My Role As An Educator In The Digital Age

digital age educator

digital age educator

Upon leaving my residency at RRU, I have a better understanding of my role as an educator. I am able to say that my epistemological beliefs are rooted in interpretivism with a teaching style based on social constructivism and parts of connectivism. As a visual learner, working collaboratively in a group environment while being able to construct my own sense of knowledge is how I learn best. I have found that in the past, I have tried to pass on those preferences to my students in hopes that they learn in the same manner as I. What I gained from my experience at RRU was discovering my epistemological beliefs of knowing and gaining a greater understanding about how the ways in which I learn effect the way I teach; whether tacit of explicit.

It is crucial for an instructor in the digital age to be as technically savvy and skilled as their students in order to provide knowledgable answers for the questions raised by his/her students.

My role as an educator may be more important today in the digital era than ever before. Being in the profession of multimedia and an educator in the field of media studies, it has allowed me to learn and deliver content in a variety of ways. In the digital age, the skills, and demands of this ever-evolving climate are changing drastically at a greater pace than before. “Many educators place critical importance on the social aspect of learning. Ideas are encouraged to be developed between the perspectives of teachers, classmates, peers and colleagues” (Bates, 2015, p. 52). There is no doubt about the importance of the teacher as a facilitator in today’s educational system. However, with the abundance of technological advancement in our current educational climate, the real question is if teachers are equipped with the up-to-date skills necessary to assist their students in learning technologies? In addition, are teachers willing to adapt to the advancements of technology and implement them within their current systems? It is crucial for an instructor in the digital age to be as technically savvy and skilled as their students in order to provide knowledgable answers for the questions raised by his/her students. Moreover, it appears to be even more important for educators to help navigate students through their educational careers to decipher between the good and bad knowledge that is readily available online.

educators in technology
Compass Magazine (2015)

Technology is evolving as we speak. Therefore, teachers must have the ability to grasp new concepts quickly and deliver those concepts to their students. In the scope of web-based-learning, technical skills and critical thinking skills are also important. Teachers must learn new ways for facilitating better learning experiences within traditional classrooms and online environments. They must effectively utilize a variety of learning styles and digital media to enhance student engagement and understanding.

Technology won’t replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace teachers who don’t.”
— Steve Wheeler

After my learning experience on residence at RRU, I realized that in order to be an instructional designer within mobile and distance learning, I have a greater responsibility to fulfill the needs of my students as well as being versed in a multitude of web-based communication tools, languages and learning theories. Although teachers are no longer the primary source of information in the digital age, (which we never were the only source of information) our responsibility is to now contextualize information and guide students in the direction of useful information. Even in the advent of Google, YouTube and Wiki’s, the engagement and guidance of educators scaffolds information in ways that students using technology and peer groups do not.

There is no question that if teachers lack technical skills, they will not be able to contribute effectively with their student’s. However, having conventional teachers with the technological skills to enable the facilitation of knowledge in the digital age is paramount.

References

Bates, T.(2015). Teaching in a digital age. BC Campus. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Compassmag.3ds.com,. ‘TEACHING TEACHERS / Education / #5 / The 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine – 3DS Compass Mag’. N.p., 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Conlin, S. [simonconlin]. (2015). Photo [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/andrewsmyk/status/631579119139090433

Advertisements

I Teach, Therefore I Am.

epistemology

epistemology

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief.

For our first graduate level paper, we were to discover our epistemological position based on the ways which we believe knowledge is gained as a learner. I never took the time to think about my beliefs in how I acquired knowledge as a leaner. I started out feeling unsure of my epistemological position as a learner and how it may have impacted the way I teach. As I reflected on the reading material, I wondered to myself:

  • Do I even have an epistemological position as a learner?
  • Did I need to define the way(s) I know what I know to be true and
  • what impact would my position have on the way I teach?

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one’s own mind? Understood more broadly, epistemology is about issues having to do with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of inquiry.

learning styles
Everyone learns differently. (Shagdora.files.wordpress.com)

As a student and teacher, my epistemological position believes that knowledge is acquired within a constructivist approach. My pedagogical methods of teaching are influenced by my epistemological beliefs and creating learning environments that facilitate participation, collaboration and context to prior experiences are practiced within my teaching methods.

— (Jonassen et al, 1995).

According to interpretivist belief, my learning experiences suggest that I acquire knowledge through a constructivist learning theory. What I have learned through gaining an understanding of my epistemological position as a learner, is that I learn best when actively participating in an environment with peers, teachers and technology to facilitate my own understanding of concepts and topics in context to my prior experiences (Jonassen et al, 1995). Learning in a participatory environment enables me to achieve a high level of academic achievement through asking relevant questions that enable me to think critically about a topic and solve problems.

I also learn best within a collaborative environment where I can develop an understanding of knowledge through multiple intelligences (e.g. auditory, visual, kinaesthetic, digital etc…). Working in a collaborative learning environment, where the teacher facilitates and encourages social interaction and multiple intelligences, develops my understanding and construction of knowledge.

Finally, I recognized that I learn best when knowledge is placed in context to my prior experiences and understanding of knowledge. Engaging students with relevant and meaningful activities—while applied in context to the learner’s experiences—is necessary in a constructive learning environment (Duffy and Cunningham, 1996, p. 178). In media studies, I place emphasis on portfolio-based projects that give a holistic view of student knowledge rather than traditional behaviourist or cognitive theories that emphasize performance based and measurable acquisitions of knowledge. Therefore, “The student’s responsibility is to accurately comprehend, and reproduce knowledge handed down to him/her” (Bates, T, 2015, p.44; Bates, T, 2015, p. 47).

Through these reflections, I am now aware of my epistemological influence within a learning environment. More importantly, I discovered that my beliefs in the ways which I learn dictates the ways in which I teach.  My epistemological belief is that I acquire knowledge through a constructivist learning theory. Active participation, collaboration and learning in context have influenced the way I learn and teach. Using a constructivist approach for learning and teaching, have allowed my classes to become more dynamic and interactive within our digital culture.

M.

References

Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age. BC Campus. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Duffy, T. M., and Cunningham, D. J., (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of instruction, In D. H. Jonassen, (Ed.) Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology, NY: Macmillan Library Reference USA.

Instructionaldesign.org,. ‘Constructivist Theory’. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

Jonassen, D., Davidson, M., Collins, C., Campbell, J., and Haag, B.B., (1995). Constructivism and Computer-Mediated Communication in Distance Education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-26.

McLeod, Saul. ‘Behaviorism | Simply Psychology’. Simplypsychology.org. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

memegenerator.net,. ‘Epistemology | Spongebob’. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

Research-methodology.net,. ‘Interpretivism (Interpretivist) – Research Methodology’. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

Shagdora.files.wordpress.com,. Kolb’s Diagram N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

Steup, Matthias. ‘Epistemology’. Plato.stanford.edu. N.p., 2005. Web. 28 July 2015.

Teachinglearningresources.pbworks.com,. ‘Teaching And Learning Resources / Cognitivism’. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

YouTube,. ‘Boring Economics Teacher’. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.