Thoughts on the Challenges and Opportunities of Modern Learning

Will Richardson’s MOOC session, “The Challenges and Opportunities of Modern Learning” got me thinking about where we are and where we need to be with technology in instruction. ¬†I was engaged and interested in this session.

I am interested more in adult learning than K-12, however the ideas brought up in Will’s session were relevant to all learners and educators. One of the points to consider is how can we, as educators (or as a student in education in my case) put students into a more modern connectivist learning environment?

Before putting students into a comfort zone around technology, first educators/instructors must become more comfortable.

The place to start with this massive shift in this approach to teaching is by facilitating a change in thinking of the educators. The change in thinking must occur before all the tools are thrown at the learner. Prior to the submersion of learners into the vastness of technology, a basic understanding must occur of the benefits of connecting as a way of learning. Learners must get used to this a little at a time. Chunks.

There is no doubt that the future of teaching and instruction must embrace technology, but first it must be considered where most learners are with entry skills. The learners in this case would be the teachers/instructors. Once those learners are exposed to the benefits of technology as just another tool in their toolbox, just like the textbook or science lab, they will be more on board with considering these tools as aids, not replacement, to their teaching.

Technology is moving at a whirlwind speed, but the process by which educators will embrace technology and not be threatened by it, must occur at a slower speed.