for ITWorx Edu

Published on Nov 06, 2015

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Our Place as Ed Techies

Maha Bali, PhD, American University in Cairo
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What do people who don't teach....

...know about education?

...about learning?

What do we not know?

What do teachers know?

And not know?
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Between listening and imagination

Where you can make an impact
Photo by The Blue Boy

Learning is...

Social & Connected

  • Create more of this in class?
  • Create more online?
  • Integrate
  • Learner2learner; learner2teacher
1. Learning is social and connected. Does the learning technology allow for more social interaction than is currently possible in our classrooms? Or does the learning technology allow us to have more space and time for social connection in the classroom? Even better, does the technology help us integrate our social connections inside and outside the classroom? Communication is important between learners, between learners and teachers, but also with parents and the community beyond the classroom. (one of their products creates space for this with a facebook like interface).

Creating, constructing, remixing

  • Play-doh
  • Legos
  • Constructionism (Papert - LOGO)
2. Learning is about creating, constructing, remixing. Does the learning technology treat the learner as a consumer to follow a pre-set path, or does the learning technology allow the learner to remix existing material or to create their own? Two good learning tools to look at are Play-Doh and Legos. Legos sometimes come with a pre-defined look you are supposed to build, but you still have freedom to create something different. Play-doh is so versatile that you can create almost anything with it. How can we design ed tech so that the child programs the computer rather than the computer programming the child (ideas of Papert – maybe get a quote?)

Taking risks, failing in safe space

Do virtual labs allow room for risks?
3. Learning happens when we take risks and fail. The wonderful thing about play-doh and legos is not only that you can create anything – but that you can fail comfortably and try again. A good learning environment allows us to take risks in a safe space so we can learn from our failures. (they have a virtual lab that works like a Wii so it seems really cool – but how can they give learners even more choices? More room to make mistakes?)

Accessibility... Multiple Means of

  • Representation (what)
  • Action/Expression (how)
  • Engagement (why)
  • (UDL principles)


Power of abundance; internet; beyond space/time
5. Learning should encourage values we wish to promote like sharing. We live in an age of knowledge abundance. Leveraging the power of the internet and open sharing in order to advance everyone’s knowledge is important. For younger children where open sharing is risky, smaller scale sharing within a school-based technology tool, and sharing between teachers in the same school or across schools can make a difference. (they have a tool for teachers to find resources made by each other or the web – ask if it allows them to share across schools??)
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Keeping it Human

6. Learning is about human beings. No educational technology should attempt to remove the need for human interaction; instead, it can be used to enhance it. Even when there is no direct human interaction through the tool, the material learners interact with are produced by people, programmed by people, and builds on the ideas and work of other people.
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