We recently returned from Charleston, SC where we presented at the 2015 Center for Scholastic Inquiry’s International Academic Research Conference. We learned from and with some of the best of the best practitioners across the globe in the areas of education, business, and behavioral science. And, of course, we enjoyed a little pleasure and relaxation on top of it all.
Our research presentation was on Bloom’s Taxonomy mixed with Web 2.0 tools used in Higher Education. Besides the little bit of a technology glitch, our presentation went well. Better than we ever imagined. We’ll share why in a second.
We attended many sessions as well. We learned from experts – researchers and practitioners – in the areas of preparing candidates to teach English learners, Instagram use in education, bullying in the workplace, teacher candidate dispositions, and much more in fields of education, business, and behavioral sciences. Our lightbulb moment was realizing that we are not alone when it comes to dealing with some of these issues – and across various fields and workplaces.
Alone, we are smart, and we handle whatever issue may park itself in our departments. Together, with all these experts from varied disciplines and various locations across the globe, we discussed and brainstormed, and shared. Together we were brilliant and found solutions to these issues.
If you have not heard of this conference, we recommend you check it out. Hopefully next year we will get the privilege of learning with and from YOU in Scottsdale, AZ! Because as Steven Anderson noted, “Alone we are smart. Together, we are brilliant.”
Oh, yes, and about our session. We won the ‘Best Presentation’ award. Not bad for our first time being there! 🙂 It’s kind of like golf…you have that ONE good shot that keeps you coming back. We had that ONE good presentation that will keep us going back time and time again. (Thanks, Dr. Tanya Yerigan!).
This post is the second installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education. Read on and stop back to learn more.
Communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation are considered the 4 Cs in education today. They are the expectations for learners for life beyond the classroom. “Using the 4 Cs to engage students is imperative. As educators prepare students for this new global society, teaching the core content subjects must be enhanced by incorporating critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity” (NEA, 2015, p. 3). Implementing the 4 Cs into the teaching and learning process is critical. It is required. According to President Obama, “I’m calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity” (NEA, 2015, p.5). National and international leaders are counting on learners, or rather, citizens to be engaged and possess the skills to aid in society’s success.
Considering the advancement of technology and the call for improved life skills, what changes are needed to meet the needs of the learners and the society? Education must support, sustain, and improve technology and likewise, technology must support, sustain, and improve education. With the tech savvy generation growing up, the dilemma is “as students are more likely to express themselves through texts and tweets, schools must find a way to keep up with this new tech-savvy generation” (Kirton, 2015, p.11). Educators must acknowledge and respond to the changes in technology in our schools.
According to John Stocks in a National Education Association publication, we need new tools to support educators in the classroom as they implement new strategies to enhance the 4 Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (NEA, 2015). What are these new tools supporting the teaching and learning process of the 4 Cs? Web 2.0 tools are considered a possible solution. “Web 2.0 is about revolutionary new ways of creating, collaborating, editing and sharing user-generated content online. It’s also about ease of use. There’s no need to download, and teachers and students can master many of these tools in minutes. Technology has never been easier or more accessible to all” (Discovery Education, 2015, para 1).
Although some may question if Web 2.0 tools are replacing teachers and teaching, they are enhancing student learning and engagement. According to Todd Conaway, an instructional designer at Yavapai College, “None of these tools can replace the passion you have for your content or for teaching, but they can help you demonstrate that passion and carry it forward to your online students” (Bart, 2009, para 4). To improve student learning, educators need to demonstrate and live out their passion in their teaching. “Your passion will also help you become absolutely relentless in the pursuit of excellence” (Burgess, 2012, p.10). Web 2.0 tools can truly enhance teaching and learning. “When technology works well in the classroom, it does so because it doesn’t really change anything. It just allows teachers to do the things we already do, but in an easier and more streamlined way” (Kirton, 2015, p.15).
Even with active support for Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, critics continue to speculate that technology is taking over the profession of teaching. It is the responsibility of educators to integrate technology in purposeful and meaningful ways. “Educators need to strike the right balance between incorporating devices into lessons when necessary and keeping students focused on the task at hand” (Kirton, 2015, p.17). With existing criticism surrounding the use of technology in education, educators should consider the right balance and make conscious decisions about the integration of technology into their teaching. According to Killory “Technology is fantastic and embracing it is a good thing, but it shouldn’t necessarily be a juggernaut that dictates the learning process. Don’t discount seemingly ‘old school’ methods just because the latest technology is flashy and modern. Just as a teacher should ask students to develop a questioning attitude, it is paramount for teachers to question their choices, too” (Kirton, 2015, p.17).
Technology, in particular Web 2.0 tools, can benefit the teaching and learning process if integrated in mindful and intentional ways. With thoughtful implementation, technology can serve as a valuable tool in the classroom, aiding in the teaching and learning process to allow learners opportunities to grow in ways not even imaginable to the school setting of the past.
Sorry if this blog seemed like a research paper; it is an occupational hazard for us at times! Stop back for Part III to find out some practical Web 2.0 tools and ideas to implement in your classroom or workplace.
This post is the first installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education. Read on and stop back to learn more.
Education as we know it from years ago has changed. It is changing. It is no longer the “sit and get” theory based on a society of the past with focus on reading, writing, and arthritic only; education instead is focusing on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation.
One big player in the classroom today is technology. Technology is a major focus in education, and it is shaping our society and schools. The impact of technology is far reaching, encompassing lands, cultures, genders, and ages from young children holding iPads in efforts to learn their ABCs to senior citizens utilizing iPads to stay in touch with distant family members. With the increase of technology usage and advancements, people are continually growing in knowledge and comfort with technology, including learners in schools. Considering the integration of technology in life and in education, students attending schools in the 21st century are tech savvy. Now the question is – are their schools?
What implications does this have for education? How does technology impact the 4 Cs previously noted – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity?
Let us know your thoughts! Look for more in Part II of this series, but until then –
Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.