Archive for October, 2007

What if…?!

October 8, 2007

What if you take way the technology? Does it still count as knowledge or does knowledge only mean technology now? Each and every ability is tied in with some kind of technology… take away the technology and do they still have knowledge? Or does it mean that we are going back in time…. Its all about simulation… if there is a simulated environment where they had no technology to their disposal… look for articles and books physically in libraries.. going to the banks, withdrawing money… this implies that we are not taking advantage of the technology. It is all about let them make sense of the web pages, blogs, online visuals etc.. does this count as tangible knowledge?? Is it a tangible life? It is obvious that we have immersed ourselves in this world so much that it is the world for us now…. I am not talking about the good old days I am just trying to explore the justification of saying kids today are knowledgeable on the basis of technology.

Just cos I am writing a blog about this right now on my laptop does it mean that I have got a handle on the subject under discussion. This might be a philosophical turn to my blogging but this is just something I have been thinking about for some time. Technology and subsequently its knowledge have still not been able to convince me that technology increases knowledge. I have doubts about the retention and recall about this kind of knowledge. On the flip side I am enjoying Dr Bonk’s class with the different kinds of blended activities we do as a part of our assignments and projects. I have the opportunity to be an actor this time around! J I am going to be Mitch Kapor!

Some of these thoughts are just top off my head and maybe don’t make as much practical sense…. Just musing over what all the fuss is about the learning and technology!



Darting with the technology

October 1, 2007

I went through the some of the series of chapters and articles in Educating the Net Generation and have put down some of my thoughts on it. They may seem a bit random and disconnected as they are mostly impressions formed in my own mind.

The two T’s in education- teacher and technology. One of the most important things I thought was where the students say that motivation without teachers would be non-existent… for me that was the crux of the maybe the biggest and in all probability the only difference between technology and teachers. Motivation for the learners is perhaps the biggest channeling for any kind of a teacher and in the new scenario with reference to media. The expectations are higher than before… students want it interactive, colorful, media rich… teachers are being pushed more and more to cater to their needs. Motivation may be better in return for all these things; teachers are trying to keep up with this sudden leap. In my mind this could potentially create a bit of a gap between the teachers who are able to deal with this change and adapt to it. And another set that struggle with this and are still trying to come to terms with it… this could have created a kind of chasm especially in the case of students who come from nations or communities who do not have enough resources to keep up with the technology or provide them with the current methods.

At some point the authors mention that this generation has probably not seen the rigors of the war or felt the corruption. This might be partly true especially for a country like America… in developing nations, corruption is the only way to survive and get any work done. Technology solving problems again means feeding somebody money to push it along faster. A new kind of war has emerged and is growing stronger called terrorism. Major cities all over the world… developing nations as well as super powers have been subject to this… just another miracle of the power of technology… helping the people to spread terrorism far and wide without physical presence but networking and the many communication options available.

But me being an Indian I am most thankful to the advent of technology, IT in particular, it has given our nation a huge financial boost putting us right in the middle of the world and have become a force to reckon with…. Small towns to cities have been developed as possible technology parks have sprung up everywhere, the middle class in India is enjoying the bright side of life better than ever before. For this I am glad for the information highway, the hyper media, everything that this boom has given to my country as well as me as a person.

Just a wayward thought, the current trend is multi-media, hyper learning, media rich learning… if at all I am anywhere around in this field will I be writing a blog on the advantages of focused uni media teaching, advantages of ILT, advantages of teaching children with the help of only one kind of media? Will the trend reverse 20 yrs down the line or will it be something completely different?

After skimming through some of the topics and reading some chapters in detail, it seems to me like there is a constructivist lifestyle going on right now and not just a constructivist way of learning… not a new revelation maybe but for someone who has always been subject to a very tradition way of learning and teaching, this is something that is very new to me. The methods of the teachers here, especially Dr Bonk’s are sometimes difficult for me, but at the same time I know that if I don’t succeed at those, I will feel like I have not ‘adapted’.

Another issue which seemed somewhat relevant to me was connecting the virtual with the real world… there might be a gap when there is a kind of a ‘knowledge’ transfer from one kind of media to another. The sensibilities of all sorts of media are so different that there is bound to be a kind of information loss during the transfer.

I liked the concept of learning spaces. It might be already happening but it would be kind of cool to be in the profession of actually designing these learning spaces, creatively. The way computer led modules are created actually create something like a ‘space’ which can weave in with all kinds of multimedia ways of learning. It might be something like the example given for Dartmouth College but it opens a horde of possibilities for a virtual learner as well as blended learning.