This week’s presentation by Arkin, Katherine, Chris and Rae was incredibly interesting to listen to. I found their ability to explain each level of Web simple and applicable, and as someone who has taught through each facet of change it was incredibly interesting to reflect on how it has impacted my teaching practice. What I found interesting is that in my 15 years of experience in the classroom I have seen all iterations of Web in my spaces and practices.
As Arkin alluded to in his first post his definition of Ed Tech was influenced by both his personal education and his teaching practice. He spoke about his high school experience and his teachers using tech, but not to its potential. Arkin stated: “In high school, my exposure to tech was limited” (Kauf, 2021. Not to date myself- but I was a teacher when Arkin was a student. . . and I was DEFINITELY one of those teachers who tried to use tech but lacked the accessibility and ability to integrate it meaningfully. I recall in my first few years of teaching you had to book the school projector and laptop that hooked up to said projector (filling in two separate duo-tangs to make sure both devices were available). You then took the laptop and projector to your room from the main office, located the one plug-in for both devices while being able to face the overhead screen in the room. I’d then power up the schools laptop and wait 45 minutes for the 750 updates to cycle through. Once the computer started you brought your USB port with the video you tried to download off of YouTube (Wi-Fi was not accessible unless you were on your desktop computer that could not reach the projector screen in order to broadcast). You then waited with baited breath to show your students the mastery of your teaching- “here is a 10 minute documentary I wanted you to watch as an introduction to the outcome we are going to learn”. I can’t imagine why Arkin didn’t feel like technology wasn’t a big part of his learning… must have been some other class.
All joking aside, when I started teaching in 2006 technology was not easily accessible, it was big and difficult to set up, and you had to share it with an entire school. I did my best to try new tools and to integrate them, but it certainly was very Web 1.0. I recall assigning a WebQuest for students to understand the main tenants of the Islam faith. Students were required to read, and answer fill-in the blank questions. We used the Computer Lab to access the internet and also had a print copy of the assignment to fill in as they read (note- not research, it was literally read and fill in directly from the site). They could record their answer utilizing a Microsoft word document, but then they had to find a printer so often they would just write responses on a piece of paper for me. Fast forward to my current classroom set up and in 2 minutes of a conversation I can have a meaningful and engaging video that was sparked from class conversation playing on my screen. Or even cooler, students can share their screen through the Connected Educator program where I am privileged to have 1-1 devices in my class. Suddenly we are seeing the Pilgrimage to Hajj and watching people interact with their faith. We are not just reading a static page that lists the 5th Pillar, we are seeing the Kaaba and watching the beauty of the ritual.
Upon reflection on my instructional and assessment strategies and how I utilized tech I noticed “The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and now to Web 3.0 can be used a metaphor of how education should also be moving, developing, and evolving from Education 1.0 towards that of an Education 3.0” (Gerstein, 2014, pg. 83). Upon reflection here are some things I noticed about my trajectory as a teacher utilizing tech and diverse learning theories:
Years 1-8 was very much Web 1.0 and Behaviorist learning theory. Lots of lists, lots of definitions, lots of “receiving, responding and regurgitating” (Gerstein, 2014, pg. 84). Yes, it was as exciting as you are imagining it. I mean, just ask Arkin 😊.
Years 8-14 I integrated more Web 2.0 and constructivist practices in my spaces. Focusing on “communicating, contributing and collaborating” (Gerstein, 2014, 87). This was evidenced with students interacting with Islamic faith, communicating about what they learnt via discussion boards, connecting using Social Media with people in Regina who practice the faith and coming back to collaborate with their learning.
Year 14 and Beyond!
This past year I realized I have been moving my teaching and assignment design to incorporate Web 3.0. I did not have a name for it prior to this presentation but Gerstein perfectly articulate where I hope to go: “Education 3.0 is also about the three Cs but a different set – connectors, creators, and constructivists. These are qualitatively different than the three Cs of Education 2.0. Now they are nouns which translate into the art of being a self-determined learner rather than “doing” learning as facilitated by the educator” (Gerstein, 2014, pg. 91). This heutagogical, connectivist approach to teaching and learning is evidenced in my personal learning in Graduate Studies, which in turn inspires my classroom assignments. This past year I created a Podcast called “I’m Curious About”. It was an opportunity to have curious conversations with people I admire and respect and share that content within my learning communities. Once I recorded three episodes, I saw the growth, the creativity, the collaboration that was needed. I had to be fully prepared, I had to think of branding to make it aesthetically pleasing. I used WeVideo to put together the introductions, music and epilogues. Finally, I wanted to make it accessible to my classmates so I created a Spotify Podcast so it was accessible on all devices. This process required creativity, innovation, time and also a vulnerability to take something and put it out “there”. I saw personal and professional growth as this pushed me to go beyond an assignment between myself and my professor, and worked hard to create something that would go out in the world.
This past year, I assigned a similar task with my students. The medium they used to express their learning was up to them, but I asked them to consider how they saw the world and how they could contribute that learning within their communities. They were asked to conduct interviews and prepare a “product” that showcased their conversation, their learning and how it applied to course outcomes. I implemented a space for myself and my students where “Education 3.0 is characterized by educational opportunities where the learners themselves play a key role as creators of knowledge artifacts that are shared, and where social networking and social benefits play a strong role in learning” (Gerstein, YEAR, pg. 90). As I think of the shift to Web 3.0 I often consider who will further benefit. We have already seen a huge gap in the Digital divide due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Add in another evolution where there is now an evolution to share content, Artificial intelligence, 3D Graphics and Connectivity and I am officially that old person who thinks it is all moving so fast.
I wonder if society really prepared for this new of interacting with content, with data and with each other? Have we shown an ability to discern when and where to share content? Have we exhibited enough empathy and understanding to the power of our words and comments? Are we able to discern our worth isn’t a result of our likes or the comments? As alluded to in the first readings, Postman said technology will always have humanity attached to it. And that humanity is also evolving, but I contend not at the speed of technology. I realize that life and technology will keep moving, and I will use my classroom to further unpack the positives and opportunities for growth found in each, but I do contend this train is moving at warp speed. I hope I can look back on this post and see the growth I will exhibit through presentations and dialogues like this class provides to ensure I am moving alongside with it. But I do wonder if we are ready for another iteration of the Web when 2.0 provided so much opportunity for growth (which is a nice way of saying it can be quite challenging). My hope is with time and reflection I will notice a similar trend when I think back to my first few years teaching and that I will be happy to report that I evolved with the changes to find meaningful ways to interact with content, students and the world. Here’s to the next 15 and embracing all that comes my way!