Monday, August 19, 2013

Is our formal, upper level education system part of the problem?

Took some time off, but I'm back now inspired and ready to move ahead!

Inspired by all the technology for education I have discovered through Twitter and social media, I decided to take a college course titled “Introduction to Technology for Teachers”.  While hind sight is always 20/20, I should have looked into the class a little more before attending.

I anticipated being introduced to things like Class Dojo, Live Folders, Google Plus, or even Twitter. To my dismay the course included nothing of the kind.  I was taught about Power Point, how to build a newsletter and a teacher webpage.  I was introduced to Web Quest and C-Palms, but nothing new.  This college level course really did nothing for me, and I was sadly disappointed.  This class failed to introduce me to anything I would call extremely useful.   

The failure of this class leads me to poses a question;  Is our formal, upper level education system part of the problem?  I took this college level course in hopes of being introduced to revolutionary new products and programs to help me in the classroom.  Instead I was shown the finer points of programs that have been in use for a decade.   So then, how can educators be expected to be “cutting edge” when our formal education systems haven’t caught up yet?

While pondering that question, I have another for you; it is the responsibility of primary educators to prepare our children for college and beyond, shouldn’t our colleges provide educators with the best tools available to do this?  In my class I was shown how to use Power Point.  Don’t get me wrong, I learned some new things about the program, but I feel Power Point is yesterday’s news.  So where do we turn to get up-to-date?

Personally I have learned more from links provided by those I follow on Twitter.  I have been introduced to some amazing programs such as Remind 101, Class Dojo, and We Video (along with countless others) through links on Twitter.  I have watched videos about using Green Screens to make videos, and sharing Google Docs through contacts on Twitter.  In my one month on Twitter (for free) I have learned more than in my 12 week class (that I paid $325 for).

Our education system is at a crossroads.  We must learn to adapt to the changing world.  We have technology available to us that we would have never dreamed of ten years ago.  Technology will continue to improve and will not wait for our education system to catch-up.  Refuse to accept the status quo!  If your administrators give you grief, show them technology’s potential.   Get ahead of the curve, your students will thank you for it.  Many fear that educators will, in the very near future, no longer be required.  Children can (and will) learn everything they need to know in the comfort of their own home through the internet.  Is that what is best?  Is that what we want? 

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