What is Real?

Featured Image: Bare tree bathed in fresh snow against a clear blue sky

Virtual reality, my favourite oxymoron. But how do you define real? Technology has changed our world forever. A Luddite[1] will argue that the physical quality of education is lost in a digital environment. I wholeheartedly disagree with the Luddite’s mentality, and I want to talk about how digital media enhances LEARNING. A digitally enriched environment creates a more authentic learning experience in my opinion.

For example, what difference does it make in a learning environment whether the lesson is hands-on or virtual? They’re both simulated, they both allow for mistakes and practice, and they both contribute to mastery.

I took the picture of the snowy tree this morning. The snow on the tree is special because it captures something momentary. Every intricate branch and twig was bathed in fresh snow, and the sky was so blue that I had to photograph it. The picture isn’t real; it’s just a snapshot of a moment in time – you can’t touch the tree or the snow. But, I needed to capture the image so that I could remember it exactly how it was! I am struck by the similarity of using technology to clarify and capture an intended lesson, which learners can refer to in case they can’t remember all the intricate points of a class.

As I wrap up PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning (please check out my assignments), I’m driven and inspired by the verb, ‘enhanced.’ Technology does not replace an in-class experience, or diminish an online environment in comparison; it simply captures and improves the quality of a learning moment.

So, what difference does it make if education is derived in a ‘real’ live environment? Instruction, demonstration, practice and application can take place in a ‘virtual’ environment as well. A slideshow, video, online game, or a field trip on a sunny day following a snowstorm are all genuine ways to learn.

Luddites are fighting a losing battle, because we all win when information is documented and shared, and not just described as being ‘real.’

[1] A person opposed to technology

Google Me!

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 9.10.51 PMI’ve been on an educational hiatus since I completed Foundations 3100; I’ve yet to enroll in the next course in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at VCC, but I’ve not been idle. A big part of my assigned job at Okanagan Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates for the past 5 years has been coordinating and scheduling the surgical staff. I’ve been so busy with my clinical responsibilities that another coworker had to be appointed the task of scheduling (a very important job: staff = production). Much to my chagrin, my replacement decided to use “designated shift scheduling software,” even though the Google© software that I had been using was, in my opinion, extremely effective; none-the-less it is human nature to try to “re-invent the wheel.”

I’m frustrated by this decision, but not bitter. Things were going so well with the staff scheduling that no one questioned that this was because the software was so supportive: a “well-oiled machine” so to speak. Anyhow, I’ve included the open letter to Google that I wrote just before I relinquished my scheduling responsibilities with the intention of helping others 🙂

Dear Google

Thanks for letting me share!

 

©2017 Google LLC All rights reserved. Google and the Google Logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC

Reflection

Trees

I’ve been reflecting. The PIDP 3100 Course Journal Assignment involves  quotes in which to ponder, and subsequently reflect upon for evaluation. My “reflections” are posted on my PIDP 3100 page. Reflection is tough, specifically critical reflection. Who really cares what I “think,” even supported by resources? I enjoyed the research though; one can literally Google anything and come up with something that supports any thought or whim! Luckily, it’s fairly easy to tell the legitimate information from the junk. I hope that if a naive student stumbles upon my ramblings one day looking for something academic, they won’t cite me, but hopefully they’ll check out my links and resources. Of all the interesting reads that I “stumbled” upon, the research of psychologist Carl Rogers is my favourite; his keen and articulate observation into how humans (should) live and learn will stick with me, and hopefully help a fellow student someday.

I also enjoy reading the reflections of other people. I love to observe a different perspective; it helps me to think “outside the box.” After all, I do care about what other people think! Go figure.

♥The above artwork is an original painted by my daughter Isabel

Perseverance

“Start my doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”
Francis of Assisi

The Trends and Roles assignment in PIDP 3100 includes an appointed learning partner to collaborate with in researching trends in adult education, and the roles of educators in relation to these trends.

The instant that something becomes a trend, and subsequently enjoys its 15 minutes of fame, it is soon replaced with another trend. After pouring over the textbook for PIDP 3100, Adult Learning – Linking Theory and Practice (2014), followed by a few hours of “surfing the net,” I learned that trends seem recurrent. For example, new technology is introduced into the classroom (onsite or online), only to be replaced by newer technology, and so on.

The constant trend that I did observe in my research was that the demographics of adult learners have shifted: traditional adult learners are 18-22 years old, while the non-traditional students are 25 and over. The interesting thing to me was that since 2007, non-traditional adult students have evolved into to the increasing majority of students enrolled in post secondary institutions.

While researching the topic for this assignment, my learning partner withdrew from the PID program. I decided to look into the reasons why non-traditional adult students resign; there are many conditions accountable for this phenomenon, paired with the fact that institutions are increasingly encountering this issue due to higher non-traditional student enrolment. I identified that this trend is certainly one worth exploring, especially considering my current circumstances.

On my PIDP 3100 page, my Trends and Roles paper gives a brief insight into the roles of adult educators in dealing with student retention in the 21st century, and how I can prepare to address this trend. I’ve also included some web articles that I stumbled upon (i.e. Googled), during my research; see my Links page for those.