Symposium shows educators how to use technology for learning

By the time today’s children reach 21, it is estimated they will have spent 20,000 hours watching TV, 15,000 hours surfing the Web, 10,000 hours playing video games and just under 5,000 hours reading print materials.  

"Schools will have to fundamentally change the way learning is organized or risk alienating an entire generation of students,” said York University Professor Ron Owston (right), founding director of York’s Institute for Research on Learning Technologies and one of the world’s leading researchers on the use of technology in the classroom, in a speech two years ago.  “Classroom teachers know their students are different, but don’t know how to address the differences in the classroom."

Owston is addressing this situation in a keynote speech at a symposium for educational leaders taking place today at York. He is one of two keynote speakers invited to talk about how to embrace digital technology in the classroom. Called Mobilizing 21st-Century Teaching & Learning, the symposium is hosted by York’s Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning (ABEL) program and will likely become an annual event.

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (below) will open the symposium with a keynote talk called "Unleashing Passion: Leading in the 21st Century". As president of 21st Century Collaborative and co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, she works to find ways to explore and apply new technologies to learning. She argues that children, like businesses, are using new and emerging Web technologies to engage, learn and collaborate, but so far schools have resisted shifting to learning models that use such technologies.

Delegates have a chance to see demonstrations of 11 different new models of teaching and learning that make effective use of technology. And Nussbaum-Beach will lead discussions on defining strategies for teaching and learning in today’s classrooms, lecture halls and workplaces.

An early advocate of teaching with technology, Owston will talk about "Teacher Professional Learning for the 21st Century" in his keynote speech. He will trace the evolution of research and thinking about designing professional learning experiences for teachers that incorporate blended learning and new Web 2.0 technologies.

For more information, visit the ABEL Web site or call the ABEL Program Office at 416-736-2100 ext. 20020.