For this assignment, we discussed possible digital challenges and solutions for the classroom. I helped lead the discussion, and I summarized our insights into this report.
Everyday, the world is changing. Just from looking at the activity resources, it’s pretty shocking to realize that much of our current technology like computers and smartphones will become obsolete and make way for newer technology (Dashevsky, 2015)& (Sinha, 2017). As a result, the technological landscape is always changing and the challenges associated with it are changing as well. As teachers, what challenges can we personally address to allow our students to become more successful in the digital age?
Challenge 1: How to bridge the digital divide?
Access to technology is not equal particularly with the access to Smart devices and Internet becoming more and more regulated and expensive (Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society, 2015). As a result, technology used in the workplace is often practiced and played with by those of a higher economic class. This gives them advantages both in succeeding in the classroom since they only have to master the new lesson concept not the technology. But more troubling, employers are now looking specifically for people with an ability to use technology effectively with the employer only having to provide minimal training (Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society, 2015).
One way is to bring technology into the classrooms. This isn’t always an option for schools, but it’s a good first step when possible. If your school is funded fairly well or you live in a wealthier area, you might be able to fundraise for a community computer lab or lobby for construction of one using school budget funds. If you draft a well-researched proposal, anything is possible.
Of course, this isn’t the only battle we might face in the classroom. There’s also the issue of technology being accepted as useful in the classroom. There are great, free sites like voicethread.com (for reading and language development) and http://www.emeraldisland.com (for math and science) that can be accessed at home and in the classroom for a more interactive and technology heavy experience.
Another option is for teachers to bring their own devices, so students are at least exposed to different technologies (Tustin, n.d.). Many teachers actually bring their own projectors and devices because they are that committed to providing interesting lessons. After all, most of us have bought something for our class. Another alternative is you might ask students if they all have a certain type of device like a cellphone or laptop. You’d be surprised how many students have these smart devices.
Challenge 2: How to encourage people with more power/higher seniority than you to use technology that they might not be acquainted with?
It can be frustrating using new technology. After all, many of us have struggled with technological issues during this program. But how can we teach our younger students to educate older often higher power bosses and coworkers that are bad with technology to use it to improve productivity, work life, or just to be more innovative? Particularly since many people particularly in the older generation have a strong resistance to using new technology (Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society, 2015). In addition, there are people in our students’ age ranges that might be frustrated with technology for reasons like the digital divide or bad experiences in the past with technology., How can we subtly encourage them as well?
Of course, a generational divide in the workplace is not a new thing; however, children born after 2000 have never known a world without technology, and so it must be and will continue to be extremely difficult for them to relate to those of us who have experienced both worlds. It is interesting to see that emotional intelligence is at number 6 in 2020 for top employable skills (World Economic Forum, 2010), but is not in the top ten in 2015. Having good emotional intelligence will help today’s school-aged children to work alongside older generations when they leave school. While some dismiss emotional intelligence completely, others argue that it needs to be specifically taught in schools and beyond. The School of Life video showed really interesting ways to incorporate emotional intelligence into your lessons (The School of Life, 2017).
Also, we should choose technology that clearly fits the needs of our schools and/or organizations. While purpose and performance are crucial, just as important is user-friendliness. If we, as teachers, don’t take the time to explain the purpose of using technology to those of us unversed in it, then why would they be interested?
For example, did you know that a skills based education might actually help close the learning gap (Sheffield, 2014)? What about the fact that the transition difficulties facing members of the Navajo Reservation from home-school to county school, were reduced inadverently by switching to a more inquiry based model of education- something that technology has been able to facilitate beautifully (Center for Inspired Teaching, 2018).? We didn’t. Which is why educating yourself, so you can educate others on the benefits is so important.
Challenge 3: How to make yourself as an employee more valuable than a machine that doesn’t require payment?
With skills that employers are looking for shifting drastically from 2015-2020, what can we do to foster these skills to help our students’ chances of employment (World Economic Forum, 2015)?
Since machines have already been replacing human workers and will continue to do so, we need to develop . our students’ creativity to equip them to be the creators of new technologies. This would make them irreplaceable- at least for a while.
For example, we’re encountering is the elimination of certain jobs like trucking and taxi driving since many countries such as China are planning on switching to driverless, robotic cars (Bersin, 2016). What this means is a greater emphasis needs to be placed on students’ abilities to use technology in innovative ways. Okay, so you can’t be a driver, but do you know how to repair the car? Do you know how to program the car and update the maps the car needs to function effectively. It’s not that jobs are being eliminated, but new skills are required for these jobs. If we focus on building computer programming skills and studying electrical theory in science then, this will help secure our students jobs in repairing of electronics, so we can eliminate a lot of the job displacement.
In addition to developing creativity, students need to develop strong moral foundations/character/critical thinking abilities so that they are creating technologies for the good of society instead of selfish gain or other nefarious purposes. Additionally, creativity thrives in collaborative communities, so students need to have opportunities to learn to collaborate in creating new technologies. An example of this is Standford’s newer education program involving technology. Watch the link below for some ideas (Stanford Graduate School of Education, 2016).
Challenge 4: How to protect yourself in the digital age? With cyber-bullying, digital identity theft, misinformation, and stranger danger digital style, what are some ways teachers can help students and their parents get educated and protect themselves?
This is particularly important because cyber-bullying has few to little laws of protection for the victims, and digital identity theft does not only ruin your finances but also might put your address or other personal information out there which is dangerous to your safety (Hadzilacos & Smith, 2017).
With the digital age arriving, it’s incredibly easy for people to control the flow of information, and this can be used for good and for bad. We can bring light to issues that previously get swept under the rug, but we can also be straight up lied to and it’s becoming harder to refute the evidence. One thing all teachers should try to teach is critical evaluation of sources. As teachers, we can teach students how to look at information and compare it to other information to see if it’s accurate. This will go a long way towards combatting the spread of mis-information.
In addition as a solution to the potential risks of using technology, schools could have clear programs in place to educate students on the dangers of internet and technology in general. For instance, many students don’t know how to recognize cyber bullying or grooming by predators, and so they don’t speak out. We can help them find their voices.
Challenge 5: How do we utilise technology to create a safer more differentiated style classroom to enhance student learning?
It’s easy to view technology like videos as a form of passive teaching, but how can we implement digital tools in new, innovative ways to increase our students’ capacities to learn?
We need to change our way of thinking about technology. School of One’s model has really shown us a way to use technology effectively. Teachers are able to quickly find what learning strategies are more effective for each individual learner, and so teachers can more effectively give instruction- particularly to those who need it (iZone, 2015). Technology is another tool teachers can use to instruct more effectively and efficiently.
As long as the technology is being used to enhance the lesson, we aren’t being lazy. We’re being effective. And when we think of it that way…
Wouldn’t it be irresponsible not to use it?
Bersin, J. (2016). The future of Work: It`s already here — and not as scary as you think. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2016/09/21/the-future-of-work-its-already-here-and-not-as-scary-as-you-think/#33cb592e4bf5
Center for Inspired Teaching. (2008). Inquiry-Based Teaching. Retrieved from:http://inspiredteaching.org/wp-content/uploads/impact-research-briefs-inquiry-based-teaching.pdf”>
Dashevsky, E. (2015). 10 Surprising things technology will make obsolete by 2025. ZiffDavis. Retrieved from http://in.pcmag.com/consumerelectronics/95135/feature/10-surprising-things-technology-will-make-obsolete-by-2025
Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society. (2015). Deep Shift Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact. Retrieved from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC15_TechnologicalTipping_Points_report_2015.pdf
Hadzilacos, R. & Smith, J. (2017, June 28) A glimpse into the future: The blockchain. The World Economic Forum [Episode 8]. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com
iZone. (2015, November 23) School of one in new york city: Implementation guide. Retrieved February 16, 2018 from https://www.slideshare.net/iZoneNYC/school-of-one-in-new-york-city-an-implementation-guide
Quantumrun. (2017). State of technology in 2025 | Future forecast. Quantumrun. Retrieved from http://www.quantumrun.com/future-timeline/2025/future-timeline-subpost-technology
Sinha, R. (2017). 10 Gadgets that may disappear in the next decade. Gadgets Now. Retrieved from https://www.gadgetsnow.com/slideshows/10-gadgets-that-may-disappear-in-the-next-decade/10-gadgets-that-may-disappear-in-the-next-10-years/photolist/55133656.cms
Sheffield, C. (2014, December).Skills-Based Education Can Help Solve The Inequality Puzzle. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/carriesheffield/2014/12/18/skills-based-education-can-help-solve-theinequalitypuzzle/#759a3957bb71″> https://www.forbes.com/sites/carriesheffield/2014/12/18/skills-based-education-can-help-solve-the-inequality-puzzle/#759a3957bb71
Stanford Graduate School of Education. (2016, December 8). Learning, Design, and Technology. Retrieved February 16, 2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHKPc_d82V8
The School of Life. (2017, August 22). What is emotional intelligence? Retrieved February 16, 2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgUCyWhJf6s
Tustin, R. (n.d.). Bridging the digital divide in the classroom. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/bridging-the-digital-divide-in-education.html
World Economic Forum. (2015). [Chart illustrating preferred skills for employment in 2015 and projected for 2020]. Future of Jobs Report. (the link doesn’t work on this platform, so the document is attached below.)