In today’s digital world, people have become dependent on technology. Both our personal and professional lives are dependent on technology because it has transformed the way we do things; the way we live, the way we obtain information, the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we entertain, and the way we learn. In fact, technological advancements occur due to people’s demands and life-style changes. The specific needs, wants and knowledge of society are what drives technology to evolve. Moreover, the advancements of technology are driven by adaptive learning, even if knowledge is commoditized.
It is apparent that the advancements of technology present both positive and negative effects. Positive, because technology has simplified the way we operate. Technology is convenient, saves time, increases productivity, simplifies communication, and improves education and health care. Negative, because technology can be distraction, eliminates the need for face-to-face interaction, and can contribute to the development of unhealthy habits; such as obesity, addiction, and tendonitis. Despite the positive and negative effects of technology, our world could not function without it.
For this week’s post, we were asked to share our biggest concerns for teaching in the digital (social media) age. Let me start off by saying that I am all for social media. Social media is used often within both my personal and professional life. Social media allows me to communicate with my family and friends, access news and information, and expand my professional development as an educator. As an experienced digital citizen, I am aware of the potential dangers that comes hand-in-hand with using social media. However, my biggest concern is that educators will shy away from using digital literacy within their teaching practices simply because they fear the potential risks involved while using social media, and that alone. As explained in my blog from last week, social media can be a productive and valuable teaching tool, if it is used appropriately and in a controlled environment. Thanh Hoang Nam Le, a fellow classmate of mine, expressed his thoughts in regards to open education and sharing students work online. He states, “Before engaging students to learn in the open, professors need to introduce students to an established media guidelines and policies that clarify the appropriate use of social media tools”. I could not agree more. In order for social media to be viewed as an effective teaching tool, it is the responsibility of the teacher to educate their students about digital citizenship, digital footprint, social media etiquette, and the specific purpose of the selected tool they intend to use. This educational process is concerning to me as potential online dangers can be avoided, only if the necessary preparation/precautions are taken before we encourage our students to learn in the open.
With technology being so convenient, it also makes me wonder about my profession. Should educators be concerned about their careers? Nowadays, anything you want to know about can be Googled or watched on YouTube. Are we expected to incorporate social media within our teaching practices? If so, how much time is expected? If we avoid it, are we doing a disservice to our students? Therefore, the big question is: what is the role of the teacher? Well, the truth is teachers do not need to feel intimidated by learning in the open because teachers offer a learning experience more essential than technology offers. Teachers offer personal connections and one-on-one learning experiences that “virtual learning simply cannot do”. Teachers teach students critical thinking skills and inspire students to be lifelong learners. Teachers also establish trust and special bonds that lead to special memories in the lives of students. So, with confidence, I can say “relax teacher friends”! Technology cannot replace us but rather assist us in our teaching practices! So, get out there and show our students how learning in the open can be fun and beneficial. But under the supervision of the teacher, of course!
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