Week #3 Education and our digital future- Bernie’s Thoughts and Concerns

After reflecting on discussions and readings from this past week I want to share my thoughts and concerns going forward in infusing media in our educational practices and professional pedagogies.

The skills youth need to participate, learn, and grow in the 21st century have changed significantly since I was in school, and even more so since my parents attended. The participatory culture that this generation, and the last, are part of has demonstrated a critical need for developing specific skills in education if they, and future generations, are to be functional members of today and tomorrows media/technology-centered society. The skills outlined in Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media education for the 21st century can all be accomplished if the teacher, digital immigrant or native, knows what he/she is doing. The concern I have witnessed in observation and conversation is the traditional teachers or, digital immigrants, reluctance to learn new skills to include digital technologies to help students achieve outcomes. Whether is is a fear of change, lack of self-confidence, efficacy, or simple complacency this will contribute to the participation gap that currently exists for many youth who do not have access to or knowledge about using digital technologies. A commitment to equal opportunity and professional development, and most importantly TIME- time to learn, time to collaborate, time to experiment- by teachers, administrators and policy makers is critical if we are to give youth the skills they need to be successful in the future.

Another huge concern I have is supported by Sinek (2016), Turkle (2012) and Jergenson (2012) in their presentations about the ways that we are controlled by our devices. We can’t stand to be bored, we need instant gratification, and seek affirmation and social acceptance yet at the same time we are so consumed, as residents, by our devices that we lack real world experiences, specifically the ability to develop deep meaningful relationships. Our reliance on online connections is pushing us further from real life connections. Perhaps at school, it should be a space for social interaction, cooperation, and problem solving without devices. Don’t our youth spend enough time with technology outside school hours? Now we want to use BYOD and tech-time to fill the moments in between lessons instead of encouraging students to interact with one another. We must, as Gunpreesh also suggests, find a balance, this I know!


Education, as we have witnessed in great depth throughout the pandemic, has changed and will continue to change. Henny (2006) speaks to 9 things that will shape the future of education and, as a digital immigrant, I find I am constantly trying to keep up! As teachers only have so much time and keep getting stretched thinner, keeping up with ‘free choice’ and ‘personalized learning’, although incredibly beneficial, is exhausting (perhaps less for the digital natives)! Currently, relating to the 9 things, I am proud that I use project based and experiential learning, I can give my students opportunities to learn in diverse times and places (due to pandemic necessities I acquired that knowledge and skill set), and give my students opportunities for ownership where they are involved in the way they experience the curriculum, they have a voice and a choice in activities, assessments, and learning strategies.

The moral of this story, I think, is change requires buy-in and commitment to the process and the students through personal and professional development. Networking has never been so easy, as I have been engaged with Twitter these past 3 weeks, we must collaborate and support each other as we continue on this digital wave or we will drown!


10 thoughts on “Week #3 Education and our digital future- Bernie’s Thoughts and Concerns

  1. Great Cymone! I like your thoughts. Giving opportunities to students to learn in diverse times and spaces is helping everyone to cope with technology. And I believe in future our children will gain more knowledge, skills, and experience. Distinctions between formal and informal learning will no longer be valid as a society will turn itself entirely to the power of the machine.


  2. You’re right. Many of us can’t stand to be bored, feel the silence or awkardness around us. Instead of being able to take in our surroundings, we want to pass the time as quickly as possible. I sometimes wonder if this is why immagination seems to be so limited in some of our kiddos these days. Maybe it’s because they haven’t had a lot of ‘bored’ moments where they have had to fill the time. I remember as a kid always making up crazy games, or looking at the stars or clouds for hours to make pictures or find the constellations. I too wonder if this is something that is slowly being lost in many of our privileged communities. Are we losing immagination out of the fear of being bored?


  3. You have such a clear and concise way of writing, Cymone! I love so many of the points you make in this post, especially about needing TIME to create change and having buy-in (rather than dictating change on someone). I, too, am of the opinion that experiential, project-based, student-led learning is the way of the future and I don’t see tech as being the foundation behind these approaches. I think it will be, primarily, about changing power dynamics and mindsets on student agency. The tech will merely be a tool that can be used to carry out these types of learning, rather than the answer to change in and of itself.


    • I sure hope so Kara. Once the digital immigrants figure out how we can do tech right it will be less about the actual tool and more about the process of learning, and as you said ‘dynamics’. It will take time and an open mind. Letting go of traditional ways of teaching- direct/authoritative and embracing student-centered, equal partnerships in learning.


  4. Thank you for sharing! Your classroom sounds like a wonderful place for your students to learn and grow. I agree that building a community of learning is vital for educators, so we don’t “drown!” The friendships and community I have built during my time in the Master’s program have supported me throughout. I’ve made amazing friends who I have yet to meet in person! These types of learning communities are important for our students as well.


  5. I really enjoyed your paragraph on not being able to be bored. I find it difficult to entertain my students during some of my lessons since they are so used to being engaged at the push of a button. I remember when students were excited to go outside for recess! Now they constantly tell me it’s boring outside and they would rather stay inside. Where is their imagination? Even I tend to go on my phone when I go for walks when I have a break at work when I’m watching tv, and also before bed. I need to work on balance too!


    • YES Megan! But maybe thats just my past and we need to make way for the future and hope they can still learn social skills and cues. In terms of creativity, my 10 year old has a really good imaginations and is making some weird illustration movies on her tablet. That’s good right?


  6. I agree that there is a difference and all the students do not get same opportunities. If I talk about my home land many families don’t even have smart phone and even can’t think of internet. Lack of resources and poor infrastructure has created the different and has divided the schools.
    Students from poor families still follow the traditional ways of teaching and students from rich families has all the resources to continue their studies.


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