Monday, 14 October 2013

Conflict, Change, Ideology, Innovation





A Perennial Question:

Q: What is going to disrupt us enough to interupt the cyclic recapitulation, of linguistically dressing up, old ideas in a new way?
A: Understanding the critically astounding relevance of Moores Law and ideas presented by Brynjolfsson and McAfee?

Two weeks ago I was with a group of classroom teachers discussing the book 




 “Race Against the Machine is a portrait of the digital world – a world where competition, labor and leadership are less important than collaboration, creativity and networks.”

Suggests that with exponential growth and development of digital technologies sits alongside, in fact has caused, the increase in unemployment. 

In Brynjolfsson and McAfee's words"The root of our problems is not that we’re in a Great Recession, or a Great Stagnation, but rather that we are in the early throes of a Great Restructuring."


                                                 A BIT OF MOORE'S LAW HUMOR

Moores Law maintains that computing power doubles every two years. The exponential growth looking like an enourmous J curve!

To grasp the full picture of exponential growth Jane Gilbert talked us through a story which illustrates this outrageous growth.

Ray Kruzweil 's story.

"In one version of the story, the inventor of the game of chess shows his creation to his country’s ruler. The emperor is so delighted by the game that he allows the inventor to name his own reward. The clever man asks for a quantity of rice, to be determined as follows: one grain of rice is placed on the first square of the chessboard, two grains on the second, four on the third, and so on, with each square receiving twice as many grains as the previous square.



“The emperor agrees, thinking that this reward is too small. He soon sees, however, that the constant doubling results in tremendously large numbers. The inventor winds up with 264-1 grains of rice, or a pile bigger than Mount Everest. In some versions of the story, the emperor is so displeased at being outsmarted that he beheads the inventor.”

That tale is bracing enough, but there’s a kicker: The most profound effects of the doubling phenomenon aren’t felt until you reach the second half of the chessboard."
Brynjolfsson and McAfee, believe that we are only just entering the second half of the chess board!

Jane gave us a chess board and rice to really see this idea play out. 


I awoke the following morning:
My first thought was Really?
Then I realised I was seriously unsettled. 
So unsettled that it has taken me two weeks to write this post. 
I think about the students in my classroom and then I know I have the dreaded question...


Q:  Am I teaching for unemployment?

Following this question...


Andy Hargreaves spoke at an IB conference #IBAEM2013 in the Hague asking...
Q: Are we teaching for employment or citizenship?



Thanks to @catherinecronin  (Who's work and research interests are online and open education, digital literacies and social media in education.)
 I tweeted and tumbled over,
Selwyn, N & Facer, K's new publication. 

The Politics of Education and Technology




The chapter I read suggests that it is time we looked at technology and education in a very different way.  In doing so it is possible to race not against but with the Machine!


 Selwyn, N & Facer, K  write,


" .. instead of being distracted by our own (often priviledged) personal experiences of digital technology, this book  starts from the premise that we need to work instead towards understandng and acting on educational technology in terms of its complicated and often unjust connections to the larger society."  Selwyn and Facer pg 4


Selwyn and Facer suggest we need to engage with a critical study of Educational Technology

1.  Move away from technology being a means to an end as this does not ask us to question or understand the 'full nature and value of education'. 
2. "..disrupt the deterministic assumption that technologies possess inherent qualities and are capable of having particular predetermined and predictable 'impacts' or 'effects' on learners, teachers, wider society." pg 8

Selwyn and Facer are able to show that the relationship between education and technology is a historical and present day narrative about Conflict, Change, Ideology, Innovation.  




A few days ago @FDHarrington (A Secondary School Physics teacher) asked the question in his blog
How do we convince others about the need for change?
Facer tweeted a suggestion, plain and simple. 
"Start acting where you can."

Q: What does acting look like?
A: It is the process of doing. Be the change you want to see, include as many others networks as possible as diverse as possible. Have an open hand. Engage in activities that motivate creativity, change and foster collaboration towards ideas improvement and the building of knowledge.

Q: What does acting sound like?
A: It is the process of speaking up. If opportunities arise where assumptions can be questioned step in, up and out! Be reflective, speaking ethically and critically. Know your research and share!