started last year during Xmas, forgot to publish 😦

Over the Christmas holiday, while playing Xbox with my nephew and with my thesis at the back of my head, the concept of what I decided to call competitive social learning dawned on me.

Competitive social learning: creating, collaborating and communicating in groups, a community or in a network but with competition as a self-motivator. It is not to replace anything but to add to what we are already doing in social constructivism. Lets take a few social media currently being used: Flickr, it shows you how many times your photo(s) have been viewed or the number of times people have made it their favourite. Youtube, again the rating given by people who view your video, the comments left behind and the number of followers. Blogging, the number of hits your site is receiving and the number of people following you. Twitter, the number of posts you make, how many times has it been retweeted, the number of followers, the number of lists you appear in, and number of times it has been marked by someone as favourite.

The success to some of these tools, the uptake and retention can to some extend be credited to how good the platforms are at generating a competitive environment. Competitive social learning is using social media as a learning platform to nurture healthy competition using the ‘invisible’ competitive features already available. The same competitive concept can be used in LMS’s like Moodle, some great work has been done by Lewis Carr who has designed a Moodle meter (http://lewiscarr.co.uk/sites/default/files/moodle_meter.jpg) and a Moodle Dashboard (http://lewiscarr.co.uk/sites/default/files/moodle_dashboard.jpg) that promotes the invisible competitive capabilities.

A social media can be compared against a classroom, where the people using it are the students and social media itself is the classroom with no walls hence some of the challenges social media faces are the same as what a teacher would face in a classroom: retention and engagement. How does social media platforms manage to hold on to the users? Could one of the reasons be the “invisible” competitive nature of the systems that makes us come back to see what has transpired? No doubt the social connectivity and the potential that comes with it is a major draw card but is it as simple as that or is there more to it? Amongst all the reasons given for why games are so addictive, being challenged or competing against something or someone probably stands out or is well implemented. Could it be that a hybrid of competitiveness and social constructivism be a more effective approach?

A carefully controlled competitive environment could potentially be the best self-motivator and this could very easily be achieved on most social media. I have used the words ‘carefully control competitive environment’ because competition could also have a negative effect on students.

Knowing the vast hold video games have on the younger generation, could competitive social learning be the way forward. Competition is hardwired by the time kids reach high school (from playing games). It could be said that gamers and mostly the younger generation are well equipped to deal with and manage a virtual competitive environment. Could the transition from virtual to a real environment yield meaningful learning?