ICT - It's party time!

23rd December 2011 at 00:00
Tomes that span the generations will add to the festive spirit

On these cold winter nights there's nothing quite like snuggling up with a good book in front of a roaring fire. And this festive season I will, as usual, be indulging my lifelong love of reading.

As Christmas is the time of year when different generations come together to party, it seems right and fitting that my reading list should reflect this - I just hope they don't end up all falling out with each other.

In the rocking chair in the corner of the room, with a cat curled up on the blanket that covers his ageing lap, will be The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy - in its younger years the chick lit of its time (eat your heart out, Bridget Jones!). But there is still so much in the book that reflects human nature and the difficulties that arise from poor communication, at a time when effective communication - using the tools of our time - remains something that we need to consider carefully. If we are online, who can see our raised eyebrows? I doubt there's a narrator who will describe the digital marketplace of social media in the same way that Hardy paints a picture of the marketplace scene outside Lucetta's window.

Near the iPod dock will sit the once-trendy uncle, The Children's Thinking Machine by Seymour Papert. Just like that uncle who can still find the great party music that gets everyone dancing, Papert's experiences are still valid today and could prompt a whole new generation to think about how to use technology effectively. The book may be 20 years old but what the author shares about collaborative, self-directed and personalised learning using tech tools is equally relevant to those using handheld tools, Web 2.0 tools or any of the amazing wealth of tools that is available to us now.

Tools, like our phones and tablets, are even more powerful than Papert's computers - we truly have the world at our fingertips - but maybe revisiting some of his lessons will help us understand how to harness their potential for learning in the future.

Finally, by the table which is groaning under a buffet and a jug of mulled wine, sits the youngest book, the earnest student of the collection, which I will be reading for the first time. I have already downloaded The Digital Scholar: how technology is transforming scholarly practice by Martin Weller to my Kindle. I'm just waiting for the right time to absorb his ideas. I'm looking forward to learning how the use of rapidly evolving technologies is leading to changes in practice at higher education levels - have the ivory towers of academia now become a thing of the past as more people share their thoughts and ideas online? And are there implications for other areas of education?

I wish you all a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Now I'm off to find a comfortable chair by a roaring fire. Let's get this party started!

What else?

In today's Web 2.0 culture, web design is quickly becoming an essential skill. Baconandegg offers a detailed guide for first-time web designers.

For some festive web fun, check out the numerous games links provided by Teesey.

In the forums

"To Kindle or not to Kindle?" Join the debate now.

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