Dare to Be Different…. Be Inspired!!

 

When it comes to learning and teaching there shouldn’t be a cookie cutter plan as to how it should be taught or interpreted. The problem with the Educational System today is that too many teachers are becoming “Comfortable” especially once they become tenure. Going through the videos and images of Jim Groom, he expressed his passionate views on that through many blog post and videos.

This passage in “Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle” stood out to me the most because it holds so much truth and passion behind the words:

Ed techs like to claim that the Internet represents a revolution in human communication, one with profound effects on how we produce, consume, share, and value knowledge.20 If that is the case, maybe the ownership, control, and structure of these environments should be more than an afterthought. We strongly believe that higher education should embrace a mission to create, cultivate, and promote “safe spaces” that are not only open but also free from overtly commercialized interests. Educators are currently at a crossroads. The choices we make now will decide what sort of online environment will be available in the future. And despite all the current anti-institutional talk21surrounding today’s higher education that proffers corporate mindsets in the name of efficiency (we sense a hip neo-liberal party with the public paying the bill), institutions remain relevant to us if only because they represent an idea of a publicly-accountable alternative. We see a place for colleges and universities that are more supportive of and integrated with the wider public beyond the institutional gates, drawing on the lessons of successful open networks for inspiration.

I agree so much with this statement because I feel that Higher Education really needs to embrace and create a safe space for students to express themselves and learn through realistic views. Open Education is brilliant idea that should be embraced especially by Higher Education institutes, educators and students can both learn through this process. Straight textbook teaching is not working anymore, students of this day and age is technology driven and is eager to go online to find their answers to things that have tweaked their interest. Educators are at a crossroad and if they don’t challenge  themselves to “bare to be different”, they’ll just be another professor who is known for reading directly from the text and giving multiple choice exams instead of giving the students the freedom to research and come back and teach the class something from their finding. I’m not speaking of the traditional research but navigating through videos, images and blogs on the selected topic and relating it to their everyday lives as well as their future profession.

Habitual Discomfort in Teaching & Learning

Imagining, reflecting and simply brainstorming are from my perspective the three key/essential components to reinventing and bringing your “A” game in all walks of life and would be the ingredients to break the habitual discomfort in Teaching and Learning. However one can say it’s easier said than done. Another can say “It’s been done before”. But should that stop us from trying? Absolutely not!

Over 8 years I thought I had it all figured out and that my job/career/degree in business would eventually take me where I really wanted to be, but as I woke up one morning, I simply told myself “you need change”. To make a long story short, having worked in a corporate environment it would have been so much easier for me to stay where I was, but I decided I wasn’t happy. It was simple, it was now or never.

The same approach I have today as I will soon begin a new career is the same way I need to stay in an academic setting. It doesn’t matter what subject area you teach, but the wheels of creativity and change must stay moving in today’s quickly evolving world.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPgD6xrF_zc[/youtube]

The techniques used or discussed in the Jake Glover link talks about reinventing Physical Education. It highlights a video from 1991 where a teacher has students connected to a device to monitor heart rate in order to collect data on how their bodies are using the energy. One of the obvious ways to reinvent any subject area is by incorporating the use of technology. Things such as video games (as also seen on the video link) can help children in becoming more physically fit or interested and engaged in their health. Glover also finds ways to spread his message through the use of music by creating informative raps that provide specific terminology related to physical education with a fun twist to it.

Now the question is, what happens to the schools that don’t having any funding for these hi-tech devices such as bluetooth heart rate monitors/devices and exergaming which is a new to the world of physical education? It requires administrators to instruct their staff to focus on the basic fundamentals just as it was done years ago. A bag of balls, some cones and some simple drills and excercises to keep student active.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCJ46vyR9o[/youtube]

The Michael Wesch’s video shows students today and their varied visions of their role in education. The time spent on other daily factors seems to be more time consuming then their actual schooling. What message does that send educators on the difficulty of not only engaging students today but also meeting their individual needs? If we are discussing the reinvention of education, although we immediately jump towards technology, the implication that all educators know how to use it efficiently and purposefully is in correct. Starting with what is available and how it is used, is important in the process of revamping rather than reinventing education. All we are doing is changing the forum and the ways to receive and send the necessary information.

The bottom line is that just as Professor Smith, we need to continue to make it interesting for our students and one self.