10 technology trends that are changing education . . . and life

Photo Caption: At the Oct. 11 Diocesan Teachers’ Institute, speaker Greg Dhuyvetter conferes with Maureen Vadis of Peoria Notre Dame high School about the plans for the school’s library.

By: By Jennifer Willems

When it comes to using technology in — and out — of the classroom, no one is going to do it perfectly, but Greg Dhuyvetter, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Orange, Calif., said it’s important to do it.

“I can guarantee you the future is coming. You cannot hold it back or keep it from coming, as much as you might want to,” he told nearly 800 educators at the Diocesan Teachers’ Institute on Oct. 11. “Your question is going to be what is your relationship to it? Will happen through you or to you?”

While there are no clear paths, Dhuyvetter asked them to consider “Ten Technology Trends That Will Change Education (and Life in General).” They include:

— Mobility. “We have these (devices) with us all the time and that has changed the world,” he said. Noting that “always connected means always on,” Dhuyvetter encouraged schools to establish rules about when educators could reasonably be expected to access and respond to email.

At this point there is no absolute right answer when it comes to device selection and management, but he said schools must make certain that their wireless networks are “scalable” or have room to grow.

— The end of the traditional textbook. “The paper track is disappearing faster than any of us can see. We are coming to the end of textbooks and in terms of paper textbooks in virtually all cases I can’t make a case for them anymore,” Dhuyvetter said, noting that when a textbook is online it is connected to the Internet, which is connected to the world.

Distribution will be a challenge because even if publishers are willing to part with their profitable paper texts, they must develop learning systems that can be downloaded on all devices. There are also compensation issues to be considered for the people who are writing the texts, he said.

The question educators must ask themselves is “What’s your digital road map?” They should be asking that of publishers, too, Dhuyvetter said.

— The Cloud. Referring to all resources and tools that are not local to a machine but exist on the Internet, Dhuyvetter said “the cloud” enables people to access things from anywhere, anytime. That will make sharing easier, if people have that access.

— Paper Less. All of this will lead not only to a reduced consumption of resources but a greater flexibility in how learning assignments are accomplished because students won’t be locked into a paper-and-pen response. He challenged them to start asking, “What is going to happen with this piece of paper?”

— Web-based instruction and assessment. Dhuyvetter said technology will enable teachers to provide more individualized instruction, insuring that no one gets left behind. He worries, however, about the isolation of students working with machines for extended periods of time. There is also a need for strong oversight.

“I don’t think we’re going to be moving toward a complete online education,” he said. “I think we will be moving to a blended model of education . . . . School will be an important part of that.”

— Shifts in education. Rather than being “the sage on the stage” teachers will become learning coaches who can help students find the answers. “(Students) need to know how to get to stuff. They need to know how to use stuff together. They need to know how to work with other people,” Dhuyvetter said.

— Alternative research methods. There is a wealth of information available online, but not all of it is good. Teachers must know how to helps students find reliable sources, he said, asking the educators to consider, “What will your library look like in five years?”

— Social media. “Our kids are going to grow up with it — let’s teach them to choke the weeds with the wheat,” Dhuyvetter said. “Let’s teach them how to put good out there. . . . Let’s show them how to do it and do it well.”

— Who owns what? There is a struggle to redefine academic integrity, copyright and fair use, he said, encouraging the educators to ask themselves, “What can we legally use? How do we protect our own material? Do we teach attribution?”

— The end of the tech teacher. Technology is a tool, not a subject and the day is coming when students will not get a grade in technology anymore, Dhuyvetter said. “Teachers are going to be proficient technology practitioners and we will have what I call invisible technology.”

In the end, educators cannot be like Lazarus in the tomb, thinking “if I just lay down long enough, this will all pass,” Dhuyvetter said. “Lazarus was not allowed to stay in the tomb. None of us are.”

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