Like a sponge

I did an interview for Sponge UK last week, talking about my views on technology in learning, and speculating on the future (as you do). Here's an excerpt of the transcript of that interview, with a question about my new book:

You’ve got a new book out based on your popular blog. What ideas are you trying to get across?

It covers a wide range of concepts such as games-based learning and future technology along with a serious critique of the current learning and education system, and how it can be improved. The book challenges people to look at technology as just a tool rather than as something special. I think one of the biggest problems is that we get seduced by the ‘magical’ nature of technology when it’s first introduced. I know schools and organisations that buy the latest technology because it's new and they don't want to be 'left behind' and then once it arrives they think ‘Ok, now what do we do with it?’ And, of course, that is an absolute mistake.

What we should be doing is looking for the challenges and the problems, and fitting technology into that context to provide solutions. The other big message is that if the technology becomes central to the learning process, and people have to think too much about how they can make it work for them, they are not really thinking about learning which should be their prime focus. Technology should be made mundane, it should disappear, should become 'transparent' so learners can see through it and into the real purpose which is their learning.

I suggest doing away with computer suites, for instance, because in the real world we don’t go somewhere specific to compute, we compute anywhere - walking down the street, in the coffee shop, at the airport. People don’t go to a room 'where computing is done' because networked technology it is now ubiquitous. We hold our computers in our hands. I think the ultimate message is that we have a lot of practice going on with the use of technology in learning and there’s a lot of learning theory out there but often the two don’t come together. I want people to think about how the theory and the practice can combine to make learning environments more powerful, more effective and more responsive to individual needs. I call this digital praxis which is the sweet spot where theory and practice merge to optimise learning.

If you want to read more, the full version is on the Sponge website. My new book Learning with 'e's is published by Crown House in paperback and Kindle formats.

Photo by Steven Depolo on Flickr

Creative Commons License
Like a sponge by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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