Teachers today already have a lot on their plates. They are essentially responsible for students undergoing a complete paradigm shift. Society is changing, and the last thing they probably want to consider is that they themselves could soon be experiencing a form of paradigm shift, which is already represented in the transition to more online education.
While no one expects online education to completely replace traditional face-to-face learning anytime in the near future, its existence is already changing the ways students think about schooling and the way they finance their degrees. School administrators are having to integrate new technologies and learning modules into school curriculum. Educators, in many cases, are being asked, and in many cases, are being forced to jump on board.
This trend is important to keep in mind for every small business, not just teachers. The same technologies that are revolutionizing education will also revolutionize business models and marketing strategies — check out a Neuromarketing Agency as an example — and the way companies run themselves.
There are three primary forms of online interaction right now:
Expository — A real-time one-way broadcast with few customization options for the learner. Expository learning is essentially the online equivalent of traditional face-to-face learning. A teacher transmits a lecture to the student. The student offers little or no feedback.
Active — Using a live chat, like the ones now offered by many websites, to learn how to troubleshoot an operating system or piece of software. Involves an active participant, but very little shared information.
Interactive — Multiple students or participants engaging in a collaborative online environment. This seems to be the goal that many educators and system administrators are working toward.
Thanks to advances in multimedia technology, all three of these forms can now include synchronous and asynchronous discussions and peer to peer learning. In this way, online education and virtualized business does not necessarily have to replace face-to-face interactions entirely, but can rather be used to enhance the overall educational experience.
The question that naturally arises is: How will this bode for teachers? In other words, as more and more educational methods move online, what will be the role of the teacher in these new learning communities? Are we outsourcing yet another job to technology?
Some say the rise of online education will reduce teachers to the role of educational assistants, whose job is to pave the right course for their students to travel down. Others argue that it will always be necessary for teachers to coax out critical thinking skills from students.
This forces us to consider the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and imagine a a society organized around broadband, mobility, and cloud services. These new models will change education right down to its core, affecting all principle components: technical infrastructures, work tools, work place, work relation, ways of working, and skills and knowledge.
Analysts have suggested that ICT will produce a number of highly advanced educational methods, from virtual modules to “learning streets,” which may be used in order to create environments where education and socialization can be combined. Imagine a school that is comprised of miniature village squares, where students can drop in on informal street-side lectures before moving on to acquire different skills. This is the kind of model that will allow students to cherry pick the skills they need, rather than relying on a lesson plan to guide them. Teachers, in this model, become advanced versions of crossing guards, making sure students are going down the right avenue.
Educators and entrepreneurs now need to be active lobbyers for these technological upgrades, demanding that administrators and IT departments provide them with the tools necessary to shape new learning modules and efficient business models. Online interactions and virtual environments don’t have to be seen as replacements to the traditional classroom, business meeting, or face-to-face interaction. They should instead be seen as a way to better assist us in our endeavors.
How is YOUR small business using technology training? How are you keeping your skills, and the skills of your team, up to date? Leave a comment and let’s talk about this important topic.