The Machine’s still using us.

In 2007, this video hit the emerging “blogosphere” like a wrecking ball. It was the video which accompanied several books which claimed education faced such radical upheaval and unimaginable change that school would fail children and teachers needed to grab hold of the “read/write” web with urgency and not ‘wait’.

Although this may have been true, it certainly wasn’t based on fact or particularly mindful of decades of work in the potential for using the Internet and Computers in education. In fact, it was Ronald Reagan who first held the first ‘online discussion’ about the potential for the Internet in education in 1975. Ironically waiting for Jane Fonda to join the chat but she never did.

It marked an epoch, a moment in time where the topic of ‘educational technology’ moved out from journals and academic publishing and onto blogs and the then embryonic micro-blog platform. It appeared in thousands of ‘edtech’ posts and powerpoint presentations to a new audience. Technology was moving out the computer lab and into every classroom. It no longer required experts, it required everyone to show up and participate … the wisdom of the crowd.

Now, 7 years later, this moment has passed into history. Society has welcomed the new domesticated and mobilised technology offerings of mega-corporations who make billions of dollars. Now billions of people publish media on a daily basis in a new economy of micro-payments though data transmission and receipt.

Parents mediate technology, communicate with their children and seemingly trust them to access the Internet with little or no supervision — or specialist instruction, while schools appear to be increasingly divided on how to fund, manage and use technology.

One question that needs to be asked is just how relevant is this video today?

MI’d love to hear what you think.

Sydney EdTech Unconference Sept 25th

rethinkrelearn

The MQUncon 09 is a FREE event for educators to connect and share ideas and solutions around using educational technology in learning and teaching. It is being hosted by Macquarie University and the Islands of jokaydia in Second Life.

An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference. During the day, people are free to present, share and participate in a range of activities – sharing tips, stories and examples of using technology to enhance, augment and facilitate more effective learning and teaching.
The agenda for the day is organised largely by the attendees and will be faciliated by the Learning and Teaching Centre.
The event will be held around the U@MQ venue from 9am to 3pm AEST (check local time here), and in on the Islands of jokaydia in Second Life (SLurl: http://bit.ly/mqslurl), as part of their weekend long Unconference 09. MQUncon 09 offers participants an inclusive opportunity to discuss, share and connect with leading educators and technologists about 21st century learning at the practical level, as well as listen to people who might be on a similar journey.

About the unconference day.

The unconference is for educators, academics, researchers, policy makers, curriculum designers,  IT industry,  digital media developers, students and anyone interested in diverse views and approaches to learning and teaching to build and stregthen their personal learning networks through shared interests. The day seeks to offer a broad range of activities driven by the community and participants. It is a BYOL event (bring your own laptop).

Please Register to Attend!

In order to attend you must register by 24th September for the on campus event, in order for us to comply with a range of practical issues and ensure everyone has a great day. The conference will be split between physical space and virtual space through the islands of Jokaydia, home to the Macquarie Second Life campus. You only need to do this if you are intending to come on campus. Register here online

For more information, or to suggest a session you want to run/talk about – just visit the wiki – hope to see you there.

Russian invasion!

INCREASINGLY it seems, newcomers are taking their classes online in blogs, wikis and online communities. There is a wealth of published materials that encourage and celebrate the adoption of technology in the classroom. Schools need to  provide adequate orientation and safety assurances; taking the newcomer through practical guidance be an effective, safe, online course facilitator. As soon as part of a course is online, the role of teacher is opened to greater risk and responsibility.

Schools with hundreds of kids online, without obtaining any additional ‘permission’ or ‘advice’ on social media risk assessment is a reality.

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I noticed a Ning site, for middle school students that was left open. It appeared that the site was abandoned. A russian ‘porn spammer’ had joined the group, and immediately added all the students as a friend, leaving a comment on their wall inviting them to visit ‘her’ online. It is highly likely that kids signed up to the Ning with an email address, and that they receive notifications – as a year or so later this new member, produced a flurry or activity in the ‘old abandoned’ Ning.

Replies and comments to the new user flourished.

There is an excellent Social Media Guidlines project in the USA that is well worth adding to; and modelling from developed by Gina Hartman, Educational Technology Specialist in the Francis Howell School District. As more newcomers arrive, and more technology appears in classrooms, the risk grows – as I believe that the risk has a proportional relationship with experience, ability and understanding.

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Providing orientation training to the online space is very important – and seeking help to do it is advisable and you want your employer to support and acknowledge that in sharing the risk – else you may wear all of it, if you have an invasion.

Demonstrating that you can operate effectively and safely, just like ‘safety’ tests in an industrial workshop or science laboratory – is something that should be a norm, like manual handling and OH&S.

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