EC&I 831 – Clarence Fisher & the Power of the Network

Last Tuesday we had the privilege of listening to Clarence Fisher as he shared his experiences using communications technologies in his classroom in a remote community in northern Manitoba.  Clarence’s presentation was one of my favourites, as he essentially brought his classroom to us.  He provided us with great examples, yet also shared a good mix of his educational philosophy or theory.  Clarence is an innovator who provides us with a shining example of how new technologies can (and perhaps should) be used in classrooms.  He presented some really great ideas that have captivated my attention and sparked some reflection.

It seems clear to me after listening to Clarence talk, that many educators need to rethink the ways that we view new technologies like cell phones, iPods, compact laptops, palm computers, cameras and other digital devices.  Often times, our first reaction is to ban these devices from the classroom.  At other times, we think these new technologies are things that we have to find ways to fit into our course content so that we can incorporate the use of technology in our classroom.  It seems to me that Clarence provides us with a different, much more logical solution.  Perhaps we need to worry less about trying to make these technologies fit, and just get them into the classroom.  The students will often find ways to use these technologies to aid the educational challenges we throw at them.

Clarence talked a lot about the power of the network.  He shared a photo of a T-shirt that he had made which displays the quote, “The network is more powerful than the node.”  Essentially, I take this to mean that a group of individuals networked, sharing and collaborating together are far more useful than any one individual can be.  This philosophy was passed on to me at a time when I am really beginning to understand its relevance.  One of the greatest experiences I will likely take away from this class is being part of a network of truly informed educators.  At this point in the course, the network of the members, instructor, presenters, and others is rather well developed.  Each has a great blog with interesting and thought-provoking posts, and there is great amount of interaction via comments, linking, and ping-backs, etc.   

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One Response

  1. It is interesting to see how we want to ban things like iPods,etc from schools because the kids may use them for something bad. Last time I looked, we all seem to have computers in the schools, even though kids go to inappropriate sites here and there. Granted at times, I have felt like “pulling the plug” on the net for a while. However, it comes back to the same idea of educating kids on the proper use of these tools for learning.

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