Sunday, September 21, 2008

Unleashing the Tribe!!! Ewan McIntosh

Just watched (and listened to) Ewan McIntosh's presentation, Unleashing the Tribe: Small Passionate Communities. WOW!!!!

It is a 25-minute discussion of how the real technologically-based world of our students is affecting or should be affecting our educational system. He discusses the importance/opportunity of social networking in our students' lives and hopefully education. He notes that we, as teachers, need to question the comfortable ways that we teach. We need to stretch ourselves to connect with students to make the content more relevant and meaningful to the students.

McIntosh (don't know what kind of computer he uses) discusses how teachers are stuck in the model of having to master skills and material before introducing it to their students. If we wait until teachers master the technology, we will never progress. It is not about learning the technology it is about using the technology to provide learning opportunities that were not previously available. He states that "Technology is not transformative, it is pedagogy that is transformative."

An especially poignant point that Ewan makes is the connectedness of students and the lack of connectedness of teachers. He shows a "friend wheel". This is a socio-gram that shows how individuals in a group of FOF (Friends of Friends) are connected. It shows a great link between students and virtually NO links between teachers. Now I can see that some teachers might be reluctant to create "friend" links with their students. It is a sad commentary when teachers don't link to one another.

We need to turn the page in education. We need to make students more responsible for their education. As teachers, we need to look for various methods for attaining desired ends. I will pontificate upon this more in another post, but I wanted to share this presentation with you now.

BTW, you will note that Ewan is using to house his presentation. He has a number of presentations there. Most of the rest of them are just the PowerPoint presentations which you have to click through manually. This presentation looks like an enhanced podcast where he has taken the audio track and then placed the PowerPoint slides in appropriate spots. There are many ways to do this but I don't know how he did this. He could have captured the sound and presentation using software like ProfCast. Or he could have used a digital recorder like the Zoom H2 to record the presentation and then used GarageBand on a Macintosh to add the slides.