Ideas and Thoughts, a talk with Dean Shareski

Today we have Dean Shareski, edublogger and Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division. His blog, Ideas and Thoughts, documents new approaches to learning with technology. He is with us here today to talk about his views on education.

1. What inspired you to start Ideas and Thoughts?

I began blogging in Feb of 2005. As someone supporting teachers with technology, I felt it was important to explore and find out more about what blogging was and what it could mean. Very quickly it changed to a place of learning and connecting. I found it a great place to think and improve my communications skills. The following year I purchased my own domain and moved my blog over to it’s current location.

2. What makes the current generation of students different from others in terms of technology?

Comfort and expectations. They are comfortable using it and expect to have access. As far as the digital native belief, I feel it’s a polarizing term that suggests students understand the power of what they use. For the most part, they don’t but neither to most adults. We’re all in the infancy of discover how we’re going to live and learn in this new climate of connectivity and sharing.

3. How can technology impact education?

It will amplify everything. Like a speaker it makes things louder. Louder isn’t always better. It always should be changing many of our beliefs about learning. In particular that school and teachers are where learning starts. It’s always been the case but again, the technology is making that point more clear. Technology can and should lead to a more personalized learning experience.

4. What is the biggest obstacle in integrating technology in education?

The biggest obstacle is the belief that it matters and can facilitate a better learning experience. While many might agree with it in principle, many people don’t think the payoff is worth the time and effort to use it well.

5. Do you think it is possible to one day have all-online classroom in the future?

Yes but it wouldn’t be very good. Learning is social and we need to recognize how leverage the physical presence of students in a classroom.

Great! Thanks for the talk Dean. Again, you can find his blog Ideas and Thoughts here. For more information about democratizing education, see Udemy’s main site here.