Saturday, June 7, 2008

Technology in Stone

Reuse of component from design libraryImage via WikipediaTechnology in schools was embraced early in TechED history by the hands-on teachers who teach work skills, sometimes called vocational skills. These teachers seem to naturally accept the use of technology, since it enhances their ability to teach drafting, pattern making and instructional video.

CAD, computer assisted drafting, has been around so long it has even seen a transition to the public sphere in freeware products like SketchUp.

Thankfully, the technology teachers who work in these interesting vocational fields still make their work look exciting. It must be the "Tom Sawyer" effect.

Simon B. , an educational colleague, shares excellent videos about his work with students, TAFE and various colleagues in stonemasonry. They are all very interesting and instructive.

As a person who loves geology in its more practical forms, I appreciate the organically pleasing characteristics of their raw material, stone. The image above is a historical picture taken in a granite quarry in Colorado, USA.

The latest addition to the video collection for Stonemasonry wiki opens with an interview of Michael Landers, head stonemasonry teacher at Miller College Institute, standing in front of a marvelous work in stone.

If you like beautiful things or hands-on work, you should check out this wiki, Stonemasonry, as well as SkillsOne.

Zemanta Pixie


Anonymous said...

When I first joined, Simon was one of the first people requesting me to be their friend. We are both fellow Australians. However, I had little contact with him and honestly thought we had little in common, as I am a secondary teacher of IT and he is into stone masonry. How wrong I was!! I am truly amazed at his use of web2.0 in this field and now follow him on twitter and various other online sites where we have joint membership. The techology he uses is fabulous and the way he adapts it to his classes is great. Students in his classes are lucky indeed.

stoneTeacher said...

Thank you for your article highlighting my passion. I didn't know that it had a name - the 'Tom Sawyer Effect' - I thought I was just encouraging participation, perhaps even engaging Constructivist Principles. But you are correct in identifying a strategy that underpins my wwweb.02 interest: collaboration. Unlike Tom, however, I'm not deceitfully arranging for others to 'whitewash my fence.' I believe in the power of shared knowledge, and I enjoy helping others discover this too. My old school motto is "Scientia est Potestas" - Knowledge is Power - but since taking my General Education to the workplace, I've learned that there is even more power in sharing knowledge with a network of like-minded friends. Just like 'n2teaching' and 'murcha'.

Recently, SkillsOne enabled their video clips to be embedded websites, so I took the opportunity to feature those with a stonemasonry theme in the wiki. I chose the wiki because the stonemasonry Ning site would not accept the embed code, and in any case, Ning is blocked on the student network. The video clip about Cairns stonemason Alfredo Gori was of particular interest to me because I attended TAFE with his daughters when we were stonemasonry apprentices. Alfredo's newest apprentice was in my class earlier this year, and it was a nice moment when his classmates viewed him 'on the big screen' in a training session. The video clips are well made, and are a powerful communication tool. I aspire to this level of production quality in all of my training resources, but have to settle for that which my skills provide.

I like the term that you use to describe my training focus: 'work skills'. Simple and direct. I'll use this instead of 'Vocational Education and Training' - VET - in future. I imagine that it is just a matter of time before more work skills trainers discover collaboration using wwweb2.0 tools.

samccoy said...

@murcha and @stoneteacher: Thanks for the comments. It seems to me that the serendipity with which we found one another mainly speaks to our voracious apetite to improve our craft, to share our craft and to gain more information so we can start the cycle all over again.

Anne, I am rather envious that there is so much going on in Australia that is truly interactive, among teachers, students and the world at large. I met Simon through Classroom2.0 also, and I agree with you. His work in interactive media is very inspiring, as is yours.

Simon, I always interpreted Twain's scene with Tom painting the fence as one that did allow Tom to escape work, BUT he enabled the other boys. He let them do exactly what they wanted to do.

So, to me, it was his ability to "sell" his job, to make "whitewashing" seem so intriguing to others, that made the Tom Sawyer character interesting to me. That is what I mean by the "Tom Sawyer effect".

I will steer anyone that is interested in interactive online creative education your way.

I think your comment about your student who is Alfred Gori's apprentice would make a very powerful blog posting. It makes the point that personalizing education engages students and inspires them to learn more.

Thanks to both of you;D

Enzo Silva said...

Tom Sawyer effect. I like that.
thanks for the great post... I left you a comment back on the comment you made on my blog...

thanks for the participation! :)