Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Trends" to Where?

Virtual worlds, wireless everything, personal handheld computers +, and more user-created content then ever!  Our world is truly changing right before our eyes.  What I find interesting is that there are still people I know who don't even have a connection to the internet at their home, they are not "blogging," not on MySpace, and don't even have an email!  They have a computer which allows them to type school work and play a few games, but that's about it!  And this is a home with a college-age and high school-age children, able to afford internet, educated, hardworking parents, etc.....  What is the deal?  When we read about "trends" and are exposed to this new world of tech options, it is almost impossible for me to imagine that not everyone would choose to "plug in."  Yes, a choice, not to use internet in daily life!  I wonder why not and what will those students choose in the future.  They obviously have to go to the library, etc. for some school information, so they know it's out there!

I also agreed completely with the 32 trends affecting distance education.  The trend to emphasize "competency instead of just completion."  In my opinion, this will take more time for teachers and professors to develop learner-centered teaching opportunities.  And, not everyone is on board for this kind of shift.  There are a healthy number of educators who like things just the way they are.  They have their class outlines done, their test masters completed, and their lecture notes all organized.  I don't think this type of educator is going to want to re-create their class with project-based learning, learner-centered activities, or engage students more frequently!  Until these type of educators are out of the system, we can expect small shifts at best.  

Life-long learning is another "trend" that was highlighted.  I said this in the previous blog, but I do think it's kind of funny that this term is so popular.  We act like it is a new phenomenon!  Sure, my generation wasn't molded into the assembly line.  We have had plenty of encouragement to be whatever we want to dream to be.  Learning is life-long.  I guess the difference now is that the learning needs to be focused for career longevity, functionality in the world, and communicating socially.  I still believe there will be many people who will continue to mail their payments, dial their house phone, and go to the library to check out a book.  Society doesn't change that quickly.

The other sections on computer ethics brings up so many unanswered questions.  We will "learn by doing" as we go along.  We cannot possibly calculate all the possible ways technology will foster crime, ownership issues, privacy issues, fair distribution, or human values.  What is a little unsettling about this is the speed in which technology is changing.  Will we be blind-sided by ethical issues because there was no time to react to the problem before it became a problem - a global problem!   

No comments: