Do you ever get so busy that you get nothing done? You look at everything you need to do and choose to do none of it. When you would rather wash dishes, vacuum the floors and scrub toilets then get down to work on the heap of things you should be doing… Well that is where I am right now. Paralyzed by the sheer volume of stuff that needs to get done.
This isn’t to say that the stuff I need to do isn’t interesting or fun, it is just there, looming…
The list consists of Masters work – Report Cards – Fixing Computers for friends – Web Mastering – Learning how to use Unix 3D – Training for a Gran Fodo and… Oh ya! My family. They need some time too I suppose. It would seem I have bitten off more than I can chew but I guess that is life on the cushy West Coast and I need to get over it.
The Literature Review I am “suppose to be doing” is the biggest concern for me. At this point in the game, I should be about 10 – 20 pages in, but I am struggling along at a whopping 6 or 7 pages. I have started off looking at Educational Theory in a digital a digital age and for an #edtech geek like me, it is turning out to be pretty riveting stuff. Far more interesting then back in the day when I was reading this stuff for my undergrad. It is amazing how much perspective one can gain from 18 years in a classroom.
The journal articles I have waded through so far are bringing up some interesting questions about education in a digital age. The two most significant being. (a) How is the digital world-changing how we learn (b) Do existing learning theories adequately address the digitally driven changes we are seeing?
My focus to date has been on question (b) simply because question (a) is just so damn difficult to come to terms with. Question (b) is easy to answer and that answer would seem to be NO! Existing learning theories don’t even come close to explaining how this digital era is affecting learning. The three biggies that teachers have been hanging their hat on over the past 100 years, behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism are falling a bit short.
Essentially, teachers are following a repair manual created for a Studebaker and we have a Tesla sitting in our garage. Sure a car is a car is a car! All the basic elements are the same, but we are definitely not working on the same vehicle. The question now is do we dump the Tesla into the old Salt Chuck and keep the Studebaker running or do we jump in the Telsa and enjoy all the technological advancements it has to offer?
Although my analogy is half-baked at best, you probably get the idea as to the problem we are faced with. We have a choice to make in education and it is an immensely difficult one. We are on the precipice of abandoning 100+ years of teaching practice for something that we have no guide-book for. The technology has changed things so rapidly that there is no theory to guide us into the future or education. We are out in the wilderness and to make matters worse, the next educational theory waiting in the wings, isn’t going to do much to waylay the fears and anxieties those who look upon the future of education with trepidation.
This new upstart educational theory is called Connectivism and what it suggests will send a chill down many a teacher’s slide rule. Essentially connectivisim proposes that learning and knowledge can occur outside of the individual. That the connections an individual makes and maintains within a digital network but outside of themselves, can be considered learning and ultimately represents an individual’s knowledge.
Of course this is the Coles Notes version of connectivisim but you probably get the idea. The digital network is here to stay and has already become an extension of our students and even our own person. Digital consciousness is about life and the living… Digital consciousness is our consciousness. Rothblatt (2014)
Like it or not, for better or worse, we have become dependant if not one with technology. The question is now, as educators, do we keep working on the Studebaker or do we conceded that the Tesla has some pretty impressive features to offer and perhaps we should give them a go? Remember… the basic elements of the two cars remain the same, but the Tesla has the potential to revolutionize the entire automobile industry. It might be fun to be along for the ride.
Rothblatt, M. (2014). The Me In The Machine. In Virtually human: The promise—and the peril—of digital immortality (1st ed., p. 9). New York: St. Martin’s Press.