Postman wrote: “…We now know that Sesame Street encourages children to love school only if school is like Sesame Street. Which is to say, we now know that Sesame Street undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents.” The idea that Sesame Street undermines traditional schooling has merit when you look at it in the broader context which Postman explains in his article. However, more than twenty years after the article was written, we as educators have embraced some of what Postman seemed to look at as harmful to students’ learning. Instead of fighting against technology, we have (mostly!) embraced it as a tool for learning and as a method of communication for ourselves and our students.
Smartphones, computers, and other Internet enabled devices are becoming more mainstream as educational tools across North America. Our current culture of smartphones has pushed educators to incorporate the technology – the seeming current language of today’s youth – into our classrooms and our schools. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the integration of smartphones in classrooms does not just happen automatically without thought to acceptable use. Educators must think about the advantages and disadvantages the incorporation of technology bring for students’ learning and incorporate digital literacy into our teaching.
In Educational Technology: Historical Developments, Santosh Panda describes the evolution of AV Tech in Education. ” [T]he initiation of educational technology movement started with audiovisual aids and behaviourism and programmed learning. In the process educational technology/ instructional technology systems got developed, learning was more personalized (i.e. oriented to one’s own ability, need andstyle), and group ‘interaction’ was frequent and enriched. The later developments in distance education largely used the educational technology developments so much so that today both constructivist learning and personalized learning environment on the web can combine together to offer customized and enriched learning experiences.” AV Tech has evolved so much in the past few decades that it is hardly recognizable compared to the earlier modes. With the evolution came necessary changes to the technology and the way educators and learners use technology. In other words, as technology has evolved, so has educational practice. Educational theory has shifted from earlier theories such as Behaviourism into Constructivism and then continued sliding into Connectivism. Most educators today will agree that in order to effectively teach learners with a vastly differing set of abilities and learning styles, it is vital to deliver curriculum in a variety of styles and ways to meet the learning needs of students. For instance, I am a learner who thrives on the written word but I do know that, for me, images and illustrations contribute significantly to the meaning and retention of the written word. Haiming wrote, “One of the benefits that Audiovisual aid brings is that learning via AV creates a stimulating and interactive environment which is more conducive to learning.” Multimodal literacy is changing and enhancing the way students learn. You can get an overview in the video below, posted on Youtube by Petra Judd.
With a vast array of AV technologies, such as apps and interactive educational shows, the format of schooling is changing. Last week I explored and blogged about the use of Google extensions in the classroom. These tools can aid educators in reaching the needs of the students. The connectedness of our world is not going away. We might as well get on the digital train and take it for a ride all the way to Learning Street. Just be prepared for a bumpy ride and sudden stops along the way, as this train does not always promise a smooth ride.