Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

I think the most powerful and quote I got from last weeks NCDL Alliance conference came fro David Warlick. He said in his keynote address, “Educators must start teaching student HOW to teach themselves”. How to sift through the tons of information generated every minute around the world and harness that content to succeed in this digital (global) economy.
How do we prepare our students for a future we as teachers can’t describe nor conceptualize? Technology is evolving and changing at an incredible rapid rate. The future is unpredictable and we have no concrete idea what the work environments will be like in 5 years, 10, 15…, and how to prepare our students for them. One thing is certain…digital technology, the internet and globalization have impacted the work and educational environments dramatically. Unfortunately our schools and colleges have not kept pace with the technological shift and are in many instances not preparing students for this unpredictable and highly fluid global economy.

We must teach our students to adapt and literally teach themselves. Teach them to be problem solvers, innovators and creative entrepreneurs We must all be life long learners and not rely on archaic instructional models for learning and teaching. The internet has changed all the rules in every sphere of human interaction and educational systems and global economies are having to change, adapt and evolve rapidly in order to remain viable. We as educators must be teaching our students HOW to make good decision about harnessing and using all the new communications tools at their disposal. We must break away from outdated educational systems and models and invent new ones that will help students function and excel in the future – a future that is already here.

Instructional delivery is now mobile and fluid. Students can take educational content anywhere they want and use it on their time not on ours. Ipods, MP3 players, cell phones, jump drives, etc., enable learners to carry instructional content anywhere they like and use it on their terms and on their schedule. Are teachers creating learning environments that are receptive to this new type of learning and student? The fixed time classroom in a box with a sage on the stage is fast becoming obsolete and in my opinion is a dinosaur. Web 2.0 is turning the internet into a giant global conversation. How do we get involved in that conversation? Who do we use it to create jobs? How do we use it to teach our students and prepare them for this unpredictable future that none of us in education truly has any idea of what will be like and what skills our students will need to compete and succeed.

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