Sunday, June 25, 2006
A history of the world in three parts
In the World is Flat Friedman talks about Globalisation 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 in order to show how computers, the internet etc are a continuation of older patterns of trade and contact. I think that this three-way division could also be used as far as technology and education are concerned.
Teaching and technology 1.0
This is the stage I'm at, as far as my teaching situation in Greece in concerned. The battle is all about access. Access to PCs, access to the internet, access to broadband. In each case there is not enough of these things and so our teaching practices can only use of the web indirectly. For example, I use material such as hand outs downloaded from the net or podcasts in the classroom instead of traditional listening materials. I can set up a class blog but can't access it at school or during lesson time. As a result internet use is merely a "gimmicky" extra which can happily be ignored by those who don't like it.
Teaching and technology 2.0
In this stage the practical problems mentioned above have, for the main, been solved. Access to computers and fast internet connections are taken for granted. Technically, at least, the barriers have been removed. Yet web tools such as podcasting and blogging still have to be approved of by educational authorities and teachers who are sceptical. The internet can no longer be kept out of the classroom, however, teachers can simply use it the same way they'd use more traditional resources and so nullify any effect it may have. An even greater problem is that internet tools have to be integrated into a traditional curriculum which values only "pen and paper" knowledge.
This seems to be the stage at which most of the teachers using the net I admire seem to be. It seems that as much of their energy is expended defending the new practices as is used actually using them.
Teaching and technology 3.0
Friedman's book talks about the how the introduction of internet technology into business in the mid to late 90's didn't immediately spark off a productivity boom. His main idea is that this technology didn't create these gains until people had started to organise themselves in new and different ways which allowed them to exploit the new web - based opportunies more efficiently.
I would argue that this is also going to be true for education. The internet will be so important to the way we teach and learn that educators will either have to embrace it or choose another profession.
Up till now it has been used as a way to augment or reproduce from afar the traditional classroom experience. What will happen however, is that the tools such as vlogs, podcasts, voip, blogs etc will introduce a completely different way of getting yourself an education. I have no idea what form this will take, but I'm absolutely sure it will not be anything like the way we are teaching today.