Image retrieved from https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/9-characteristics-of-21st-century-learning
Greg Whitby (19 August 2012) in his interview with ABC host Antony Funnell, Whitby claims that the focus on technology is a “waste of time” saying, “If you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.”
When asked, what do I think he means by this? and to what extent do I agree?
I believe that Greg is referring to technology as a tool to assist teaching in meeting their teaching objectives. Whitby (2012) states that “it is critical to have very good teachers who are committed to learning about their craft” this suggests that teachers are seen as subject matter experts and that they are expected to know the in’s and out’s within their teaching area. Technology will in play a role in one way of another for all teachers, I believe Greg Whitby is implying that teachers should be driving there teaching needs based on their subject and learning requirements rather than have technology control the outcome and its boundaries. In many ways I agree with Whitby’s (2012) meaning, in a sense that teachers should be controlling the messages to provoke learning to “equip young people to be socially critical and participants in a society” weather this be via technology or practical solutions.
When asked why do I think we focus on the technology?
I think we focus on technology as this is or strongest, most engaging and so frequently changing tool. We focus on what is new and what has changed as software updates and technology improves over time. Technology is our external brain, we depend on technology to guide, inform and transform our everyday lives. As Whitby (2012) suggests mobile phones are our communication device, therefore they become more powerful inside and outside the classroom.
Punya Mishra (2012) in his keynote speech at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong constantly refers to working with the resources that we have. Mishra (2012) states that technology has fundamentally changed every discipline.
Mishra (2012) makes reference to the teaching culture in the past and present, comparing the new and the old. Teaching must be flexible in many ways to the student’s needs, the available resources and the literacy objectives within the curriculum. Mishra unpacks the concept of ‘repurposing’ as teachers we are constantly repursuing technology in our teaching to adapt and respond to the current environment.
An example that left an impact on me was when Mishra (2012) shared that students undertaking an exam in Demark, had full access to the internet, however this required a change in how questions were framed. Moving from “when or who” based questions to “how and why”. This example is so powerful in the sense that we as a society are changing the way that we perceive knowledge.
As a point of reflection on these activities I have found myself observing all forms of technology both socially and more formally. The way that we use and depend on technology on a daily basis. I recently attended a RIMPA (Records and Information Management Professionals Australia) seminar to explore the digital transition agenda of government and private sector agencies. Rainer Krause Managing Director of ELO Digital Office gave a very insightful talk about what becoming a digital agency involves and the thinking behind its movement, obviously this starts with the people. The main point from his talk that was a highlight for me, Rainer (2016) “students think in threads”.
Davies, A. 2012. 21st century education [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/21st-century-education/4197700#transcript
Krause, R. 2016. Presentation @ RIMPA (Records and Information Management Professionals Australia) November 2016 Seminar- Canberra.
Mishra, P. 2012. Keynote speaker @ 21st Century Learning Conference – Hong Kong 2012 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bwXYa91fvQ&feature=youtu.be