Teacher, Learner, Ed Tech Enthusiast
As an educator who currently teaches online senior secondary sciences in Terrace, B.C., and having taught many different subjects and grade levels over the years, I can honestly say the last few years have been the most exciting due to emerging technologies.
Working at North Coast Distance Education School (NCDES) since 2005 (and teaching since 1999), I have been fortunate to be actively involved in the transition of paper-based courses to online courses (NCDES moved fully online in Sept. 2011). My work has included the ongoing development of new courses and, when necessary, course reconstruction. The new online teaching environment has required a whole new skill set, including the ability to problem solve and adapt at a moment’s notice. Working collaboratively with colleagues to implement programs and directions envisioned only a short while ago has required a flexible approach and an eagerness to learn. Much of this learning has revolved around the Moodle Learning Management System (versions 1.9, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, and soon to come 2.5 and 2.6) and the various tools and skills that contribute to supporting courses in Moodle and learning online.
During the last few years, I have not only experienced huge personal growth, but I have also become re-inspired about the possibilities for education. It is exciting to see the opening up of resources and online courses to optimize the anytime, anywhere, anyplace approach to learning. It is also tremendously exciting to realize the Web now offers a wide variety of affordances that previously didn’t exist. However, the Web has also necessitated the need to be able to seek knowledge and construct meaning, rather than just “be taught.” As cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch states, we need to teach 21st century learners the skills they will need to become knowledge-able versus knowledgable. To do this, we need to encourage curiosity. We are preparing students for a workplace that may not exist yet, so it is crucial to help students develop a toolkit of skills. Skills such as problem-solving, digital literacy, critical and creative thinking, collaboration and curation, etc., will help 21st century learners, and indeed all of us, navigate these uncharted waters. Together, we can effect change!
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~
Fenella Olynick in infographics: http://re.vu/folynick