Philosophy 1.0 & Future Possibilities

In the context of participatory learning and Web 2.0, more sweat is on the brow of the student than on the teacher. Didactic instruction is tiring for the teacher and too often boring for the student. The learning is not even as enriching for students when they play a passive role in the learning. It’s their learning; they should be the one directly involved and responsible. When actively engaged in personally meaningful problems of real-world significance, students exert their energies to derive solutions, tinkering with the resources provided by the teacher/facilitator. Students become the primary actors, and teachers merely set the stage. In the interview with Henry Jenkins, Doug Thomas believes that “the role of educators needs to shift away from being expert in a particular area of knowledge, to becoming expert in the ability to create and shape new learning environments.” A defining trait of the learner in a 21-st century classroom is expert knowledge. Students insightfully report on their robust analysis of the problem and the proposed solution, which they derived on their own. Paying homage to the old adage, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” how can students hone their imaginative abilities unless teachers provide them with the opportunity? Seeing the sparks of imagination fly in the classroom as students zestfully work distinguishes them from the teacher in the modern classroom of Web 2.0 learning.

What do I see as my role in 2025? Equip students to thrive in society. Equip students to adapt to the future, forever in motion. Equip students to resourcefully use their mental capacities and educational training to extend their opportunities through continuous learning. In 2025, these are my roles. To remain professionally limber, I will continue my educational training: workshops, classes, and professional learning communities, to name a few. I can also see my role as a networking coach since “networking is another crucial component of participatory learning”1 (p. 18). Students will need guidance in finding their online communities with which to learn.

Perhaps an even more pressing question is will I even have a job. “From such a process, one learns and continues to learn from others met (if at all) only virtually, whose institutional status and credentials may be unknown”1 (p. 16). Will virtual schools, which potentially require fewer instructors/facilitators, replace the traditional brick and mortar academics? Such a possibility exists. “Of all of these [innovations], Darnton argues, the Internet has had the fastest and the most geographically extensive effect on every aspect of knowledge making and all of the arrangements of life around how we make, exchange, share, correct, and publish our ideas”1 (p. 19). Such an unprecedented radical change requires the restructuring of knowledge creation and acquisition in educational institutions, and perhaps they will receive a mental reconstruction, too.

Now is an exciting time to be an educator. Being on the forefront of this change from didactic teaching to dynamic learning will test our ability as learners to redefine ourselves and adapt.

1 Davidson, C. N. and Goldberg, D. T. (2009). The Future of Learning in a Digital Age.


5 thoughts on “Philosophy 1.0 & Future Possibilities

  1. Cheryl Burris

    You did a very nice job of summarizing my thoughts with your first paragraph. Your statement “more sweat is on the brow of the student than on the teacher” is brilliantly simple. Like you, I see the student guiding their learning and determining their own roadmap and I am just there to keep them on the road/trail/tracks.

  2. jmm5032 Post author

    @mre109 I regularly offer technology training to my colleagues at the high school where I teach. During the academic year, very few will set aside the time to take advantage of this opportunity. My experience agree with yours, unfortunately.

  3. cnb135

    “What do I see as my role in 2025? Equip students to thrive in society. Equip students to adapt to the future, forever in motion.”
    You were able to verbalize my thoughts too! This is a great way to explain the role of us as teachers. We need to teach the students to be adaptable. We need to give them the “tools” they need to thrive. To make students successful now, we must teach them to learn beyond us and potentially, forever. Otherwise, they will fall short in this ever changing society!
    I’m glad you brought up training (and so did Melissa). Especially for those of us who have been taught in the old manner, we need trained. We need trained to teach students to be more self-reliant. Teacher of younger students must embrace this too. What is done at the elementary level, sets up the rest of the years in school.

  4. Karen Yarbrough

    I’m with Melissa in thinking that we need to embrace change if we are going to stay relevant. I don’t necessarily think that means that there is some huge revolution coming though. Educational change is incredibly slow moving really, and I think some things like direct instruction for example are still around because they work. I think we need a balance of instruction techniques. Where I have the problem is with teachers who are like “what? use a PPT presentation projected on the wall?!?! how can we live at that speed?!?!” I’m like sweetie you’re two decades behind the rest of us, get with it or get out of the way. That said, sometimes a transparency on an overhead could be perfectly adequate for certain assignments. Again… balance…

  5. Melissa Glenn

    I have also been thinking about if in the future I will even have a job. With more online learning in general, as well as MOOCs, will students even attend traditional classroom environments? I think in the short term, yes, because some students still want that face to face interaction. But I was looking at the NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition ( as it was discussed in the keynote address I attended this week with Dr. Bryan Alexander. Several of the challenges described in the report relate to inadequate faculty training and adoption of new methods. I am a newer faculty hire, but many in my department have been teaching for 20-30 years. I try to remain current in new techniques, yet I am often scared and overwhelmed with how quickly things are changing. So, I can imagine that for those who have been doing this far longer, there is a real resistance to learning new techniques. I am part of a dedicated committee at my college, the Professional Development Steering Committee. We plan and schedule professional development offerings and also allocate resources to faculty and staff so they can attend training and conferences. Without using numbers, I can say that the monies available for off campus opportunities are fairly small. But, we also offer many on campus programs through webinars or by other faculty and staff sharing their techniques. The big problem is that very few utilize these opportunities. Sometimes, a workshop is even canceled because only a couple people signed up, yet just last year we hired over 20 new faculty. Even though everyone is always busy, I feel that training is crucial and change must be embraced!

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