Coming of Age

A Tale of Two Ages

The evidence is clear. Generation C cannot strictly be characterised by the fact that they are all born in the 1990’s. After attending today’s Teaching and Learning Olympics 2012 we can define Generation C as a band of people who simply engage with technology and leverage Web 2.0 to meet their needs to communicate, collaborate and connect. As Picket points out in Who is Generation C?

Generation C’s members all have the common characteristic of being “digital natives” who turn to the Internet naturally and extensively to do a number of things, and are very Web 2.0-savvy.

Age cannot be a defining characteristic of this group so this begs the question, why do some people cross the Rubicon of technological innovation and creativity, effortlessly and with gusto, whilst others don’t even dare dip their toes in the water’s edge? How can a silver haired enthusiast rave about the benefits of Facebook when others talk of a generational digital divide that is like a chasm? True, the arguments against the concept of digital divide that Marc Prensky first brought to the limelight are now gaining credence but my curiousity stems from the reasons why some people do engage with technology and others do not. Practical considerations aside what is it about our personalities, DNA and experience that either spurs us on to explore new territories OR shrink back into the comfort of our home territory. I agree, there is a lot at risk but the rewards are great for the practitioner who sets out on the adventure. The Bilbo Bagginses of the new technological frontier are the ones that have all the fun. You just have to minimize the risks and watch out for the trolls (excuse the pun).

What a whirlwind today. It is a privilege to be amongst those evangelists who extol the virtues of technology to promote learning despite my disinclination to concede that only teachers who use technology can be “good” teachers. Watch the live debate recorded at: http://www.jiscrsc.ac.uk/yh/conference-2012.aspx

On a personal level, today heralded another milestone. If I keep on like this I’ll run out of them! At this moment in time I am being reflexive to the situation I find myself in. I am sitting on the train, deep in contemplation and revisiting my thoughts about the day but instead of simply looking out of the window and re-mashing everything I am blogging all these reflections down on my shiny new, fabulous new mobile device – the iPad.
Yes, I have come of age.

My Shiny New iPad

The thrill of it all!

During the conference I was even able to see a retweet of something I had posted on Twitter just moments earlier, there on the big screen – there-in lies the satisfaction. Gee, refers to the semiotic domain of communities (2009), that sense of belonging which an active participant feels by using the same lingo and mannerisms. That is how I felt today, a legitimate part of the group, with the same know-how, in with the gang.

A quick recap of the day, for my own sanity, so I can remember my
To Do List (so much better than pen and paper which gets hidden away amongst a mountain of paper work).

Workshop 1: Gamification? http://gamification.org/

A new term and an interesting concept. The factors that drive the success of gaming is engagement, loyalty and revenue. Gaming involves achievement, collaboration and socialisation which I suppose is a strong argument for the pro-gamers in education. I realise that games are integral to learning but I do recognise there are limitations, and context is key. I have relented in allowing my little one to play on Angry Birds more often ever since I read Mr Williams used it in class to improve numeracy in iPads in Primary Education. I now interrupt my son frequently (it is a negotiated bribe) to ask him what score he has and it is amazing how fluently he can say 22,367.

Apparently you can use Bartle’s Quiz to assess your Gamer Type? Are you a socialiser, killer, explorer or achiever?

To Do: I am in a group on edWeb.net on the subject of gaming for learning and teaching and I do need to revisit this. Download Drawsomething which is becoming a popular gaming app. Read Gamification in Education; What, How, Why Bother?

Workshop 2: Transforming Teacher Education with Web 2.0 for social purposes.

Louise Mycroft is an inspiration. She describes herself as non-technical until she came across the iPhone and then her journey began. She is encouraging reflexive practice with her teacher education learners using social media. I liked her passion for focussing on sense-making and finding one’s own identity as well as her revelation that “Twitter has transformed my practice”.  Follow her @TeachNorthern and view her blog at teachnorthern.wordpress.com.I love her first sentence already, “The path to being a teacher educator is littered with lightbulb moments…”

Workshop 3: Educational Apps

Download, download, download. There is so much out there. I wonder what would have happened if Mitra had used an iPad in his Hole on the Wall experiments rather than a computer?

I pointed out that many primary schools are now equipping their learners with iPads rather than kit out new ICT suites. It appears that a school can purchase any number of iPads and using one account and one docking station download the relevant apps onto them all and sync all the iPads for students’ use. Clever. I wondered how they managed it.

I am not convinced that straight-jacketing apps into a taxonomy is such a good thing, but it is worth pointing out.

Adapted from Kathy Schrock's Blooming iPad

Adapted from Kathy Schrock’s Blooming iPad

Available at Langwitches.org

To Do: explore, experiment and collaborate. Apps that intrigued me are AudioNote and HootSuite. Prom Hairstyles is a must fun app for Hair Dressing and Beauty. There seems to be so many apps to help learners with dyslexia that I have asked JISC-RSCYH to showcase what there is to relevant tutors in Learning Support.

So I am edging nearer to the frontier. What on earth will I do when I get there?

I am reading The Hobbit at the moment to my little boy so perhaps this post has been rather Bilbo Bagginsesque in its zealous use of adventure metaphors.

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