Bill Rankin: Turning the Page: The Next Chapter in Education



well I think it's deliciously ironic that the a co-director of educational innovation is also a specialist in medieval pedagogy and he is here to wrap us up of these two days of the ACU connected summit the driving force in many ways behind these summits we've had at ACU dr. bill Rankin thanks very much this is a fairly impossible task I've been given this riff sum up what's going on at this conference and I wanted to thank everyone so much for being here and and for collaborating with us over these last couple of days and we're hoping that many interesting things emerge out of this but you know we're talking about the future of technology we've talked about this now for a couple of days and I show this I love this little slide this there's a whole series of these you can get them on Flickr and and I like them for a couple of reasons reason one this is by the French artist Vinod and that's just a fun word to say would you be nama and it spelled just like it sounds so that's perfect you know earlier today Adrienne's senior was talking about how for years we've been saying hey it's just around the corner and we're gonna really do something amazing and the thing that I hope doesn't happen is that we don't do what our friend Vee mouth did in 1910 when he was imagining the year 2000 and he is imagining an education in the year 2000 because what Vietnam did I I love some of this stuff what he did is he he got the technology really right I mean look podcasting or you know audiobooks or it's hard to know right we got all these students there studying there that's very exciting we got their headphones on there's the teacher digitizing texts busily like our friend Matt Federoff and all of his people right cranking out these amazing wonderful things it's great if you're one of those kids it's not so great if you're the crank kid the problem in every one of you Mouse postcards and there's a whole series of them I think they were originally given out in chocolate actually in every single one of them they're these amazing technological changes that don't do a thing to culture that don't change the inequities of your mouse turn of the century turn of the 20th century culture what we're talking about here is not something that's just oh well we used to do it this way and now we'll do it a slightly different way what we're talking about is something that fundamentally changes how we understand ourselves and who we are and I think part of the reason that we're facing difficulties is that part of what that means is we might be displaced you know we're Pythian we look at educational cultures we think about what's going on part of what we have to acknowledge is we've kind of seen the enemy and it is us right that we are often the ones standing in the way of well you know I'd really love my students to learn more and they need to be more engaged but does that mean we need to be more engaged does that mean we need to rethink who we are how we function where we belong in this culture or are we really fairly happy to let a few people move ahead but make sure that our little piece of culture is still protected that our little moment of whatever power Authority is is really at the center of what's going on and I hope that's not it I certainly don't get that feeling from this audience and I certainly don't get that feeling from the amazing things that people are doing that we've been hearing about over the last two days the amazing things people are doing at their schools but if we just focus on the technology without considering culture we're gonna miss we're gonna blow it again and we'll be here 10 that 10 years from now saying you know next year is gonna be the year we've talked a lot about cultural shift this time I think that's exciting cultural shift I I think certainly we're in a time of enormous transition and a time when there's great uncertainty which of course is also time of great opportunity and we've seen I think ways in which where you are what size your school is the kinds of resources even that you have maybe in some ways irrelevant as tools get cheaper and cheaper and more accessible and you know I loved Sarah hurling hers talk a little while ago we really wanted to bring her here because what we want to say is look and in this cultural shift it's time for everybody to be involved and not to have these artificial walls that separate out some people or say some contributions maybe are more valuable than others I mean effectively aren't all contributions important and if we're just throwing away some of them what are we missing I think we're missing important significant things we've talked a lot about what's sort of at the center of our learning I was hoping by the way it at a certain point to make this pulse but it kind of is already isn't it there was one that was really I had it on I had a slightly fuzzier one on the slide for a while and it would have been traumatic who's at the center of this is it is it students is it faculty is it technology is it money is it the the state standards is it what we put at the center of Education changes everything around it changes the shape of those concentric circles that go around it and I think we've heard I keep hearing a theme over the last couple of days about a shift in which students are at the center of this in which we're shaping the education around the shape of those students and their expectations and needs in a way that wasn't possible when our technologies were more static or more limited or more linear or more hierarchical and that these new technologies that we have are starting to allow us to to do some other things for example to localize information so that we get increasingly focused on that one particular students needs not so that everybody just has to have this great giant general thing but so that we get more and more specific and focused and localized and that that that localization of information information that makes sense in a particular context is also about customizing right I mean it's the ultimate customization that customizing not just for a particular context but for a particular person is a theme I've heard over and over again from the people here so there might be four of us all in the same location but if each of us works differently getting the tool we need getting the tool I need becomes increasingly important and that's that's an important I think complexity for us to think about because it's really easy to make a kind of one-size-fits-all solution but an increasingly complex one if those solutions adapt and change and customize and the adaptation is really important to how do we move from one medium to another how do we move from one role to another and what are the ways that our technologies can help us do that are our pedagogy's can do that and our cultures can help us do that at each of our individual institutions but though this one phrase I've heard over and over again the one thing people keep saying engagement and I feel a certain well relationship has been established among all of us now and there may be expectations which is probably all right one of the things we recognize is that that cultures can hold us responsible that these groups around us can can expect things out of us and that expectation actually can drive us to do things and that's one of the things we really wanted to happen at this conference we didn't want it just to be a bunch of people talking and then you go home and you feel like wow that was great now what we called our initiative a few years ago connected and we call this summit connected because that's really what we want to have happen we want to be connected and not in any kind of linear hierarchical way but I've seen amazing webs of connection form over the last couple of days where people from diverse schools and diverse countries and diverse focuses have said you know what if we work together we can make something even more powerful than if we work alone if that's what you take away if you've made one of those connections then that's really what we were hoping for but of course I could John for a while and it's it's kind of silly there's no way to encapsulate at all the amazing things I've heard I know so let me trust our colleagues to tell us a bit about what this has been about I can see where we're headed I it's harder for me to see how to get there so for example I can see increasing kind of anywhere anytime anyplace learning but how we get there in a meaningful way is fuzzy to me we're in the beginnings of the digital revolution what I mean by that is that technology is coming into every classroom I've seen iPods and physical education classes where students are listening to podcasts and what I see what I predict is that it's going to so commonplace that it becomes the invisible tool it's just there I really think that the most important part from my perspective is that the students are coming to these digital environments with expectations for interactivity and when they get there and you know they buy a textbook that's just a PDF that's why there's this problem that's why he textbooks haven't been adopted that's far we are in Mexico we are a multi-campus University specialized in using technology in the process of learning and investigation especially we have to be open to change because if not the next generations are going to go ahead without us the days of a single teacher in front of the class with the book is something that's passed and we have the opportunity to greatly broaden the horizons and what our kids have that are up-to-date an Abilene Christian what we've seen with the faculty who are experimenting with devices is that they're becoming co-learners in the classroom with their students and students of this generation coming into college right now that appeals to them they want to be in a learning environment where they're not just learning with other students but they're learning with their teachers as well I Duke we're finding that that more and more faculty seem to be interested in trying to bring active learning into the classroom looking at materials that they can use to prepare students outside of class that will let the students really get deeply prepared to come into class discuss the materials working groups and really engage with the materials more than they had before I've been working with mobile devices in a middle year settings since 1988 and it's very my very firm belief that in terms of mobility that every child needs to have their own personal device so that they can learn how to use them properly educationally and have that as an Augmented learning tool for themselves and learn how to use that then in their adult life and encourage lifelong learning we've been in laptops for since there were laptops and we're kind of getting out of the device business I think we have to respond to what the students are deciding they want to do and react to them I don't think it's settled there's a lot of a lot of different options for how this could ultimately end up but I think that we're at the beginning of a transition of sort of difficulty of access that's going to enable whole new modes of learning and I'm really excited by it certainly I think we are heading towards more of a mobile environment where you you should be utilizing devices that are already in the pockets of students more and more the applications are out there are being conforming to mobile devices so that Anytime Anywhere learning actually it becomes a reality the digital world is changing so rapidly we the kids are significantly ahead of us and so we try to stay flexible and I think that that opportunity to allow them to grow in their manner with the new technology as they roll out are going to be is that's gonna be the best approach that we can take we all are carrying around these mobile devices whether they're smartphones iPads iPods androids name it but if you walk up to a student across the nation and say share with me the apps or the content you have on your mobile device they have games entertainment how to get to the movies GPS but nothing about a math or English we need dynamic content where they can manipulate and become engaged we've done the seeders is that we try and say yes first and then figure out the details afterwards rather than say no first and then have people force it through things have moved on and it's essential that the IT department doesn't come to be seen as a source of conservatism rather than a forward-looking department because it was a time when IT were the people who are pushing the organization forward and that team was almost changed to the point where IT our whole there's no holding back some of the things that we want to do what is it we want our students to learn and let's think about what we're trying to accomplish in terms of getting them to think and be creative in collaborative and so my advice is let's change instead of taking technology and having it change the classroom let's think about what we want to look like and then let's get the technology that fits that and supports them if we're spending so much money on putting devices and hardware into schools and even the software if there isn't solid research on whether or not this is actually working for the students then it's all it's kind of a waste the advice really is you have to number one keep the outcomes in mind it's all really about how teachers teach how learners learn basically be sure you know what the end points are keep technology as a supportive thing not as the focal point basically necessarily of what you're really going to do if you do that then the sort of other things that become influence is that our dynamic can be accommodate can be adjusted to the funding is an issue and that's why we're a little bit nervous about how we're going to move forward but really I think the future points to bring your own type platform I think that there's a lot of balls in the air I don't think that anybody really knows what the correct answer is going to be but I think the appropriate approach is to put the technology into the hands of the students and to let them run with it and see what they do with it because if the students are gonna innovate and find creative ways to put the technology a good use how do we benchmark when maybe we dance around the edges of that now to say oh sure students are learning but how do we really know that they're learning and so by infusing something that's so different than we really have to embed the assessments in the beginning that's a real opportunity to do that I'm optimistic because of the power of individuals and I think what mobile technology does because it puts power in the hands of individual people in real terms it's the learners that are gained here in the world you know so if we continue to learn and we continue to adopt and we continue to change then surely we'll be able to adapt to a future that doesn't exist at this moment in time it strikes me that the most important thing the thing that's got to be at the center is that all this stuff all these efforts all this energy all this money all of our time is focused on helping us be more human connect with each other and we're grateful to have had these two days with you thanks so much for coming and now apparently there are prizes thanks so much

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