For me, this image summarizes the constant change of education. The single wheel represents what education was in the past, the multi-wheel vehicle represents the new view of education today. Although they both have the same purpose (traveling), the way they can travel is different. That is how I view education. Change is inevitable and the way we deal with it is very important. Thomas and Brown say it succinctly,
“Embracing change and seeing information as a resource can help us stop thinking of learning as an isolated process of information absorption and start thinking of it as a cultural and social process of engaging with the constantly changing world around us.” – (Kindle Location 546-547)
One of the major changes in my K-12 education, and (most recently) three previous post secondary degrees, is the availability and use of technology in learning. It wasn’t until my admission/acceptance into my current degree program (Educational Technology) did I really have to use technology in new ways. This is quite a change for me. I am very adept in using technology, don’t get me wrong, but the manner in which I am learning is quite new and different. After reading Blaschke’s article, I realized that the manner in which we are learning is called heutagogy, “the study of self-determined learning, which places responsibility for the learning path in the hands of the learner.” (2014) Every week we have these essential questions to respond to by reading some required sources, and we are expected to read other sources to help with our weekly responses. I am responsible for my own learning! The instructor is not lecturing, or providing notes, or even meeting us physically.
Which leads me to the area of play. How does play and change relate? More specifically, how does play and changes in technology relate? When I use technology, I consider it play. In order to use new technology, I need to play with it. This view is not new, in fact, McNeely (2017) and Trybus (2014) state that in order to learn effectively, we need to play. We learn by doing. About 7 years ago, I was asked to teach a digital photography course at our high school. No one had ever taught this course. I made it a goal to teach students how to use Photoshop because I felt it was, and still is, a powerful photo editor. I had to play with the software for quite a while to understand the basics of photo editing. (I still don’t know all about Photoshop!) It was a huge learning curve, but the results were satisfying. When we play in this manner, it can be called game-based learning. According to EdTechReview, game-based learning is defined to be “a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes.” (2013) My learning outcomes in “playing” Photoshop was to learn the basics of image editing. I learned how to crop, enhance colors, repair portions of an image, increase/decrease contrast, sharpen/unsharpen images, adjust brightness, alter resolutions and image sizes, use layering techniques, masking, and many more features. This type of play is important because there is a low risk of failure, and there are many do-overs. I can’t tell you how often I had to “undo” image alterations to get what I wanted in my final image!
In this day and age of technology, it’s important to understand the world that our high school students are living in. They should be able to use technology in an educational setting, and it’s important for the teachers, especially those who were born before this tech-enriched world, to know how to utilize technology in the class. It takes a lot of “play time” to get accustomed to new technologies, but it will be time well-spent.
Barnard, Yvonne; Bradley, Mike D.; Hodgson, Frances; Lloyd, Ashley D.. (2013). Learning to use new technologies by older adults: Perceived difﬁculties, experimentation behaviour and usability. Computers in Human Behavior 29.
Blaschke, Lisa Marie. (2014). Using social media to engage and develop the online learner in self-determined learning. Center for Lifelong Learning.
Editorial Team. (2013) What is GBL (Game-Based Learning)? EdTechReview. Retrieved from http://edtechreview.in/dictionary/298-what-is-game-based-learning
McNeely, Ben. (2017). Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/educating-net-generation/using-technology-learning-tool-not-just-cool-new-thing
Thomas, Douglas; Seely Brown, John. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.
Trybus, Jessica. (2014). Game-Based Learning: What it is, Why it Works, and Where it’s Going. New Media Institute. Retrieved from http://www.newmedia.org/game-based-learning–what-it-is-why-it-works-and-where-its-going.html