And learning stays the same.
The following presentation from Steven Wheeler, Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth, explores some of the changes in both technology and education, including game-based learning, gamification, augmented reality, and mobile learning.
An interesting addition to the presentation are ideas from Nova Spivak that behind all of these minor changes is a larger shift from 2.0 to 3.0–from people and tools to knowledge and intelligence.
Web 1.0 (The Web): Connect Information
Web 2.0 (The Social Web): Connects People
Web 3.0 (Semantic Web): Connects Knowledge
Web x.0 (Meta Web): Connects Intelligence
The Technology and Education Connection
So how exactly does technology impact education? This is a huge question that an entire blog could dedicate itself to and never run out of content, but let’s zoom in to the classroom level for a moment and have a look at four general trends.
1. Technology can decrease dwell time with a media (a poem, a video, an essay)
2. Technology can increase the rate of consumption of briefer media forms
3. Technology offers incredible access to a nearly infinite supply of media
4. Technology encourages the socialization over the internalization of ideas
While the evolution of the internet, the growth of mobile learning, the BYOD movement, and other movements are all extremely visible, they still boil down to the same basic idea: literacy.
The Core of Literacy
Literacy can be reduced to the ability to make sense of ideas. This often means reading, but also viewing, observing, writing, creating, designing–each a kind of literacy, and each with nuanced fluencies of their own.
Technology improves literacy only insofar as it improves a learner’s ability to identify, analyze, evaluate and create media. In fact, it remains entirely possible to fill learning spaces with apps, mobility, notifications, charts, fluid social streams, visualized data, and all-out holograms of Greek philosophers teaching them directly, and only improve their familiarity with these forms and their spectacle rather than the ideas and people behind them.
Literacy implies a fuller understanding and a rounder knowledge. A literate person is aware of multiple information sources, the pros and cons of media forms, and the value and credibility of information. A literate person can process diverse data sources, and suggest macro relevance and micro application of seemingly disparate ideas.
Technology can promote this, but merely running alongside technology as it evolves won’t get us anywhere but parallel to a consumer driven counter-market. Technology is great, but it’s business. So is education.
Learning is not.
One immediate takeaway is that to keep pace with technology’s rate of change requires seeing it on a macro level–seeing trends more than practices, shifts more than platforms. The relationship between technology and literacy is more than anything else about interdependence. This presentation below is not a bad start.