Our digital aspiration?

Computers (aka digital technologies) have been in our classrooms and schools for four decades now – almost as long as I’ve been an educator – yet still we’re trying to find a way of describing or explaining what the contribution is of these devices to the education of our young. As the use of digital technologies has become more pervasive, the focus of attention has shifted to questions about the measurement of this impact – both in terms of the contribution of digital technologies to learning, and in terms of the qualities and we deem to be desirable in the … Continue reading Our digital aspiration?

Why digital literacy is so important

I'm currently contributing to a reference group that is working on developing a strategic document around the development of digital literacy for all NZ students, as an embedded and fully integrated disposition required to function effectively as a learner and a citizen in the third millennium.  Like similar groups that are tackling this issue – from school staffs through to governments and NGOs – there's a continuum of things to address,  from a focus on the ability to use digital technologies effectively (skills)  through to the issues around responsible use and safety etc. (citizenship).  A couple of months ago, the PEW Research Centre … Continue reading Why digital literacy is so important

Information Literacy development

I've just been browsing a report recently published by Ofcom titled "Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report." [PDF]. Much of my work in schools and with teachers involves discussions about the sorts of skills and dispositions young people need to be considered 'literate' in an increasingly digital world. The research carried out by Ofcom reveals some useful data to help inform how schools think about a response, including… an increase since 2010 in the number of children aged between 5-15 who have a PC or a laptop an increase from 93% from 88% of children aged between 12-15 year olds use the Internet from … Continue reading Information Literacy development

YouTube and digital citizenship

The use of YouTube by students is a hot topic in many schools I visit and work in. I am the parent of a couple of young people still at school who regularly use YouTube clips as a source of entertainment, information and education (my son taught himself how to program in JAVA last Christmas from viewing YouTube clips). I am all too aware of the vaguaries of what can be accessed and viewed, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and speak with them regularly about appropriate viewing behaviour etc. – all part of being responsible as a parent in helping them … Continue reading YouTube and digital citizenship

Reading for pleasure

I'm about to take three week's leave and travel with my wife to the US, and in preparation, I've been choosing some novels to take with me to read. Reading for pleasure is one of those activities that can easily be 'lost' in the competition for time to keep abreast of all of the professional reading that comes across my desk, plus, of course, the interminable barrage of emails that require reading and dealing with each day. Yet while reading all of that sort of thing may be intellectually stimulating and professionally engaging, nothing beats the sheer enjoyment of sitting … Continue reading Reading for pleasure

Multi-tasking vs Self Control

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1 We live in a world of instant gratification, exemplified in the oline world with a growing obsession with attending to the demands of email notifications, instant messaging and 'tweets' etc., illustrated well when we think of the friend who cuts you off mid-sentence because their mobile phone beeps with a notification of another message being received.  There's been much written in recent years about the emergence of the Net Gen learner, and the assertions made about their ability to multi-task, including claims that those with this ability can be more productive. But similarly, there is a lot of doubt … Continue reading Multi-tasking vs Self Control

More on Inanimate Alice

I always like finding examples of classroom work that is soundly pedagogically based, is future-focused and involves the use of ICTs in authentic and appropriate ways. I blogged a couple of years ago about Inanimate Alice, the story¬† story of Alice, growing up in the early years of the 21st century. It uses a combination of text, sound, images, and games as Alice takes us on a journey through her life from the age of eight through to her twenties. This morning I received an email pointing me to some of the work being done by teachers with this story. … Continue reading More on Inanimate Alice

Sustainability Film Challenge

With an increasing emphasis on the use of film and media in schools it’s always useful when there’s an opportunity to put those talents to good use as part of a challenge or competition. The NZ National Commission for UNESCO is a project partner in the Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people aged up to 24 years, making it idea for consideration at the senior secondary or tertiary level. The challenge is to make a short sustainability related film, in any genre, filmed with any camera and at any length up to a maximum of 5 minutes. … Continue reading Sustainability Film Challenge

Who are the millenials?

I’m always interested in some of the trends and perspectives shared by those who are researching the¬† characteristics of the emerging generations – amid the positioning and argument, there are areas of agreement that the youngsters of today are growing up in quite a different world to what existed for my generation, and as a consequence, there are likely to be things that differentiate the way they think and act, reflecting a different set of values, expectations and aspirations among this group. The term ‘millennials‘ (also known as Generation Y) has been coined to broadly describe those who are growing … Continue reading Who are the millenials?

Booktalks launched

For someone who spent countless hours many years ago reading A Lion in the Meadow to his daughters it was a real privilege yesterday to host author Margaret Mahy in our Christchurch office. Margaret has agreed to be the patron of an exciting new online project that we’ve been developing in conjunction with the NZ Book Council and the NZ children’s book authors and illustrators organisation. It provides an opportunity to connect students in schools with authors and illustrators for ‘virtual visits’ using skype or other synchronous technologies. The project, called BookTalks, means that authors and illustrators will now be … Continue reading Booktalks launched