As soon as we stepped into December, the year roundup posts started sprouting up on every EduBlog. We did one too about 2013’s Best WizIQ Moments. Year end is also the time when educators start predicting the new year’s trends in education and technology. There are long lists of the Apps teachers should use, and the social platforms teachers should be on, or the gadgets teachers should choose. All these articles in my view are very decelerating. Now that the year 2013 has finally ended, should teachers simply wait for all the predictions to come true or should they be out there making things happen? Should teachers only stick to the lists or should they be experimenting and exploring and setting new trends for themselves?
It is always good to have the knowledge of what is happening around, but to limit your faculties to the ‘trends’ would be damaging. It is high time teachers became explorers with technology. “Because times are a-changin’ and fast, and it is only with self-exploration that the deepest secrets shall be revealed.”
I remember it was the glorious year of 2002 when we got our first computer. We were excited to the point of crazy. We would keep ogling at that beautiful, gigantic piece of early technology like it was an alien come into our lives with new hopes and possibilities. And 2 years later we got Internet; the magical magical internet, conjuring information out of nowhere. Such was our fascination with technology!
Sadly its not 2002, and technology (unless brought to Earth by Martians) doesn’t intrigue the new-age learner anymore. The digital natives are born with an iPhone in their hands and internet is more of an obvious necessity than a distant luxury. Learning with technology starts almost immediately after birth. More and more new parents have confirmed that their ‘babies’ are capable of operating mobile phones quite efficiently. Without an elder to assist them, these babies are known to reach the ‘Games Folder’ with remarkable ease.
So what does it say about the whole learning curve? Well a few things are certain:
1. Unless you graduated from Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft and can perform some really cool tricks, your students will not be impressed.
2. It will take more than a lousy tablet with a few dozen apps in it, to keep your students from dozing off.
3. Students can tell a real geek-teacher from a digital dinosaur in a robot dress. Honestly, there is no hiding those ancient claws!
4. Making some memes with your face in them is a really ‘cool’ idea to make your history class come alive.
5. Naming your child ‘Like’ or ‘Hashtag’ doesn’t justify your skills in social networking/learning/teaching. Maybe try naming your child ‘MOOC’ this year?
So this year, I won’t tell you what Apps you should use, or what social platforms you should be on, or the gadgets you should choose. Let 2014 be your year, the year when teachers break the shackles of the conventional and set a trend for other teachers to follow! Cheers to you! Happy New Year!