Saturday, 30 September 2017

Border Crossing... from analogue to digital and back...

In the last few days I have been reflecting on a post shared by Sue Martin on my personal facebook page about teachers being replaced by "inspirational robots" - you can read the article here...
What I found is that I answered not as I or Sue expected... as I am rather an hands on person (but in no means adverse to technology) - but in this case I was actually in favour of these robots - as long as they do as the article explained... they learned to adapt to each individual child's pace of learning, they learnt how to challenge each child without overwhelming, they learned what interested and motivated the child to learn, it meant learning was more effective and the school day could be shortened... which for me, means there would be more time for free play and human interactions. It also mentioned that the learning would occur in many forms... so closer to the hundred languages than most schools are offering today.
For me the school system is limited... it is not able to reach all the children, not even the most talented teacher can engage all the children all the time... far too many teachers do not have a proper understanding of how the brain works and how learning happens... especially when it comes to children with autism and ADHD - and believe me I have first hand experience of this as I struggle to find a path for my son that will enable him to learn in school (the standardisation of schools is a mire of misery that seems to be drowning any enthusiasm my son had for learning).
Often I find that screens are being used as an alternative way to teach my son - but I would like to point out that it is the exact same standardised crap except in screen format... technology is not expanding learning possibilities it is being forced to conform to the school system that is not working for all children. The school law, the school curriculum talks about inclusion... but the system does not allow it to happen with the standardised approach.

So the idea of a digital system that will allow my son to learn with all his learning languages (and gain more... so not JUST a screen) - that is tuned in to his brain and how it works, and tuned in to his interests to motivate learning, and allows him shorter days so that he has free time to be himself... then these inspirational robots cannot come soon enough...

Screens should not be a form of child-care... used to keep a child quiet so that teaching can happen (this is happening a lot with my son - and I know this is the case for others too). Screens, apps, computers... the digital world is simply another language - not the main language, just another one that can and should be used in learning... digital does not have to mean children are using screens all the time...

The Reggio Emilia exhibition  Border Crossing shares experiences of exploring nature using digital tools... that the digital enables children and adults to see a new perspective of the world around them and to then explore nature in a new way...

At the exhibition there is the chance to explore various techniques where nature and technology are used... where technology is used outside to explore nature and then brought inside to continue the experience and also where nature is brought inside to explore technology... it is not a one way exploration... hence the name of the exhibition crossing borders... the border between analogue and digital, the border between nature and technology, between outside and inside, between real and imagination...
By combining technology with nature, of analogue and digital, there becomes the possibility to explore imagination and the real world... to be able to explore the imagination in new ways, and also to explore the real world from new perspectives..

I feel that technology, the digital world, is sometimes elevated a little too much as a language of learning... where in a sense it takes too much space... it is sometimes too loud so that other languages are not being heard. Its is a fantastic language to learn and explore... but as educators we need time to explore this language, to master it somewhat, to feel comfortable with it, to understand the potential for learning, play and exploration before we use it...

In that sense I can recommend going to Border Crossing to see how digital and analogue are being used as a bilingual approach to exploring nature... it is not so much about crossing the border, and more about blurring the edges of the border and to get the best of both worlds...

I am about learning with all of our senses, with all of our hundred languages... and the digital language is here to be used as one of them... it is exciting... but it is important to remember in this excitement that it is not more important than all the other languages, and it should not have the higher status that it sometimes gets, so that the focus is on the digital product rather than the child's experience and process.

Educators need time to play with this language and all languages to understand better how to weave it into the fabric of their community of learners...

Below are images from Border Crossing and a short film with some glimpses of the borders crossed...



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