Saturday, January 31, 2009

Take your marks, set...

It has taken me a while to get into this. I love technology, but I am also very wary of how it can form a giant black hole which potentially sucks people into a virtual life of a million connections, yet disconnecting them from a tangible reality. My goal is to use technology so that I can do the things I REALLY want to do, it has to free up my time, not suck up my time.

I resisted cell phones, now I text, call, surf the web and plan my lessons and life on its calendar. I refused to have an online email, now Gmail is the hub that keeps me in contact with hundreds of people all over the world. I hated the idea social networking thinking it was a waste of time. I am now linked on facebook to people I would never have been able to keep in touch with otherwise. I don't like the idea of anyone finding out all about me online... now I am blogging my thoughts here.

I learn. The gun went off and I may not have had a quick start, but anyone who knows anything about the sport I am passionate about... adventure racing, knows that it is a long race and you don't always know what is around the corner. You have to adjust, keep your bearings, become confident in your surroundings and you have to use your surroundings to your advantage.

My challenge lies in using I.T. in my current teaching discipline: Physical Education. Technology has become so embedded in sport that we have no choice but to role model it in Physical Education. It is easy to embed the physical technology of new products and sports equipment such as heart rate monitors and pedometers, but how do we specifically embed I.T. to drive students towards our number one goal: a lifestyle of personal fitness for health and enjoyment. How do we use it to inspire those students who want to push themselves that little bit harder so they can achieve better performance within their sport.

Some schools appear to embrace it, teachers walk around with palm pilots, downloading heart rate data from students, while assessing them in real time with pre-set rubrics. Some embed technology within lessons using visuals from the internet, and some schools are even buying into the new 'exertainment' systems. At ISB we are trying panthernet for online assignments and assessments in order to increase activity time. But will this really improve our students learning? We are trying to get kids off there rear ends and be active... therefore is embedding I.T. going to be counter productive to our goal? Possibly. We have to be wise about how we integrate it into our subject, it has to grow to a new level of connectivism... a state where it connects into the life of the student and inspires ACTION on their behalf.

I am doing a few courses through the school I currently teach at (International School Bangkok) and my challenge is going to be to take this learning and to apply it specifically to Physical Education. If it potentially takes away activity time for my students, I have to question it. If it makes them more inspired to take control of their own fitness I'm all for it. The gun has gone off and I am navigating through my environment working out which are the best tools to use; it should be fun! Look out for my reflections throughout this course.

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger."

Frank Lloyd Wright