Pet Food – and Learning Resources… what do they have in common?

I just came across this blog post… Karyn’s Erratic Learning. In summary this blog discusses the way resources are designed. This morning I actually said: Do not use technology just because it is there… now I actually echo this blog, and say… Do not use the technology simply because it is “nice” or cool or trendy or because it is what you should be doing and what you should be using.

USE TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE YOU NEED IT. When the technology becomes part of our lives, pretty much like the household gadgets which we can no longer live without, then you will find that you cannot really work without the essential tools built around technology.

However the blog post goes further… it says that in just pretty much in the same way as pet food is marketed, all colourful and seemingly much more appetising, in reality, most of that food contains enough additives and preservatives that might harm the pet rather than be of benefit. People might buy the pet food because it looks nice, but functionality-wise it might lack. This is rather similar to the way certain resources are planned, marketed and distributed. Certain resources that might look “nice” might not have the functionalities which bring out a higher kind of learning, building skills and competencies which are more adequate to living and working in today’s society.

What sort of ‘functionalities’, in your opinion, would be adequate for living and working in today’s society?

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23 thoughts on “Pet Food – and Learning Resources… what do they have in common?

  1. If the ‘functionalities’ refer to what is required in today’s technological society, the first thing that comes in mind is the internet. Nowadays it is used daily in banks, airports, companies, schools, hospitals, and practically everywhere you look. Obviously something from which to access internet with, which is not solely limited to computers nowadays, and communication, which is aided by the technology.

  2. I think that the biggest and most powerful resource in the classroom is the teacher him/herself. Of course it is important to use other resources for various reasons, mainly to vary in such a way as to appeal to different student learning styles. However a teacher with the right personality can really make a big difference and result in a useful resource!

    • Absolutely… however one has to be careful. Unless one has a really really great personality, the teacher alone in a class of approx. 25 people, with different motivation, needs, styles, backgrounds, culture, etc…might not be enough… and then the teacher would be in trouble. Even the best actors make use of props…so I think that at the end of the day, much as I agree with you, a teacher cannot simply rely on his “sunny” personality.

      • Agreed! It has to be a good combination of a great personality with the right use of resources 🙂

  3. I think that in the 21st century, IT and technology are part and parcel of our lives. In my opinion, the term ‘functionalities’ are all those technologies which enable societies to run and move forward. We no longer are living in a society that can select a type of technology and reject others. Different parties consider different technologies to be more adequate to them than others. Schools too are integrating newer technologies. If schools want to keep students attracted to school, then alternative forms of education are a must. Technology is the key answer.

  4. In my opinion, technology is a fundamental resource in our lives with special reference to mobiles and internet. I myself remember life without a mobile and internet. When I was younger and went out with a couple of friends I used to take make telephone card with me just in case I need to call somebody. Furthermore, I remember myself searching massive encyclopaedia books to complete my school projects. I also remember sending letters to my penfriend and eagerly wait weeks for reply. Nowadays, this is not the case mobile have internet installed in them which gives you the possible to connect with internet and with people there and then. Everybody make use of technology because it is worth using it, it facilitates our way of life. I found the following link on you tube which summarizes my point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orPYB741sqY

    • There’s a whole group of people working in the UK and in the world working on mobile learning. Mobile Learning does not just refer to phones, but these days people and teachers, as well as Educators are using mobile devices like the iPad and other tablets, more often for Education. This is the link to the latest UNESCO mobile learning report: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/themes/icts/m4ed/mlw/
      The first UNESCO Mobile week was held between 12-16 December 2011 in Paris.

  5. Technology has become one of the fundamental resources of the 21st century. Due to this, technology is being introduced in every classroom. a proof of this is currently being seen in classrooms where the whiteboards are being replaced by interactive whiteboards. Such technology is needed to improve learning as it connects the classroom to the world wide web where information is readily accessible. This shows how technology has become part of our lives even from our early childhood in classrooms.

  6. As we go along technology and education are becoming more interrelated. The use of technological means may vary from the use of laptops, notebooks, ipads, digital projectors and many other innovative means which attract students’ attention. Bates & Poole (2003) refer to the learning process as a social process among teachers, students and other parties.

    Technology facilitates the social process since the use of blogs, chats and online group work makes communication easier, encourage collaboration hence, facilitating the learning process. However, it is clearly pointed out that “… social process cannot effectively be replaced by technology, although technology may facilitate it”. (p. 35)

    (Resource: Bates, A.W., & Poole, G (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.)

  7. The use of technology today is very important because it facilitates our lives a lot. Imagine a life without the internet. Today life is made much easier and less stressful. Technology helps us become more willing to learn. It makes education easier and enjoyable. We used to communicate with our relatives abroad through the use of letters, but today communication is faster; just a click of a button and you can talk or chat with your friends or relatives. You could send photos via e-mail. You can communicate via Facebook, hi5, google+, twitter, skype and much more. It is important for teachers to know how to use these types of technologies. The teacher is an important figure in the life of students because s/he can acts as a role model. Students would be more interested in learning if more IT means of communication are used.

  8. The sort of functionalities that would be adequate for living and working in today’s society include: functions that improve communication, functions that promote effectiveness and efficiency at work and at home. Internet as already mentioned above, promote such functionalities. Through the internet network one could use the following functions:

    Search Engines to find information
    Facebook to connect to people around the world
    Skype to connect to people and keep in touch especially with people living or working abroad
    Blogs as a source of information and to learn from others
    Email account that improves communications through fast replies and also provide the facility of working at home
    Networks within companies and organisation where employees have easy access to documents

    With re. to teaching, technology is a useful tool to make learning more interactive and interesting. An example as already mentioned is the Interactive whiteboard. One would have different functions in one item. Through the interactive whiteboard and its software one would able to show video clips, connect to the internet, use it to design and do activities or use it as a whiteboard.

  9. I very much agree with what has been said above, but,on the other hand, we must be very diligent at How technology is used. Many people think that just because one shows a video or uses a power-point presentation during a lesson, he/ she is moving away from traditional teaching. But, I have too many at times attended lectures, in which the lecturer fills up the power-point with loads of info, and all the teacher does is resort to reading out load off it. That is wrong use of technology, it does not ‘ bring out a higher type of learning’. There has to be a reason and a purpose behind the use of a specific learning resource.A resource should be a learning aid not an impediment.

  10. the above comment was posted by me ‘ Chantelle’ not estelle lol sorry got mixed up…

    I very much agree with what has been said above, but,on the other hand, we must be very diligent at How technology is used. Many people think that just because one shows a video or uses a power-point presentation during a lesson, he/ she is moving away from traditional teaching. But, I have too many at times attended lectures, in which the lecturer fills up the power-point with loads of info, and all the teacher does is resort to reading out load off it. That is wrong use of technology, it does not ‘ bring out a higher type of learning’. There has to be a reason and a purpose behind the use of a specific learning resource.A resource should be a learning aid not an impediment.

  11. Illum il-ġurnata wasalna fiż-żmien li biex wieħed ‘jiffunzjona’ / jimxi ’l quddiem fis-soċjetà u jirnexxi jrid jinfilsa sew it-teknoloġija f’ħajtu. Mingħajrha nsiru qisna persuni li ma ngħixux f’dinja. It-tfal donnhom jitwieldu bl-għarfien tat-teknoloġija filfatt xi drabi ssib studenti li fejn tidħol it-teknoloġija jkunu jafu iktar mill-għalliema tagħhom stess. B’hekk ma nistgħux inħalluha barra mis-sistema edukattiva jiġifieri ma rridux ninjorawha u nibqgħu nużaw biss ir-riżorsi tradizzjonali bħall-bord u ċ-ċarts. Illum ir-riżorsi nbidlu u jiena ċerta li ser jiffaċilitaw iktar il-ħajja tal-istudenti u se jgħinuhom ukoll fir-realtà ta’ barra mill-iskola.

  12. Surely, technology has become a very important part of one’s life. Technology is a fundamental resource which has created a more access to information available. Also, communication was enhanced through the use of internet. However, technology is an essential part even for teaching. It is surely a good way to reach the majority of students in class by using different interactive activities to engage them. This will also be efficient in reaching the students’ different learning styles. As some already said, children are being born in the ‘technological environment’ but even older people are realising its importance and are taking courses to get to know this ‘new world’ which has become available to them.

  13. An indispensable functionality of Learning Resources is to make a leap in understanding and knowledge. This should be achieved by good marketing practices including ‘attractiveness’ and ‘the fun aspect’ of learning resources.

    Just as the main functionality of pet FOOD should be for pets to EAT, the main functionality of LEARNING resources is for students to LEARN. We can’t miss this point. Should this happen, we will reduce learning resources simply to distract pupils from learning.

  14. As Warren Vella said in his comment, I believe that as we lesson plan, as we bring in visuals, use technologies and resources and embark upon the journey that is The Lesson, we need to ALWAYS keep in mind VERY basically that the point of the lesson, of the technology and of ANY material used in the class is to transmit the message of the lesson across. Once the lesson is designed I feel we need to ask: does this facilitate the message? is the message clear and obvious enough? is it confusing or irrelevant to the way that it is presented. It’s like, everything we do in the lesson has to pass the test of whether it has an aim and objective in the lesson or not.

  15. Like anything else, if used the wrong way technology can sometimes inhibit learning rather then allow for it. Technology has become a big part of our world. Without it we feel lost and cut out from society. Like the previous comments have mentioned, technology has come into schools and it helps for better learning. Technology in school helps both the teacher and the students, but it needs to be used appropriately in order to get the best results

    I believe that during the lesson there has to be a good balance between teaching with the use technology and other forms of teaching. Though technology is very useful and makes the lesson more interesting, sometimes there is nothing like some good old activities, such as group work and roles plays for example to get those brains flowing. We need to keep in mind that students have different learning styles and abilities. So as long as we use technology during the right time, moderately and for the right reasons I think that we will be ok.

  16. Everyday ‘functionalities’ are those techs that serve as useful functions. You can find someone who thinks that without these ‘functionalities’ you won’t be able to live. This is not because these things are essential as food is, but because they have become routine in our lives. When you wake up, most probably, the first thing you do is check your facebook and the weather and therefore you need internet! Another essential ‘functionality’ is most probably your mobile, which most probably is a Smartphone so you can be updated all the time. These ‘functionalities’ can be a useful tool in class this because a teacher must use all realia she has available in her lessons.

  17. It teknologija f’ghajnejn l-istudenti hi cool u trendy. Ahna m’ghandniex nuzaw it teknologija fil-klassi ghaliex l-istudenti iharsu lejha b’dan il-mod imma ghandna nuzaw it teknologija ghax hemm bzonnha. Il blog post sewwa qieghed jghid. Permezz tat teknologija il lezzjonijiet isiru aktar facli u interessanti. Fi ftit kliem it teknologija hemm bzonna. M’ghadniex nuzawha ghax qeda hemm biex nimxu mal moda imma ghax ghandna bzonna u ma nistawx noqodu minghajra.

  18. I cannot imagine living my life without Internet. The first thing I do at home is to check my emails. To function adequately in this day and age one has to be connected to the outside world. Still I don’t know why in some schools there isn’t wifi available to all. At least from my TP experience internet access was strictly limited to some teachers. Why? if I may ask. This should be one of the top priorities in the agenda of the 21st century schools.

  19. I agree that technology shouldn’t be used just because it is there, because others use it or because it looks appealing. We should use it in the best ways and apply it in adequate situations. I have witnessed episodes during my observation sessions were technology (laptop-video) was used just as a filler during the lesson. It wasn’t used in order to educate the students. We should pay attention when choosing which technologies to buy and to use. I personally would prefer buying a laptop or a PC than buying an iPad because I find them more useful and more user-friendly. Before selecting which technologies to use we should see their functionalities and not how nice they look. In my opinion the functionality which is necessary and adequate for working and living in today’s society is the internet (as already mentioned in other posts). I think this is important because it can be used to find information, improve our knowledge and it is especially necessary to help us communicate with others and build communication skills (this can be done through Facebook/Skype/Twitter/Emails). Nowadays another important function of the internet is also that of using it for online shopping.

  20. We speak a lot about the importance of technology and its increasing relevancy in many domains in life. However not everything can be replaced by technological innovations. They appear at face value as great ideas, new ways to teach, more opportunities for students to understand however they may lack the initial aims/functions of that learning. Let me give you an example… If I take a particular branch in my subject (geography) in consideration, for instance cartography…what a better resource than an old map can provide with information about the physical characteristics of an area and how natural and human forces have shaped that landscape into what we know it today? This can only be done by comparing maps of different years even dating back quite some time. Technology in this regard can never replace map-making and cartography! You might tell me what about GIS (Geographic Information Systems)?…and I tell you that it is a very relevant software for locating, planning, analysing and visualization of data but it will never provide you with detail just like old hand-made maps do 😉

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