Like others, I let myself get left behind by the digital revolution. The walls have been moved and I have not been able to find them since. Sure I spend hours surfing and looking at the same old websites everyday, but I did not utilize what was quickly becoming available. I saw the digital revolution as stand alone programs and information resources more than as tools for teaching and learning. Somehow all the changes that have been happening digitally got put on the back burner as other things in life got in the way. There are many excuses; some more valid than others. The reality now is that I have a ton of learning to do and am both excited to be going back to “school” and very nervous that I will be able to keep up.
Reading the article World without Walls: Learning Well with Others by Will Richardson made me think back to how I learned and gathered information when I was in school. It was an eye opener to read that eleven years old Laura Stockman had her own blog and she has a loyal following of readers. I knew stuff like this was happening, but did not realize to what extent. I got information by going to a library, watching the news or just talking to friends. It was a huge deal to just get call waiting on the phone so you could talk to more than one person at a time. I knew where the walls were.
Now the walls have moved. They have moved so far that I wonder if I will ever be able to reach them again. However, I need to remember that once I learn one thing in this program, that will lead to another and things will become easier. Information can be found quickly, images are a click away, teaching can be done by anyone and the learning possibilities are now limitless. The key is to put oneself out there, by sharing, and taking advantage of the different social media tools that are available. Collaboration will happen and the walls may not seem so far away.
As Will Richardson states “We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” As a teacher my role will now have to start changing. I have to open up how I teach and use the tools and “colleagues” I find to help me. I will have to get used to not being the sole expert on Art in the Elementary school now. In some ways that will be hard to do, but also a relief. I need to put myself in the shoes of my students and I would want to learn from as many “people” as I could. I would want all the shared information and social tools at my disposal to help me with whatever I am working on. I would want that for my own kids.
Will Richardson mentions that every teacher he meets has he ability to shift their teaching if they want to. They can start with small steps and build up on that. I guess I have taken my first small steps forward; maybe even slightly bigger steps by signing up for this program. I have read all the articles for this first assignment and come to think that the walls aren’t there because maybe they are not suppose to be. Teaching and learning can happen from anywhere.