As I wade somewhat dizzily through the new worlds emerging technologies are opening up I'm kindly reminding myself of J.R. Tolkien's wise words: "Not all that glitters is gold; not all who wander are lost".I've been having a difficult time writing this blog post. I like my writing to be thoughtful, considered and well-crafted. However, the pace at which my brain is trying to wrap itself around emerging technologies is not conducive to these qualities. Staying awake too late reading/listening to mind-blowing articles/videos/TEDTalks - yes. Sitting down to synthesize what I'm learning in a meaningful, thoughtful and well-crafted way - no.
Learning about emerging technologies has brought some "disequilibrium" to my learning process which, while valuable, also feels uncomfortable. Listening to this TEDTalk by Mitch Resnick helped me to realize that part of my discomfort came from my lack of fluency with the technologies I've been exploring. Fluency, according to Resnick, means that you can both interact with the technology and use it as a means of expression. Fluency means that you can create using the technology and understand the complex layers or building blocks that make the technology what it is. Resnick uses coding as an example of achieving 'internet fluency'. He argues that coding not only helps to understand the internet and its tools, it also brings together virtual and physical worlds. My sense of unbalance with respect to emerging technologies is this: my brain is in the virtual, theoretical world and I haven't figured out how bring these ideas to the physical world of teaching and learning. I appreciate how Resnick identifies the learning processes going on when people develop coding fluency. They deeply understand concepts, experience the process of design, learn to reason systematically, think critically and creatively and work collaboratively. Underlying all this is engagement. These processes will help bridge the virtual and physical worlds when integrating any kind of technology into my teaching and learning.
Mitch Resnick first caught my attention with his Lifelong Kindergarten group whose ultimate goal is "a world full of playfully creative people who are constantly inventing new opportunities for themselves and their communities". While I teach kindergarten and value this goal for all learners, I'd like extend this practice to my own learning as I play with emerging technologies.
My goal is to develop my fluency with integrating technology to support learning and to keep abreast with new tech as it emerges. I will need to think clearly about my criteria that will inform my decision on which technologies to embrace (or not). The chart below provides a valuable guideline with which to frame the questions I will need to ask to ensure my technology integration is appropriate, engaging and meaningful.
And so the journey continues!