Chat

The Unconscious Integration of Digital Learning into the Classroom

Digital Learning should not be an add on. It should be unconsciously integrated into the curriculum and it should be more effective, easier and sustainable for both the teacher and the student. If it isn’t… don’t use it.

Before we discuss Digital Learning and the Classroom let’s look at our knowledge. Most of us know nothing about elementary particles. That is, you don’t know what you don’t know. This is referred to as Unconsciously Incompetent (UI).  Many people are UI when it comes to Web 2.0 tools. Now if I were to say to you: “two elementary particles are quarks and gluons”  you now know what you don’t know. In this case you are Consciously Incompetent (CI). That is, you are aware of what you don’t know. Many of us are CI when it comes to Web 2.0 tools. We know that the read-write web consists of the following: blogs, podcasting, RSS feeds, wikis, social networking, twitter, social bookmarking and photo sharing. So, you are aware of what you don’t know.
After you do a Google search or watch:
you now know what you know. That is, you are now aware of your knowledge and hence you are Consciously Competent (CC). Most people are CC with word processing, emailing, web browsing and other tools.
What you need to do is get to the next level: Unconsciously Competent (UC)That is, you become unaware of what we are doing. It is like breathing… we do it, we control it, but we’re not aware that we are doing until we stop and think about it. It is also like walking, riding a bike or driving a car. Many of us are at this stage when corresponding with others using email. We don’t ask: “Mmmm… how should I send a quick note out to all my staff?” We simply send an email and don’t think of things like… “What do I press to start a new email? What does CC mean? What is ‘subject’?”
When we think about planning a lesson or activity and ask: “I’ve got to build some Digital Learning into this lesson. These students are in grade 9… mmm. What digital tools should they be able to do?” This is CC and this is good but what is best is that you don’t plan the lesson or activity around digital tools. The digital tools should be integrated into the lesson because this is the best practice. Don’t ask: “What is the best way to plan a trip to Algonquin Park?” Instead ask: “What do we need for a trip Algonquin park?” The planning of the trip can be done in many ways. If you are CC you might send out emails, make some phone calls and perhaps even set up a website so that everyone involved can give suggestions and comments. But if you are UC then you would simply set up a Wiki invite participants and go for it.
If you are operating at the UC level your questions are fundamentally different. You ask questions like “What colour of wallpaper do I want?” not “What do I need to wallpaper?”
Typically with Digital Learning you are trying to communicate with technology. So the UC question is “What information do I want to communicate?” not “What technology do I use?” nor “How do I communicate the information?”
How do we get from UI to CI to CC and then to UC? Going from UI to CI requires us to read or hear about new and provocative concepts. To get from CI to CC requires us to learn. Going from CC to UC requires that we practise what we learn and practise what we teach.
It should be noted that certain individuals resist the change from UI to CI because they refuse to acknowledge or accept the relevance and benefit of a particular skill or ability. This cognitive bias robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize the benefits of change. As Darwin said, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”.

Leave a Reply