Monday, August 25, 2008

Thanks, and some brief reflections on digital literacy.

Many thanks to all of you who have responded to my first posting - I appreciate the interest, advice and encouragement. I had good intent to learn how to post an audio clip on the weekend, but I ended up sleeping most of it away! Anyway, I did manage to change the date and time showing on the blog, and have set myself the target of my first audio posting by the end of the week.

I did do a bit of thinking about "digital literacy", though - or was that a dream? As I thought about the many things I don't know/cannot do I wondered where I sat on that continuum from "some of my best friends have computers" to " there's not much I cannot do with a laptop and a PDA". I recognise I have lots to learn, but I am aware that we have staff at OP who know very little - one I heard about apparently does not know what is going on around the place because he never reads his email - is just not comfortable with the technology!

A further prompt to my thinking came from my 10 year old who certainly does sit towards the right hand end of that continuum, and is mostly self taught. She will be at polytech/university in seven short years, and I wonder what she will find when she arrives? Hopefully not lecturers standing in front of classes with little desks all in a row, telling her all they know! Hopefully she will be using the technologies she is comfortable with, and partnering with her teachers in pusuit of what ever capabilities she wants to develop.

But deep down I fear she may be disappointed, depending on what she chooses to study. Which leads me to ask: is it time that we required all of our staff to be digitally fluent? Is it not a core competency that educators are skilled in and comfortable with using commonly embraced digital technologies, and that includes social networking technologies? Can we really afford to accommodate modern day luddites? Personally I think not. What's more, I think it is a professional responsibility these days for teachers to be digitally literate. And managers! But what does being digitally literate really mean, and what is the best way forward for us to encourage and support our work force?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Post!!

Well here we are - my first "real" blog post! Real in that this is the first post I have initiated, as distinct from the odd reply I have made to postings on other blog's that I monitor.
I have had good intent to set up my own blog for quite some time. In fact, I did make a start 20 months ago one night in Stockholm when I had nothing to do. Alas, that blog lies somewhere in the ether bereft of postings as I procrastinated month after month in actually writing something. But therein lies a lesson. I have long held the view that blogging is a potentially good thing, but it does require quite a commitment of time, especially for a 10/15 words a minute hunt and peck man like myself. Why was I not forced to learn to touch type at school - in the same way as rote learning of the times tables still leaves me today largely liberated from the need to carry a calculator!!!
So why start now? Well, why not? Actually, the simple reason is the dogged prompting by Sarah Stewart and her very helpful advice. Even then, I missed my self imposed deadline by over a week, but now that I am started I hope to build some momentum and to maintain a regular presence.
But why have I set up this blog? Well, as I have said at the start of the blog I am keen to get some dialogue going about aspects of teaching and learning and in particular what we are doing and trying to achieve at Otago Polytechnic. I hope, too, that this blog will be another form of accountability for the decisions I make and the directions in which I encourage the Polytechnic to go - either personally or as a member of our leadership team.
Also, I see enormous educational potential through blogging, informed by the efforts being made by several Otago Polytechnic staff. What better way to develop an understanding of that potential than to engage with the process yourself. I also see the potential of blogging to enhance management and leadership, which is one of my real passions, standing alongside my passion for education. I do intend to muse somewhat about management and leadership in future postings.
OK, that is it for now - having explained why I am here and what I hope to achieve. "See" you soon.