Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tech Shifts Changing the Direction of Eduction

In an excellent article by Katya Andresen (2012) on the "shifts" occurring due to the use of social media, I find there is much we should be developing in schools to accommodate this thinking. 

1. The messenger shift

"The idea: Technology has enabled people’s most trusted sources - those they perceive to be their peers - to become the most influential and amplified messengers in their lives. We are no longer the messengers in chief of our causes." (Andresen, 2012)
For Education: we need to reinforce what and how messaging can be used constructively by faculty, staff and students, and among those groups. Understanding the peril that can be construed by faculty and staff messaging students, consider the implications for homework assistance, posting changes to homework detail, sending a positive comment to reinforce a student's positive behavior, and reassuring staff members. For those who question this, be comforted to know it is happening already on iMessenger and Facebook.
2. The social action shift
"The idea: Technology has made it easy for people to take small, easy actions in support of a cause.  This has been dubbed slacktivism by some, which sounds dismissive.  But so-called slacktivists often have large circles of influence and are more likely to spread the word, volunteer and donate down the road." (Andresen, 2012)
For Education: During the deluge of Hurricane Sandy that plagued and devastated the northeast US, it was also apparent how important social action messaging assisted in getting the word out to create supportive mechanisms for assisting people. Schools should be taking advantage of this medium to advocate support for social causes and school issues as well.
3. The message shift
"The idea: The wealth of information and insights we have about people online is driving an increasing expectation of personalization of our outreach - and participation in our messages and cause.  We want to speak to our supporters based on their interests - without crossing the spooky line."
For Schools: harnessing information about members of a school community is doable and much easier to manage than the old paper-pencil filing system. Maintaining a communication link with parents and students through the medium will enhance support for many needs and opportunities.
4. The medium shift 
"The idea: Just this week, we learned there are 1 BILLION smartphones on the planet.  One in seven people on the earth have the ability to do so many things at their fingertips.  This could be an unprecedented opportunity to unleash generosity through technology." (Andresen, 20120
For Schools: The smartphone phenomenon is an important shift in how we access information for trivia, if not homework assistance. Schools should be directing efforts to harness this tool and not finding ways to restrict it in their learning community.
5. The mind shift
"The idea: Thanks to advances in technology and brain science, we know more than ever about what motivates people to give.  What you say and how you say it matters more than the technology itself."(Andresen, 2012)
For Schools: Motivation is an important requirement to keep students on task and focused. What a boon for learning when students can interact with learning through tablets, smartphones and other tech tools. 
Paradigm Shifts in education are valuable and greatly needed.

Andresen, Katya. Linked In, "5 Tech Shifts Changing Our World, Work, and Potential." Accessed November 15, 2012.