“The need for continuing education has dramatically escalated with the increase in knowledge production” is the quote I have reflected on. How I interpret this quote is that technology and the world continues to expand and evolve. As these changes happen, it is a requirement for us as humans to evolve with it. I can count numerous occasions where I have bought a lap top, smart phone or a car and a week later regretted my decision because something new and exciting was just released and I am already behind the times. With the frustration of never being able to catch up with technology, comes the positive side to this evolution, we have the resources at the touch of a button to learn everything about any topic. The key to keeping up with these changes is education.
What caught my attention as I read this quote is our ability as an educator to adapt and evolve to these changes are just as, if not more crucial than the learners. I need to be open to new technologies and ways of life, I need to be on the front lines learning about these technological changes and being ahead of the game rather than falling behind. With this I can share excitement around a change and that can be contagious to my trainees. Knowing that our possibilities to learn are endless in today’s world and thinking about this quote I have learnt that I am actually learning new things everyday because of the easy access.
Reflecting back on this quote I have realized the accuracy behind the meaning. I think of how many different electronic devices I have had throughout my years and how much further advanced each were from the last. The ability to learn how to use a new device in a short amount of time is something I have taken for granted. Growing up in a generation that incorporates higher state technology in my education and work place has created a skill to easily adapt to technological changes. For those who on’t have this skill need to have the ability to adapt and the willingness to be taught. Having the ability to Google, calculate, define and so much more, just by swiping a screen or saying hello to Siri is a huge technological resource that needs to be embraced.
The speed of change in this century is fast and inevitable. We as learners and educators need to be able to keep up to all of these new ideas in order to be successful in all aspects of our life, particularly work. In regards to teaching, not only do we need to create a learning space that promotes excitement and positivity towards change but we need to keep up with it as well. Updating technologies in the classroom and updating your curriculum to match up with real world scenarios is necessary to stay relevant.
My “AHA!” moment was how crucial it is for me to keep up with all of the changes myself! Keeping up with changes in the techno world has always been something that I am interested in, I like having the newest smart phones and computers. Exploring all of the different apps I can download that will help me learn something better and faster or make my life that much easier. I had never thought specifically of what I can bring to the class room, how I facilitate and how my trainees learn. Not only do I need to keep up with learning about the new tech stuff but I need to be able to incorporate it all into my training. Having a trainee that is not comfortable with computers can create a very stressful learning environment, it is my role to create curiosity and excitement around doing something out of their techno comfort zone. At this point I am starting to think of ways to create the enthusiasm.
Thinking about changing technologies and myself as an adult educator I consider myself lucky that I am on the front lines to learning new things first in order to teach it. Being so focused on constructivism and experiential learning , my mind is set to trainees owning their learning and being self directed. With technological learning, people don’t know what they don’t know. How can someone look up how to do something if they are not aware of what the technology is capable of, I need to provide these resources and make my trainees aware of the different avenues they can take to learn and do a specific task. A lot of people feel fear when dealing with computers, it is not in their comfort zone and my job as the educator is to allow them to let go of their fears and embrace it!
What do I own in this and how do I create a user friendly, effective classroom setting? Whitson and Amstutz (1997) suggest a number of strategies for dealing with the information and technology overload. First, adult educators should “build more and better connections with those who directly teach information access skills”. This suggestions helps me answer my own question. Building connections through technology to link the classroom to the real world will help the transitions during a change for my trainees. Integrating current technology and discussing futuristic innovations will help prepare my students for success.
My classroom has technology integrated into the curriculum, it is used both to teach and for activities. Including this in my day to day teachings is the easy part and thinking of my future teaching methods with technology in mind I need to bring empathy and understanding to my classroom. Empathy is one of the basic human needs, understanding the emotional state of a person and creating a sense that you understand what that person is going through, essentially “walking in someone else’s shoes”. Being able to empathise with a trainee will create a relationship with a strong foundation. Making it so the trainee knows that they are not alone in learning something new that may be out of their comfort zone and they have myself, the teacher as a support system as well as the subject matter expert.