I like this video to review some of the main features of SWAY.
“There are places on the earth, in every country, where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be build and good teachers cannot or do not want to go…” Sugata Mitra’s inspiration for “The Computer in the Wall Experiment.”
There’s a bit of a “cool’ war happening in education these days. Teachers are doing the unthinkable: they’re taking corporate sides! What was once considered selling-out, now seems to have considerable educational cache. Apple-Google-Microsoft “Certified” seems to carry more weight than even your education degree! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a very different thing, and one that takes some getting used to. Learners are living in a very different time after all and our education system should reflect this changing environment. The fact that teachers are voraciously defending their Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) of choice is one good indicator that things are moving in a progressive direction for modern learners.
Recently, I was blessed to spend an entire summer day chatting about this very thing with a group of freshly minted Ontario educators (@MsKarapici; @MsMarino; @SmithWjasmith; @MMkirsti; @EFTeacher6; @NadineTFrancoi1; @jdsouza19326; @MsMedeiros112 ) and one serious long-time educational technology guru, @AddesaAT. We looked at GAFE and O365 and here’s our working summary of the key features of each VLE. You may find this overview valuable when choosing your VLE camp! Stay tuned for updates! I’m thinking a O365 or GAFE soccer scarf might be a necessary accessory in any future discussions!
Amidst all this VLE chatter, it’s valuable to note that learning management systems, like D2L, are quickly becoming obsolete. The only thing that D2L has that O365 or GAFE doesn’t have (yet) is the ability to apply a Turnitin authenticity checker on student submissions. I’ll save the topic of “intellectual property” as it relates to notions of collusion versus collaboration, for another post!
There has been a lot of changes in publicly funded education recently. In our Board, the biggest change has been the introduction of virtual learning environments (VLEs) like Desire2Learn and Office365 into instructional pedagogy. Some teachers are seeing the value in extending the learning experience beyond their classrooms. Teachers who have been quick to take up VLEs into their instructional style generally report the following experiences:
1. They stop tanning by the photocopier. They learn to upload.
2. They are quick to add discussion boards. They ask students probing questions.
3. They change their lessons. They flip it. They add video. They ask students to embed and to share.
4. They may even change their assessments. They start asking students to publish instead of to submit.
There are a lot of reasons why teachers deliberately opt out of this learning however. Just like our students, the reasons teachers may have not to learn new ways of teaching are legitimate and real. But, what happens when there’s never any evidence of growth and professional development over time? Can teachers fail teaching? Or, do they just fail our students?