Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Journal # 8

Envisioning the Future of Education: Learning While Mobile
By Mark Van’t Hooft

In this article the author, Mark Van’t Hooft discusses the increasingly mobile and connected technologies that have become embedded in almost every aspect of our lives, and their impact on education. Despite the fact that technologies such as cell phones, iPods, handheld computers, and laptops are relatively new, for many of us it is difficult to imagine life without them. Van’t Hooft explains that these technologies are extremely mobile and connected. They place a large of amount of control in the user’s hand, and they allow us to access, create, compile and share information in various formats anywhere, anytime. The implications of these technologies for education are that learning has become more personal, more collaborative, and more ubiquitous. Learning is now happening across contexts, people, and digital tools that are both mobile and static. Mobile and wireless technologies are enriching the learning experience by making it more student-centered, by connecting schools with the world, and by bridging the gap between formal and informal education. However, Van’t Hooft also mentions that, with these new tools, comes a need for new literacies. Students, he says, need to learn the skills required for dealing with increased collaboration and increased networking. They also need to learn how to navigate this new technological world in safe, ethical, and productive ways.

Question 1: This article brings up the interesting point of how increasingly connected and mobile technologies can help bridge the gap between informal and formal learning. What is an example of a digital tool that does this?

Answer: One example of a digital tool that can help bridge the gap between informal and formal learning is MyArtSpace, or any other social networking website or blog that allows students to reflect and expand on what they learn in school. With these websites students can design a space where they can express themselves creatively, share their thoughts with their peers, and reflect and comment on the thoughts of others. These websites help bridge the gap between formal and informal education by allowing students to direct their own learning according to their interests, and by extending education beyond the classroom.

Question 2: What are some concerns that parents and educators may have about these new technologies?

Answer: Educators and Parents are often concerned about the fact that they have little control over what children can do and be exposed to with these technologies. They worry that there may be negative side effects that they’re not even aware of because they are not as proficient as the kids when it comes to these new digital tools.