March 03, 2011

Brian Lockwood: EdTech success? It's all about community

In a four-part video series for GETideas I travelled the world in 24 hours and asked four educators I admire what their "two stars and a wish" for learning would be for 2011. I'll blog the films here over the next week.

In our second film this week, Brian Lockwood, Technology Director and Nanjing International School, China, is proud of the technology integration his teachers, students and even parents have managed to achieve. But it all comes down to people at the end of the day:

"Every Friday, a group of us gather to show and tell. This Sharing Group, where teachers show how their students have created digital media or technology-based products as part of their learning, has become one of my favourite parts of the week, particularly for those kinds of moments where you want to share something with people really quickly, informally.

"Technology integration at Nanjing is astounding, with one person dealing with helping staff in the integration of technology in the classroom. However, the connection to parents is a strong idea: once a month parents are invited to get involved in a show and tell, where they see how technology has been used in the classroom.

"We need to share more of the great things that do go on in every school. A tweet or blog post might be enough to get the word out, and get people involved, but shooting video, capturing in video, is so much more powerful."

Comments

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I'm a student teacher in MI and I found this idea of having an informal meeting as an intriguing idea. I very much like the idea of sharing the technology-based part of students' learning to the community. It is something that seemed so obvious yet it also proved to be something I would never have considered. Community should be involved in the process and they should be made aware of the resources teachers provide to students and what good these resources are doing.

Ewan, thanks for sharing your work with us all on the Web. I especially enjoy being able to hear the emotion and passion behind your and Brian's words through the video that you've shared of you two conversing.
I too see quite a bit of merit in using video as a form of teaching and learning. I am a pre-service secondary teacher in the U.S. going through a graduate teacher certification program. Our program is fortunate enough to have resources such as Smartboards and Flipcams to train on. I found the Flipcam to be so useful that I asked for one as a Christmas gift. It has got to be my most favorite technology tools in addition to the ever popular iMovie that Brian mentioned.
The thing I like most about video over text and images alone is the ability for it illustrate and/or evoke emotion that text and images alone are often unable to accomplish as effectively. A video, such as a digital narrative, also provides an artistic outlet for students who may not be as linguistically inclined as some of their peers. The example that I would like to share is in regards to a project that some 11th grade English students completed at my student teaching placement school. All 11th graders in the state of Michigan are to study persuasive writing and complete a persuasive essay, which is often a difficult task for some of them to become engaged in. My mentor teacher also sees much merit in using video as a way of enhancing traditional assignments and projects, so we asked the students to use Animoto as a way to present to their peers on the topic of the persuasive essay they wrote in class. Many students, who are not typically strong writers, really excelled in communicating their persuasive topics with strong arguments and subsequently earned a higher score on the project than they would have if text had been the only medium. I believe they truly enjoyed being able to show off their creative abilities to the community of learners they were surrounded by (i.e. their peers) and so, in a round about way, I’m again agreeing with Brian in how important it is to be able to give and take ideas from one another in a community of learners (i.e. ed tech, or otherwise).
Thanks again for posting this conversation between the two of you; it truly demonstrates what I mean when I say that video is often times more capable of conveying strong emotion than text alone is, especially for the younger generations who have grown up in the digital age.

Thanks for sharing your own practice, Linda. It's a hugely important part of our profession but one that only still a minority of teachers have got into the habit of doing. Thanks!

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

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