Wireless Technologies: Impact on Postsecondary Career Tech Center

EME 5404 – Blog Introduction

In The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman describes the last flattener as “the steroids [digital, mobile, personal, virtual] because they are amplifying and turbocharging all the other flatteners” (p. 161). Wireless technologies are accelerating our lives in work, school and home. For example, using personal digital assistants (PDAs) with wireless Internet access and digital photography capacity, teachers can impact visual literacy and research collaboration in classrooms with the use of WebQuests, blogging, and videopodcasting. Problem-based learning scenarios and online simulations can become more realistic as virtual environments are explored digitally and as applications.

As a little background, our postsecondary career tech center is adding a career-focused high school to the campus next year with 150 9th graders, and an additional 150 freshmen every year for a maximum size of 600. All teachers (both high school and postsecondary career tech) have their own laptops with built-in wireless capacity. The high school freshmen will also have their own laptops and there will be others available for checkout for the postsecondary career tech students. The campus is scheduled to go wireless with at least one building next year. Since this technology will be readily available, I would like to focus on its application. I will specifically target applications for postsecondary career technology programs, but will not limit the research, since there is undoubtedly a relatively small amount. I will, however, attempt to transfer any general or other educational information directly to adult postsecondary career areas.

My weekly blog/paper, then, is to explore the applications and connections of wireless technologies as they might apply to student learning in postsecondary vocational certificate classes.


At 12:08 PM, Blogger Ms. Lambard said...

This post was of particular interest to me since our entire school will be wireless by the end of the year.
While I'm hopeful this will bring about additional opportunities, I'm still quite reserved because there are SO MANY teachers who are still not using ANY kind of technology in their class.
I look forward to reading more about this on your blog!

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Rick Ferdig said...

Hi Marie: Great post--the World is Flat is an interesting read and I'm glad you've picked it up and commented on it. You've suggested a topic of: "applications and connections of wireless technologies as they might apply to student learning in postsecondary vocational certificate classes." Great. I think it's a good idea. I think the challenge is going to be that essentially, you're studying a technology, but not in the traditional sense. In other words, if I were to study blogs, that would be a technology, but an applied one. Wired or wireless is a type of technology, but more from the hardware sense. So, if you had a teacher wanting to use blogs, it wouldn't matter whether they were wired or wireless, other than the fact of potential access if they were in a different building. So, how do you think you'll investigate the pedagogical implications? Think of it this way...if I wanted to study Macs vs. PCs...would there be differences that made a difference? Perhaps there would be, based on the affordances of software and hardware for each. But, regardless of whether they are wired or wireless, they're going to be connected...and once they're connected, they'll move on from there and do different pedagogic strategies. See where I'm going? I'm not suggesting going wireless is good or bad...it's more of a question of what you'll examine within that context. For instance, another strategy would be to say that they will be connected next year (by chance it's wireless but that's irrelevant) and so now someone wants to examine what to do with vocational students and certain web technologies. Thoughts?


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