Are you digitally literate? Do you know what a PLN is? What about a MOOC? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘No’ then this is the book for you.
Steve Wheeler is not only digitally literate, he is Associate Professor of Learning Technology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Plymouth, an edublogger and involved in ‘the future business’, which means devoting a great deal of his time to thinking, writing and speaking about the current and future impact of technology on education.
For technophiles his blog, on which this book draws, is a place of pilgrimage, and by his own admission he maintains six different Twitter accounts as well as being present in pretty much every other area of social media where critical discourse takes place. Here he provides a comprehensive if personal over-view of the impact of technology on education in 14 short chapters.
Understandably he takes no prisoners when addressing those who defend the status quo, emphasising the transformative power of technology over the inevitable disorientation, confusion, stress and disruption when old and new cultures clash. Wheeler’s heroes are the ‘lone rangers’: ‘These are visionary teachers, working alone with what they have, and exchanging their ideas and experiences with other kindred spirits via social media and within their local communities of practice’.
This might well be their manifesto. Early chapters explain the need for change, explain what needs to be done and update us on ‘Theories for a digital age’. While none of this is SEN specific there is plenty of food for thought regardless of which students you have in mind. Then it is on to a 21st century curriculum, learning spaces, personal learning environments, new forms of assessment and ‘pervasive learning’.
I can honestly say there wasn’t any of this I couldn’t relate to dozens of conversations I have had with ‘lone rangers’ from the field of SEN. In many ways what Wheeler is saying is what we all know to be true: ‘Where the technology goes, it seems education eventually has to follow. How quickly it follows depends on the vision and willingness of educators’. Buy this book, saddle up and enjoy the ride.
Steve Wheeler – Crown House Publishing – ISBN: 9781845909390
Reviewed by Mick Archer
A fantastic book by Steve Wheeler, I would recommend this to anyone within the SEN sector.