Bill MacKenty

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The four noble truths of technology and learning

Posted in Educational Tech on 19 - January 2011 at 12:53 PM (13 years ago). 182 views.

With apologies to my Buddhist friends.

The four noble truths of technology and learning.

1. Engage, stop, turn off, reflect.
2. Program
3. Participate
4. Sift

As I work in this business, reflect on my practice, and see what works and what doesn’t work, I see four noble truths. 

1. Engage in this stuff. Get involved with multimedia, searching, web 2.0 tools, programming, chatting, mashups, game playing, learning. Dive deep into this and then stop. Turn off -> insert noun here

<- and reflect. I say an hour of day of no screen time. Just stop and reflect on the chaos, and then on something important. Pretty simple. There is a pattern, a ratio, we should aim for. For every X amount of time in front of a screen, Y amount of time away from it. Learning, understanding, and depth are important 21st century skills. You can't think if you don't have time to think, eh? I say depth is better than breadth.

2. Create something deep with technology. All the snazzy web 2.0 tools are great, but if you don't program, you don't speak computer. It's important. Coding is our

lingua franca. Think about books. Anyone who can write, can write a book (not everyone should, but that’s another story). Very few people who use a computer can code (but they should). As schools, we have a responsibility to teach literacy. Reading and writing. As books diminish and our primary means of knowing the world comes from a screen, we need to understand beneath the glossy interface. How to create something in this world.

3. Participation and engagement with technology is the only way to learn about it. I can teach you all about computers with pictures and diagrams, but until you start using it, you won’t really know it. Engage in technology, participate in the bigger world. It’s unprecedented, isn’t it? The access and availability of information is unlike anything we’ve ever known. Encourage students to enter into affinity space.

4. Mountains of data, ranges of information requires a new skill. Sifting.  What is true? What is fluff? What is some multinational corporation trying to sell? A hint about sifting: paying attention to smart voices. 

I’ll write more about each of these points in the coming days. Please share your pointed observations.