I was asked, “What is your vision of what the world could be like in 2020?” Since that’s only 7 years away, one would think that would be a simple task. However, living in the high tech world that we’ve come to live in has the future full of possibility but almost one that is too hard to imagine. Just when I’m super impressed with one new advancement, it is quickly replaced with something even more advanced! Something I could have never dreamed of! I often sit there and look at the newest invention (take Google Glasses for example) and think “How on earth did someone ever even think of that idea, let alone bring it to fruition?” Do you ever feel like that too?
As I’ve been becoming more comfortable with web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts, there are already a whole host of other technologies that I haven’t even heard of (let alone used). But on a positive note I have learned how to create my own blog (obviously, or you wouldn’t be reading this), how to create my own wiki (to be used this school year with my students and families), and how to create a pod/vodcast (working on that one now to be shared with teachers).
Teaching will never remain constant. Not only do we have a new set of children coming to us each Fall, but we also have to keep up with the demands of how these Net Generation students learn. Currently, we need to make a major shift in our pedagogy (https://ksenior08.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/get-on-board-with-shifts-in-education/) to accommodate the learning styles of our students. Our students were born into a world filled with technology and they learn much differently than we did. Do I think we will still be making changes to our teaching in the year 2020? Absolutely, we better be! We can no longer rely on textbooks and teachers to impart knowledge. Nowadays, textbooks are pretty much outdated before they are even hot off the press and in our hands. More learning has to happen using current resources; however, we have to teach our students to discern which resources are credible. Technology is changing, and will continue to change, at a rapid pace. In turn, as educators we need to keep on top of things and not fall into a routine (days of routines, lectures, and using lesson plans more than one year in a row are long gone!) These changes in education will allow our students to truly be 21st century learners that are ready to take on the global world when they graduate. We owe it to them to teach them and expose them to as many of these new advances as we can while they are in our classroom. We need to teach them not necessarily specific rote-memory knowledge, but teach them “how” to learn, how to find information, and how to think critically.
In just a few short weeks when school resumes, I am going to choose to make a heroic effort in implementing many of the web 2.0 technologies I recently learned about (and others I’ve come across on http://edjudo.com/web-2-0-teaching-tools-links#anchor14). I work with small groups of struggling readers and coach our teachers. I believe many of these new technologies will light the fire and ignite motivation in these hard to reach students. Many of them have given up and become frustrated because of their reading struggles. Setting high expectations, being there to support them, and putting into their hands engaging activities will motivate them to keep working hard. Differentiation and reaching the different learning styles is so easy with technology so that true learning can happen. I see myself as being not just a teacher leader, but a teacher leader who isn’t afraid to try new things…. A teacher who isn’t afraid to learn right alongside her students because face it, sometimes they know more about certain web 2.0 apps than I do or are so accustomed to exploring the web that they can locate cool features to try before me. These web 2 .0 tools has lifted the ceiling on creativity… actually it’s blown the ceiling off of the school house because there is no limit to creativity anymore…. Gone are the days of shoebox dioramas! And, please oh please, gone are the days of only using PowerPoint as a means of presenting information! By being an innovated teacher who is willing to try new things, I’m hoping to influence my other colleagues who may be more hesitant. We need to learn how to all work together and learn together. As I implement some of these technologies, and as I hear of other teachers using other technologies, it will hopefully spark interest and get everyone on board to effectively teach these Net Geners. I personally cannot wait to get back to school and begin incorporating some of these newfound ideas into my teaching and coaching. I know for a fact that I will be blogging with my small reading groups. I will be using pod/vodcasts for my teacher training sessions, and I will be using wikis or Google Docs to work collaboratively with my colleagues. I am in a great position where I can share new ideas with my colleagues.
So back to my original question that I was asked, “What is your vision of what the world could be like in 2020? How will being a teacher be different in 2020 than it is today?” I see a world that is hard for us to even imagine right now. I see much more technological advances being discovered and implemented. I can only imagine that all of our favorites (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Docs, Wikispaces, WordPress, etc.) will be antiquated. I would predict that there will still be social networking apps, multimedia apps, audio/photo/video apps, and apps that allow for real time collaboration just to name a few. However, I feel that each of these different types of apps will be greatly enhanced to an even higher level. When I think about who I will be as a teacher 7 years from now and what my pedagogy will look like, I know that I will not be teaching as I am today. As I believe I stated before, I will no longer an imparter of knowledge (i.e. sit and listen and I will tell you what you need to learn). I will have fully changed into the role of facilitator and mediator. It will virtually be impossible to keep current with all the changes coming (it’s quite impossible now!) Therefore, teaching will need to shift even more so that we are instilling in our students how to be self-directed learners. They will have so many resources at their fingertips that they will need to be taught how to select the best one for their needs. We need to teach our students that there may not always be just one right answer. We need to teach our students how to think critically and be able to justify their thinking. These are all things we should be shifting towards now, but soon we may not have the face time that we currently do. We are a generation that is used to teaching with our students right in front of us. I can foresee more and more distance and virtual learning taking place; therefore, once again changing what teaching/learning will look like.