Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer break?

It has been a while since I've posted. I can blame jet lag, learning, and a bit of summer relaxing, but it is not for lack of reflection.

What have I been doing since school let out? I've been doing a lot of learning. I'm taking an online course for my state certification. My MEd was done totally online, so the formal online university class is not new to me, but this particular university's method of online learning totally fails to take advantage of the medium and the opportunities. I'm sure, though, that it's easy (and boring) for the instructor to grade.

My MEd was through University of Maryland University College and had an emphasis on information technology. I was not enthralled with that program at the time, but now when I compare it to the class I am currently enrolled in, UMUC did a fantastic job. I won't name the class I'm in now, but it's static. The whole thing might be better characterized as a correspondence course that has been thrown online than an online course. We are required to post in a forum and to make a remark on "at least one other student's post" per week, but there is no substantial discussion going on. One of the problems is that the timing of the class is very leisurely. We have two deadlines for the 12 week period - one at mid-term and a second for the final exam. This makes the interaction going on in the forums minimal.

I have also been doing a lot of learning on my own. I'm still fairly new to twitter and when I returned to the US two weeks ago, my new iPad was waiting for me. This little device is more impressive than I had hoped for it to be. Some time is spent each day exploring new apps or learning how to use those I have more effectively.

As far as twitter, I'm still learning how to interact with people on this amazing network. There is so much information available from so many angles. It's important not to follow only those people you agree with, but those who have different takes, to challenge you. Stepping in mid-stream takes some getting used to. I'm quite introverted, so the tweeting with strangers still feels awkward to me. This is a feeling I should keep in mind as I think about using twitter in my classroom. How will my ESL students feel? Or my introverts?

Finally, next Sunday I leave for ISTE11 in Philadelphia. Keeping up with all of the advice for ISTE newbies is itself a bit daunting.

As I review these summer learning opportunities, only two weeks into summer, I wonder what the next great thing will be? Where will technology be in 10 years? Twenty years? Fifty or a hundred? I see my own parents sometimes struggle to master new technology (even parking meters) and hear their opinions about social networks. I wonder how hard and how long my generation will have to work to keep up? Can we ever keep pace with the change? If we - or even a group of us - perhaps an underprivileged group- can't keep up even moderately with the pace of change, what does that mean for society as a whole?


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