Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Disruptive Thoughts @ IT Summit

The IT Summit/SSLA Joint Conference was held March 23-24, 2009 in Saskatoon. As a member of the IT Summit Conference Committee and President-Elect of the SSLA Executive, I was interested in how we can harness collective intelligence to form collegial partnerships.

David Warlick, author of the 2¢ Worth blog, in his keynote addressed literacy and its need for redefinition to address our changing information landscape and its effect upon the 3Rs. Warlick defined contemporary literacy as:
  • Exposing what’s true
  • Employing the information
  • Expressing the ideas compellingly
  • …Within an Ethical context

Warlick ended the keynote by stating "Redefine literacy, so that it reflects today’s information environment and integrate that".

Dean Shareski, in his session on Disruptive Technologies, further exemplified how today's learning environment is constantly changing and we need to prepare students not for the Industrial Age of long ago, but as a critical thinker of an unknown future. Shareski identified "disruptions" that could transform the classroom:
  • Smart Phones
  • Low Cost Computing
  • Cloud Computing
  • Live Streaming
  • Microblogging (Love my Twitter!)
  • Interactive Immersive Learning Environments (Love my Second Life!)
and three "disruptions" related to pedagogy:
  • Privacy and Digital Footprint (including AUPs that let students communicate!)
  • Shift of Time and Space (24/7 classroom)
  • Open Space (Check out Academic Earth)
  • Outsourced Information (Gain info from a global audience, but creativity cannot be outsourced to Bangalore!)

David Warlick and Dean Shareski both challenged us not only to look into the future, but to examine our practices today. Are we focusing our efforts on integrating technology, or integrating literacy? Are we placing barriers of time, space, and distance on learning? Are we preparing our students to use digital content, or how to use paper? Are we teaching our students to prosper in a future we cannot clearly describe?

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