Creativity has been giving us the best of the times rethinking our teaching practices and trying new things. Education in times of instability requires us to welcome creativity in the learning process, taking advantage of the opportunities that new technologies offer for expanding the horizons of learners. Pre-service student teachers deserve and need to be taught through exciting, innovative, engaging and memorable pedagogical models. The learner generation of the digital age needs their teachers to provide them with creative thinking processes in the undergraduate context. They need to explore the up-to-date technological possibilities. Only then will teachers be able to provide alternative answers to resolve conflicts and dilemmas of every day teaching without having to turn to the control and the authority of traditional practices.
This is what will take me tomorrow to the Berkeley University, in Claifornia. I will be presenting the conference
Creativity, Technology & Teaching in Contexts of High Complexity
The widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in all areas has a direct effect on how the world is perceived. This scenario has profound consequences for communication and education, forcing researchers and educators to rethink social relations and processes of knowledge production and distribution in the new conditions of the digital age. My teaching and research motivation is structured around the understanding of communicative processes and techniques in a context of high complexity. It does not mean that communication and learning processes that occur without technologies are “simple”, but it is important to acknowledge and understand the added complexity characteristic of technological mediated processes nowadays. Future educators should be guided by their trainers in the understandings and practices that will enable them to create leaning environments in which natural talent is nurtured and new talents can be developed.
I will let you know how it goes =)
The potential of technology in digital society offers multiple possibilities for learning. E-books constitute one of the technologies to which great attention has to be paid. This article presents a case study on the perceptions held by a teacher and his students on the use of E-textbooks in a primary education classroom. It examines students’ meaningmaking practices and the perceptions that teachers and students have towards their engagement in learning activities in this context. In the analysis of the data generated, the classroom is considered a multimodal learning space, where virtual, physical and cognitive environments overlap, allowing students to negotiate meaning across multiple contexts and reflect upon it. Results show that e-textbook users’ perceptions greatly depend on the institutional culture in which they are embedded. While the adoption of E-textbooks does not necessarily mean a transition from traditional textbooks to E-textbooks, students and teachers may develop a more demanding range of criteria which must be met by e-textbook providers. By doing this, e-books become a real alternative to free internet resources. Although E-textbooks favor a communicatively active style of learning, there are still real challenges to be overcome by publishers so that E-textbooks do not become the next forgotten fad.
So that future educators are able to elaborate a professional identity which encompasses the pedagogical uses of technology among their range of ordinary duties, their educators should provide them with an environment that favors enough flexibility to self expression and serve as a meta-exercise, through which future educators can elaborate new appreciations of the role of teachers and the purposes of education in the digital age. Guiding students in the understanding of their own voices can be an exercise that leads to the development of a more critical and reflexive professional identity.
Higher education professionals and researchers should not take for granted that as students live surrounded by technology, using them on a daily basis, they should have favorable perceptions on their educational use. Whatever level of familiarity future educators have with technology when they come to the university, they also bring some preconceptions and misconceptions on what literacy means and on what are the means of literacy. It is important to bridge students’ previous knowledge, which is both technical but also philosophical, regarding technologies to richer levels of understanding of the role of twentieth first century educators. Podcasts seem to offer a tool just as good to build such a bridge.
de Oliveira, J., Buenestado, P. & Camacho, M. (2013). Future Educators’ Explaning Voices. In Proceedings of IADS Mobiles Learning. (pp. 143-147). Lisboa: IADIS.
The incorporation of simulation environments to the teaching-learning process redefines relationships and forms of interaction between teacher and students and also between students themselves. In this new article we present a reflection on the interaction in these environments, the reasons for its use with pedagogical purposes and the obstacles that educators might encounter making use of them. To preserve their educational potential, taking in account that 3D environments introduce a reality not comparable to everyday life, it is important to avoid transporting pre-existing educative models. Information and communication technologies, while expanding the potential of the classroom, require the design of a new pedagogical model that reconsiders every day thinking practices.
This is something I have been thinking about lately, I just can’t give up on the idea.
The thing is that it seems to me we have made a good job implementing information society in just a few decades. In comparison to the thousands of years necessary to implement the agricultural society, or the hundreds of years it took us to promote industrial society, information society just seems to go on wheels. The next step to knowledge society seems to be just around the corner or here already, can anybody be absolutely sure? But my problem is that I do not see the same progress in the direction of a wisdom society. And today, while I was listening to Matthew Taylor, twitted by Gavin Heaton I thought to myself, “that’s it”. There might be more people around who just think all this information and knowledge is of no use if we can’t teach people and ourselves to be peaceful, respectful, solidary, open-hearted… And maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Mathew mentions the social aspiration gap, that is, the gap between the kind of aspirations we have (the kind of society we want to live in) and the trajectory on which our current behavior places us. I have high aspirations for our society but I don’t feel intellectually committed to them. I’ve been emotionally and spiritually committed to a more peaceful world, but not intellectually. Today I want to make a point for wisdom society, where knowledge reminds us of our humanity and enables us to live it fully. In wisdom society, knowledge enables us to combine responsible and trusted authority, share commitment to mutual support and capture the firepower of individual ambition – like Mathew says. The things you learn when you host the Olimpic games… Just hope brazil can learn as much…
Today I’ve realized how big the social aspiration gap is in my case. I will work to reduce this gap from now on. Yes I will.
It is out of question that some new technologies help some people learn in some instances and that new technologies offer different potentials for learning. These new potentials require a re-thinking of what it means to learn. I’d expect people use of representational and communicative modes of new technologies to re-shape the social interaction experience of the classroom in some ways. E-books are one of such new technologies. Nobody is really sure about the future and the impact of e-books, but there is increasing awareness that e-books demand further attention. As educators and researchers embark on a more extensive engagement with e-books, it has progressively become clear that it is important to understand how new forms of reading and the possibilities of working with multiple formats that go beyond the text change literacy practices in the schools. My colleague Mar Camacho and I are presently developing a case study to dig into how e-textbooks are being used in classroom and what the perceptions of teachers and students of teaching and learning with them are. You can read my colleague’s post on our visit here.
As our case sample, we chose the public primary school Escola Dr. Alberich i Casas, in Reus, based on three criteria:
- the school has a pedagogical project which provides for the use of technology for teaching and learning;
- the school has implemented a one-to-one technology initiative; and
- the school is considering the use of e-textbooks.
The school staff, the teacher and the kids have been lovely, collaborating in every step of this initial research. We are still working on the data analysis, but as soon as we have some results, we will surely share them in the academic context and here, of course.
TIES 2012 is now over. You know I love congresses, but this one was special in one particular regard for me: I’m a big
fan, in a perfectly professional academic way, of Punya Mishra and TPACK, and as I was participating in the organizing committee of this congress, I suggested him as a key note speaker. Surprisingly for me, many of my colleagues did not know of him or his research and I thought that was a great opportunity to bring America closer to Europe. I was not wrong. Punya did generously accept our invitation and now he has many more fans just like me this side of the Atlantic, because his presentation was just what I knew it was going to be: Inspirational! There are people you listen to that make you want to do better, to change things for better… Punya makes me want to be a better teacher, to learn more, to explore more, to innovate and share more.
TIES 2012 was also special in this one thing too: it was very participatory. There was plenty of time for discussion after the presentations – I was in some very interesting discussion rooms-, but there were also moments to continue discussion, like the “meet the expert” and “Discuss” spaces. The conclusions of the congresses, which the organizing committee went gathering and elaborating every day over lunch were discussed and completed in an open session which closed the meeting. They will be published in the TIES 2012 web page soon.
After three days of intense discussion and months of preparation, we ended Friday 3rd worn out. Even so, I was so happy for managing to hold on to the end. People who are able to persist till the very last minute of a congress leave with a feeling of “duty done” that feels just fine.
TIES 2012 left me with a philosophical question… In many presentations and discussions I noticed a tension between control and freedom, creativity and usability, learners’ or market driven pedagogical approaches… Where do we find the correct balance between those forces in our educational practices? How do they affect my pedagogical practices? There are no easy answers for those questions, but that is the thrill of the academic work… Every new piece of information you have produce many new questions to think about. Keep thinking, let’s keep thinking you guys!
And take a lot of care!