I despair at teacher’s who think that PBL or Instructional is ‘the’ way that teaching will go in the next decade. That is naive to say the least and hardly worth beating your chest over. Learning is blended. I think that no matter what approaches you want to use – effective teaching demands that you are media literate – and so are your students.
This is the to me the most significant issue – not the style of delivery. You can be as passionate as all hell about your ‘method’, but if you are not media literate, online and in the global conversations, you are not going to be as effective as students need you to be.
Sorry if that cuts into your idea of what your ‘teaching job is’ right now. But there it is. It is not enough to do in 2009 what you did in the decade before. It is not enough to only change if the syllabus changes or you need to be compliant.
Technology transformed the possibilities. Now we have to re-think and talk about how to stay on top of it. Connectivism is in effect and that delivers connected, networked new knowledge.
Learning needs to be blended, multi-modal and fluid and connected. Technology is ubiquitous in this process. Learning will be instructional and inquiry based – synchronous and asynchronous. It will be virtual and distance, it will be digital and face to face – because it is already.
That is a BIG problem. Not enough teachers have any understanding of the complexity of that last paragraph. Those that do are often not empowered to deliver it beyond their classroom. Teaching as we have known it is doomed to fail if we don’t gain traction. The Titanic was unsinkable technology, the world economy was stable, and no US President would use a line from Bob The Builder to win office. Change is quick and doesn’t care if you agree anymore.
As a rough rule of thumb, I would suggest that a school’s capacity to renew curriculum and explore alternate approaches to learning is directly proportionate to the amount of people who are ‘media literate’ and active online.
I then wonder, given the limited time everyone who can do that has, how it can be done.
That was a conversation I have this week with Dr Ian Solomonides, who is the acting Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre at Macquarie University. I asked him how K12 teachers could connect with Higher Education, so that their interventions with technology could be assisted, supported or studied by Higher Education. I thought maybe this would strengthen the recognition that those who work K12 are doing.
I was half expecting not to get a concrete answer, but Ian explained about a global group looking at online learning and collaboration based in Australia, the Omnium Group.
Omnium is a research group of academics, designers, artists, programmers and writers who work collaboratively (and from different countries) to explore the potential the Internet allows for what we term – online collaborative creativity (OCC).
As I start working in Higher Education, I am more aware of people talking about Universities being last to take a seat at the table, but this does not mean that there isn’t progress or interest. They, like K12, have academics and lecturers that are passionate about the changes that technology brings and the laggards. Like K12, the issues of taking change to the people, thousands of people, is a challenge. As Ian said this week,
“we know we have to do this, but we are few and they are many, so we have to be strategic in where we do it, how we do it and then to make sure what we do is significant enough that it is maintained.”
Isn’t this the same dialogue in K12?. Hmm, I thought, same issues – but the terms of reference for a large Institution like Macquarie University – which in itself is under going massive changes are different. In this regard, storming the school Firewall Nazi’s office or flash mobbing un-cooperative curriculum laggards seems easier. But I guess there has to be evolution, not revolution, so I’ll put my stick down.
How important are connections between K12, TAFE and Higher Education – are we are all now in the same orbit when it comes to change?.