Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

6 of 10 Essential Qualities of an eLearning Coach

The sixth essential quality of an eLearning Coach is to have the desire for continuous learning.  I have always been told that things will not always stay the same and change is inevitable.  I wrote a post back on October 25, 2012 called Preparing the Future for Their Future, which talked about the many changes in technology that I have seen over the last 21 years.  It amazes me how quickly technology changes and has changed.  It seems like that as soon as I learn a new tool; a new and improved one takes its place.

I read an impressive article today written by Tom Whitby, an adjunct professor of education at St. Joseph’s College in New York.  He talked about how the way that information, data, and content is currently stored.  It has very little resemblance to the way it was housed a few short decades ago.  For example, text was printed and stored on paper or film.  Movies and photos were stored on film and videotape.  Audio was on a vinyl records or cassette tapes.  That is where it lived until someone needed access to it, so they could learn from it.  Schools and libraries were the centers that you would visit to gain access to this information and you could learn from it.  Access to this information was limited to few and usually came at a price. 

Today, most of all of that information is now converted to some type of digital format.  Access to the Internet is easily accessible by many different types of devices.  Access is no longer limited to few, but is now available to anyone around the world that is digitally literate.  Mr. Whitby states that students in our schools today will be given the keys to the information vaults of our society for their consumption.  This addresses the needs of the digital savvy students, but what about the educators who came from another era?

Some are still stuck here!
Can you believe that many administrators and teachers are wrestling with the idea that technology tools for learning do not belong in education?  In our technology driven world, things are changing at a higher rate of speed than they ever have before.  We as educators must be willing to learn these new techniques.  We need to be learners along side our students.  Heck, some of them might actually know something we don’t.  Gone are the days when the teacher was the smartest person in the room.  The answers to most questions that we had to find in an encyclopedia or ask the teacher are now just a few clicks away.  

It is very difficult to get administrators and some teachers to change traditional thinking about learning. Too often teachers are held back from doing creative and new out of the box type lessons because of pressures felt by technology naysayer principals.  Some teachers are not willing to change because they are under so much pressure to uphold tradition and they fear for their jobs.  New techniques need to be learned by educator and administrators that will better prepare students for success in today’s society.
How often do you tweet, post an update on Facebook, or upload an image to Instagram? Social media and the Internet are changing the way society communicates, and many teachers are embracing new technologies as a way to engage parents. Parents then interact with them on their websites, social media spaces and blogs.  Education must be transformed.  There needs to be an education shift.  We must be willing to learn and educate ourselves about what methods will benefit our students for the future.  If you lose the desire to learn then you can't possibly continue to enrich those around you.

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