My Future As a Learner
During my third year as a teacher I realized there was so much more I wanted to learn about the changing field of education. When I began looking for schools, I naturally thought of The College of Education at Michigan State University. Their programs are renowned for their excellence and are continuously ranked among the top 10 nationwide. When I started the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at MSU my goal was to advance my understanding of technology and the role it plays in the 21st century classroom. To that end I have been successful. As I reach the end of my tenure as a Spartan, I think of how education has changed since I first started as an Undergraduate at MSU in 2002.
Then and Now
When I first started my Bachelors the world was just entering the Digital Age. Facebook and Twitter did not exist, the majority of teenagers did not own cellphones, and those like me who were lucky enough had never heard of "texting".
Today, I am a digital teacher who thinks its no big deal to get a text message from a student on a Sunday night about their online module. Times continue to change and move forward, so must I in my professional career.
Every class I took as an undergraduate was in person on campus. In contrast, I am about to earn my Masters degree without ever setting foot inside the classroom. In High School I attended every class every day, for four years straight. Now, many schools are using blended models, allowing students to attend virtually anywhere at anytime.
A Digital World
I have always been technologically literate, but like most subjects, the more you know the more you realize you have so much to learn. As I continue on I hope to keep learning about technology and its increasing role in education. I am speaking not just of the latest tools but also the theory behind their use and practical applications.
Many schools fall prey to "Instrumental Thinking." They adopt technology for technologies sake without any clear purpose and vision. Instead, when adopting new technologies schools need to understand their mission and how technology can fundamentally change the way teachers teach and students learn.
Digital Educators realize they are not alone in the world. There is a world of resources waiting to be discovered. One resource I have found helpful is Merlot, the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching. Merlot is a network of educators who share their lesson plans and ideas and provide critical feedback to each other. It is 100% and worth looking into.
Another excellent resource I now use to follow education trends and news is RSS feeds. Before I never noticed the the RSS logo on many websites and blogs I visited. Now, when I find something interesting I make sure to add it to my list and when any one of them posts new information it comes straight to my laptop or iPhone. It's like having your own personal news network tailored to your interests.
Technology and the Future of Education
Technology's role in Education is only going to increase in time. These recent changes in education are not fads but are in fact fundamental shifts in how we view education and the learner.
Although the principles are the same, learning now is done increasingly online, in a self-directed and self-paced atmosphere. As a digital teacher my role is to bridge the gap between old and new and help students transition into this new era of education.
The world has changed a lot since I graduated High School. I appreciate how both my Undergraduate and Graduate experience with MSU's College of Education at MSU gave me a sound understanding of Educational Philosophy while preparing me to be a life-long learner. My goal now is to pass along my experience and passion to my students and fellow educators.