In the same way technology inevitably effects things in our day to day lives like transportation (obviously we will all be driving Deloreans in the near future). We shouldn’t doubt that it will also change education.
Technology has always been changing education, and that isn’t going to stop any time soon. The real question is HOW will it change education? And also, HOW will it change the way people learn?
MOOC’s ( Massive Open Online Courses) were not something I had known about before COETAIL. I had known about online learning, and distance education of course, but not about the open and free kind. After all, I am in COETAIL, a very similar kind of online offering.
I think the idea of information as open and available for everyone is going to change education. People can have access to high quality learning anywhere in the world. Formerly expensive and unattainable courses are available to all. Those who involve themselves in these courses are supported, not only by a professor and institution, but by a network of like-minded learners who want to collaborate and learn together. Motivation to learn will be intrinsic and depend on one’s interest, rather than a grade or piece of paper to gather once finished.
That’s not to say that those of us who take a course don’t want that piece of paper. We are, after all, looking for recognition for finishing hard work. Participation in MOOCS can still be recognized as important in professional growth. The model that Udacity uses where they refer top scorers to potential employers is something that can help with motivation by offering students potential advancement of employment.
Udacity also has a Nanodegree program where participants can take online courses instructed by professionals currently developing iOS apps. The tuition is a fraction of the price that typical university courses charge, and it’s something you can do at your own pace. All it requires is an internet connection, Mac computer, and a drive for learning.
I think that if these opportunities were out there when I was entering university I would have been in a lot less student debt, and possibly just as successful as I am today.
Where do I see learning going in the next 5 or 10 years?
I see it becoming more accessible because of programs like Udacity. I see people who would have otherwise not had the finances or proximity for going to large institutions getting valuable educational experiences.
How will this affect my teaching? Well, since I am an elementary school teacher I doubt my students will be doing most of their learning online. However, I think rather than looking at how they will learn I am thinking about how my professional learning will change, and how it will no doubt change how I approach teaching. Being a part of COETAIL is one example. Because of COETAIL I have been part of a great PLN which has given me opportunities to collaborate and learn from teachers all over the world. This has had an impact on my classroom because of the lessons and ideas I have brought to my students.
Because of technology, I have also had the opportunity to see how classrooms function and what they look like in different places. This access to the variety and potential of what a school can be has given me ideas for my intentions for my own classroom. In the future, I see myself teaching in a classroom with access to different types of technology and wide open spaces for students to collaborate and work comfortably. I don’t see traditional rows of desks and one white board, but rather small and large work spaces for work and play. Students will learn from me and with me, but also from different types of media and each other. That is where I’d like to be.