Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Changing Behaviors

As I was reading David Warlick's latest post entitled, "Flickr Hits 100,000,000 CC Photos" I got thinking about something I've been talking about a lot lately that I've been wanting to put into words. I haven't written anything in this blog for months now so I thought I'd get myself back into writing.

A few months ago I was invited to facilitate a discussion at a faculty colloquium at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. They have added laptops to their classrooms, but many of the faculty members were seeing the laptops as more of a detriment than a benefit. As I was preparing for this presentation I started thinking about why this would be the case. As I got to thinking about it my thoughts went immediately to student engagement. My next question was how could I relay my thoughts in a way that wasn't condescending but challenging the status quo at the same time.

It mainly comes down to behaviors in my mind. Changes in technology typically create changes in behaviors. I've always loved photography. Many years ago I took pictures with a film camera. I switched to digital about 6 years ago. As I made this switch in technology my behaviors changed. When I took pictures on a film camera I took fewer pictures and took time to compose each image. Now that I use a digital camera I still take some time to think about how I want my image to come out but I take considerably more photographs looking for the best one of many (I'm not a pro photographer). Basically, my behaviors have changed due to the changes in the technology I use. There are many other types of "technology" I could have used for this analogy like the digital video recorder in my cable box or using Netflix to receive movies.

This made me think about classrooms and learning. Over the past few years many classrooms have seen dramatic improvements in access to technology. I've had the good fortune of working in one-to-one environments for the past 7 years but how many teachers have truly changed their behaviors to match the changes in the technology available to them?

David posed the question:

“What are the pedagogies of information abundant learning environments?”
in reference to the massive amount of Creative Commons digital images now available at Flickr for students to use.

I feel its more about teachers seeing that the technology available to them allows them to change their behaviors. They are no longer stuck with just the images in their books and magazines. Leaving 'what we've always done before' is hard in education. When will teachers see the need to change their behaviors in this new information landscape?

Image Attribution:
Image: 'Flickr Gift #4: Olympus Trip 35 from+Mac...+(Pimped+by+Me)'

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