saw/heard marc prensky talk at the 'learning at schools' conference last week. very cool.
many interesting ideas.
one revelatory message for me was to let the kids have/use/try out the available technology. reason being, as 'digital natives' [prensky] they are not afraid to experiment. they will pick something up, try it, go online to investigate it, collaborate with their friends to work it out - basically suss it out very quickly. most of 'us' are less able to work out how to use the available applications, software, hardware, etc.. by waiting until we have mastered it to let them have access, we are, at best, holding them back - at worst, denying them completely the 'vocabulary' and tools of their time. i have experienced this exact thing this year - we are trying to work out how to use online learning communities for discussion, topic or task posting, feedback, forums, etc.[we are investigating 'Elgg' - will also look at things like 'moodle'. met Jacira from cambridge middle school at conference and she is using moodle effectively in her class - will be investigating further] while we try to work out how to use it, they are missing out. these things are very powerful tools for engaging students. not only does it encourage collaboration, discussion, and so forth in a fun way, but it is advancing their use of ICT as well as being a literacy exercise. [okay - so they may not use correct punctuation, capitalisation, grammar, etc - but we must learn to differentiate between formal and informal situations and what is appropriate - e.g. when we use 'correct' spelling in txt, it is we who are 'wrong' and 'illiterate'.]
one of marc's challenges was to let kids use their cell phones in class - here we have a very powerful, up to the minute, mini computer that is connected to virtually [nice pun woody] anyone anywhere and we take it off them. why not let them use this 21st C tool to enhance their learning - and i hear you saying - "but how?" well, i wonder too - let's ask them.
marc has some suggestions for us on his blog. have a read.
ka kite apopo