Monday, June 8, 2015

Imagine a world before Google. was there! is 18 years old. Imagine a world before Google [1998]. was there! Collectively, the Provincial Team members, the many educators who have participated as TELUS Learning Connection Teacher-Leaders and Video Conferencing Leads, the Board of Directors (and the organizations they represent) and the many affiliated stakeholder groups working with us have accomplished great deeds in supporting learning and teaching with technology. Many of those early Teacher-Leaders have become leaders in school communities and districts, and within Alberta Education itself. [A great piece of research on this: The Impact of the Cascade Model on Leadership Development in Alberta, June 2012

Think of how significantly the world of educational technology has changed in the last 18 years. In 1997, the Internet was in its infancy with an estimated 100,000 websites on the “web”. There was no broadband, no DSL, no SuperNet - mainly dial-up for most Albertans [broadband was introduced to the world in 1997; wi-fi came along in 1999]. Can you remember the very first time you watched a video live on the ‘Net and how painful that was? Not only because of buffering issues but also because the average CRT monitor was 640x480 pixels. We used to search with Webcrawler, Altavista and Lycos.There were no smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, netbooks or flat-screen monitors. Laptops were high-end purchases.  Storage on USB sticks or in `the cloud’? My goodness - how about portable hard drives, cd-roms, 3.5” disks; that’s what we depended on for back-up in 1997. 

Through Netscape Navigator and other early browsers, we were introduced to Web.2.0, not knowing the previous edition would become known as Web 1.0. Consider some of the many terms you probably use, but never could have imagined back in 1997: phishing, podcast, tweet, selfie, hashtag, gig, cookies, e-book, trolling, defrag, pdf, png, megapixel, malware, app, chrome, touch screen, phablet, QR codes. 

More importantly, there was the teaching and learning with technology. 
" We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn." [Peter Drucker]. 

Over the years, there have been many descriptors for the ways and means of technology infusion into classroom practice: One to One, Adaptive Learning, Digital Literacy, Digital Citizenship, BYOD, the flipped classroom, virtual learning, asynchronous learning, blended learning, inclusive learning, Content Management Systems [CMS], Learning Management Systems [LMS], MOOCs, Differentiated Learning, Wikis, M-Learning, PBL, webinars, Makerspaces, Augmented Reality, learning analytics, wearable technologies - to name a few. 

Reflecting on our practice with pedagogical theories such as Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, TPACK, Constructivism, and the SAMR model for transformational teaching has helped us grow. As we have worked to determine the best ways to use technology, we have known that is always about student-centred learning. has continuously provided significant support for student-centred learning, most recently in two large multi-year, multi-district projects: Digital Literacy and BYOD. These two video clips provide a flavour of the impact of those projects and the difference has made. 

What is in the future for next year? Watch for our next blog.