Teaching and technology

With an increase of smart phones, laptops, 4G and the Twitter age, an administrator at this university is helping teachers who may not know the difference between a blueberry and a Blackberry.

Dan Clark, the senior director of distance education, spoke about the many problems faced by teachers in the current age of ever-changing technology, saying that there is no correct or incorrect way to incorporate technology into teaching and encouraged instructors to spend time creating and perfecting their teaching philosophies.

Clark’s presentation was entitled “Teaching in the Blogosphere Web 2.0, Lucy Liu and you.” It focused on the constantly evolving process of education caused by the shift from Web 1.0, where the content is stationary, to Web 2.0, which is much more interactive.

“It is a world of opportunity that is fraught with danger. … The users are also the generators of the content,” Clark said.
He also said that the increase in different web content such as blogs, podcasting and social networks are changing the way teachers are able to educate their students.

“We’re in the process of re-defining literacy with Web 2.0,” Clark said.

Clark asserted that because technology is progressing at such a rapid rate, it is nearly impossible for teachers to be knowledgeable about everything.

“Teachers feel like they’re killing themselves trying to integrate this technology,” Clark said. “You cannot expect to be an expert in all this.”

For those teachers willing to experiment with new technology, Clark urged them not to “be afraid when an opportunity collapses. … Utilize the failure and turn it into a learning experience.”

Rather than telling teachers to embrace or reject the new technologies associated with Web 2.0, Clark stressed that teachers develop their own personal teaching philosophy and then stay true to it.

“I think it’s important to be introspective and think about it. … Always be thinking about your personal beliefs when it comes to learning,” Clark said. “Make sure you are not looking to technology as the cure-all.”

He explained that what teachers actually decide to use as their teaching philosophy is not nearly as important as remaining confident in that philosophy, that “we all have different perspectives of the world. … Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re wrong.”

Instructors with strong teaching philosophies have nothing to worry about as technology moves into uncharted territory, Clark claimed.

“It’s not rocket science … as long as you remain true to your own personal philosophy.”

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