Footprints in the Cloud

Much has been written over the weekend about evolutions and revolutions aided by internet connections. You can find a synopsis of the Middle East and North Africa here via @dougpete . You can also read Chris Lehmann’s response to a teacher’s unfortunate blog about her students. A google search for Blogs on Wisconsin came up with 173,000,000!

What do all these situations have in common. They are all leveraging the power of social media. Now I know that many school boards, including mine, block Facebook, Youtube and the like. I’m not sure, in light of today’s current events, that it is even a conscionable educational thought, but that is not my point.

Rather, I would address the teachers who only want the best for their students, who work diligently in sometimes trying conditions to nurture creativity and critical thought, but who dismiss the idea of establishing a digital presence out of hand. Said one participant at a recent conference on the 21st Century Learner, “I don’t need to have a Facebook account to know what the  kids are doing”.

I would argue that Yes You Do!  Or a Twitter account, or an RSS feed reader, or a blog… Not only to know what the kids are doing, but what their teachers, their role models, and much of the entire global world is doing? For good or for bad. I know it is new and there is a learning curve, but it is today’s reality, it is not going away, it expands with astonishing speed, and the marketers are marching in.

Never more have our students deserved a guide on the side, a caring navigator in the cloud.


About barbaramworks

Educational ICT Consultant at Ottawa District School Board, Thinker, Blogger, Presenter, Youth Advocate.
This entry was posted in The Cloud Generation. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Footprints in the Cloud

  1. Hey Barb,

    Welcome to the world of wordpress! I love this post – it resonates strongly with the shifts identified in the BC document “A Vision for 21st Century Education”, where the following shifts are outlined:
    This new model will be more collaborative and inclusive, changing the roles of the student, the teacher, and the parent. Some of these shifts have already begun, as the relationship between teachers and students has slowly evolved. However, a more complete transformation of the education system and of the roles within it is required.
    • From Passive Student to Active Learner: As a student progresses they will begin to take greater responsibility for charting their own path. It is the role of the student to accept and understand this responsibility. This would allow educators to take advantage of the innate learning ability of young people in a more open, exploratory learning environment where they learn by doing, not reading and listening.1 Most students have known only the digital age, are fully conversant with technology and capable of using it as part of learning. They know that technology provides them with information access, a flexibility of lifestyle, and multiple career choices.
    • From Parent as Supporter to Parent as Participant: With greater information availability, parents can be more involved with their children’s education by guiding decisions, helping to overcome challenges, and supporting learning outcomes. Furthermore, parents have to recognise their educational role outside the classroom. A student’s out of school learning is critical.
    • From Teacher as Lecturer to Teacher as Guide: The role of the teacher switches to that of a learning coach or coordinator and it is no longer a requirement for them to know more information than the student on every topic. Many teachers have already recognised that their role is shifting. However, technology now provides teachers with better tools to guide their students which allows for more significant transformation.

    It is our responsibility to be part of the connected world of learning. Ewan McIntosh said it best: “Sharing, and sharing online specifically, is not in addition to the work of being an educator. It is the work.”


  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Footprints in the Cloud | barbaramworks --

  3. Thanks Shannon. I fundamentally agree with you and Ewan McIntosh. We as educators have a moral imperative to be that cyber-guide, to students and adults alike. If not us, then who?

  4. Colin Jagoe says:

    Nice digs. Mind I we pop by to visit once in a while?

  5. You’re welcome anytime Colin:) Might even need some help putting up the artwork!

  6. Hi Barbara,

    “Footprints In The Clouds” looks like a place where I will want to make tracks to from time to time. I like what you are doing here, and your message resonates fully with me. We have to find a way to navigate the cloud, which is calling clearly for the “guide on the side”, as you put it.

    When we do this, we will begin to model the values that allow our students to best take advantage of their “digital DNA”, rather than suppress it, in the name of safety.

    I really see this as equivalent to crossing a road. We know fully that crossing a road is potentially life-threatening, if crossed outside of the conventions established for crossing a road. Being in the “Cloud”, is no different, it is extremely useful, like crossing a road to get to the other side is useful. Both, when done right, bring desired results.

    Great site, Barb, and I look forward to your future posts, which I know will be thought provoking and insightful. You have made your change of house, your transition to WordPress, and I dare say, WordPress is the better for it.

    Best regards,

    • Thanks for the kind words and excellent feedback. It is important to my writing to hear of how it is interpreted, so that I may endeavour to make my words and meaning clear.

Comments are closed.