Connected Educator: Chapter 9... ...Connected Concerns
While being a connected educator brings about many positives, in this blog I wanted to look at concerns. These include both as a colleague and as an educator. Being on the fore-front of a new philosophy of education is unknown territory that can be scary and unknown at times. Some of these concerns also deal with students and how they are to overcome particular hurdles in reference to being connected. Remember, the grass may not always be greener on the other side.
1.) Too Much Tech
What is the balance that we have to achieve in order to be successful as an educator? I am finding that there are few days where I will go tech free. Yes we do discuss the idea of "unplugged" for a day but being connected in the digital world and reaping the benefits of that connectivity implies that we are needing to use digital technology often. We are spending less time doing what we did and more time on digital devices. What are the consequences?
From a student's perspective I am concerned about screen time and the lack of physical socialization. While students may be living out their lives online, are they loosing out on the traditional activities of life from riding a bicycle to playing a musical instrument? Only time will reveal the outcomes, but it is a concern.
Balance is what we strive for in the digital age and I think we as educators must remember that too. When assigning activities which require digital connection we must be sure to put ourselves in the "shoes" of our students and that the pros are outweighing the cons.
2.) Can't Keep Up
I sometimes feel that the connected educator platforms in the digital world are vast and continue to change at such an extreme rate that by the time you learn how to fully implement the digital application it is obsolete. There are apps that I would call fundamental (such as Twitter) when I think of being connected, but those even at times are becoming obsolete in the classroom. If we are to truly become connected educators how do we keep up.
I think the solution to this will come naturally. The digital market place will find quality over quantity and place particular programs at the forefront of connected education. While we may always have to decipher what is best for our own classroom, I do believe there will be a clear and proven standard to digital education.
The buzz is loud and proud in many districts about tech across the US, but there are students who struggle not because of capability, but because of access. Currently our city, state, and federal internet infrastructure does not support connected learning. There are particular elements that exist to aid students in school, but what about at home. How can we expect students to maintain connectivity and put learning into practice if we are not supplying them with internet access and the devices necessary to complete the tasks?
This is one of my biggest concerns. As teachers we need to be sure once again we are putting ourselves in the students perspective. Public education presents itself as an equalizer. This is not the case pertaining to internet access in homes. While someday this may change, for now a connected educator must always know the limitations of his/her students.
As we tap into the unknown in the digital age of connected education, it is important to meet our concerns head on. While pretending they are not there will no doubt lead to disaster, confronting our greatest fears I know will lead to success.
The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native | Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. | TEDxNaperville