VITTA workshop

I’m at the VITTA (Victorian Institute of Technology Teachers Association) workshop – a broad-brush look at emerging technologies and how they affect the way students learn.

Highlight – Heather Blakely, a teacher from a school like ours speaking about blogging. She’ll be coming to do a workshop at Eaglehawk SC.

Lowlight– the Apple representative speaking on podcasting, but almost exclusively from an iPod/Apple perspective. Good to see taxpayers’ money funding Apple’s PR machine!

There is obviously huge positives associated with technology and learning, but one thought – are there negative consequences when ICT is combined with learning? The technology we use (in all spheres) affects our worldview, so how does it affect our intellectual architecture?

I reckon it opens up the building, so to speak. It creates doors and windows between between historically separate mental domains. However, we don’t spend too much time in each room, flitting from one thing to the next, because we can. I think that the act of hand-writing forces us to think through an idea. Typing, voice-recording, SMS…all these encourage us to put down thoughts that are half-formed.

…on the other hand, there have been plenty of thoughts half-formed without the benefit of computers or mobile phones.


About Dave Fagg

I'm a dad, husband, and resident of a regional town in Bendigo. I earn a crust through freelance writing, and youth work. I am also studying sociology. When I'm not working I love reading on the couch, playing soccer with my son, and musing.
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2 Responses to VITTA workshop

  1. Roland says:

    G’day Dave, interesting post. It is interesting that you gained the most from a practicing teacher in the classroom. When a sales representative at a recent conference tried to push his electronic whiteboard with a few cute waves of his hands and pens, I reminded him that the technology would be better sold if I could see it in the hands of a teacher or some students .. probably on a Friday afternoon. It all has its place.

    I have had my own half-formed thoughts with a year 9 city field trip that we run. Our dilemma is to get our students to make some half decent notes and meaningful reflections … to take the next step and synthesise something beyond filling in blanks on a worksheet? Sending them off to use Powerpoint and Google afterwards is pointless.

    Recording an interview with friends or personal thoughts onto a portable mp3 recorder is attractive, expecially if they can somehow weave them into something with photographs, pencil sketches, brochures that they collected etc. Historians seem to be able to do this with resources and evidence that they collect from the past.

  2. davefagg says:

    Thanks for the comment Roland! I had a look at your site and it seems you have a fantastic array of technology-related learning going on…great work!

    I guess the thoughts we’ve both had about the difficulties in getting students to synthesise content into some kind of historical narrative are important – important because we need to come up with answers to the technology-shy teachers, who often use the difficulties associated with technology as a reason/excuse to ignore it altogether!

    I think it is pretty hard for students to create a coherent narrative using evidence (recordings, sketches, brochures etc) they’ve collected. Perhaps at Year 10 or Year 11 level this becomes easier. One problem is that many of my students have never read or viewed a text that synthesises varied content sources in a compelling manner. So it needs to be modelled to them. Another barrier is that students often don’t click that the statue/mining site/river that they are looking at portrays a STORY, rather than simply facts.

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