What now, what next?

For some educators who have long advocated for the power of technology to augment, if not transform teaching and learning, this almost feels like a ‘gotcha’ moment.

If it wasn’t so tragic, and so destructive, this might be a moment to point to the teachers who suddenly feel compelled to work out an alternative way and say ‘education wouldn’t be even possible now if it wasn’t for the same technologies that you have been resisting for the last ten  years’.

In Australia the school closure debate has divided experts. Unlike most countries the schools have remained open and teachers ‘cannon fodder’ to the good of the economy. As it is holiday time now that debate has quietened, but it will be interesting to see what Term 2 looks like, whether schools will open at all, and what education will look like? Will schools attempt synchronous replications of the old school day, keep the existing 1 teacher – 1 class paradigm, or look freshly at the challenges and possibilities?

As we energetically run PD on Microsoft Teams, OneNote, Zoom and ‘Screencasting 101’ and VCAA scrambles to keep exam-based structures in place Term 2 beckons.

And, beyond that, what will school look like a year out from now? Business as usual? Or are we likely to have seen new models emerge?  Everything seems broken currently. All seems possible.  The future is unwritten.

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Cool Tools

 

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There’s something about the right tool for the right job. Fit and function. Function and form as one. This week, one of my favourite teacher-bloggers, Andrew Douch, wrote a great post about the perfect tool for screen casting.

I happen to think that screen casting is going to be the next big thing for teachers. The research says that feedback is pretty much everything and personalised, audio/video feedback via screencast seems to be pretty compelling.

So, I was interested in Andrew’s post, where he compares some of the many tools available in this space. I haven’t tried that many but have settled on Snagit from Techsmith, mostly because I use both Macs and PCs and the licence (about $30) gave me access to the software on both platforms.

But I want to find the right tool, the perfect tool for the job for me, so I will go exploring again and try some of Andrew’s suggestions.

That’s what it’s about; keeping open to new possibilities and new ways of doing things. Being a learner and looking for the right tools. There is no end point. Kaizen.

Which reminds me of a great book that I ordered that just arrived, called Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly. It’s a collection of the best tool for every job. He says:

“Cool tools really work. A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful.”

It reminds me of the ye ole Whole Earth Catalog from the 1970s which, along with Tracks Magazine, the surfing magazine, symbolises something of that counter-culture for me. It’s lovingly, gorgeously detailed. Like Andrew Douch, Kelly really cares about this stuff. And that’s why it works.