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Schools, libraries, and many other organizations stress the importance of addressing the needs of "life long learners." From young thinkers to experienced adults, high technology tools, resources, and spaces can enhance the learning experience for people of all ages.

PEW Internet polls indicate that people of all ages are increasing their experiences with e-reading.

checkRead Why People Like to Read and A Snapshot of E-reader and Tablet Owners, Libraries, patrons, and e-book from the Pew Research Center.

blues journeyHere are a few examples of high tech learning:

Child as Learner

Ms. Cannon has assigned the class "history in verse" readings, but fifth grader Blake isn't interesting in poetry until he listens to the audio recording the comes with the book Blues Journey that includes harmonica and guitar riffs to go with Walter Dean Myer's original blues poems. When the teacher asks the class to write and record a poem, he used these blues poems for inspiration. The class uses the open source software Audacity to produce podcasts of their poetry.

corner of cabinTeen as Learner

Several of the rural historical buildings in Brooke's community are being torn down to make room for retail outlets and condos. As part of her senior project, Brooke wants to create a record of these places before it's too late. She accesses the online local history digital collection developed by the Public Library and Local Historical Society to identify photos and information regarding the buildings. Then she goes out into the community with her digital camera and digital audio recorder to take photographs and record audio memories associated with the buildings. Finally, she creates an electronic scrapbook to share with her family, friends, and teacher.

The Inconvenient TruthAdult as Learner

After watching the documentary film titled The Inconvenient Truth based on the book by Al Gore, Ben wants to learn more about global warming. He hasn't been this passionate about an environmental concern since the early 1970s. It's after midnight, but he dives into the book's official website which leads him to blogs where he reads what other people are saying about this topic. He adds his own personal perspective and concerns to the online comments. Finally, he checks out the new iPad app called Our Choice.

As you think about about your students or patrons, keep in mind the generational differences.

checkExamine the infographic titled Generational differences in online activities from Pew Internet (2009) and Generations and their Gadgets (2011). Think about your own activities. How do you use technology?

 

Learners and Multiple Intelligences

Each learner has unique ideas, perspectives, experiences, and intelligences. As you consider ways to facilitate learning, it's essential to keep in mind these individual needs and interests.

In his 1983 book called Frames of Mind, Howard Gardner of Harvard University identified seven intelligences we all possess. Because our understanding of the brain and human behavior is constantly changing, the number of intelligences is expanding. Two to three new intelligences have been added recently. Gardner stresses that we all have all the intelligences, but that no two people are exactly alike.

checkRead Multiple Intelligences from Tech4Learning for a quick overview.

checkGo to Multiple Intelligences: Concept to Classroom from Thirteen Ed Online. Work you way through the online tutorial to learn more about multiple intelligences. Although the tutorial focuses on multiple intelligences in formal classroom settings, the ideas can be applied to all learners.

Originally, Gardner developed the multiple intelligences theoretical model about the psychology of the mind, rather than a practical way to address individual differences. However, by understanding a student's strengths and weaknesses in each intelligence, we can help learners become more successful. He also notes that integrating multiple intelligences into the classroom involves changing our idea about teaching and learning. It requires addressing individual differences and providing a range of activities and experiences to facilitate learning.

Technology can be used to facilitate learning in each intelligence area. There is no "right way" to integrate intelligences or technology into the classroom. The key is to provide the most effective learning environment for students.

checkRead Multimedia and Multiple Intelligences (PDF) and Technology and Multiple Intelligences (PDF) by Howard Gardner.

The theory of multiple intelligences fits well in an exploration of technology in learning. For example, because of the sound recording and listening aspect of podcasting, those with strengths in the area of verbal-linguistic and musical intelligences tend to be drawn to this technology.

Skim The Key Learning Community: Cultivating Multiple Intelligences by Sara Armstrong in Edutopia.

As you work your way through each technology tool and learning space explored in this course, keep these intelligences in mind.

checkRead 100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner from College@Home. This page lists different learning styles and provides online technology tools to address individual differences.

 

boy at computerLearning with Technology

In Teen Life Online, Lee Raine states that "it's important to note that Millennials' devotion to the internet has greatly shaped the way they approach research process. In many cases they start projects by going online and browsing around. When they have questions, they will often ping their social network for advice and guidance."

If you're less than 25, you probably don't remember life before remote controls, computer mice, and Internet. You may wonder why so many "older people" make such a big deal about technology in learning. You're a digital native.

If you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s or older, you've probably got lots of stories about life before cell phones, computers, and maybe even television. You're a digital immigrant.

checkRead Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (PDF) by Marc Prensky in On the Horizon (Volume 9, Number 5, 2001). This is a landmark article that's now more than a decade old. It introduced the idea of "digital natives".

Skim Tech-Savvy Students Stuck in Text-Dominated Schools (PDF) by Kim Farris-Berg, coordinator of Education/Evolving’s Student Opinions for a Change initiative.

Skim the 2006 Horizon Report (PDF) from EDUCAUSE. It describes six areas of emerging technology likely to have a significant impact on teaching and learning.

 

Learning, Technology, and Special Needs

In some cases, technology can help those with special needs. However in other situations those with visual, auditory, or other challenges are left without access to information and instruction.

checkRead Blogs, Wikis and Text Messaging: What are the Implications for Students with Learning Disabilities by Center for Implementing Technology in Education (2008).

 

Learn More

To learn more about today's learners and what you need to know about life on the virtual frontier, try the following optional articles.

Applying MI in Schools

Brualdi, Amy (1998). "Multiple Intelligences: Gardner's Theory." Teacher Librarian, 26(2), 26-28.

Gardner, Howard. Can Technology Exploit Our Many Ways of Knowing? (PDF), The Digital Classroom, 3.

Multiple Intelligence Articles at Edutopia:

GenTech: The Wiring of Teen America

Multiple Intelligences from New City School

Recipes4Success Multiple Intelligences, Tech4Learning.

Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community. This online book focuses on homesteading on the electronic frontier.

Technology and Multiple Intelligences from Teacher Tap

Veenema, Shirley and Howard Gardner. "Multimedia and Multiple Intelligences. (PDF). The American Prospect. Nov./Dec. 1996.

 

Links to the materials in this section can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of this page. Continue to the arrow means an internal linkHigh Tech Learning: Facilitating Learning page.


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