Technology has DISRUPTED education, to use a popular phrase from the valley. Most traditional institutions are clinging to their linen cardstock degree certificates fearful that a shift to online learning will render them worthless. The paradigm shift underway due to the marriage between technology and education has many innovative thinkers questioning the need for schools at all. Some are arguing that perhaps computers can do a better job of teaching than actual teachers. I tend to agree with a quote from the famous science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke: “A teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be.”
Below I outline three perspectives on the future of education and how the role of ‘teacher’ is either shifting or disappearing all together. (more…)
In his 2009 Ted talk, Alain de Botton, discusses our propensity for career anxiety and blames exceedingly high cultural expectations and the perception of equality as the cause. He encourages everyone to define their OWN definition of success and not believe the false credo that ‘we CAN do it all’. This anxiety that many of us feel surrounding our achievements can play a role in our decisions about education.
When examining how to create a safe online learning environment, it is valuable to consider WHY students are choosing online programs. According to a study by Europe’s leading provider of IT skills, SkillsTrain, the top reasons why students prefer to study at home include:
1) They want to improve job and career prospects.
2) They cannot afford to give up work.
3) They want to earn more.
4) They have family commitments.
5) They need the education to qualify for promotion. (more…)
“The attainment of knowledge is readily available by almost anyone with an internet connection. Educators are curators of content, providing access and opportunities for discovery of content, rather than the people who just structure and deliver it.”
– Kate Pinner, Learning and Content Strategist
Learning and Content Strategist, Kate Pinner, stumbled across my website while looking for guidance on social media strategy. Little did she know that after our chat, I would be ASKING her to share her thoughts on online education. I was THRILLED to connect with someone who had over 15 years of experience designing blended learning programs and developing learning strategies for diverse global audiences.
As an instructor who teachers both online and offline courses, I have a keen interest in how to best use technology to help engage students and provide value to my students. Kate’s experience provides valuable insights into how to best reach adult learners and the future of education. (more…)
Technology is having a huge impact on education. More than 90% of all colleges now
offer some online programs with schools as prestigious as Harvard joining their
ranks (Rudestam, K. E. & Schoenholtz-Read, J. 2010). The exponential growth in
online learning has been fueled by many factors including rising transportation
costs, advances in learning technologies and the decline of the dollar making US
online programs more appealing for international students (Rudestam, K. E. &
Schoenholtz-Read, J. 2010).
This rapid movement of taking learning online has led some administrators and
teachers to apply old methods to a new learning paradigm with less than optimal
results. I agree with Prensky’s viewpoint that BOTH our teaching methodology and
content need to change. How we use new technology to teach ‘legacy’ content such
as reading, writing, arithmetic and logical thinking is one of the biggest
challenges facing educators today (Prensky, M. 2001). We also need to start
teaching ‘future’ content like software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology,
genomics and a slew of other technological subjects (Prensky, M. 2001). (more…)
Today’s teachers are finding it increasingly challenging to engage students. Considering the unique learning styles of our students and catering teaching techniques to support these styles can improve student performance (Dunn, R., Beaudry, J.S. & Klavas, A., 2002) and increase student engagement.
Research indicates that learning styles are the result of many influences including biological, sociological and cultural characteristics. Within each culture, class bracket and classroom ‘there are as many within-group differences as between-group differences. Indeed, each family includes parents and offspring with styles that differ’ (Dunn, R., Beaudry, J.S. & Klavas, A., 2002, p.88). Studies have found the closer the match between a student’s and teacher’s styles, the higher the grade point average (Dunn, R., Beaudry, J.S. & Klavas, A., 2002). It’s important to remember that no learning style is BETTER or WORSE than another and each style has similar intelligence ranges. “Most learners can master the same content but HOW the master it is determined by their individual styles” (Dunn, R., Beaudry, J.S. & Klavas, A., 2002, p.89). (more…)