Continuing Education: Needed for teaching new skills?
In order for 21st century skills to be taught in a cross-curricular fashion, all teachers must be competent in using technologies themselves. Research has found that skills and content are best learned together (Silva, 2009). This suggests that all subject teachers should be teaching 21st century skills. Continuing Education is a potential solution to ensuring that all teachers have the opportunity to learn technologies and become proficient with technologies before trying to implememnt them into their pedagogy. In order to strengthen teacher beliefs about technology there must be opportunities for teachers to become familiar with technology (Russell et al, 2003). In addition to teachers understanding the mechanics of technologies it is also important that they have the opportunity to see examples of effective technology integration into curriculum and the classroom (Russell et al, 2003). Teachers don't only need to be trained in how to use a technology but how to use it for effective instruction. Courses need to help teachers understand how to use technology in a way that results meaningful learning where students construct deep and connected knowledge (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010).
Continuing Educaiton suggests that teachers enroll in some form of course, such as an additional qualificaiton (AQ) course or workshop. From my experience, most AQ courses cost between $600-$700 and many workshops often have a registration fee. Is it fair for teachers to pay the price to learn technologies that they need to be using to effectively do their job? Another proposed solution would be for school boards provide technology training on professional development days to ensure all teachers have access to training.
- Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T. (2010). Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255-284.
- Russell, M., Bebell, D., O’Dwyer, L., & O’Connor, K. (2003). Examining teacher technology use: Implications for preservice and inservice teacher preparation. Journal of Teacher Education, 54, 279–310.
- Silva, E. (2009). Measuring skills for 21st-century learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 630-634.
Optimized Evaluation of New Skills and Technology
A consistent evaluation policy needs to be developed and provided to teachers; In order for teachers to effectively teach 21st century skills they must also be able to evaluate them. Research performed by Annetta et al (2010) used a Multiplayer Educational Gaming Application (MEGA) to assess 21st century skills of high school Biology students. The use of MEGA allowed teachers to assess student's inventive thinking, productivity, and effective communication (Annetta et al, 2010). Not only does MEGA create a method foe evaluating student's skill but it also was found to engage students in the Biology content (Annetta et al, 2010).
Another innovative assessment of skill is the College Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) which consists of a single 90 minute task that requires students to access online resources to solve real life problems (Silva, 2009). This assessment effectively evaluates content and skill which is necessary if teachers are teaching both content and skill. Another example of assessing student skill is through virtual worlds or simulated learning programs that present students with a problem and they must come up with a hypothesis and procedure and test it virtually (Silva, 2009).
In addition to teachers requiring adequate training to be able to effectively use and implement technology into their teachings they must also be provided with guidance as to how they should assess student's 21st century skills.
- Annetta, L. A., Cheng, M., & Holmes, S. (2010). Assessing twenty-first century skills through a teacher created video game for high school biology students. Research in Science & Technological Education,28(2), 101-114. doi:10.1080/02635141003748358
- Silva, E. (2009). Measuring skills for 21st-century learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 630-634.
Accessibility and Technology: New solutions to old problems
Woodall (2013) explain how barriers between learners and educator needs to be addressed in order to create success. 21st century learners are "physiologically wired differently" (Woodall , 2013, p1). Educators need to engage in the learners instructions methods that work to their strengths and have learning activities that motivates the students learning. 71% of teachers meet the expectations for incorporating technology into their content (Woodall , 2013). 38% of students believed strongly that using technology encouraged them to be more actively engaged with the classroom. The reliance on technology has also led to educators further relying on one another's knowledge to apply the skills for the technology (Norum, Grabinger, and Duffield, 1999)
It is expected in teacher education programs to incorporate technology within their content that they are delivering (Woodall , 2013). Through these expectations guides and tutorials had to be developed for users to be able to learn the new forms of technology being presented. Wifi is now existing in multiple public areas for free so users can enjoy working and being at a specific location. Ben-Jacob, Levin, and Ben-Jacob (2000) state that technology is becoming easier to use with user-friendly intuitive interfaces. This is allowing for skills to be applied from one program to the next. The transfer of skills allows for the new tool to be learned by the user at a quicker rate. This increases the chances of the individual also using the technology and recommending others. Technology has been able to give more independent structure for evidence-based practices through allowing the growth of one's self and knowledge to be found through the swiftness of a button.
Also students are proven to use technology for social and personal reasons but were limited in their knowledge around digital citizenship, ethics, fair use, and safety. Online learning environments are allowing rural and remote communities to access a wider range of material. Students and educators are connecting from different parts of the world to learn about what it is like in each other's areas (Kirby & Sharpe, 2010). It is not enough just to open a book and read or to drive long distances to get to school. Now people are able to stay in a setting that they able to remotely connect into classes.
Is the classroom enough for students? Behavior is determined by the environment either through association or reinforcement. A reliable distance education course can provide students with the opportunity to learn about subject area of interest from any location that has internet access (Kirby et al, 2010). Society is moving towards very direct and user-friendly approaches for learning. The expectation is that the method in which the distance education is delivered is reliable and user-friendly. Distance education is predominantly offered for high school and secondary at the moment. Can we offer this to intermediate as well? I believe having inquiry units online is a great way for the students to make their own work by creating a blog, working in a group, showing all their information but all done in a completely independent matter. For younger students teachers can create blog cites for the students to upload information to and make their own tools. Giving the students their own platform with your observation will allow for them to be engaged in the activity that they are working on. Class times should be more flexible and meet the needs of the student’s schedules. Positive interactions with technology will result in the increase in demand in use for digital tools from educators and students.
Kirby, D, et al (2010) Graduates of the new learning environment a follow-up study of high school distance e-learners. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 11(2), 161-173.
Kirby, D., &Sharpe, D. (2010) High school students in the new learning environment: A profile of distance e-learners. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 9(1), 83-88.
Ben-Jacob, M., Levin, D., Ben-Jacob, T. (2000) The Learning Environment of the 21 ST Century. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 6 (3), 201–211
Woodall, S (2013)21st Century Educators: Teaching with Technology. Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 1467–1471.
The "Old Skills": Not losing important skills to new technologies
Medicine is invariably a mix of science and art, this has not changed since Hippocrates stated these words over two thousand years ago. This basic tenant is also reflected in the Hippocratic oath sworn by every medical student and physician.
A part of the art of medicine entails human interaction. How the clinician approaches a patient and interacts with those under their care is inseparably intertwined with the science of medicine. Digital technology cannot replace the human element of medicine without compromising the delivery of care. Similarly, a clinician can't be trained in the art of medicine away from the bedside and without seeing and touching an actual patient (Ende, 2002).
New technology has the ability to enhance the way we teach important bedside skills, such as the physical exam. But under do circumstances can it replace such bedside experiences. For instance, online videos of physical exam maneuvers have proven useful tools for trainees learning how to examine a patient (Azer, 2013). Yet, some suggest that despite such tools being available the importance of the clinical exam is being deemphasized in medical education due to the influence of other non-physical, technology-driven means of investigating a medical problem (Mangione, 1996). This is a dangerous precedent as evidence suggests many diagnoses are still best made through laying hands on a patient and asking them focused questions (Bhangu, 2015).
Educators must remain aware of the skills a technology aims to replace or alter. Evidence should be acquired which evaluates for potential pro-innovation bias. New technology certainly can enhance skills for the better, but not always so, and especially if we are not cognizant to potential downsides towards adoption (Rogers, 1983).
- Azer, S. A., AlGrain, H. A., AlKhelaif, R. A., & AlEshaiwi, S. M. (2013). Evaluation of the Educational Value of YouTube Videos About Physical Examination of the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(11), e241. http://doi.org.libaccess.lib.mcmaster.ca/10.2196/jmir.2728
- Bhangu, A. Sreide, K., Di Saverio, S., Assarsson, J. H., & Drake, F. T. (2015). Acute appendicitis: modern understanding of pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. Lancet (London, England), 10000, 1278–1287.
- Ende, J., & Fosnocht, K. M. (2002). Clinical examination: still a tool for our times? Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association,113, 137–150.
- Mangione, S., & Peitzman, S. J. (1996). Physical diagnosis in the 1990s.Journal of General Internal Medicine, 11(8), 490-493.
- Rogers, E. M. (1983). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press
Teaching the Limitations of New Technology: Educating effective users
In medicine, one must be mindful of how and when they adopt innovations into their practice. As a clinician, one requires the skills to evaluate independently the evidence regarding a new technology. Adopting a technology without reliable evidence carries great risks for my patients. On the other hand, misinformed resistance to technology can result in sub-optimal patient care (Schroeder, 2008).
Technology developers have created many tools to optimize healthcare education. Today high fidelity simulation manikins, mobile applications, video conferencing tools, etc. are becoming increasingly popular (Jin & Bridges, 2014; Simpson, 2015). One area of rapid development within medicine is free open access medical education (FOAM). FOAM consists of social media, blogs, podcasts, and various other online media developed by clinicians to educate peers (Nickson & Cadogan, 2014).
FOAM can be used as an example of a technology with many potential benefits which also require careful evaluation prior to adoption and continuously after it is being used within medical education. FOAM allows for rapid and widespread unidirectional dissemination of ideas. However, FOAM currently has no quality control process and it is very vulnerable to the blurring of expertise (Barbazon, 2006). There is some truly excellent and highly scholarly FOAM material. But the opposite can also be true. Additionally, the more junior the learner, the more susceptible they are to being unable to differentiate distinctions in quality. Therefore, learners and educators must be educated in the use of this innovation and in its limitations (Ostermayer, 2013).
- Brabazon, T. (2006). The Google Effect: Googling, Blogging, Wikis and the Flattening of Expertise. Libri, 56, 157-167.
- Jin, J., & Bridges, S. (2014). Educational Technologies in Problem-Based Learning in Health Sciences Education: A Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16(12), E251-E251.
- Nickson, C., & Cadogan, M. (2014). Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 26(1), 76-83.
- Ostermayer, D. (2013). Podcasts are great, but. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.acepnow.com/article/podcasts-great/
- Schroeder, T. (2008). Evidence-Based Medicine and the Changing Nature of Health Care. Scandinavian Journal of Surgery, 97(2), 100-104.
- Simpson, T. (2015). Medical education in the digital age: Personal reflection on a simulation fellowship. Scottish Medical Journal, (Ahead of print).
- Neufeld, V., Norman, G., Feightner, J., & Barrows, H. (1981). Clinical problem-solving by medical students: A cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. Medical Education, 15(5), 315-322.