This is a post that I just found today on an old, forgotten blog…originally published Aug 7, 2011.
I quite enjoy cycling. It is a great way for me to get some exercise without having to take extra time to head out to a gym durng what would otherwise be family or study time. It’s a great way to shake off the dust after sitting at a desk all day…and it’s one less car on the road and in the parking lot at TRU. My current rig is a 15 year old Kona Koa, rigid mountain bike set up as a singlespeed. I love my singlespeed because it is quiet, light and is great for training, especially on my ride home.
I live in Aberdeen in Kamloops, which is about 350 m in elevation above TRU, and having only one gear to choose from all but guarantees that it will be the wrong gear most of the time. Sometimes it will be too light and my cadence will be too high and therefore inefficient, other times it will be too heavy…and therefore inefficient. It makes for a great strength workout along with the cardio. All in all, it is a great setup for my current ride.
Another area of significant interest of mine is educational technology. I am fortunate enough to be able to earn a living in the ed tech sector as e-learning facilitator at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. The bulk of my work has to do with supporting faculty as they transition from either teaching face to face or from tutoring traditional ‘correspondence’ courses.
One thing that is easy to do in ed tech is to get into ‘singlespeed’ mode where an educator finds one particular tool and tries to use the tool for as much as possible, or get trapped into thinking that ‘technology’ is going to be the answer to whatever may ail an educational context.
There are certainly some things that teachers can do with technology better than without. Blogging is a great example. Prior to widespread access to the interwebs, when student work was submitted double-spaced on Letter-sized or A4 paper, students wrote for an audience of one person. Now that schools and students do have access to the ‘net, having a student submit an assignment as a blog post or wiki page means that the student’s audience is potentially in the millions, including untold numbers of experts in the field about which they are writing who are willing to share their own expertise.
I think what I fear most in the whole ed tech realm is the thinking that technology can replace ‘teaching’. By teaching, I mean the active involvement of a more experienced (or sometimes less so) mentor or leader or peer in the learning process. I fear it because I know how easy it is for someone like me who finds tech tools to be very attractive and easy to use, to insist that everyone else needs to do the same thing the same way as I do. Being married to a person who needs to write things down on a piece of paper has been good for me.
You have likely heard it before, but it bears repeating that great technology cannot redeem a poor course or an uninvolved teacher, but in the hands of a skilful practitioner, even simple tech tools can make a world of difference for learners.
Back in the saddle by Colin Madland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.