Many Points of Learning

There should be many points of learning, in every learning environment, and for every learning day. We may have gotten a little too comfortable after the 1:1 acceptance successes of the recent decade, though. When a battle is won, it is easier to rest on laurels, and for the most part, our 19th century classroom designs, are still in place, with possibly one, 20th century tool chosen as top dressing. The century and the tools may have changed, but are we any closer to the seamless access to resources needed for the future of student and teacher success and improvement? It is no longer about one device, or one solution. It can’t be. It’s about teacher and student access to learning through many points in the learning environment, and in many different ways. How can that be done?

First step is not easy.

To be fair, the next step is not as easy. Most feel that choosing one device or solution is sufficient, and it’s easy to believe the journey is done, when that happens. That’s not the case. It isn’t enough to say, anymore, that your district is 1:1, or has a tablet program, or has outfitted every student and teacher with a device like a Chromebook. Those are still individual device statements, and out of context classroom choices. What we really need to know, now, is if those decisions create the desired, and complete learning space. That is where we should concentrate our education efforts. What makes matters worse, is that the idea of that learning space, complete with many, different devices and tools for teachers and students sometimes doesn’t get heard, or acted upon, because there may be another, and conflicting agenda preventing that decision from being explored, and possibly from happening.

Dreams are possible.

The key is to have the learning environment recognize the teachers and learners when they enter, and not the reverse. This idea may have been once the stuff of science fiction, but future-thinking teachers, today, can, very soon, go beyond just talking about it. This dream is possible today, in part, through efforts in a very competitive education marketplace, because of advances in education technology, and because we’re finally all looking beyond the one device or solution for all answers.

What’s important to note is that, today, tying in all the old and new technologies in a school, or district, can create these new learner-enveloping possibilities in even older buildings by updating infrastructure. In other words, it will be possible to retread a school and district’s learning environment, bringing it all together to better recognize the users, the learners, in a truly ubiquitous way. In the near future this may be done in schools with teacher and student wearables, such as jewelry, or more likely microfiber, digital threads in clothing. I’m assuming implanted chips will be saved for another century.

It won’t take wearables to start recognizing learners in learning environments.

While these sorts of wearables are already happening in consumer digital-ware, schools will lag a bit behind, as always, with instructional technology resources and display technology, with possibly one exception—a technologically magical device, or solution, of some sort, for easily recognizing all users, while it, at the same time, ties every solution and device in a learning space together. That conduit device will increase the amount of individual learning, and advance the collaborative learning unlike anything imagined. It will make the school networking and file sharing we know, seem like infant steps for instructional technology. This is close—a short step away, and it will not be for just a few. And when it happens, no one will need to be an expert beyond his/her teaching or learner expertise. When devices and solutions simply reach out to touch and connect learners and teachers—education change will happen in moments. “Wait for it—change is near!”

About the Author:

Ken Royal is a former educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience. He has written at many of the major education publications, including District Administration, TechLearning, and Scholastic Administrator. Presently, Ken is a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is a Promethean storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.

Summary
Article Name
Many Points of Learning
Description
There should be many points of learning, in every learning environment, and for every learning day.
Author
Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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