Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Proper PowerPoint usage in the classroom

I'm a huge fan of PowerPoint. I create a power point for my church every week that serves to focus the congregation on key passages of scripture or specific points that the pastor is trying to illustrate. While I think I will always have a lot to learn, I have learned that in PowerPoint, less is more. The least amount of text on the screen the better, especially if you have a large audience.

Too often, in my pursuit of higher education, I have seen power points that are frightening to behold. Huge paragraphs dropped onto a slide, clashing font and background colors or placement of text in relation to the background image. The audience, whatever the age of the student, must always be remembered! Is it supposed to be boring? Can it be a little fun? Sure! Absolutely!

PowerPoint is just a tool and should always be treated as such. If it's set to loop and automatically spew material that students need to copy down, without teacher interaction, then it's a waste of time. Scrap it and rethink how to best use PowerPoint.

Make a Jeopardy power point and get them involved! Get loud and cheer for the winner!

Monday, January 22, 2007

What is disruptive technology?

To get a really good grasp of what Disruptive technology means, I used the link on Fryer's page and found the entry on Wikipedia.

Disruptive technology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is a technological innovation, product, or service that eventually overturns the existing dominant technology or product in the market. Disruptive innovations can be broadly classified into lower-end and new-market disruptive innovations. A new-market disruptive innovation is often aimed at non-consumption, whereas a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers who were ignored by established companies. Sometimes, a disruptive technology comes to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill (as more expensive, lower capacity but smaller-sized hard disks did for newly developed notebook computers in the 1980s) or by successively moving up-market through performance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents (as digital photography has begun to replace film photography).

By contrast, "sustaining technology or innovation" improves product performance of established products. Sustaining technologies are often incremental however they can also be radical or discontinuous.


Being constructively, digitally disruptive!

I checked out a podcast at
Moving at the Speed of Creativity-Wesley Fryer; and found an interesting podcast.
Wesley Fryer speaks about being Constructively, Digitally Disruptive.

Being constructively, digitally disruptive refers to the idea that disruptions are needed for change, whether in society, technology, world-view or even education.
Fryer also states that "change requires a disruption" and that if there is no disruptive change, there is no change at all.

He also outlines seven different reasons educators should consider being constructively, digitally disruptive in 2007. These include 1) Strong reasons for changing our prevalent educational paradigm, 2) Change requires disruption to the status quo, 3) Digital technologies can provide differentiated means to engage each learner in the educational process, 4) Emphasizing collaborative learning and technologies which promote collaboration, 5) Enhanced personal digital competencies carry over to professional practices, 6) Modeling lifetime/lifelong learning activities, 7) Designing instructional interactions (lessons) which follow the revised model of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

He asks "Who are the change agents? Who are the catalysts for change?" It can happen at all levels, nationally, state, district and primarily at the classroom level. This a wonderfully valid concern for the educational environment, with the desire to provide students with skills that they will need to be employable and relevant in the 21st century, but can the classroom environment embrace the digital technologies without the support of districts, state budgets and society as a whole?

When will society truly embrace the need to educate all children in the manner in which they will reach their best potential for the 21st century? We, as students pursuing our instructional technology degrees, will be firmly behind that idea, but we can't do it alone. Slowly, but surely, we must keep up the fight, digging in and finding the ways to get students hands on technology.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stepping into a new realm...

Having been a semi-technical nerd for years, I'm glad to finally step into the world of the weblog. I've worked with PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements, and web pages for years. My skills are sorely lacking in current web page languages, but I can manage well enough.

I'm looking forward to becoming a semi-regular blogger and seeing where it will take me. I suppose this a perfect example of journaling, getting all those inner thoughts out into an incredibly public forum.

Just be careful out there, fellow newbies, your written thoughts are now public property!