Colin's Sandbox

#aktechplan reflection for week 6

by on Nov.26, 2013, under Technology Planning

I’m trying to figure out what place art should have in a technology plan such as SERRC’s. Our agency’s mission is to provide support services to districts around the state, as well as adult education. There is some direct student services involved as well, but I don’t think that directly teaching art to students is something that SERRC has done, nor do I think it fits into the mission.

Creativity is another matter, for I see that as something to strive for in how we deliver our services to our clients. Creativity is inherent in the process by which we find, customize, and develop processes in a more efficient, responsive manner. Creativity is knowing intuitively how the pieces fit together to be able to develop something novel to meet some new need. Creativity is intensely difficult to quantify; its firmly planted in the qualitative domain. You can whittle away at aspects of the evaluation of an individual artifact and develop quantizations of desired qualities, but still there would remain some amount of *something* that one could summarize with “creativity”. I think you can’t mandate “creativity” more than you can mandate “coolness” but I think it is possible to create environments where creatively may be subjectively judged and the environment nudged one way or another in response for future evaluation periods. I’m just going to make this leap: does an emphasis on project based learning result in more creativity? Does an emphasis on supporting project based learning belong in a tech plan? The State of Washington would seem to think so:

The rise of data-driven instruction and monitoring, and the call for critical thinking skills, collaborative scholarship and creative, project-based learning intensifies the need for technology-enriched instruction across districts large and small.

Imagine a project involving designing a solution to a real world engineering problem, say designing a second crossing over to the Douglas Island from Juneau. Let’s say a junior team of planners and engineers is on the task, develop ing a plan (and alternatives potentially) to balance different factors such as: environmental impact, traffic density, future growth expectations, and the costs associated with each alternative.  I believe complex projects like this with no clear right or wrong answer would yield great benefits.

I made a conscious effort this week to get out to more people’s blogs this week.  Matt mentioned in his blog: “it seems like our correspondence has been minimal. I can’t quite rap my head around why this is” – and I think this is something useful to track.  I don’t know how much research has been done in online classes in an open environment such as this but there would seem to be a threshold on the number of interactions a person has in a week, beyond which they are fully engaged, and below which the motivation drops precipitously.  The more of others’ work I read, the more it helps me keep in the game upstairs, even when I have other assignments that are more pressing.  Commenting / blogging just flows easier for me than “serious” writing.  Someone once described it to me as a coffee klatch sort of feel.  I agree.  I hope that my commenting helps keep others in the game as well but  I can understand a bit of the tedium with seeing the same people’s work pretty often. For this class, perhaps right after Thanksgiving would be good to have a WebEx or Google Hangout on occasion to go over a loose set of topics and have free time for a discussion penciled in.  Final push to the end.

Happy Thanksgiving, from Google Image Search

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