Home' Teacher : March 2010 Contents 44 TEACHER MARCH 2010
When many ofusbegan our work in schools, technol-
ogy amounted to a Gestetner stencil duplicator and, if
we were lucky, a 16 millimetre movie projector. Both
promised a daily struggle -- the Gestetner was wont
to spread purple ink on hands, face and hair, while
the 16mm film broke at the most critical moment in
the movie, to the accompaniment of loud groans from
Pedagogy was a word seldom used. Teachers taught
and what they taught was, on the whole, factual and
relatively fixed. Direct instruction was the preferred
method for the transfer of information.
A good 30 or 40 years on, both teaching and
learning have been transformed by technology, by
our increased understanding about how children
learn and by compelling information about how the
brain works. Of these three, the dramatic techno-
logical revolution has, perhaps, been the most chal-
lenging because the pace of change has been so over-
According to Douglas Kellner, of the Graduate
School of Education and Information Studies at the
University of California, Los Angeles, the technologi-
cal revolution will have 'a greater impact on society
than the transition from an oral to a print culture.'
Assuming he's right, what are the implications for
pedagogy; how can school administrators keep up
with what is 'new' in technology; and how can teach-
ers ensure technology is used to provide authentic
teaching and learning experiences?
So what is 'new' in technology? That's the ques-
tion Laurence Johnson, Alan Levine and Rachel
Smith address in their 2009 edition of The Horizon
Report. Johnson, Levine and Smith identify 'six
emerging technologies or practices that are likely to
enter mainstream use in learning-focused organisa-
tions within three adoption horizons over the next
one to five years.'
Those technologies, say Johnson, Levine and
Smith, can be understood in terms of three 'adoption
horizons' or likely timeframes for their entrance into
mainstream use for teaching, learning, research or
creative applications within one year, within two to
three years and within four to five years.
They also identify and rank key trends affecting
the practice of teaching and learning.
Mobiles and cloud computing
In one year or sooner, according to The Horizon
Report, schools will be using mobiles and cloud com-
puting, if they're not already doing so. In fact, mobiles
are already considered as major tools on many cam-
puses as the rapid evolution of new interfaces provides
the ability to run third-party applications.
For Generation Y, in particular, the iPhone, and
other such devices have begun to assume the role of
the laptop computer. For the past few years young
people's iPhones have become the keepers of family
photos, phone books and calendars; however, the new
generation of mobile devices featuring multi-touch
display now offer access to the internet over increas-
ingly higher-speed third generation or 3G networks;
the capability to sense motion and orientation; run
GPS or global positioning system navigation devices
to locate themselves; run robust applications; com-
municate with and control other devices; and take
advantage of built-in features like microphones and
In mid-2008, Apple launched the App Store for
the Apple iPhone. Fewer than six months later, more
than 10,000 applications, such as games, reference
materials, tools for measuring and calculating, check-
lists, reading material, productivity applications and
social networking tools that are very easy to acquire
and install were available free or for less than a dollar.
One of the major implications of the changes to
mobile devices, already strong in some countries, is
that young people no longer see the need to own or
use personal computers.
New interfaces, the ability to connect to wireless
local area networks and global positioning systems
in addition to a variety of cellular networks, and the
availability of third-party applications have created
devices with nearly infinite possibilities for education,
networking, and personal productivity on the go.
Almost every student carries a mobile device, mak-
ing it a natural choice for content delivery and even
field work and data capture.
Some examples of mobile devices being used at the
tertiary level include:
students working with teachers in Computer Science
to propose, design and implement projects with a
pedagogical or social focus for mobile devices
ROBYN COLLINS LOOKS AT WHERE WE'RE GOING WITH TECHNOLOGY
AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR PEDAGOGY.
Technology and schools
Where are we going?
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