2020 – What Will It Bring?

As a parent of two teenagers, one of who is just finishing his first year in college, I have not give much thought to what the world would be like in 2020 even though it is only 6 years away.  I guess that there have been many changes in my life since I have had my children and have thought that if we made it thru the 1999 change to the year 2000 and things didn’t crash, we might be ok.  Then along comes the terroristic attacks to the United States in 2001 and everything changes.  After living through this with my kids, I can’t even fathom what 2020 will be like. 

Changes in our world affect education in both positive and negative ways.  Advances in technology permit any person of any age to access information once thought to be only accessible from a university library.  Changes allow for technology to become more acceptable in the classroom as well as in society.  From the instruction in the course Building Online Collaborative Environments, I have been introduced and have built a comfort zone with many different technology usages in the classroom that I had not been taught in my undergraduate career.  I completed my undergraduate education 6 years ago and feel that the information that is now at my fingertips that I am learning will drastically change how I teach and instruct students in the next 6 years.  This will take me to 2020 – I can’t imagine what new we will have by then to educate our young people. 

It is necessary now to integrate technology in our education for all grades and levels of students.  It is necessary for all students to be exposed to and have access somewhere to technology.  If students do not integrate Web 2.0 tools into today’s educational platform, they will be left behind in everything they do.  It would take them additional time and effort to keep the pace of the rest of their technology based peers. 

I have experienced education from when school districts went from using typewriters (now obsolete) to introducing word processors (typewrites that had a memory) in a business course. We now have students answering multiple choice questions by using individual clickers in the classroom that displays the most popular answer on the smartboard.  The changes I have seen have all been positive, if used appropriately.  We all see daily where there are abuses of internet in inappropriate and unacceptable ways by students and adults alike.  Monitoring of internet use has to be paramount in our teaching of all students at all levels.  Proper usage of internet tools is becoming one of the most important things we can teach students prior to showing them the “at their fingertip” tools such as Flickr, Diigo, and Skype.  Having our students be safe from something that I am instructing them to do online is my biggest fear.  When we, as a class, post to each other’s blogs, I don’t worry so much become I am a participant in the posting process and feel that as adults we all know the importance of netiquette.  Not everyone is under the same impression nor do they value individuals and their sharing of information for educational purposes.  I fear that when I instruct students to utilize internet applications that they become prey or targets for online predators.  That is why not using last names, never posting addresses, not stating anything about family members, activities, personal likes and or dislikes is important to teach younger children.  These are the things I will teach my classes prior to digging into technology.

I have enjoyed the development and use of my own blog (https://lstupic.wordpress.com/) and feel that this is such a educational tool that can be used in a variety of different ways for my own classroom.  Using a classroom blog students as well as parents can view and contribute to discussions or posting requirements as deemed necessary.  This would be monitored by me and I would be able to police it and remove any unnecessary or inappropriate postings.   Students will also benefit from the availability of researching using Wikipedia and the understanding that, for the majority of items on there, you can trust the text but you should always use another source to back up or to support what you have found on Wikipedia. 

Throughout this course I was introduced to Web 2.0 tools that are extremely useful in the classroom.  You can use RSS and social bookmarking to have areas of interest forwarded automatically to your wiki or blog in an effort to save time continually looking daily for them.  We have researched podcasting, screencasting and vodcasting as alternative ways for students to provide presentations to their classmates or teachers, especially those who are visual learners and feel more comfortable using such a medium. 

The technology applications that I have learned about during this course also provides for faculty peers to utilize an educational platform that permits the sharing of information and questions from one to another.  Teachers can set up a grade level blog if they want in an effort to foster communication between separate buildings on the same campus when collaboration is not always something that can be done. 

My choices of educational technology will have a long lasting effect on not only my students but on their futures.  I have to integrate technology into every course I teach showing my students that you can learn both in the classroom and outside of it.  Being a teacher in today’s world permits me to show the students what all is available to them.  I want the world for my students and I want to be able to introduce them to something new that could possibly spark their desire to learn in an area that they might not have ever thought was interesting.  We have to continually strive to say with technology and incorporate it into our classrooms to keep our students attention.  Students expect to continually be presented with information and if we can provide it to them in such a manner that makes them want to learn, we have done our job!

What will it be like to be a teacher in 2020?  I don’t know yet, but I plan on continually educating myself in technology advances so that I can educate others!