Today, all the EDMT faculty members attended a single-day conference for teachers in Grand Rapids hosted by MACUL. The 300-plus teachers here today are working hard to leverage technology, in particular, Google applications, into their teaching. The power of the apps and their pedagogical potential cannot be ignored and I am convinced teachers in Michigan won’t ignore their potential for making a difference.
This is the introduction to the latest version of the NETP:
The National Education Technology Plan is the flagship educational technology policy document for the United States. The 2016 Plan, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, articulates a vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible. While acknowledging the continuing need to provide greater equity of access to technology itself, the plan goes further to call upon all involved in American education to ensure equity of access to transformational learning experiences enabled by technology.
You may download a copy and have a pleasant read. It is packed with great examples and is a very readable document. You WILL be hearing more about it.
I learned today that Seymour Papert passed away just yesterday at the age of 88. As the inventor of some of the earliest and most accessible programming languages, LOGO, he brought human/computer interactions to new heights for many, especially to children. He had a great influence on me and I have a copy of one of his earlier books, Mindstorms, on my shelf.
Today I participated in a webinar designed to share a new possibility in teacher education. As a technologist, I am often approached about the potential for using immersive virtual environments as a way of training teachers to interact with a classroom full of students.
The technology is becoming much more engaging and the experience of interacting with student avatars is very real, some would say “surreal.”
As a teacher, you can write on a virtual blackboard and interact verbally with the avatars. Note that there is a real human being behind the avatars following scripts designed to encourage or challenge the teachers.
I am not at all sure that future Colleges of Education will ever see these simulators as part of their training but that may because I was trained with real students in real classrooms. That said, aircraft pilots have had trainers for decades and nurses and doctors are using 100,000 dollar simulator mannequins that bleed and breath at the push of a button in a control room, so it is not unreasonable that these simulators should be used to train new teachers in “high-leverage” practices.
I meet infrequently with a local software designer, Ian Natzmer, whose company, Odeum Learning, is designing interactive games for students. A year ago, I thought virtual goggles were far too pricey for most schools and may have dampened his enthusiasm a little. Yesterday, an inexpensive alternate to VR Googles, the $10 Google Cardboard,arrived and I was hooked. I spent hours being drawn into the virtual experiences of walking down the streets of London, New York, and rural Japan, standing on the surface of Pluto, then virtually skydiving.
I’m rethinking my position.