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Learning at its Best

The Train is Changing…Better get on Board!!

Want a reality check? Take a look at what is happening with the Arab Spring this past year, or the insane pace of the explosion of support for Occupy Wall Street. Or, how about the rise and fall of Politicians, sporting athletes, or any particular musicians fleeting popularity. What we are currently in the midst of is the biggest shift in international society since the 1850s. We are rapidly, month by month, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, moving away from an industrialized society to an information society.

The way in which news, video, images enter our brain, is literally, changing the way our brains function. There was a recent study by the American Medical Association that suggested that within a decade (10 years!), that the way in which our brain learns will dramatically shift. And, ladies and gentlemen, there is no stopping this train from steam rolling down the tracks. The information age is changing and transforming everything, from the way we think, to what we eat, to how we interact and who we become as individuals, communities and as part of the human race.

This change from an industrial society to an information one is highly predicated on technology (computers, cell phones, electric cars, the green movement), but it is not simply implanting technology that will be necessary, but carefully understanding the power of this lightening-speed development of information. We can do one of two things as teachers, educators, empowering individuals; one, we can simply put computers into every classroom, use PowerPoint as our blackboard and use twitter handles and cell phone calls to teach English and Language… or, we can understand that the information age is not just tools but rather a new process of what learners know and how to engage those learners more effectively.

It is quickly becoming clear that the majority of the educational sector in society is preferring option 1, which they hope will simply propel schooling, students, teachers, administrators, and education itself into the wave of the future. And, the truth is, that technology itself, will be a push, but do we want that push to be uncoordinated and without direction? It might be fun to watch, but its disastrous results may leave learners even further behind. Neither do we want to labor the idea of technology, putting up every barrier that comes with technology, for this will just have us continually dragging our feet through the industrial muddied sludge for that much longer.

Educators must unite, in understanding that technology is a tool that needs to be used effectively, in compliment and mostly, as under the umbrella of a larger narrative and conversation revolving around the informational age. The train is barreling down its tracks, it is up to the educators to become highly aware, enlightened and full of clarity on what exactly that train is.. not simply a fancy new IPAD or a shiny G4 phone…but rather it is a new way in which our society is changing, a new way in which we take in information, and most importantly, a new realm in the way we are learning.

Education is already chasing after that train, as the rest of society has jumped on board…only a few cars left for the system to jump onto, embracing that shift in the paradigm…or the system might just be left holding a whole lot of out-of-date technology, wondering how they never saw it coming.

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About caseykcaronna

A 27 year old Master of Arts in Education Degree holder from the progressive, liberal arts school, Goddard College. I am interested in Holistic, Community, Progressive, Democratic and Student-Centered Education. I am currently a part-time employee with the Boy Scouts of America. I am writing my first book on holistic education and looking for full time employment in education, throughout the United States and Canada. I am interested in all things education and hope to make trans-formative changes to the educational system(s) in America and in the process help to improve the lives of the individuals in whom it serves.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “The Train is Changing…Better get on Board!!

  1. Sorry to Kirsten and DaretheSchool…I didn’t want my post to go on as the main post, ahead of Kirsten’s but I couldn’t figure out a way to post it without doing that. My apologies.

    Posted by caseykcaronna | November 9, 2011, 1:25 am
  2. Casey, Change IS coming. Being at OccupyWallStreet and OccupyBoston says to me: our outrage is finding expression. The people will stand up. How will educators respond?

    Thank you for this,

    Kirsten

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | November 9, 2011, 8:32 am
    • I must say, I’m a little wary of this new tech-oriented “Information Society train.” I was kinda’ hoping for more of a consciousness evolution that was contiguous with a reconnecting to simpler and maybe more appropriate technologies, reconnecting to place, community and principles of sustainability and spirit. But one thing, I am pretty clear on, that last train sucked, dude! I’m happy to jump off, stroll along the platform and catch my breath for a moment, take a good look at the arrival/departure board and jump back on board nearly anything that seems substantively different and promising – as long as the same old RR company isn’t running the operation. Oh, and if we can work it out, I’d prefer that the next train isn’t locked onto one set of parallel tracks with a fixed destination. “Multiplicity,” “Complexity” those’ll be a couple of the trains I’ll be looking for. Maybe one that can move in three dimensions rather than one. Let’s enjoy the ride together – more fun that way, eh, even if we’re not totally clear on exactly where we’re going?

      Thanks for helping connect some dots Casey,

      Paul

      Posted by Paul Freedman | November 9, 2011, 12:11 pm
  3. I agree Paul and the words you articulate, is where I am hoping for, a more consciousness evolution that is contiguous with a reconnecting of simpler and more appropriate technologies…along with place, community and sustainability and spirit. This is actually what I would have liked to articulate better…and where I hope we are going..I think that my underlying idea is the though technology itself, will not save us or really speak to what the information age is all about. The connection between consciousness and simplistic, sophisticated technology, I think is that intersection for the information age — you hit the nail on the head. If we can add place to the narrative as well, this is important aspect, which I think technology as it exists seems to keep void or in the dark.

    It is hard to see all of these dots connecting, but I think Paul, you took my piece to the next level, and where I was trying to go with its message. A holistic approach, if you will, to the train, which suggest that the Information Age, is a higher and more important narrative and contextual conversation, rather than the shoving of technologies down our throat. My hope is that we do not simply EXCHANGE the Industrial Age for the Information/Technology Age, but rather, that we transform, through holistic education, that transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age…with technology as a simplified, yet powerful tool, that undoubtedly will be a necessary part of this new Age.

    Posted by caseykcaronna | November 9, 2011, 1:21 pm
    • This is all good information for teachers to take in. We must not see, or rather, accept that the new technology is the best tool for us to impart knowledge to our students. I am teaching in New Zealand and the country is about to go to the polls to elect a new government. One party has put out in their education platform that they would provide funding for low-decile (socio-economic) schools to buy each student an iPad2. My colleagues were discussing this part of their platform. We struggled to see how that particular piece of technology would allow our students to engage more with the subject matter and the curriculum. Granted it could have its uses in the learning process, but we actually came to the conclusion that a regular laptop would be more beneficial to students, as their uses are not limited when there is a lack of internet connectivity (something that many of these low-SES schools would have to tackle). This party’s initiative is a real-time example of those who feel that if we just throw things like new computers at schools we will see an increase in positive student-outcomes.

      Posted by Joel | November 12, 2011, 12:44 am
  4. Casey,

    Being on a Pharmakon kick, I’m riding the fence on this one.

    OK … I lied …

    I’m not riding the fence.

    I do not seem to see truly great value in information exchanges using advanced technologies since it makes available far more dross than gold, provides greater opportunities for surveillance of the citizenry, can be throttled back and/or ‘agendaized’ by way of content, and involves costs that might be put to better uses.

    OK … I lied again …

    Information exchanges can be more readily made using advanced technologies, and thereby advances learning, whether related to ‘education’ or not.

    OK .. Third time’s a charm …

    I AM riding the fence on this one, but fall on the side of caution because despite the ability to increase the exchange of valuable information, technology also has the pernicous ability to spread lies. Hmm… I wonder why the tests of the Emergency Broadcast System have re-emerged… are we to panic or otherwise act in synchrony?

    Brent

    Posted by Brent Snavely | November 10, 2011, 10:37 am

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