Education, Social Media, Technology

Social Media & The Quest For Connection

Courtesy: mediabistro.com

Courtesy: mediabistro.com

Humankind loves information. Its the strongest stimulant in the world, 100% legal, and has no known cure for addiction. Since the dawn of civilization we have been on a quest fill the capacity of our mind, yet science finds that even the things we “forget” don’t actually leave our brain. (Article)

Fast forward a few millennia and in comes the industrial revolution, where humanity is rocketed forward in  productivity and efficiency. These innovative breakthroughs left the world with a lot of time to think. This thinking developed into structured pursuits of learning, notability the Industrialization of Education. (You can watch an amazing video about this from Ken Robinson who is not only more qualified to talk about the subject, but more witty as well.)

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we see that technology has once again revolutionized our lives. Twenty years ago you graduated high school and did one of three things: go to college, learn a trade, or join the army. You then spent the next two decade or so in the same job, hoping that with time you would rise up the chain of command at the same company. Now we go to college and graduate in a discipline we will never utilize, and will have at least eight jobs before we turn forty. At least thats what the internet says.

So were does that leave us? While we still need to educate ourself and find meaning in work, technology is giving us not only a massive reservoir of information, but

a voice, and the quest for connection.

The desire to connect is engrained in our DNA. Its part of the essence of our soul and is rooted in the source of creation,  G-d himself. Forgot I was a Rabbi for a second right? Our revolutionary success in making machines that work for us, and making production speeds almost instant, has left us with

a tremendous amount of time for creativity, connection, and collaboration which sometimes leads to creatively connected collaboration.

Five years ago an educator could connect online via a handful of education websites, blogs, and the occasional forum. Our connection was limited to website updates and their frequency, or isolated user generated forum postings. Even with the wealth of information on the internet, we were still  limited.

The launch of Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, completely redefine connection. Our ability to connect to like minded and inspired educators throughout the world yearning to share, to learn, and to connect. I once had an educator tell me they

learn more from their PLN on Twitter than their entire Masters degree program.

The connection is an open ended one. It’s what you do with it. Sharing your projects, reaching out for help, or just absorbing the inspiration of #edchat can give anyone looking for a connection something meaningful.

Standard
App Fluency, Apple™, EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, Education, iPad, Technology

The Invisible iPad

InvisibleiPad

If this event becomes a meeting about how we got rid of power cords, extended battery life, and solved workflow challenges with some neat app, then we fail.

The iPad summit is not about the iPad

With these words, Greg Kulowiec  had me hooked. Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, we have seen a revolutionary transformation in how we create, consume, and communicate. Whether the iPad is an authentic educational tool is not relavant, because

it’s not about the iPad.

Is the automobile an authentic education tool? What about the refrigerator? Revolutionary inventions are not about the invention itself, but whats the invention gives use the ability to do. A truly revolutionary invention should in time become invisible. No longer is it viewed as something special, yet its effects are far reaching. The lightbulb changed the way the world functioned. The world was no longer bound to productivity during daylight, or the length of time it takes your oil lamp to burn up. It was about what you would be able to do because now there was a constant and stable source of light.

While the iPad does a little more than a lightbulb, its success in eduction is on the principle that the iPad does the same for learners as the lightbulb.

It liberates us from the limitations of creative tools, the challenges of access to quality content, as well as our source of inspiration, and innovation being based on geographic location. 

Yes, the iPad needs to be invisible because we are searching for something deeper than a manipulative touch screen device. We are looking to start a conversation, create a personal expression, and to fashion a brick in a collaborative digital structure.

Before the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, I understood the philosophy, but I lacked the language to express it with words like App Fluency and App Smashing, as well as the support of like minded visionaries with more experience than myself. This and more I found at the #ettipad conference. In the past I have written about the process of integrating technology into education and its correlation to the experience of building something by hand. When we build something, our tools are chosen keeping in mind their quality, versatility, and ease of use. A responsible individual does not put someone in front of a table saw and say, “Good Luck!”, so why do we drop an iPad in someones lap and do just that? Cutting off a finger is not the only danger of using technology wrong, and I see it time and time again with the iPad.

The iPad isnt a great way to take a test, or read a book, or even create a movie. It isn’t enough to change how we use the iPad, but why we use the iPad, or any other device for that matter.

We use technology to liberate ourselves from mundane robotic like tasks that lack any sort of creative drive or purpose. A robot can memorize 100 vocabulary words, the question is now, what do we do with those words? Do we use them for creative expression, or do we let them collect dust in the deep recesses of our brain? Technology is not here to make us lazy, or to avoid basic communication skills, but

it is here to make us think critically, solve problems, collaborate, communicate, create, and ideate. 

These words have far surpassed cliché status in education, as if they are the key to tagging successful learning outcomes, but the truth is that when the iPad is invisible, you really get to see those words in action.

As long as our focus is on learning outcomes and the experience it brings, then the this just might be the best iPad experience yet.

Standard