Wakoopa – Time of your (digital) life

picture-14This is a great little gadget, for mac and pc. Wakoopa is a widget with code you can embed online. At first glance, its a tool that watches how much time you spend with various applications. Great for finding out just how much time you’ve ‘wasted’ in Second Life or WoW perhaps.

I think it might have a far more constructive use for 21C educators. One of the greatest myths, put downs or unknowns that ‘connected’ teachers have justifying time online in networks or learning new applications. Its time that often goes totally unseen (in the eyes of HR). The amount of self-directed PD that these teachers and edtechs are doing combined with the amount of time they spend using these technologies to develop learning environments is almost impossible to measure, let along report.

I’m not going to pretend that I believe it is acceptable for teachers not to be learners or that traditional professional development models will keep pace with learning technologies. Its time to move on from passive ICT approaches.

Blogging is perhaps the most visible sign that a teacher has decided to engage in the 21C discussions and teaching approaches. But a blog post is a small part of the time people spend online, especially when starting to take in the enormity of the problems and solutions being explored by so many. You begin to read way more than you post.

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) for example are by far an large the most important ‘technologies’ that teachers are using in professional development. These were again and again highlighted in conferences and panel discussions throughout 2008. The knowledge of all of us is greater than any one of us – as the saying goes.

Wakoopa is one way that a teacher could track their own time, but also use it to evidence their level of activity and engagement in their professional acitivity. You might not want to put it one a public page, but a private page on a blog or wiki, would be a very useful reporting tool. Of course this once again opens people to the critisism – you have too much time on your hands, you don’t have a life etc., – which to those who understand it’s transformative power, don’t really care about these days. More fool them. Recruitment ads are increasingly calling for ‘demonstrated ability’ in regard to ICTs – and I think in that regard Wakoopa could just be one of those widgets that gives real evidence of professional development.


2 thoughts on “Wakoopa – Time of your (digital) life

  1. Great post Dean.

    You raise some very important issues here. I find personally that my work colleagues tend to look at my web endeavours as somewhere between personal and professional and therefore aren’t quite sure how to approach and engage with them, and with me in that space.

    For example my blog is continuously referred to as “my personal blog” by my supervisor rather than my elearning blog or something like that. This is despite the fact that it’s a core aspect of my PLN and a key way I connect and interact with other educators across the world. In fact it’s also a living document depicting my work and prof dev to date.

    I think the fact that PLNs circumvent formal institutional web presences contributes to this a great deal. Policy hasn’t evolved to consider these distributed forms of networking, so I think the uncertainties of “can they do this? or are they allowed to do this” is still plaguing the discussion and preventing change and growth from occurring.

    So if PLN’s are being considered personal spaces, then the activities and learning that are taking place within them are considered personal as well, even though there is a clear benefit to institutions and learners.

    I’ll ponder this further – I think there’s a post in this 🙂



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