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Inside Teaching : June 2010
Inside Teaching | June 2010 ON MY SHELF 44 My role as Deputy Dean in Learning and Teaching at Griffith University excites me most when I interact with my students -- tomorrow's teachers -- especially in the courses which I teach where students use digital technologies. The excitement for me is when we conceptualise and 'live' our individual and connected digital pedagogies. Predictably, on my bookshelves are numerous books on teacher education and information and communication technology (ICT), including a well-worn copy of Seymour Papert's Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas, published in 1980. As Papert tells the story, as a child he 'fell in love with gears,' which he says did more for his learning of mathematics than his entire primary school years. It's a story that resonates with my own early experiences of learning, and Papert's three messages continue to influence my thinking. First, he points out, no one told him he had to learn about differential gears. Second, he remembers that 'there was feeling, and love as well as understanding in my relationship with gears.' Third, this was when he was only two. Instructively, and relevant to our current agendas, Papert points out that any attempt to 'measure' the effects of his encounter with gears through 'a "pre- and post- " test at age two would have missed them.' Also on my shelf is a copy of Don Tapscott's early work in 1998, Growing Up Digital: The rise of the Net Generation, a book that shows, through student voice, that the young people of the Net Generation are a highly motivated, socially conscious group, willing and able to change society for the better. It's now 30 years since Papert's Mindstorms, and 12 years since Tapscott's Growing Up Digital, so it was with interest that I read Born Digital, by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser. A key message in their book is that we need to understand that the 'digital natives' have the power to solve the problems we face. We know that excellence occurs when passion, commitment and initiative are encouraged in respectful, relational cultures within classrooms, schools and communities. We know that the most significant changes to education have occurred when educators and their students dream possible futures, and have the agency to create those futures. The sub-text of the standards agenda in education, though, is a distrust by governments of the quality of teacher education, teachers, schools and students. GLENN FINGER explains what he's reading right now about the effective, creative and innovative inclusion of technologies in teaching and learning.