Inspiration for Bridging the Gap – Presentation by Ross Laird

Diversity Over Conformity, by Ross Laird.

During his talk at Palmer Secondary on Friday May 20th, this idea really stuck in my head.  He was referring to all the different technology and social media tools that are available to use with our students.  To those who are new to bringing technology and social media into their classrooms, it can be a very daunting task to even find a place to start.  It does take some dabbling and free time, but the message was this:

It doesn’t matter what tool you use, or set, what matters is that you use something and it is okay to use a blend that is different to others.  All things are different about your learning environment.  Your tools should be customized to that.  You should have the freedom to choose and create what works for you and your students.  Find things that you enjoy and things that make things easier.

As someone who has tried to support my colleagues to get involved, this message really helps to narrow the vast possibilities towards a starting platform.  It doesn’t matter where one starts.  What is important is that those who wish to start get the support and are promoted to start wherever they are comfortable.  A colleague of mine admitted to the group that she sadly just learned how to change the background of her Powerpoint presentations with the help of her 12 year old son…. this just after it was said that Powerpoint is really something of the past.  From working with her, it is clear that she is open-minded to starting to use technology tools but was experiencing embarrassment being “so far behind” as she says.  It was also pointed out in the session that many of those who were born before the 70’s fear the “fatal click” in that there will be no way to take the “click” back!  Those that were born in the 70’s and later are more accustomed to the idea that the “click” is not irreversible and is only one step in the process.  This may be a function of a mindset depending on the availability of technology and exposure but it is so true on many levels.

As a peer leader, spreading the message that it doesn’t matter what you use and where you start, this can help bridge the gap between those who are scared and/or resistant of technology and social media tools and those who are ultra-innovative and trail-breaking.  At the end of the day, our students all learn and experiment at different rates and we are no different.  It is difficult to stay up-to-date within an infrastructure.  It is also difficult to keep up to the pace the world is changing at but we must try to so we can provide the youth of today with the tools they will need for tomorrow.  Below is a list of 12 currently popular social media tools and applications that was made during the session:

Tumblr

Posterous

Twitter

Drupal

Moodle

Wikispaces

Edmodo

Paper.ly

Googleapps

WordPress

Dropbox

Prezi

Are there any others you are currently using or would like to add?

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