About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New technology demands for the 21st century classroom

Let me begin by defining the 21st century classroom. It is not the stagnent classroom of my childhood or university. Rather it crosses grades, generations, locations, and cultures. And yet, walk into any classroom today and it will physically look like the classroom my father sat in over 70 years ago.

Education today is life long, formal and informal, and dynamic. Likewise, educational technology is constantly changing from one tool to another based on teaching goals and needs, access to tools, government privacy policy, societal norms both in terms of social norms and acceptance of technology, and infrastructure.

Over the last year I have seen a movement from a computer based technology environment to mobile technology. In fact, I predicted this as one of the major trends in education last year. My students use their cell phones now in new ways not even thought of 2 years ago. With that in mind, I forsee the following technologies being used in the classroom within the next two years:

1) mobile technology. This may take a few forms: ipads, e-readers, cell phones, pda's, and mini-lap tops. The implication for teaching is that students will have access to the internet whether a teacher wants them to or not. I suggest that teachers focus on the use of the internet with the understanding that it is here to stay.

2) Interactive aps. As mobile technology allows for more interactivity including the ability to scan, gps's, and internet access the interacts with software. The implications are that there can be greater individualized learning plans and pin pointed learning. It also creates the opportunity for greater levels of cheating, academic dishonesty, and learning outside of the established curriculum. This could also be a nightmare for teachers who would be expected to provide a greater level of individualized learning plans requiring a constant retooling of their skills. In terms of the educational system, administrators will need to be able to provide their faculty with the resources to upgrade their skills, parents training to understand the tools their children are using in schools, and students with responsibilities and expectations for the use of technology.

3) E-readers. I heard a report on the news yesterday that the youth of today are much more likely to use an ereader than the older generations. In fact, Fisher Price now has an ereader for tottlers. The implication for the classroom (and publishers) is that there will be more choice in sources, using chapters from multiple resources. These resources will need to include multi-media sources including videos, audio, and interactive reading. Students will be able to highlight, download highlighted sections, and reformulate them to create new meaning. This is going to require a deeper level of learning and interactivity with the written and spoken word. Focus will be on organization rather than content per se. And teachers will not be able to rely on a text to meet an individual student's need. This means teachers and instructors will need to understand how to design learning, above and beyond a cookbook style of design.

4) Multi-media. Music, video, animation, and games are all part of the new generation. Not only will teachers and instructors need to know how to integrate these into their teaching, they will need to learn how to use these modialities in their evaluation of student learning. This is probably the biggest stretch for k-12 teachers, where the "test" or "exam" is the preferred mode of evaluation and assessment. However, higher ed and professional education will need to start developing new formats and means of assessing learning using these new modialities.

We need to start preparing educators for the 21st century changes in education. At the university level, there needs to be a new way of preparing and developing professors. Content knowledge is no longer sufficient. Of course, my biggest concern is that universities will have a check list approach to hiring, excluding those of an advanced age (like myself) who would be perceived as not having understanding or knowledge of the 21st technology learning tools.

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