Gary Stager’s session about Seymour Papert is an example of a necessary component of the education of those who are, as Doug Peterson says, ‘coming to the party late’. I have recently felt somewhat of a disconnect that is rather disconcerting. Many of the ‘new’ web 2.0, social media educators are enthusiastic and extremely active in ICT in education. For this I am thrilled. I am so happy to learn with, and from, them. But, I am also an extremely reflective person who has watched this ‘industry’ for close to forty years now. Yikes! And there are some interesting trends.
Surfing the Surface
When new technologies come along, there is a tendency to ‘surf the surface’ of them. Before you know it, another tool, or set of tools, arrives on the scene and is adopted and we move on. We apply it quickly and perhaps without the judgement that is necessary regarding exactly what it is we wish kids to achieve or to learn. I fall into this trap on occasion. This is difficult to recognize without the benefit of time, experience and reflection. It is important that we learn from the past.
The Butterfly Defect
Gavriel Salomon, a brilliant cognitive scientist turned peace activist and researcher spoke of the ‘butterfly defect’* whereby students may learn to construct cognitive webs in terms of the casual links typical of the hypermedia they construct. I would suggest that many novices to education and many novices to the use of ICT in education may also be subject to this phenomenon. We may flit from tool to tool in a casual way. Wow, even those of us who are reflective and have a deep historical understanding of constructivism as it applies to ICT in education can get seduced by the charm and energy of the latest technologies.
I enjoyed all the sessions I attended at Educon – from the newbies to the weathered. We have a lot to learn from one another. Let’s keep the conversations, and our minds and attitudes, open to all.