Starting Motherhood and COETAIL

Two weeks ago, I woke up around 4am to discover my water had broken.  I had just finished my last day of work the day before and I was looking forward to attending the COETAIL start-up weekend that very morning with Dana Watts; however my plans had apparently changed.

That evening on September 21st, at 8:03pm, I welcomed William Dakota Blair into the world, a beautiful healthy boy.  And since that day my thoughts have revolved around him; what is he thinking, what will he grow up to be, what kind of world will he live in, what kind of technologies will he be using in the classroom and in his daily life, how can I best prepare him for this ever changing world…

So as I start on my journey into parenthood, I also start on my COETAIL adventure. Exploring new technologies, new ways of teaching, and discovering better ways to communicate, collaborate and create all while learning how to change diapers, this is no doubt going to be an exciting time.

The readings for this week [New] Bloom’s Taxonomy Digitally by Andrew Churches, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by George Siemens, and Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project – “Messing Around” pg. 20 – 28 drive home one unifying message; technology is transforming the way we learn whether we like it or not.  Like Jeff Utecht mentions in his book Reach “No longer are there consumers and producers.  We have all become prosumers.  Creating knowledge as we consume.”  Teaching ourselves things by “Messing Around online.”

I really relate with this excerpt from Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project – “Messing Around” pg. 24

“Basically, I had to self-teach myself, even though I was going to school for digital media . . . school’s more valuable for me to have . . . a time frame where I could learn on my own.” Similarly, Allison, a 15-year-old white girl from Georgia, describes how she learned to use video tools:  

Trial and error, I guess. It’s like any—whenever I learn anything with computers, I’ve taught myself how to use computers, and I consider myself very knowledgeable about them, but I just—I learn everything on my own, just figure it out, and the same with cameras. It’s like a cell phone. I just figure out how to do it, and it’s pretty quick and easy” (Patricia Lange, YouTube and Video Bloggers).

because this is exactly how I learn new technologies.  I figure them out, read up and research about them and then start using them.  Most everything you could ever want to know is already online, it’s just finding that information, understanding it and trying it out for yourself.  Most of the knowledge I have gained as a technology integrator has been from searching the web, reading blogs, forums and help files and spending some time experimenting with the new tools.  Kids are doing this already.  If you show them how to search and evaluate information, most other things they can figure out by themselves.

The teacher needs to step back and become more of a facilitator than an information resource.  The article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by George Siemens talks about the “Rapidly diminishing knowledge life.”  In other words  “Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months” and there is no possible way to keep up with all this information.  In my opinion, the best way to stay current as a teacher is to stay abreast of new technologies, and new ways of finding and searching information so that you can pass these valuable skills to your students.