Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Centaur - How Collaborative Edtech Is Building A Brawny Hybrid Beast

Source: Smarter Than You Think
Gnawing at the edtech underbelly is the unshakable worry that today's digital stampede may not be helping the herd. It is unquestionable that apps and devices are changing education. But the question remains: Are they genuinely building better students, sharper thinkers, and smarter learners? Or is the edtech "revolution" an example of change-for-change's-sake, when newfangled glitz replaces traditional tools that worked just fine?

Clive Thompson makes the compelling case in his book, Smarter Thank You Think (Penguin Press, 2013), that technology is indeed transformational for the good of humankind. Thompson posits that the evolving hybrid of mind and machine is generating a new species. This potent beast is greater than the sum of its parts, strong and nimble in combining the best of the human brain and the efficiency of computational thinking. Thompson calls this new cognitive animal "the centaur."

Source: Padlet
The metaphor of the centaur is perhaps more approachable for classroom teachers than the tiered SAMR model or the complicated Periodic Table Of The Internet. The daily marriage of student ingenuity and digital possibility can spawn a creation that would have been impossible before the advent of 1:1 technology.

Source: Padlet

One of the clearest examples of higher-level, centaurian potential is Padlet. This Web 3.0 resource combines an interactive, collaborative doc with a customizable, embeddable canvas to offer students avenues for publishing and sharing that were unimaginable only a few years ago. Formerly known as Wallwisher, Padlet underwent a winning redesign to enhance its flexibility and usability.

Source: Padlet

Padlet allows learners anywhere to share ideas on a cooperative whiteboard. The design options offer a host of backgrounds and icons, and each url can be personalized to suit the class. Best of all, the "smart" space welcomes any web link and transforms it into a clickable image or video that can be accessed without ever leaving the Padlet world.

Source: Padlet

Padlet accepts all embed codes, so third-party media and flipped videos are easily extended to students. Furthermore, it permits learners to broadcast their projects, posted online for peers to appreciate and internalize.

Ultimately, Padlet is a daily tool. Kids can ask questions anonymously. They can post homework responses. They can share links to current events. They can document notes from the day's lecture. They can elevate their regular thought processes to a fusion of technology and partnership, in which the new mutant creature is more beneficial and compelling than the pre-digital brute.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the tip about Padlet! Cool stuff.

    ReplyDelete

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