What is freedom? Many have asked, and there are many answers. Some would define freedom as a human right - to speak, to act or to think as you wish - and see this exemplified in a truly democratic society. Others would be content to see freedom as a state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Former US president Ronald Reagan once remarked: 'Freedom is never more than one generation away. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.

"The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered." 

This quote from Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget in 1988 reveals a deep truth that all teachers should apprehend.

In my most recent post I outlined the first part of the SAMR model, which I used as a lens to explore the integration of new technologies into education. The first two levels, substitution and augmentation are often referred to as low levels of technology integration, in as much as they do not substantially impact upon or transform pedagogy.

In previous posts I articulated some thoughts on how technology can (and should) be integrated into education. In an initial post I argued that technology use is not the same as technology integration. Technology integration results in digital tools being embedded into learning, so that for example maker cultures emerge, or the classroom activities are flipped, supporting more effective pedagogies and improving student learning outcomes.

One of the most radical shifts of pedagogy in recent years has been where learners take control of their own learning leading them to create their own content. Previously, the generation of new knowledge was the preserve of the expert, the academic, the teacher. In the last decade, user generated content has quickly become the most common content on the web, and is a digital age hallmark of student centred learning.

My last post was about integrating technologies into education. This post examines some of the categories of technology and the places they might occupy when they are integrated into the learning process. It's important for teachers to consider that integrated technology can provide a doorway to deeper learning, characterised for example in critical analysis and personal reflection.

Using technology in the classroom and integrating technology for learning are two different things. The first is something that any teacher can do without much thinking, but to truly integrate technology into education takes a great deal of imagination, thinking and planning. Embedding technology so that it becomes transparent is clearly an aim to which all educators should aspire.

David Warlick once said 'for the first time we are preparing young people for a future we cannot clearly describe.' In a fast changing world where everything technology touches grows exponentially, we really are in serious trouble if we cannot prepare children for uncertainty. And yet that is exactly what many school curricula are failing to do. Change is accelerating and uncertainty is ... well.... a certainty.

Personal. Idiosyncratic. Individual. Separate. Different. Unique. Singular. Distinct. You.

Yes, you. Nobody else is like you. Many are similar, but only you are... you. That means that when you learn, you do it differently to everyone else. If you are a student you may be sat in the same classroom or lecture hall as many other students, and listening to the same content, but you interpret it differently to everyone else. You have a unique experience, peculiar to you.

I greatly enjoyed attending the Future of Technology in Education (FOTE) conference at London University's Senate Building last week. It was an exciting and thought provoking, well attended event which somehow resembled a TED talk, with its large stage, bright studio lighting, music and arena style seating. It was also great to catch up with so many old friends and to meet some new ones.