The education system’s own dinosaur

Universities are not known for the quick ability to adapt and change.  Are they capable of change? Yes of course.  But campuses are filled with bureaucracy, but that doesn’t seem be the only thing making change difficult on the post secondary system as a whole.

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Change management is not always considered.  Universities are often large institutions.  We aren’t talking about a 5 staff start up trying to execute a change.  Communication during a change is key but communicating to a staff of 2000-2500 with diverse interests is complex.  As well, resistance should be addressed and discussed, not ignored.

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates

Faculty are highly specialized in their area of interest.  Few are trained in teaching and education.  In the K-12 system in Saskatchewan, you must have a BEd to teach.  In higher education, faculty are highly specialized and trained in specific knowledge areas.  This is both a beautiful aspect of university, and a difficult concept with work with.  While education students is important to many, research is often a main focus.  Faculty members can earn tenure to support academic freedom and speak openly about their concerns.  This is unique to higher education as in many business centric organizations who can have a “get on board or leave” mentality.  Debate is welcome and a part of many universities culture.

What does this mean for higher education in the future?

There seems to be lots of perspectives on the future of universities.  Some think the Brick and Mortar of campus will be decline in the future.  Others think artificial intelligence will replace faculty and instructors.  Or in person lectures will no longer be offered.  Maybe MOOCS are the future of higher education.

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One of the biggest philosophical debate I have internally is “what is the purpose of higher education?”  Is the goal is create workforce ready employees? Or create critical thinkers who develop and research new ideas, science, and technology?  Are students consumers of higher education and should be treated as customers? Of course there is a privilege to expect a student to study for the sake of learning, and worry about a career later.  Tuition is skyrocketing across the country.  But we equally must be as concerned about becoming strictly industry driven.  Society should want people to think for themselves, evaluate information, and make informed choices, not solely people who can do task XYZ.

Will higher education change, or be replaced?

I am hopeful higher education will be change and communities will see its value to society.  But they must stop being the dinosaur of the system.  Yes, universities have been around a thousand or more years.  No, that doesn’t mean they have everything figured out.  Today, the system needs to meet students needs, not expect students to meet the institutions needs.  The way things have always been done will eventually be their tragic flaw.  Learning should be interdisciplinary and cross colleges and departments.  Assessment should be hands on and practical.  Experiential learning will become crucial as there is only so much one can learn in a classroom.  Universities should work together instead of in competition.  Embrace technology not only in online or distance based classes, but all courses.  Institutions should embed themselves in their community not sure to promote formal education opportunities but to support the common good, and use their internal knowledge to assist those in the community.  Higher education and the K-12 system need to work together as often as possible to support the future leaders, innovators, and thinkers.  Some of these things are already starting to happen but administrators will need to continue to value change to ensure there is a future.

Is this a lot of ask? Likely. Impossible? Not at all.

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A World of Dualism

29005831233_7089b45109 Katrinitsa Flickr via Compfight cc

From this weeks readings and assigned videos, the idea of dualism stands out.  We are either living life online or offline.  We are digital natives or digital immigrants.  We are visitors or residents (I admit this one allowed for a continuum which was good to see).  Generally, I don’t agree that humans fit into this box or that box.  People are changing, evolving, learning all the time.  People fit into one category today, another tomorrow, neither the next, and create our own category after that.  The philosophy of education I prescribe to is that humans are capable of change.

In “Do Digital Natives Exist?”, I have to agree with the presenter that judgements should not be made on one solely based on the year they were born.  Ones social class is going to play a large part in whether or not a person was raised around technology or not, and cannot be ignored.  From a critical standpoint, privilege and power have a place in whether or not someone is “naturally strong” in technology and digital literacy or not.   I work with students from all over the province and all over the globe, from various economic levels.  The level of digital competency they have upon entering university varies greatly.  Not to mention, different countries have different rules regarding internet access.  I would have to agree with this presenter that digital natives do not exist, but that the education system today and current point in time is building stronger digital literacy at an earlier age.

The idea of the attitude that a Millennial and Gen Z may have towards technology likely best explains the ease of uptake compared to their Gen Y and Baby Boomer counterparts.  Again, this is a generalization and cannot be taken as an absolute truth. To say that a member of Gen Y or a Baby Boomer will never be as tech literate as a Millennial or Gen Z, seems completely unfair.  Malcolm Knowles, a well known theorist of adult education, says that adults must be motivated to learn and see learning a new subject or task as relevant to them (see article here for reference).   What benefits do “digital immigrants” see for themselves personally in terms of learning to use technology as a resident instead of a visitor? Or in some cases, becoming a visitor instead of avoidance? Does society create space and opportunity for those not born in the digital age to learn digital literacy? Are there any innovative programs you know of aimed to help adults learn about technology and digital literacies?

One example I can think of is the Life Long Learning Centre and Centre of Continuing Education at the University of Regina offer computer and technology courses for seniors.  Do you know of anything else in your community aimed to help adults become digital visitors or digital residents?

 

 

Read, read, read.

I thought for my major project it might be a good idea to keep a list of the readings that I do for my project.  “Read, read, read” seems to by my mantra in both grad school and life so this project might as well follow suit!

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This will be an ongoing list I will add to as I find more resources.  I am hoping as the list grows, I will be able to sort the readings into topics as well.  If you have any suggested readings for me and my project (exploring creating a digital footprint for our children), I would love to see them in the comments

Readings
Raising kids to be good digital citizens

The Perils of “Share”enting

Sharenting: Parent bloggers and managing your children’s digital footprint

Identity in a Digital World

Should you post photos of your child on social media?

Why I don’t put pictures of my children on facebook

The pros and cons of sharenting

When sharenting goes wrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating a digital footprint

As a mom-to-be, I have been thinking and reading about social media and my future child a lot. When I saw there was an option to design our own final project for this course, I immediately knew I wanted to look at how parents are making decisions about what they share about their children on the internet. I certainly don’t have the answers, but is a topic I think is worth exploring. There are two particular articles that speared a few questions for me. You can read the articles here and here.  

One particular interesting piece to me from Blum-Ross’s article is the idea of creating a digital footprint for our children when they are born, or even before hand, that they have no say in the content.  I want to be clear I am not saying this is necessarily the worst thing a parent should do, but I have noticed this discussion has yet to come up in the pregnancy books I have read, nor is it  a topic in my prenatal course in February.

My goal for my project is to talk to friends and colleagues about how they decide what they post online about their children, and if they have any advice in regards to parenting and technology/social media.  It would be great if I could find a mom who has a child old enough to have their own social media account and how they talk to their child about appropriate use of technology.  (Any of my classmates fit this category?! If so, I would love to hear from you!) I am not sure I will come up with the answer that is best for myself, but having this conversation will at least be a start!

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Finally, I would like to see if parents feel there is a difference in posting about their child on their blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.  I think these platforms are viewed differently, but I would like to explore this further as well.

In true adult education fashion, this project is directly related to my interests, self-directed as the project is designed by me, and I get to utilize my and my friends life experiences to lead my learning.

I plan to blog weekly about what I find, read, or discover for myself. I would love to hear from you if you have any recommended readings or your own experiences to share!

A bit about me

Hurray! I have finally made it to my last course of my Masters of Education (Adult Education).  Sometimes it seems like I have been in grad school forever, other days it seems surreal to think the end is here.

I am originally from Moose Jaw but have been living in Regina in 2006.  I have a Bachelors of Business Administration with a major in Human Resources (any of my ECI832 classmates also not have a BEd?!), as well as a Certificate in Adult Education.

I have worked at the Student Success Centre at the University of Regina for seven years now, in a few different positions.  My next challenge (new position!) starts at the end of January and I am looking forward to new tasks, new challenges, and new beginnings.

I decided to take ECI832 because I have yet to take a grad course that focuses on technology.  I have done two blended courses but I can already tell ECI832 will be much different.  It is naive for one to think they do not need to know about education technology tools and so I look forward to exploring various tools and concepts that I can apply to my professional world. I also think I have a lot of learn from my classmates in the K-12 world as they seem to have introduced many different tools into their curriculum already.  My professional interests include student development and retention, student engagement, orientation and transition, and strategies for academic success.  I believe educational technology can play a role in all areas of my interest.

Finally, my partner and I love dogs.  We love our dog Reggie.  We love our dog nephews.  And chances are we love your dog too.  We look forward to Reggie becoming a big brother in May 2018 🙂

Reggie