Technology Learning Curve
I had hoped to have the long-awaited mp3 of Gerald Schroeder’s recent talk on the origin of humanity posted today. However, there is quite a learning curve for each newly added bit of technology. Adding pictures wasn’t too bad, and once I found Scribd, I could post PowerPoint presentations. If I did a video, YouTube is supposed to be pretty easy. However, I’ve had trouble with creating a podcast. Blogger doesn’t host audio files, which is fine, but I’ve had trouble finding a site to host the mp3 file in a way that Blogger would properly interpret.
I’ll admit it—I’m cheap. I have enough Scot in me to look for the free way of doing something over the paid way if at all possible. Thus, to date, this blog has only cost me time. I’m not sure how other bloggers do their podcasts, and since I usually do this late at night, I can’t just call folks up. Therefore, long story short, Dr. Schroeder’s talk is postponed yet a while longer.
This post is more than just a minor rant. I do have a point: as educators teaching the first truly Internet generation (students who started kindergarten after email had become somewhat ubiquitous), we are teaching folks who are immersed in the latest technology and its jargon and quicker to adopt it than we typically are. While we could show our parents and grandparents how to use a computer, many of us now need to be shown how to use social media and the like. We also tend to have a certain mistrust of the Internet because of privacy and security concerns, yet our students tend to be significantly more blasé.
Some preliminary studies show that current students have a much harder time learning with ‘traditional methods’ because they are so technology driven. I struggle with how to incorporate things like Facebook and Twitter into my lab courses. My institution uses Blackboard course management software, and I use it heavily, but hate it because it is so clutzy, yet it has nearly everything in one place so I don’t need to find a dozen different platforms to host various aspects of online communication. Of course, this means that I am behind on learning those platforms.
One of the social revolutions we are currently experiencing is that the media is becoming nearly as important as the message, for good or ill. As educators, usually with relatively little support, we must now become masters of both. Competence in only our field of study is soon no longer going to be sufficient. I predict that in the next 25 years, we will not be able to recognize education or the University/Higher Ed system because of the transformation taking place.
As Christian educators, we can take the lead in anticipating and shaping that form, and in such a way that our salt and light has a magnified impact, not just on students, but on the quality and integrity of education. Or, we can keep doing things the same way and let others take the lead, forcing us to spend our careers playing catch-up yet again during major cultural change.