We are the students of today.
After watching the wrap up videos “The Machine is Changing Us” and “A Vision of Students Today,” I realized I learned a lot about the make-up of students today through peer discussions in this course. It was similar to the activity in “A Vision of Students Today;” we each documented how we interact and learn as students. We performed our own experiment to see which ideas, opinions, and viewpoints would surface about ourselves and our students. It’s interesting to think about the demographics of our class compared to other online courses. How do we represent the students of today?
We never opened a textbook.
Although there was (thankfully) never a textbook assigned for this course, we viewed hundreds of web pages with relevant research about online teaching. If most students don’t buy, open, or read their textbooks and prefer free online content, why assign them. I learned that the students in the class demonstrated plenty of deep thought about extremely important topics without ever using a standardized text. Most of what we learned we found from sources that weren’t assigned to us. Can one textbook capture MOOCs, student seminars, citation software, grammar theory, communication skills, language as art, standardized exams, assessment rubrics, Common Core, ELL students, teacher presence, engagement theory, PowerPoint, competency based learning, developmental psychology, and motivational techniques? We did it in one discussion forum called “How do they do it in their online course?” It was more unique, authentic, and relevant than the $117.19 Instructional Design textbook. It would be interesting to see what our textbook would look like if we combined all of the sources we cited. Some courses do have students create textbooks.
Some cites may not be great examples of instructional design, educational theory, or real-life classroom research, but they seem more applicable. I have learned more from reading a blog post of a teacher then from a textbook. Despite the 99% of YouTube videos that are irrelevant (“The Machine is Changing Us”), our instructor still found ones that were. I learned that the good stuff is out there. We just have to search for it, and it is much easier searching for it together.
We might not be able to teach ourselves.
Or, I couldn’t. I keep imagining a student just like me in a class I am teaching. I think she would be bored in my class. She would want to know and use the newest technology and the newest educational theories. She would want a teacher who knows how to create a peer community that connects multiple learning styles and pushes students to think outside the box. She would want a teacher that is challenging her to think deeper and differently, not a hard teacher, but a thought provoking one. She would want someone who would get her ready for the challenges she has to face in the future. I would fail her.
There is so much I still am teaching myself. I don’t know computer code. I am not ready to integrate Twitter or a social media site into everything I do; some things, but not everything. I’m still learning about education models like the Flipped-Classroom. I’m on board with them, but I don’t know enough to implement them. What of the emerging students of tomorrow? How will I be able to help them? The “Vision of Students Today” video makes me a little sad knowing that the jobs most of our students will have don’t even exist yet. I learned that I constantly need to be looking forward, moving forward, with my instruction.
“I care. Let’s do whatever it takes… by whatever means necessary” (“The Machine is Changing Us”)