Let’s face it: technology is changing the way everything is being done. For quite some time now, I have recognized that in order to properly educate students, incorporating technology has been an essential part in building the 21st century student. Over the last few weeks though, I have come to realize that it is more than teaching towards 21st century skills because I need to be the facilitator to learning.
The Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society course has made me recognize that assessment needs to go a whole lot deeper than evaluating a written piece. The job market is changing and within it new entries are being expected to be more of a collaborator, a creator and revisionist than just one who has a specific roll in a chain of production.
As a Physical Education teacher, standing up in front of the class and lecturing has never been part of my planning, but this class has proved to me that in any content area it is important to distance ourselves from relying on this format. All of the information that students will uncover in their time in school does not need to come from their instructor. Moreover, students are discovering and learning more aside from the teacher than ever before. The Internet makes every answer reachable and allows for more tangents to be explored than before. The great thing is that we as a teacher do not have to have all the answers, or in my case, perform something perfectly; the key is knowing the pathway that can inhibit learning.
This class has also made me realize that in addition to the way students learning changing, I must keep up with the trends. It has been an old adage that teachers need to continue learning, but much of that has to do with the content within their subject. When it comes to 21st century learning, teachers need to stay up to speed with the technological breakthroughs of the day and understand how it can connect to the students to enhance their educational experience. Examples of this have been the development of blogs, wikis and podcasts, to name a few, that have enabled a more thorough and interactive learning experience.
Students of today get more involved in learning when something seems popular or cool to them. Incorporating the Internet and collaboration between their friends on the home front takes the negative connotations off of homework and makes their enrichment time more enjoyable. This is something that needs to be focused on moving forward.
Over the last two months, I have realized that even though we as teachers will never be replaced, our term may, as we are now primarily a facilitator. This very well could mean that we will work harder, especially for experienced teachers, because more time will be centered on individual instruction than ever before. The learning responsibility is placed on the student, but we must prepare an environment that encourages them to explore the vast information pool that is available on the Internet. What also could change is the current school structure, which carries an industrial structure that may be too rigid for today’s digital age. No matter how changes will be made, the key is for us as teachers to never stop evaluating our procedures to ensure that our connection to the students never weakens.