Monday, December 6, 2010

Why I study education technology (Part II)

Don Tapscott recently wrote a follow up essay in response to the New York Times article by Richtel, "Growing up Digital: Wired for Distraction", where he criticizes the assumptions made by Richtel that are not based on strong evidence. Tapscott then goes on to write on empirical evidence that shows how this generation is not so much distracted, but are instead not in sync with the traditional education delivery methods.

Unfortunately, Tapscott removed the article from his blog (I had it saved in my Google reader). Out of respect, I will not post it on my blog or scribd it, but if anyone would like a copy, please leave a comment with an email address. You can find a similar train of thought from a series of articles he wrote for Business Week. The links are on his website.

What strikes me about his comments are how this debate is expanding from the Prensky non-evidence based Digital Natives/Digital Immigrants distinction, to one of where neuroscience is proving changes in cognition. The debate is not so much an either/or one, but one that screams that educators should rethink how information is delivered.

In my course writings on mobile learning, I have been trying capture what mobile learning means, and so find this debate and its outputs as verification to what I have been pondering. What this debate says to me is that we need to reconsider how we define learning from the perspective of the learner - someone who is mobile - and how knowledge is not always best packaged in a linear script, but can be attached to context and situations. Think geo-tagging or other AR technologies. Then think of how a clever student can mash this information together to form a knowledge base needed to solve a highly contextual problem.

There is a lot to learn from this research and the debate. Anyone who is involved in education technology should be thinking about it.

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