Monday, November 10, 2008

Educating for the Future

It can be a difficult task to design a course that is meant to provide students with the skills that they will need five years from now. We should not be able to do that, but my experience with technology over the last 25 years tells me that you can. While the technology changes at an ever increasing pace, the core critical skills have been changing slowly and some not at all. This is an evolving list, but my previous course, HIM 101 identifies six core new media skills for students:

  1. Critically evaluate everything you read, see, or hear
  2. Connect new knowledge with previous experience (put it in your own words)
  3. Connect with reliable information (not perfect information, it doesn't exist in any media)
  4. Connect with peers and experts
  5. Share and publish (Get a blog, connect with other blogs)
  6. Transmogrify content (Take a text, turn it into music and pictures - learn something new)

We can teach and model these skills in any class. Our HIM 101 and my English 95 course proves that. All of these skills are based on things that we are already doing and teaching in one way or another. In later postings I will go into each one of these skills in detail. Please feel free to leave a comment if you would like to add a skill for discussion.

Those skills do change slowly because the skills are related to the learning modalities of the human mind, not the content or the media. As media changes, we discover new learning modalities but a lot of the tech changes are extrapolations of existing technologies. In the early days of the internet, people were still just reading pages. Later, visual and social intelligence comes into play as the technology becomes more powerful and more connected.

If you decide to do something innovative, take these warnings with you. You will spend a lot of time telling students and administrators that as difficult (or as easy) as some students find the technology, it is not about the technology. It has nothing to do with newness, coolness or hype factors; semantics, or buzzwords. Although all of that may be present, it is about the core skills that will enable any student to be successful not only with technology, but their subject matter course.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of opportunities to connect with our General Education Goals here. Thanks for the reminder/prompt.
    -Ed Rousculp
    Heritage University