Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
OK…it’s time to quit wining and being overly introspective about life and things I can’t control and get back to what I do best….
There is so much cool stuff going on in the world of education I can’t keep up with it all. It’s hard staying abreast of all the new technological innovations, software and tools being developed for educators. The incredible power of instructional delivery management systems like Blackboard, Moodle (and ITunes) to deliver sophisticated rich media content is making online teaching more and more viable and helping teachers (who can harness this technology) replicate (and even surpass) the traditional classroom environment. With that said, I firmly believe its still ALL about the content and the proactive methodology behind teaching course material online to students.
The challenge for educators and administrators (in the next decade) is to continue developing a heightened awareness (sensitivity) to the awesome and endless possibilities of online teaching and finally be willing to let go of the industrial revolution instructional model. Let’s put that archaic beast behind us once and for all. Sure..there is a place for it, but it is no longer the only act in town and it is fast becoming a side stage act at best. I mean Socrates has been dead a long time and he’s the one who started the “Sage on the Stage” model of educating people.
There’s a quite revolution going on in higher education and if educators don’t seriously start to learn, implement and embrace web based teaching and do it in a creative, sophisticated and seamless way our students will be looking elsewhere for their education.
After all…the knowledge, information and content is already out there for anyone to access and research. I see educators in 2007 and beyond evolving into facilitators, moderators, mentors and guides to course content – we should be helping our students make sense out of the vast array of information being generated exponentially around the world and assist them in deciphering it.
Anybody with an internet connection and a computer can access high quality “free” interactive programs, podcasts and instructional videos about a variety of educational subjects. Our roles as educators in this new millennium is to incorporate (sift through, evaluate and edit) this free instructional content and incorporate it into the fiber of our online courses, in addition to helping our students understand it and put it into appropriate context as it relates to our course material.
Sure..this is scary stuff IF we are afraid of change. I’m not saying this isn’t going to take some serious effort to upgrade our teaching skills and our courses, BUT if educators choose to put their heads in the sand and think this technological snowball is going to stop going down the hill they are sorely mistaken. I see the first step as accepting the reality of this situation and then incrementally begin retooling our teaching methods and courses in order to reach this diverse (and web savvy) student population on a variety of levels and connecting with a variety of learning styles. That’s the beautiful thing about teaching online – we can design your online courses to meet the needs of a variety of learning styles. Our online courses can have a text based component, audio, video and real time interaction through virtual chat and the collaborative tools in Blackboard and other educational managment systems.
OK….so…those are my thoughts for now – I’m sitting at the Royal James Cafe and my burgers are done – time to eat and sign off.
More later. It feels good to be back on track.