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Teaching in the 21st Century

Posted on 01/30/2019

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One of the important impacts of technology in schools is how tech has changed and continues to change instructional practices. (Going, going...) Gone are the days of the “sage on the stage” who relied on a lecture-based format to impart knowledge in favor of a new style of “guide on the side” that allows students to take more ownership of the learning process. The website EdSurge over the last year featured this shift in a series of articles and podcasts on digital learning and technology tips and condensed their findings into six trends they see in teaching in the 21st century. Although they focus on instruction at the college and university level, it is easy to see these trends in adult education as well.

  • More professors are shifting from (print) textbooks to (digital) open educational resources (OER) - Along with this shift comes a change in the conversation from the value of reducing the cost of resources for students to the value of being able to remix and customize resources that increases student success.
  • Flipped classrooms seem to be growing exponentially – Actually, what has been growing exponentially is research on flipped classrooms, which indicates a similar if not greater increase in instructors using flipped classrooms, as research studies focus on actual, real-life examples that are documented.
  • More professors are looking to experts to help them teach (though some resist) - Colleges and universities are adding positions, most notably instructional designers, which are meant to help instructors build and maintain online classes, coupled with the growth of the “learning sciences” that is meant to practically apply what is being learned about how humans learn. Although some instructors do not want to be told what to do (even if it is school policy), more and more faculty are welcoming the input and assistance.
  • The classroom isn’t the only place to learn – Instructors are using technology to continue the learning outside of the classroom and the class schedule, and students are encouraged to engage with the world via social media.
  • Colleges are still struggling to find the best fit for online education – Learning online is still in its infancy, and examples like the rise of MOOCs are slowly defining the shape of online learning.
  • Teaching in an age of information overload and polarization – Even the “guide on the side” may not be the proper role of the instructor in the 21st century. The deeper, more long-lasting goal is to train students to be digitally literate in order for them to be able to manage information in all of its complexity in the future.

Although some instructors find the addition of technology on top of teaching requirements to be burdensome, there is no doubt that technology is creating new possibilities with instruction and learning that didn’t exist in the last or previous centuries.

Source: 6 Key Trends to 21st Century Learning External link opens in new window or tab