Monday, September 5, 2011

Sink or Social

I've always considered myself a Technologically inclined chap. I keenly follow new advancements and will slot whole days into my schedule to figure out a new gadget to its maximum potential. So joining a teaching course based on 21st Century technological integration in the classroom was a no brainer.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I had a minor meltdown this past Saturday morning over simultaneously setting up a twitter and blogger account. It's vital to add here that my grandmother has a twitter account.

It wasn't to do with any difficulty in the process itself that caused my frustration, rather it was the daunting concept of linking my online presence to the rest of you. Over thirty people are going to be linked to me at all times from now on, and that's even not including any keen observers looking in on this little EdTech experiment of ours.

At this point I had a revelation that, until now, my link to technology has been entirely antisocial. All my gadgets and surfing and even facebooking has revolved around me either passively absorbing information, or inputting it into a tight-nit easily controlled online setting. I have never integrated myself into a project of many people (strangers, really, though only for a short while) working collectively towards a goal larger than themselves. The fact of that now amazes me, because that is what 21st technology is all about. And with that realization, I find I've been incorrectly viewing new technology as an end in itself, and not the means with which I can make a contribution in "real life." Touch screens, smartboards and live feeds are tremendous advancements, but they're usefulness goes so much deeper then simple fodder for gadget hounds like myself. As a teacher, I am going to have to get very used to linking my life collectively with groups, and that is the first and easily the most important lesson this cohort has given me thus far.

So I share this lesson with all of you, though to some it will surely be old hat. We have to do this together folks, it's sink or social. 


  1. Key to being a leader is sharing. Sharing your insight and expertise. You've just taken the first step to being an Ed Tech Leader.

  2. Shawn,

    If I understand correctly, you are making a distinction between the tool and how it is used. You talk about your comfort of gadgets and surfing and give examples of the usefulness of 'Touch screens, smartboards and live feeds' and yet still, you make a distinction that these tools or technologies are as useful or innovative as far as we choose (or not) to make them.
    It is refreshing and inspiring to see new teachers (like you) that are talking about the importance of networks, of linking expertise, of sharing, or supporting and of learning from one another.
    Shawn, I wonder - How will you bring the idea that new technology is NOT an end in itself but about our collaborative contribution into your classroom?
    Is this something that could help you when formulating your own philosophy of education?

    Welcome to Cohort D. I look forward to what we will accomplish together.

  3. Zoe,
    In regards to your first question, your referred post by @safgil ( was helpful, particularly when she writes "we must always strive to connect with our learners and show them that we are genuinely interested in what they find relevant."
    Regardless of what specific technology is being used (and I imagine we'll all be finding our niche in that respect this year), It must go beyond a simple gimmick to get the students (or administration's) attention. With more tech, students will being given an increasingly greater capacity for active contribution to the classroom, and teachers in turn have to display a legitimate interest in their chosen directions. In this sense technology isn't in any way about making things easier, as I've heard it suggested in the past and outside this program. Rather it's about putting an end to passive learning.
    So In a nutshell, that's one way to bring the idea to the table, but I'd be interested to hear others.

  4. Howdy from a student teacher in New Zealand.

    My advice is to stick with it. My blog now gets more visits a week than it did for the entire month of march!

    Hope you enjoy the experiment I did it by myself and loved it!