I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Online Teaching. The reason I began this journey was because of the changes I saw technology making in my school. I felt as though earning this degree would open doors to new and exciting teaching experiences for me. The shift in education is what brought me to taking this course, Building Online Collaborative Environments. After completing this course, I have realized that the changes I have been seeing are more advanced and real then I had originally thought.
In the year of 2020, the population will rely mostly on mobile devices. No longer will we sit behind big bulky desktop computers, let alone laptop computers. People will be communicating faster and more then ever before. The amount and quality of mobile devices would put today’s devices to shame. People will travel more then ever before, whether it is between homes of split parents, or around the world.
In 2020, the traditional classroom as we know today will be obsolete. The desks will no longer be sitting in rows and columns, or even next to each other in pairs. The focus of the classroom will no longer be towards the front where the teacher is located. Students may not even attend school on a daily basis. Students might be able to attend class virtually. Students can begin subscribing to the teacher’s lectures through RSS Feeds. They can effectively communicate in class discussions through blogs. Students can focus on specific topics using social bookmarking, rather then regular textbooks. While discussing textbooks, I should mention that I do not believe soft or hardcover books will even be on a school budget. Students and teachers will all be using handheld devices that will be used as readers. Students will be able to access all class materials through their devices. Whether it is downloaded, or shared through wikis, blogs, or even through social networking, all students will have instant access to it at all times. All learning will be published on the web. Students will not only be learning from the teacher, but they will be learning from their peers as well.
Standardized testing will surely be a thing of the past. Students will be using technology to learn so far beyond the curriculum, that they will not be able to keep up with appropriate and effective standardized tests. Students will take part in collaborative, ongoing, and creative assessments that provide real world experiences. Students can document their learning achievements through online portfolios. They can actually use these portfolios to enter into a career field, unlike today’s assessments. Students will document their own learning and be proud of what they have accomplished.
Because students will most likely take part in online learning environments, they will no longer be a push for bullying, it will be entirely on cyber bullying. Students will be responsible for their own actions like never before. The reason for this is because all of their interactions will be documented through the online tools. Their actions can be traced and obvious to all members of the learning community.
Publishing student work through multimedia sources or even through social networking will open doors for many students. No longer will hard work that is created by students only be seen by the classroom teacher. Since work will be published online, it will be published to a huge audience for the world to see. This could potentially open doors for students in sense of career opportunities or even high education opportunities. The use of Web 2.0 tools will allow students to display their creativeness on a daily basis. This will guide students down different paths then one had ever thought of.
Teachers will no longer use “Internet Safety” as a barrier to trying new things in their classroom. Students will learn at a young age about internet safety. The internet will be a natural part of the classroom. Teachers will not have to worry about parents and administrators not approving these types of learning activities, like I said before, it will be expected that the children are taking part in these type of online social and collaborative activities on a daily basis.
The staff within schools will certainly need to change. Whether staff members are replaced, or there is extensive professional development, teachers will not have a choice to incorporate Web 2.0 tools. It will be the way of teaching and differentiating to meet the needs of all students. College courses for educators will be completely revamped in order to better prepare teachers to enter this career field.
Teaching in 2020 will surely be different on so many levels. I hope that in 2020 I remember this blog, this topic, and the things I wrote in this post. It will be interesting to see if these shifts occurred. It will also be an awesome way to reflect on my personal career. Will I still enter a school building every day? How about once a week? Will I solely teach from the comfort of my own home? Will my students be from the same grade level, or will learning environments be composed of students of all different ages and from all different locations? As I sit here at my computer today, I do not have these answers, nor does anyone else. But I do know that this course has given me a great insight of the changes that are taking place today. It has taught be how learning needs to be collaborative, it needs to be creative, and it needs to be virtual. This class has taught me how to make the connection of technology and learning. I now strongly feel that I can effectively begin to incorporate Web 2.0 tools in my classroom to support collaborative learning environments. I know that this course is only a small start, and that it has only given me a brief look into the technology window, but I do feel that I am on the road to life in 2020!