Tomorrow I’ll be giving the opening keynote at the Kansas City Regional Mathematics Technology Expo, where I’ll be speaking on using accessible technology to convert class time in mathematics courses into engaged interactive “math maker spaces”. First of all, here’s the talk:
And now here is the short version.
Anybody who teaches and learns for a living, in any sense of that phrase, is living in a golden age, and many of us don’t even realize it. Information is freer than ever before. The tools to work with it are free both as in freedom and as in beer. The science behind learning has reached a high level and we know more now than we ever have known about how people learn and what constitutes effective teaching strategies. Finally we have become surrounded by cheap, portable, simple-to-use technology that can help us put all this together and truly lead a life of learning. It’s a time for unfiltered optimism if you love learning.
The technology I mentioned is what I mean by accessible technology: technology that is economically accssible (free or cheap), physically accessible (portable and hardware-agnostic), and intellectually accessible (powerful but with a shallow learning curve).
So what’s stopping us from tapping into this perfect storm of knowledge and information and technology to bring about a revolution in education? Quite simply, it’s us. Or more specifically, it’s the way we are stuck on using class time the same old way we always have before – to transmit information and to have students work on boring, meaningless tasks. There is so much science at this point coming down in favor of active learning over and against lecture-based pedagogy that really, it’s seriously time to start drawing our use of lecture down to only the bare minimum and fully embracing active learning, implemented with the use of accessible technology.
You can see the rest of the slides yourself above, but here I’ll mention something I won’t talk about tomorrow, and that’s a list of what I think are outstanding examples of accessible technology:
All these items of technology can be used to transform class time into a time for making things and engaging in computational thinking, and that’s precisely what we ought to be doing.