I have been reading The Handbook for Emerging Technologies and am pleasantly encouraged by the work I have done in my classroom and staff development efforts that I have experienced that align so nicely to what the authors are describing. The authors are describing the necessary changes we must make to our educational system in order to embrace the technological revolution that is underway. They however, do not just jump at using tech for tech sake, but using it in meaningful and relevant ways. I find that throughout this handbook they provide such well thought out counterpoints that this handbook would be a great basis for discussion for teachers who are on their way to 21st century learning environments ad those who are more hesitant. They provide well thought out groundwork for us to consider and how to see our role as an educator change and adapt.
What strikes me the most is how doable a 21st century education or learning environment is and how often we make excuses as to why it can’t be done. We are at the peak of change here. It is our time to step up for our students and make a difference. As the authors claim:
“The aim of education to 'arm every single person for the vital combat for lucidity' appears more difficult in a world of hyper-fragmentation, reflected in the development of the Internet and in the breakdown of traditional information structures such as newspapers, journals, and books.
How is education to fulfill its societal role of clarifying confusion when tools of control over information creation and dissemination rest in the hands of learners, contributing to the growing complexity and confusion of information abundance?”
I see all of this coming true with the changes I have made in my classroom. By empowering my students with technology that allows them to seek out understanding and clarification, my students have a new understanding of the world around them. However, this doesn’t mean that I have just let them loose in the wide world of web-surfing. Instead my role as a teacher has shifted. I can see my job as a combination of atelier, network administrator, facilitator, concierge and curator. Teaching is not a one descriptor job anymore. We need to be adaptable as do our students. And technology makes it all possible to not only meet the ever growing and changing needs of our students but for ourselves as professional learners too.