All of the discussion about being emotional beings in a social setting leaves me feeling a bit blue at times. How an environment feels in any classroom is dependent on how everyone else is doing at any given time. The ability of the teacher, or facilitator, to pull the different emotions into a positive and comfortable place is a skill that not all have an equal capacity to perform. Will a technologically advanced and enhanced future classroom provide the tools to bring people closer together in their emotional states of existence? Will they ever all feel safe, welcome and comfortable around one another? Will the realities of life that students face outside of the classroom be something that the classroom environment, no matter how positive and well intentioned, can override? Hopefully, the classroom of the future will be able to pull any individual up from whatever hold them down, at least while participating in the process of learning and socializing within the classroom environment. Hopefully the role of technology will act to pull people closer together and not isolate them even more, which is an effect that technology sometimes has in the here and now.
There is a tendency for the instant electronic gratification that we have at our fingertips to be accepted as the only form of communication that is necessary. After reading many of the blogs, I would have to join many other member of my cohort as remaining a bit hesitant to put too much faith into technology, at least as we know it at this point in time. The leap of faith that I have taken by investing in, signing up for and attempting to utilize fully the technology at hand is evidence that I wholeheartedly believe in its potential.
The brainstorming that we have been doing in our teleconferences about the projects we are working on is following me throughout the day, every day. I am concerned about the projects of course, but have an immediate need to articulate what is going on in my present task of getting clearance from the UCSB Human Subjects Committee for research in a 6th Grade classroom in Santa Barbara County. The process is tedious and confusing but must be done. Getting permissions for student images, student work, online access, web posting, etc. creates many risks and liabilities. There is much more to the use of technology to be concerned with than whether it simply has something good to offer or not. There are many dangers that lurk in the presence of technological use for education. It is no simple matter to prepare for and implement a program that has fully taken into consideration all of the legal and confidentiality concerns that are out there.
Along with this posting I am including some more Digital Media Arts productions from last year. There are good examples of what students of all ages can accomplish, in varying degrees, with very easy to use and readily available software. These projects all were done in groups of 4 or 5 students, using 6 computers during 2 hour intervals.