By Natalie Harr
Welcome Educators! (Blog Post #1)
My name is Natalie Harr. I want to share how technology has the potential to transform the future of education. Just imagine if you had "next generation" learning technologies (see below) at your disposal...
The possibilities for teaching and learning are endless!
LET'S "PREVIEW" THE Future
This blog aims to provide educators with a
sneak preview into the next generation
of technologies currently being developed to help people learn. Together, let's explore these new ways of using technology for education and creatively imagine how these can transform our schools and other learning environments - five, ten, or even twenty years
into the future.
Along the way, we will meet the people behind the innovative research field called
cyberlearning and explore the history of technology & education. And, most importantly, we will use this blog as a platform to ask questions, engage in thought-provoking conversation, and to "dream big" about the implications of this technology for learning, especially in classrooms of the future. I encourage you to open up your mind so we can play with these untapped possibilities!
I am extremely fortunate to be spending this school year as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow serving at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, DC. Here, I have been immersed in a federally-funded, cutting-edge research program that aims to develop the next generation of learning technologies. This NSF-funded program is known as Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies.
A technology is anything made by humans to solve a problem. Thankfully, paperclips
were designed to keep papers organized and pens for recording our thoughts and ideas. Yes, these are both technologies that teachers heavily rely on!
There are many different kinds of technology that we depend on for daily use. Some are quite simple (e.g., pencil, paper), or complex (e.g., printers, telephones, radios) or really complex (e.g., airplanes, automobiles, computers). Some are mechanical (e.g., a stapler), electronic (e.g., a calculator) or a combination of mechanical and electronic (e.g., computer). Even the clothing we wear is an example of technology.
TECHNOLOGY is ALL AROUND US.
It has transformed how we communicate, travel, make decisions... basically how we live our lives. As we have progressed into the 21st century, the development, adoption, and advancement of technology has grown exponentially. And as technology continues to transform and innovate, so does our reliance on it.
Just think of the recent history of cell phones... With each new iteration (new version), cell phones have become more compact, portable, and functional. In the past fifteen years or so, our cell phones have literally evolved into handheld computers!
Phones have become so "smart," in fact, that we can now use them as learning technologies. Students can use their phones to do simple things like bringing photos or movie clips of discoveries for class discussion (e.g., animal tracks found in their backyard) or for complex tasks like running data analyses (e.g., calories expended in a day).
As I continue the blog, I will present technologies, some you are familiar with, some you are not, that can be used to foster learning. I will also help you have imagination about how to use technologies you are familiar with educationally.
TECHNOLOGY. TIME. TRANSFORMATION.