How big do you think?
What constraints limit your practice and how you think about education and learning? Do you consciously try to reduce or remove those barriers and boundaries by being a learner?
And when you look at new things, new opportunities, what do you wonder about? What’s your first question when you see something potentially disruptive to the status quo of schools?
I’ve written about boundaries before, but after ISTE 2013 it’s an appropriate topic to revisit.
I had the opportunity to spend Sunday in an augmented reality workshop featuring Aurasma. If that’s new to you, Aurasma allows you to create augmented reality experiences by linking a target image (what you point your smartphone camera at) with an overlay (content that is displayed on your phone when the app recognizes what you are pointing your camera at). The result of linking a target image to an overlay is called an aura (that term is specific to the Aurasma design environment). To check out what an aura looks like, download the Aurasma app from iTunes (for an iphone or ipad) or for an Android device in Google Play and point it at the back of a US $20 bill.
Imagine being able link an image of an object (such as the face of a statue) with any type of content located in the cloud (such as a video of the person represented by the statue). Imagine making any recognizable physical surface interactive with content from the Web (a thought from my good friend David Warlick). Imagine doing the same with a “digital surface.” (Note: I’ll let you think about that one.) Imagine creating a public channel in Aurasma so that every student in your school with a smartphone could access content in a completely new way. And imagine when the Aurasma app is available on Google Glass. What could you do, what would you do, with this capacity? More importantly, what could your kids do?
The educators in the workshop wanted to build scavenger hunts for kids.
OK, a starting point…but that can’t be the end point, right? Why take this technology and retro it onto something that’s probably not really interesting for students in the first place, and certainly not pedagogically compelling? And again, why not start with this question: What could my students do with this technology?
There is a big difference between teachers using technology to teach with and students using technology to learn and create with.
Why scavenger hunt? Why is that the starting point for thinking? Why not wonder and dream about things never done before? Where’s the imagination?
Also at ISTE, as you might imagine, iPad presentations were plentiful and probably rightly so. It’s a great product, the penetration and use of the product is off the charts, and a lot of schools have jumped on board with implementations. All the more reason to rekindle imagination and some new thinking, right?
OK, again, a starting point…but where’s the new vision of learning? Why retro an iPad and its apps onto an old framework? And I know it’s comfortable and its known, and educators like Bloom’s, and its nice to have buckets to put things into…but…
Instead, why not focus on the true affordances of the device as a starting point: 1) linking learners to learners everywhere, and 2) linking learners to information, resources, conversation, people and ideas.
How would you do that as an organization and learning community? What does it look like? What does it mean for student learning?
Start there and use design to build a new vision of a student learning experience. Look forward.
We all can think bigger.
Making things better is good. There is always room for improvement in what we have always done. But the time for more is here. In fact, it was here a while ago.
Education needs new starting points.
It’s time to do new.