Blogging has allowed me to form a personal learning network (PLN) through online interaction with other educators. I have several blogs that I subscribe to and read on a regular basis. Most of these blog authors in my PLN reference other blogs and ideas that are of interest to me. I have found that I spend more time now reading about educational issues than I did when I was working on my Masters degree or my Specialist in Ed. degree. One particular item that i read this past weekend has me thinking about our particular place in history. Clay Shirkey writes in his book Here Comes Everybody (referenced at Weblogg-ed):
For us, no matter how deeply we immerse ourselves in new technology, it will always have a certain provisional quality. Those of us with considerable real-world experience are often at an advantage relative to young people, who are comparative novices in the way the world works. The mistakes novices make come from a lack of experience. They overestimate mere fads, seeing revolution everywhere, and they make this kind of mistake a thousand times before they learn better. But in times of revolution, the experienced among us make the opposite mistake. When a real once-in-a-lifetime change comes along, we are at risk of regarding it as a fad.
Is the current wave of using technology in education a fad? Or is it a revolution? Many argue that education is the first to grab on to a passing fad without really understanding the long term relevance to making changes. The evidence, to me, indicates a real shift that moves beyond fad. Every bit of media is changing. Many of today’s most popular shows use at home audience participation. Youtube is becoming as popular as many of today’s television media outlets. Music can be bought a song at a time and downloaded in a minute or less……all things that seemed implausible only ten or fifteen years ago. Today’s students are growing up with a fundamentally different world outside of education that their parents did. They are texting, networking on social websites, blogging, playing on-line interactive games, using television systems with 100+channels….etc… Yet their schools are fundamentally unchanged….pedagogy, curriculum, delivery systems have not changed significantly. What do we need to do to stay relevant?