Addressing technology and education

Technology
Examining technology and innovative culture–close up.

So as I await and prepare for an interview, I am thinking about technology and education. I strive to create within my classroom an innovative culture, where the students utilize several tools, techniques and traditional forms of technology to extend their book learning or foundations. The digital natives of today need to become proficient in collaboration, communication, and critical/creative thinking. I have probably blogged about this before, but I am revisiting this map with this interview in mind, my upcoming conference and several thoughts rolling through my mind.

I spent some time with my co-presenter while attending the National Restaurant Show and we had a rather heated debate about our forthcoming presentation.  He suggested a book to read, Generation on a Tightrope: A portrait of today’s college student.  I purchased the Kindle edition and started to read not soon after.  And I have to admit, given the understanding that it takes such a book at least three years in development and publication…well, I’m not sure…outdated seems the wrong word, insightful, sure; enlightening, no; helpful, jury’s still out.

I knew when I started into a true role as an educator, from my own personal experience within industry, there have always been problems faced by college students.  (I raise my hand with pride here, freely admit to being lumped in with everyone else.) We all need to have the initiative to attain to a higher level of collaboration, especially in such a diverse universe.  My education abroad opened my eyes to the need for understanding diplomacy and culture, even more so than what I thought before.

Communication must be constantly worked and re-engineered to become proficient at all forms.  Especially the written form.  This is has, I should say, been my hardest crux of my time in academic. Motivating my students to tackle writing, and not just writing for the sake of writing.  Critical and creative writing that conveys important thoughts and analysis to those requesting information.  Day two, after going over the syllabus and assignments, I dive into explaining why I do not conform to the tradition modes of multiple choice and true/false tests.  I can hear the groans now.  I simply state, because you will be required, out there in the real world to demonstrate your ability to effectively and efficiently communicate to your bosses about the current state of affairs of the business.  How do I know if you have learned anything unless you communicate through analysis and rigorous dissection of material and application your depth of knowledge and understanding as it applies to the material and your current state of awareness?

Nose dive right into the trenches from that point on.  Sometimes, I wonder if we shouldn’t hang the old traditional form of the syllabus out to dry and utilize some other tool to communicate need, direction, and expectations.  Is there another tool, technique, technology to deliver on the aforementioned areas?  Umm…

I have put forth and discuss my business environment:

A snippet of a bigger picture
Mind-map of business environment, main drivers information, promises, money both tangible and intangible

Proceeded to tell them that analysis, application and adaptation of the dynamic form could answer most of their questions, if they can synthesis each level of the form and evaluate to each guest and business contact point. This form could answer 75%-80% of their essays.

I even take a class period to explain mind mapping and the use of the tool in gaining greater awareness of what they are studying. So, students are one step ahead, or I hope.

Yet, I have to now address the educator. And I am having a hard time reconciling my thoughts to the task at hand. I’ve hit a brick wall, and realize that maybe, instead of examining the digital native, as in Levine and Dean’s book, we should also address one specifically for the educator. Maybe I am barking up the wrong tree. Maybe I am thinking too much. I have to let my thoughts coalesce and incubate for a while.

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