Themes of ‘connectedness’ at conferences around Australia the past few years (think “Now it’s Personal’ or ‘Creative Connections’) combined with an obsession in attracting social media experts to keynote, has shifted the discussion of computing in schools in the wrong direction.
The over-emphasis of the ‘C’ in ‘ICT’ has turned much of the dialogue in the direction of the end user, of students being slaves to the machine, the big companies & software developers, instead of developing an understanding of how to make technology work for them. I’m wondering if we can put the ‘C’ aside, move forward and stop being amazed every time we turn on Skype or get students to write on a blog. Surely it’s about more than that?
Learning isn’t all about connections or ‘connectedness.’ To say it is is nonsense. Learning in its initial stages is solitary. You have to do something, try, struggle, stay with the problem, have persistance, emotional resolve and feel frustrated with something for it to take hold in your brain and then, and only then, can the ‘power of the network’ assist. There are no shortcuts.
I don’t think it is desirable for students to be but echos in a world wide chamber of derivative and second hand ideas – what would be desirable is for them to be master learners and knowledge builders who know how to ask the right questions.
Computers can empower. But if we see them as just communication tools then we miss the chance to fundamentally restructure the world around us and to put power into the hands of amateurs creators.
Be connected for sure, make students culturally aware, but too much focus on connectedness is to the detriment of learning.
(Note: I don’t have comments available because this isn’t a space for dialogue – rather a personal space for me to write about the things i’m doing, thinking or interested in. Send me an email :-)