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2020 Vision

It’s hard to believe that the year 2020 is less than eight years away.  Knowing how quickly technology changes and advancements are made, it is interesting to think about how technology in education will evolve over the next eight years.  In 2020, technology will have been a part of students’ everyday life for their entire lives.  They will be used to instant access and results.  They will possibly know how to use a smartphone and access the internet before they can read.  In order to keep up with the trend, technology will be incorporated into many, if not all, lessons.  The school district I attended began giving all high school students their own laptops 14 years ago.  Recently, they also have a bring your own device option -http://triblive.com/news/1871417-74/devices-bring-students-technology-computer-device-districts-latrobe-levan-byod#axzz2BDXoScne.  At the time, this was a rarity and big news.  By 2020, it will be common for students to bring their own devices to school or for the school to provide them with one.  Schools themselves with be equipped with wifi and charging stations in order to handle the devices.  More classrooms with have SmartBoards, Elmos, and other resources. 

In 2020, students will more likely share their work with a broader audience.  They may post their presentations on http://www.slideshare.net or write a blog post on http://www.edublog.com.  Work that was typically only seen inside the four walls of a school will be seen all around the word.  This will also lessen the amount of paperwork done in schools. 

Paperless classrooms will be more common.  Instead of taking a paper and pencil quiz, students will complete it online or using Senteo response machines.  Teachers will no longer have to teach using out of date textbooks because everything will be digital.  The California Learning Resource Network (www.clrn.org) currently provides free digital textbooks in a variety of subject areas.  These sites will be more common.  Textbook companies will be providing their publications online.  Students may even complete homework assignments online and submit them electronically. 

Another shift in classrooms in 2020 is that students will also be teachers.  With access to numerous resources, students will be more responsible for their own learning and that of others.  Researching information will be more common than listening to a lecture.  The teacher’s role will shift to more of a facilitator of learning. 

I am excited to see what the future holds for education and its use of technology.  Many of the things that are only slightly implemented and used today will be common sights in the classroom.  New ideas and inventions will continue to change the face of teaching and learning.

Web Application for Students

One site that I think would be beneficial for students is www.slideshare.net. Slideshare allows users to upload their presentations. These presentations may be shared publicly or privately. In addition to slides, users may upload documents, videos, and PDFs. Even if a user is not posting his/her own work, he/she may view other presentations. This would be good for visual learners. If a student is having difficulty with a concept, I would recommend that they look on Slideshare to see if there are any presentations that may better help them understand. Check out this blog post to find out how a teacher used Slideshare in his classroom – http://www.classroom20.com/forum/topics/slideshare-rules

Paperless Classes

My classes are mostly paperless.  There are no textbooks and students access any necessary information online.  Quizzes are submitted through Moodle.  Graphics projects are saved to a CD and I grade them on my computer. 

I like having the students complete work online because they can access it from home and there is no question as to whether or not an assignment was submitted.  The students also like not having to worry about papers.  It has not really affected my grading.  If anything, it has made it easier because Moodle grades the quizzes for me.  For graphics projects, I am able to scroll through projects and grade using a rubric.

Paperless classes has made things a lot easier for me.  Papers do not sit in piles waiting to be graded.  Students also get more immediate feedback on their work.  While paper is nice to have if a students wants a hard copy of his work, it is not necessary.

Shifts in Education

Web 2.0 technologies are causing big shifts in education.  One shift is students no longer have to memorize an answer, but simple know where to find it.  Search engines, such as Google, keep information at a person’s fingertips and can be used on mobile devices.  Students do not have to travel to a library to look up a piece of information.  They can have the answer in seconds.  One downfall with having such access is that we do not always know who is providing the answers and whether they are true. 

This shift has affected my teaching practices.  I used to purchase books about how to use Photoshop and other programs.  I would have to purchase a new book each time a newer version was created.  Since the same information is now online, I no longer have to worry about having a book to reference.  In the future, I think I will be able to view all of the machine manuals online.  I also plan on teaching the students how to access these resources.

Blogical Discussion Forum

According to an article by Jill Rooney, Ph. D., 48% of faculty members believe that online courses are inferior to face-to-face courses.  One concern is that the quality and consistency of online courses is not as strong as in face-to-face courses.  Another problem stated by faculty members is the lack of support and compensation for online teaching.  Finally, faculty believe that students do not take online courses/work as seriously as they do when in a face-to-face class.  You may read the article here

Do you agree with these statements?  Are online courses on a lower caliber than face-to-face courses?  Do students take online courses seriously?  If not, what can we do to help change faculty and students’ thoughts regarding online learning?

Connectivism

According to connectivism, knowledge is not in one’s head, but in the world around him.  I do not think that connectivism is a new learning theory.  While technology may have influenced learning, it does not require an entire new theory.  The only piece that has changed is the resources people use to learn.  However, these resources have changed before and no new learning theory was necessary then.  My group and I created a wiki defending why connectivism is not a new learning theory.  You can find it here.

Aside

Skype

This week I had an opportunity to connect with a former classmate through Skype. I had never used Skype before. I lIked how it provided a visual of the person you are talking to. It made the experience more ‘real’ than just talking on the phone.

I think Skype could be very useful in online learning.Students and teachers would be able to communicate face to face. This would be especially beneficial if the student needs clarification or shown how to do something.

Skype could also be used to share ideas and projects. Through Skype, I could see what other classes are making and share the projects my students have made. I look forward to discovering all of Skype’s possibilities.