On Monday I have provided an invited keynote during the media-concept days of the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Bergisch-Gladbach (Germany). I have tried to focus in my presentation on two pervasive arguments which are very often repeated by teachers and learners in the school context.
- The first construct I have discussed in my presentation was the often discussed inter-generational problem of digital natives vs. digital immigrants. After a short summary of work by Prensky (2001) and Veen (2006) I have tried to deconstruct the hypotheses of an existing inter-generational problem. I have used for this purpose media usage and ownership statistics that show on a purely quantitative perspective (number of time using digital media, online-time in general, use of mobile devices etc.) indeed a kind of digital divide between the teens and twens and the older (teacher) generation. If we study this media usage qualitatively we see that a lot of time is spend by purely leisure-related activities (being with friends in social networks) and for the rest there is much time spent on passive consumption. As a summary I have refered to the excellent publication by Rolf Schulmeister (in German) who has deconstructed most theories about this inter-generational divide. In a later discussion with teachers from the school, we also found out that most young teachers are already "born digital" which confirms the argument.
- The second construct I have focused on in my presentation was the paradoxical situation that schools always have the feeling that they are lacking behind with their infrastructure. A lot of investments have been done in the last years to build up a basic infrastructure with wireless internet, computer rooms with beamers and sometimes smartboards. But still, the discussion about the "updating gap" for the infrastructure is repeated and repeated. Many ideas to use digital media in school are not implemented because of infrastructural limitations. At the same time, a huge part of the learners in schools are having a mobile device that they use very, very frequently (see my presentation below for details). In combination with new device-independent services and mobile apps huge opportunities are lost because manys schools still only focus on "undesired" using practices of mobile devices. What is missing is a strategy to define and allow desired usage.
For this purpose I have briefly presented the discussion of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and I have provided some examples for using mobiles in the classroom. My presentation used during this talk is embedded below.
In addition I have given a workshop for teachers focusing on concrete usage scenarios of mobile devices in the classroom. I had two times approximately 20 teachers in these workshops. We have focused on 4 usage scenarios which groups of 5 teachers could explore for about 20 minutes - afterward the devices have changed groups. Here are the four usage scenarios:
- Rapid content production and editing (Audi & Video including rough editing on the device itself)
- Exploration of the environment and gaming scenarios (using Augmented Reality and SCVNGR)
- Interaction opportunities with classroom response systems (we have used Socrative)
- On the fly production of learning material with ShowMe
Afterwards we took around 10 minutes to discuss the value of the senarios for the teachers. This was a fruitful discussion and I am keen on exploring how they have integrated these ideas in their teaching.