On the learning revolution

Along my years of experience in education I learnt that education is something alive, it shapes society and individuals because of the transmission of knowledge. However, education itself is in turn shaped by society. Education is there for society. Consequently, educators have to be flexible enough to change their classroom methods according to the culture of their students. In communication we learn that for communication to be effective, the sender has to use the same language as the receiver so that there will be no misunderstanding. Similary, in the classroom, the educator has to speak the language of the students. This will lead to students’ motivation. Nowadays, our students are living in a world of technology and virtual reality. They are interested in all sorts of gadgets… So to enter in their world and share knowledge, we need to use their language, that is, computers and technology. E-learning gives this opportunity to educators. Education has to be in line with new trends…. E-learning helps us to do so!!

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28 thoughts on “On the learning revolution

  1. >I totally agree with Carmen on this, as students perceive lecturers/teachers who are aware of their 'world' as people who they can relate to. If in class we manage to use technology, which they think of as fun, to help our students learn – this could also motivate them and make learning easier for them.Through my teaching experience I have found that when I use technology in class, students participate more and they look forward to lessons where we use films / podcasts etc.

  2. >I also agree with you, but I don't want to sound annoying by reapeating the same words. These things are really nice but in order to prepare these things you need time, and here at MCAST we are really limited with time. I am trying to improve myself, by studying new softwares in order to implement them during the class, but it is really difficult to find time to structure the lessons towards this reality. In my opinion MCAST doesn't want to consider these facts because MCAST doesn't want to accept our conditions on such matter. They are only interested in having the lessons delivered and that our time table is full so that they can justify our monthly salary.On the other hand, each time I used the computer labs, to deliver a lesson, I found that my students do collaborate with something different especially when they are learning new things. It is important to structure the lesson in a way that it is easy to follow and at the same time, make the class get involved in the subject.I am a Mathematics teacher. In my opinion, the class has to be a small class in order to have a good control. I am talking from my experience, maybe because I am not trained towards teaching computer skills. Students tend to ask a lot when the subject is new, so limiting the number of students, will help the lecturer focus on fewer students.

  3. >Yes I agree that at MCAST we are very busy but then one has to keep in mind that anything new that we introduce in our lessons is there to motivate the students and us … When I try out something new in class I look forward to giving that lesson and then when I see that the students like the lesson … this is very rewarding and worth all the effort put into preparing it.

  4. >I totally agree with the fact that education is the product of society and hence it should reflect the emerging needs of society. This however requires teachers/lecturers to be up to date with contemporary knowledge and trends. However, many times teachers risk ending up regurgitating the knowledge they gained during past years which by time can become obsolete. I believe that Elearning is a good tool to prevent this from happening. Elearning provides means to access contemporary knowledge from all around the word and keep in touch with emerging trends. Furthermore, sharing global resources for teaching will give the opportunities for individuals to share knowledge and experiences. Apart from this, such global resources tool will help teachers to discuss what works most for their students and also get familiar with diverse cultures and philosophies. I believe that this will in turn stimulate teachers’ enthusiasm which will be then translated in class with their students. As my colleagues commented, I believe that for such tool to be implemented at MCAST there is the need to allocate enough time on our timetables for research and also invest in the necessary technology needed to pursue such idea.

  5. >“The educator has to speak the language of the students.” This is a fact, it is necessary to teach the student on the same lines he comprehends best. The student must be in a social environment he is acquainted to. When teaching mature students, they easily tolerate a lesson with a teacher standing in front writing on the white board, and still manage to concentrate on the subject because they were accustomed to such method. With younger generation students who are used to multiple activities in the background, and thus used to easily ignore anything not of their particular interest, and also accustomed to multifunctional technology, the conventional teaching methods result to be boring. They get easily distracted and loose interest and concentration.“Nowadays, our students are living in a world of technology and virtual reality”. In the idealised virtual reality, everything seems easy, while in the actual reality, the simplest idea may be the toughest to execute. I am experiencing that young students are more push button friendly, and less hand skilled, and they find hard what for us used to be simple. On the other hand novelties are harder for me, while easy for them. The learning revolution is a reality; we need to teach in a space and environment which is attractive and familiar to the student. We need to adapt accordingly.

  6. >If society is shaping its educational systems, the educational system will not only mirror society, but also have some impact upon society. Looking at the way the way the internet has taken a hold of contemporary society, in our personal and social lives, it is near impossible keeping a sharp division between the edcuation and society insofar technology is concerned. It is way past the time to look critically at how technology can be used for the benefit of learning, and the sooner the better.I think e-learning would be great for our students – remember they are immersed in a society that depends heavily on technology, you could say they have been WEANED on computers and other technological advancements that have found their way in their homes and communities, and to exclude it from our formal educational institutions would be incomprehensible.SO if students have these technologies at home and in their communities, you can imagine what the traditional set-up is like. BORING. Hey, any ideas on how we can use their mobile phones, cameras and other devices as educational tools? 🙂

  7. >The thing is that if we as teachers/lecturers are not using the resources our students are using in daily life, then we would be disabling them, because we would be literally speaking in another language. Disability is socially constructed; I can disable a person because I am not accessible in my teaching ways. We should make education more accessible by transmitting the message through e-learning, keeping in mind that today’s society is immersed in technology, so this is certainly the only way forward. There should be no division between technology and education. Also I believe that teaching through e-learning would be more effective and have more impact on our students.

  8. >I agree that creativity and innovation should be given more importance in education, especially in Malta whose economy is mainly based on human resources. Creativity doesn't come along alone and effort must be made by politicians, educators, school administrators and the students themselves. However, ultimately it is the educators who should encourage their students to be creative as much as possible. It would be a good idea if at some point or another all students at MCAST are given the opportunity to learn 'Creative Thinking'. I had this particular credit at University and back then I have realized that it doesn't take much to be creative! Earlier Tonio mentioned the resources at MCAST. I completely agree with his comments! I cannot understand how in 2010, teaching staff at MCAST is still without laptops! This is definitely hindering us from being more creative in our lessons and is affecting the motivation of the students.

  9. >I agree with Kenny. Creativity is lacking and sometimes I really find it hard to accept that our students are not interested in the thinking process. I still recall an experience I had a couple of years ago when I was supervising a maths exam. Students were reluctant to work manually certain basic mathematical calculations (even basic addition and subtraction). This is absurd. I wonder how the students will manage to become good programmers if they lack creativity. What I argue with my students is that they cannot become good programmers if they do not sit down and think ahead what they need. I think the world is losing a lot of natural resources and creativity and thinking could be two of these!

  10. >Continuing with what Analisa was saying I have to agree that the students tend to get more motivated if the use of technology is implemented in the classroom. Being a relevantly new concept for them (i.e. technology in the class) they find it interesting and tend to be more motivated to participate. Furthermore it seems as though we are removing the formality of lecturing and subtly showing our pupils that learning too can be fun. Regarding Chris' comment on the students' being immersed in technology (as is the rest of society), we cannot deny this. No matter how much we try to resist the notion that teaching should be teacher centered, we are entering into a day and age where the students are not afraid to voice their opinion, whether it is in class or outside. Thus we must manipulate this freedom of speech and maneuver it into our lectures. Instead of their writing comments on facebook we should try and direct their thoughts to blogs or wiki's. They themselves will appreciate that they have a space where they can voice their opinions without being judged or rushed 'to finish the syllabus'. Internet usage can therefore serve as an important medium between teachers and students; in the long run creating a deeper bond between the two!

  11. >I do agree with the concept that education shapes our society but at the same time society shapes education. Therefore in order to continuously improve our teaching methods and hence education we have to look at how society is evolving and make sure that our teaching reflects the emerging needs to society. One such need is to be technology oriented and thus we have to use this language also during our teachings. This is probably easier said than done and unfortunately irrespective of how highly motivated and dedicated the lecturer is, she/he is at the mercy of the required resources being made available. As Chris said it is true that a lecturer feels disabled when he/she does not have the necessary resources to work with and in turn the student is also disabled. The use of technology is highly important as it motivates students not only because it appeals more to them but also if they know that it is the same technology that they will be meeting with during their work placements, apprenticeships or future work. Mildred

  12. >I have no doubt that students would be cooperative to eLearning. My students prefer to send me emails with queries on assignments rather than attend lessons and asking them in class. They ask me questions on facebook chat, and they discuss their progress on assignments on facebook groups. We are living in the social networking era where everyone wants to speak up his/her mind. This social concept is shared by blogs, wikis, fora and the internet in general. I support these tools and this idea that we use the language of the students but we should not overdo this. There are much more distractions on the internet when compared to a traditional classroom setting. We should not relegate education to a “video game that students enjoy playing” because the primary aim of our courses is to prepare students for the hard world of work.

  13. >I agree with the ideas of my colleagues above. Teaching theoratical subjects such as Marketing, students get easily bored if I always use the traditional way therefore making use of video clips, power point presentations motivate more the students and help them to understand more the theoratical concept. Through the use of technology, I try to present them with daily marketing examples. It would be a very good idea for Marketing students to be provided with e-learning facilities in order to share such examples, articles, press releases etc..

  14. >Today students can be easily plugged into computers since most of them born in a generation of technology and most of the time for them would be much easier instead of using workbooks. Reading books are not so popular among students and they get easily bored but when reading on-line resources they are more enthusiastic. On the other hand when a teacher uses multimedia technology the students give them more colorful and stimulating lectures. I agree with Carmen since as teachers we should use this new ways of technology as part of our teaching strategies. Adopting new teaching strategies gives us a new perspective to face students in a different way.

  15. >I agree that the teacher has to change and develop his/her way of teaching in order to be more appealing for the students as time goes by. Every lecturer must have noticed how the interest of students change even when simply giving an example about something they like, or something they can relate to.Nowadays we are living in the technological revolution, where everything we do revolves around technology. This should be adopted in the classroom as well, both because it helps attracts the students' attention, and also because of the importance of ICT in today's world…probably when they are exposed to the world of work they will be using it extensively."Teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who don't use technology will be replaced by those who do"http://www.slideshare.net/bethanyvsmith/why-use-technology-in-the-classroom

  16. >Personally I think that it’s a must that lecturers teaching at a science institute incorporate technology in the classroom, such as notebooks, interactive smart boards, projectors, etc. These media lead to students’ satisfaction and appreciation of the subject content. However, at MCAST lecturers still need access to these resources because we are far behind the use of this advanced technology when compared to other foreign colleges and universities.

  17. >I agree with Nadia Sci… We teachers have to encourage the use of technology. I believe that learning will be more attractive when using technology especially when delivering a theoretical subject, like auditing. It has become a necessity for teachers to try to make use of the best resources possible. Despite current MCAST lack of resources I do my best to produce and make of resources myself. Some of the tools that I use are slide presentations, hand outs and the whiteboard. Sometimes I even suggest useful sights and resources that students can access on the web. It is not the first time that I have given links to YouTube movies that students can watch. Something that I do not use yet but wish to use are blogs. Hopefully with the reconstruction of our college many new resources like interactive whiteboards will be made available.

  18. >I think we all agree that technology helps the teachers to deliver their lessons easily and better and the student can learn and pay more attention during the lesson. In my lessons, I try to use technology as much as possible (such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, simulations etc) and this helps me to explain in more detail and show the world of work to students from their classrooms. I find these options useful to teach engineering subjects. The fact that I use videos makes students more interested in the subjects and looking forward to the next lessons. The fact that we, as lecturers, expect our students to imagine and visualise whatever we teach them in class is quite a long shot. We have to realise that not everyone has the same capabilities. Technology, therefore, can help affect positively the learning outcome of our students.However, on the other hand, I have to admit that, from my experience, the students can be distracted quite easily during lessons especially when there is the need to use computers or any other technology, apparatus or gadgets. This is because they are extremely curious and they try to investigate and familiarise themselves to the gadget instead of paying attention to the lesson itself. It is not the first time that when using computers, for example, they try to access to the Internet and surf sites not related to the subject during the lesson. You can imagine the tough time a lecturer has to keep control of the students in such circumstances, especially when classes are large in number. At MCAST, the IT department tried to solve this problem to limit the access on the Internet. Another important issue that needs to be addressed is that the available resources (such as projectors in classrooms, efficient computers or workstations) are very limited. This can have a de-motivating affect on lecturers in using technology during their lessons. Mariella

  19. >I agree that education and society are linked, and in fact nowadays e-learning is becoming more popular as technology is more accessible. In fact, lately I attended a seminar about children's books that are translated in a number of languages and they are available as a computer program on the mobile phone. The advantage of such programs is that they are interactive and that children could read the book in different languages. This is a good idea for Malta, since most children are bilingual. This also shows that the reality of our students is that they are totally immersed in technology, and so when the teacher uses technology in class, the students might feel more at home. A number of lecturers at MCAST use technology as they send notes to students by e-mail and use powerpoint for the lessons. The use of technology in class is important because the teacher would be speaking the same language of the students.

  20. >As stated above by my colleagues, technology helps students to get more interested and involved during the lessons: in other words they participate more actively. The fact that they are doing something which is not boring and monotonous (such as listening to their teacher lecturing endlessly) would definitely motivate them more to like the subject. I believe that when students embrace a subject in its entirety they achieve their best learning capacity. I also believe that when educators prepare PowerPoint© presentations, videos etc for their lessons, the majority of the students appreciate the effort done by the teacher in order to make the lesson more interesting. And this, in turn, motivates the teacher. Another advantage that we have to keep in mind when using technology during lessons is that the communication medium being used in class is the very own the students use in their daily lives. It must be remembered that our students are living in the technological revolution (mobile phones, Internet, computers, etc) and therefore using this method of teaching is more effective because it is already part of their daily life. It must be appreciated that today’s students are looking at technological means of learning not only in our College but also elsewhere. For example various students are following distance learning courses at various foreign Colleges and Universities through the internet and using technological means. It is clear that MCAST must follow such institutions and offer similar opportunities in order to encourage students in pursuing their studies further.Mariella

  21. >I totally agree with Carmen that education is alive and evolving alongside with society. Teaching methods have varied greatly these last twenty years or so – some change has been beneficial and some I fear not so much. We are all talking about computers and technology, e-learning and newfangled gadgets. But has anyone really thought about the effect this is having on our students?A factor which is worrying me greatly is the fear that technology has taken the place of reading and the love of books. I was shocked to realise that most students do not read at all – they prefer Facebook, hi 5 and virtual games to reading a good book. Reading I believe is a great way to improve knowledge, vocabulary and to generate novel ideas. Where does this fit in with the new trends which are taking place?

  22. >Watching this talk really struck me because of the fresh breath of air surrounding Sir Ken’s thoughts around education. Indeed it is not just refreshing, but overwhelming due to the revolutionary aspect of his suggestions.It was the first time I had heard someone suggesting that we move forward to an agricultural model – because agriculture has infinitely been used as an example of ‘old’ or ‘obsolete’ or ‘traditional’ things. In actual fact I never had such a negative or snobbish view of agriculture or traditional things. This probably comes from my upbringing.Designing an agricultural model means applying general methods whilst taking good care of every individual crop. This can easily be translated to education and I believe we badly need it in Malta.Every farmer has every interest to take care of every crop because the sum of all crops directly influences the livelihood of his family. In Malta we should pay similar attention to every student – firstly because our students have a much higher value than the value of crops – and most importantly because they constitute the only type of natural resource we have – the human resource. This is the reason why our success as a nation, as an economy, as a society rests upon the successful ‘student yield’ across the years.

  23. >One thing I must say. Our students are so cool. The current society is so cool. Being an ICT teacher I do not experience the generation gap as teachers in other subjects would. If my students have 10 gadgets I have 20 of them!For instance Nintendo Wii is a great invention isn't it. With pacman we used to press the buttons on our gamepad real hard turning our whole body and joysticks around in vain trying to help the yellow pacman to make a quick turn for salvation. With Nintendo Wii turning the joystick is what you should do in order to play the game! Some of my students spend most of their time at home playing computer games (and they try to drag this attitude at school too). This is what they are passionate about. Then I think to myself.. what if I create a game which they can play and in which at the same time, they learn my subject? I think that in one way or another it could be possible. In the case of software programming the monsters to kill would be infinite loops and buggy code and the bonus points are achieved for using best practices and for dealing with security issues.Am I dreaming?

  24. >I agree that education shapes our society since our society is made up of people and thus whether the components of a society (citizens) are educated or otherwise will make a huge difference. I also believe that it depends on the level of pressure that people in the top hierarchy of a society (i.e. the government and employers) exercise on the citizens that makes the level of education in a society acceptable or not. Thus, society is also shaping education.

  25. >I agree with the idea that educators need to be more flexible and willing to change class room methods and even more strongly agree that using the ‘same language as the receiver’ would be of the utmost importance. I feel that this is not only done through engaging in the technology that the students are now into, but also through more basic principles, such as dress code. There are certain subjects that would call for administrative attire (maybe in such institutes as the Maritime ) but otherwise are we not just creating a barrier through wearing ‘stiff’ clothes (that might make some people feel important)but might make the student feel threatened? I have quite a strong opinion on this subject as my degree is in fashion, and fashion as communication was always one of the main focuses. What are we trying to communicate to our students by our appearance?

  26. >Attire…….. Hmmm. What I really believe in is to motivate the students but also more important that the lecturer is motivated. Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher's ability to maintain the interest and motivate students. Now that I am working as a lecturer I know how difficult it is to manage time properly and find time to prepare the lectures appropriately so that both myself and the students are motivated. Whatever level of motivation students bring to the classroom has to be transformed, for better or worse, by what happens in that classroom.

  27. >@lillyluI tend to agree with lillylu that a 'come-as-you-are' dress code is perhaps most suitable to establish a connection with the students but it is not the be all and end all of teaching. The idea to find common ground with the students is significant if transmission of knowledge is to occur. However, this should not be reduced to a simplistic 'wear jeans and let your hair loose' attitude and a 60year-old lecturer trying to act cool by wearing teens clothes is as ridiculous as teaching agriculture in a tie and jacket.Carlo is certainly right in saying that good preparation is of utmost importance but that should be supported by good (hands-on) practical experience particularly in this vocational context.

  28. >New digital technologies are now providing a historic opportunity for fundamental and global-scale changes in children's learning and education. These advances are making possible a "learning revolution" in education. We believe that these new digital technologies can (and should) transform not only how children learn, but also what children learn, and who they learn with. Children are becoming more active and independent learners by means of internet, that is, taking charge of their own learning through direct exploration, expression, and experience. The focus shifts from "being taught" to "learning."

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