The lesson that really resonated with me this week is the notion that the “egocentric and selfish” label that is currently being placed on Gen Y’ers has been a common theme throughout history, and it’s likely not the generation that is responsible, but rather the age and time of life that Gen Y’ers currently find themselves. Ultimately, it’s a twenty-something issue, not a generational issue.
This leads me to my second query, how is technology currently being utilized in education, and what can be done to encourage and support future growth? Too often, in my experience, I have seen technology being used as a “time-saver” for teachers. A chance for them to catch up on marking, or plan for another lesson, while student learning is being guided by apps. However, we’ve come to realize, this seemingly innate ability of our “Digital Natives” is not as proficient as once believed. Therefore, just as twenty-somethings have struggled with selflessness, and accepting responsibility throughout history, elementary level students will continue to require the guidance and support from their teachers in their learning endeavours, and this includes the acquirement of technological skills. As indicated in Kyla’s article this week, “This [poster] makes it useful not just as a visual for teacher understanding, but for students to discuss, internalize, and apply themselves.” It is imperative that teacher’s teach their students how to properly and responsibly utilize technology beyond social media and communication apps, and instead foster the development of their student’s academic and professional technological needs. Just as Brooke had mentioned in her blog, “The students in my classroom will need these skills in the future which means that we need to be teaching them now. Are we ready for it?”
Several reflections arose throughout my reading of 9 Things That Will Shape the Future of Education. Many of these highlighted the importance of the teaching profession within the continued evolution of the technological age. The first is the idea of Personalized Learning. If the development of tech tools that meet the unique capabilities of each learner does come to fruition, it would vastly enhance the educational field, especially considering the current budgetary cuts that are affecting the programming and supports that many of our learners desperately need. However, the students will need to learn how to utilize the technology and the programs, they will need someone to facilitate this learning, and they will continue to require the face-to-face opportunities that encourages and enhances their social development.
Secondly, I was intrigued by the idea of Project Based learning outlined in the article. While I absolutely see the validity and potential of inquiry based learning, in my experience I’ve come to realize that it’s not something that comes without guidance and practice. Students today continue to have most of their education delivered through more traditional methods. For many, without being given specific criteria, expectations, and guidelines, they are left feeling unsure of what direction to go. However, through the guidance and support of the teacher, and the more times they are exposed to inquiry-based learning, the more comfortable and self-directed they will become in the future.
Finally, I really enjoyed the idea of Field Experience. This is a step in the right direction, however caution needs to be exercised when considering some students will still require guidance and monitoring, and some will venture into several areas before finding their right fit. We’ve already seen an emergence of career-pathways programs, and we’ll hopefully continue to see them thrive and become more prevalent.
I believe the concern of teachers eventually becoming replaced by technology is an unfounded one. Children will always need guidance and support, and teachers need to continue to evolve their practices and engage in professional development opportunities that will allow them to meet the continuously emerging needs of their students. Teachers need to shift their thinking from technology as a privilege or reward for good behaviour, to instead being an essential educational tool for the development of their students.