I love what I do.

I love technology and education. Maybe you like knitting. Cool. My thing is educational technology.

Please feel free to leave a comment...

Welcome readers from M*U*S*H : updated with log

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Welcome to all the readers from M*U*S*H. Please watch this space for transcripts to my online lecture: The Advantage of Ignorance: Technology In Education. This lecture is primarily about sharing my experience in education and inviting other computer-savvy folks to consider a career in educational technology. For those not in the know, this conference took place on April 7 2007 in the text-based virtual world M*U*S*H. M*U*S*H is built on the pennMUSH engine, which allows people to create brilliant text-based games, and virtual worlds. I use my nom de plume, Boris there. Onto the lecture: Boris says, "Greetings." Boris says, "This lecture will focus on technology in education. I will discuss my experience in education, my current position, and my thoughts about effectively using technology in education. I will discuss the importance of blogging your successes. The objective of this lecture is to pique the interest of fellow mush'ers who might be interested in a role in technology education." Boris says, "The point is, as digital natives, younger, curious, and competent IT teachers can essentially do whatever they want to do, so long as they follow a few simple rules." Boris says, "Digital native: A term I swiped from Mark Prensky who uses it to make broad generalizations about people today: digital natives and digital immigrants. It works for broad generalizations, but as we will see later in the lecture, we need to have a slightly more nuanced view of people." Tokeli emerges from the Linux Lobby. Tokeli has arrived. Givur emerges from the Linux Lobby. Givur has arrived. Boris welcomes Tokeli Boris welcomes Givur, as well. Boris says, "I started educational life in 1999 as a mathematics assistant, working for meager wages in a small elementary school (ages 6 to 14 for you Non-Americans out there). I showed an active interest in technology in my school, and began helping teachers with technology problems. Most of the time, this help manifested itself as quiet and desperate pleads for help with utterly trivial technical issues." Boris says, "I noted the teachers had an amazing u,interest) in technology, but no support to use it or learn it. I quickly established myself as the goto guy for a quick technical support. I did this without the blessing or knowledge of our building system administrator, and worked very much "under the radar" for a while. The technical help I gave them was remarkably trivial - but in their eyes, a blessing. Imagine a giving a really thirsty person a drink." Boris grins at the ansi mistake Boris says, "Remember those simple suggestions I was talking about earlier? Here's a suggestion: help people who need help." Boris says, "I'll continue my story in a moment..." Boris says, "The State of Affairs" Boris says, "A slightly depressing but common scenario in many public schools is old, and vastly disparate technology systems, little to no support, and very little understanding (technically and pedagogically) exactly how to use computers in education. Many school system administrators are responsible for hundreds of computers in many different schools - collating vast amounts of student data, and ensuring compliance with many laws. They administrate a bevy of servers (email, ldap, web, caching, etc...), and are generally "overworked and underpaid". Many of them have turned to the dark side." Boris says, "It's rather interesting then, in public education, there is a very strong, and commonly held belief computers and technology are vitally important for our children, and their education. Heh." Boris says, "Enter the school computer lab." Boris says, "Many schools, short of funds, technical support and guiding pedagogical vision opt to create a computer lab. The computer lab often has 20 to 30 computers, and the students are dropped off once a week for about 40 minutes to learn about powerpoint, word processing, and databases. This makes sense to most school administrators, who want to maximize exposure to a valuable resource. Pedagogically it's a disaster - but that's for another lecture." Boris says, "The sad fact is, through no fault of their own, schools have a tremendous amount of ignorance around educational technology." Boris says, "...back to my story" Boris says, "Little did I know that this habit of helping teachers on the side with technical problems would become a hallmark skill, which still serves me today. I have to manage my time a little more carefully now, but stopping to help a teacher attach a LCD projector to a computer goes a long way. Really." Sketch interjects, "I agree." Boris nods to Sketch 😊 Boris says, "I then started teaching ages 12 to 14 (grades 6, 7 and 8 for you Americans) part time. I worked part time as a building technical support person - so my position was split between fixing and setting up computers and teaching computer science. It was here I made a few important realizations:" Boris says, "1) Spending 4 weeks learning about word processing is stupid" Boris says, "2) most school administrators have no clue about technology" Boris says, "3) technology can make normal learning better" Boris says, "I started to integrate classroom content into my lessons. So we stopped learning about powerpoint, and used powerpoint to illustrate a pond life-cycle. I walked down the hallway looking at projects - if the third grade was studying the Pilgrims and the Mayflower, we worked on similar content, except using technology. I turned to webquests, and made a fundamental switch:" Boris says, "Here's a suggestion: computers and technology are about learning, not about computers and technology." Boris says, "Forgive me for another brief pause in my story..." Boris says, "Building cred" Boris says, "Cred is credibility, and it was critical for me to have it as I explored new territory. I went out of my way to help as many teachers as I could. I paid special attention to teachers who showed an eagerness and willingness to use technology in their classes. It wasn't long (6 months) until I had built myself a reputation as a hard worker, willing to help, and knew what I was doing." Boris says, "Here's a suggestion: Know your stuff." Boris says, "The water cooler effect." Boris says, "Here's my observations about how and why teachers use technology in their classrooms. They talk to their friends and colleagues about everything - including what works, and what doesn't work. I put my technology integration faith in this human social network. Alice talks to Bob and tells Bob all about this great thing she's doing in class. Pretty soon Bob gives me a call and asks me about this "Google Groups" thing. And on it goes." Boris says, "It might sound kind of weird (it does to me) but it really works." Boris says, "...back to my story." Sketch raises a hand. Sketch says, "What about those people that have no friends? 😛" Boris says, "Please?" Boris laughs! Trinsec throws popcorn at Sketch. Sketch eats it. :D Boris says, "When you are working with 13 year old boys and girls, you HAVE to have friends!!!" Boris says, "The day came. I was offered a full time position at my school! I was teaching grades 3 to 8 (thats ages 9 to 14 for you non-American folks) and teaching staff development. I started writing howto's (which you can still here: [url=http://www.mackenty.org/index.php/ed_tech/]http://www.mackenty.org/index.php/ed_tech/[/url] and here: [url=http://www.hchs.hunter.cuny.edu/index.ph"]http://www.hchs.hunter.cuny.edu/index.ph"[/url] Boris says, "oops!"




Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Avatar

Bill MacKenty, Chief Zuccini

I make a difference in the life of kids. You want to tell me what's more rewarding?

Avatar

Resume

This is my full resume. It has all my work experience since I graduated from college in 1992, including certifications, professional memberships, and descriptions of my work.

Avatar

Polish Resume

This is my full resume translated into Polish. My wife tells me it is a literal translation, and as such might convey a slightly different meaning to Polish speakers.