Tag Archives: Education

Plugged in or turned off: A critical reflection on the digital literacy of 21st century students in higher education

By Heather Thaxter (UK) and Suzan Koseoglu (USA)

Heather and Suzan met for the first time at the Digital Pedagogies Conference (2015) this year. Heather chose the metaphorical title, “Connectivism: Plugged in or turned off? Does Connectivity equal Inclusivity?”, for a paper she co-presented with her colleague, Jane Hunt, in which they critically examined inclusivity in connectivist learning environments. In this post, we use the same metaphor Heather used in her presentation – being plugged in and turned off – to refer to our understanding and use of digital technologies in general.

Since the conference, we have exchanged many e-mails and Twitter messages discussing issues around inclusivity and digital literacy in connectivism, connected learning, and networked learning in general. Through our conversations, we discovered that we shared similar educational visions and concerns with regard to learning on the World Wide Web. We decided to open this conversation to a wider audience because as Freire noted:

Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other. (p. 72)

In this post, we challenge common assumptions about digital literacies and access to technology in the 21st century classes based on our experiences. We hope you will join the conversation too by leaving a comment.

Are you plugged in or turned off? What is the impact of technology on your teaching and learning? If you are like us, you feel simultaneously plugged in or turned off. No matter how hard we try, we still may not be aware of the bigger picture of how digital technologies can enable learning in so many different ways. We seem to be running flat out to keep up with emerging technologies whilst desperately trying to respond to the growing consensus that traditional learning theories are either obsolete or, at the very least, need adapting to meet the evolving needs of the 21st century learner.

Quite rightly, there is a sense of urgency to bring education into the digital age, but we believe caution is needed when introducing new digital technologies and learning theories/approaches aligning with those into our classes. We refer to the assumptions surrounding the digital literacy of our students. Our experience is that the 21st century learner may not be as connected and as technological savvy as one might think. In addition, even if students use digital technologies in everyday life, this doesn’t mean that they are comfortable or experienced in using them for their learning. This highlights the fact that the affordances of digital technology are not being fully utilised or indeed understood by a proportion of the student population. So what are the reasons?

In Heather’s experience of a widening participation context: primarily non-traditional students (mature, low socio-economic demographic) studying at a university centre in the UK,  there are students who are the first in their families to enter higher education and are still very much finding their voices. This directly links to having the self-confidence that they have something to say and, perhaps more significantly, that others will want to hear it. This seems to be more evident in mature students who are often less familiar with the affordances of emerging technology, especially in relation to learning. That is not to say that this is true of all students within that context. One digitally literate student used Twitter very effectively to garner opinion concerning the educational policies of opposing political parties and then after critical analysis, incorporated the results into a poster presentation. This student was confident both in terms of using technology as a learning tool and already having an online presence. Whilst he is certainly not unique perhaps this is where we are in danger of cultivating a one size fits all mentality, despite the fact that not all students, or indeed lecturers, are keeping up with the pace: their digital footprint is barely visible in some cases.

Mature students in particular who have not been born into the digital world (in the context of widening participation), generally have certain fears and expectations about their return to education. Their educational biography is often shaped by a bad school experience, external social/familial/economic pressures and lack of opportunities, which sometimes results in learning anxiety. Often a student who has previously had a less than ideal educational experience and has taken the life-changing step to return to education will be hoping for, if not expecting, a nurturing, supportive experience the second time around. Learning anxiety may be further exacerbated due to economic disadvantage because contrary to common assumptions not everyone has the financial means to buy digital devices or connect to the internet. Therefore, if we are to introduce theories which are more compatible with the digitally connected world in which we live and learn, we will need to take such factors into account. The Connectivist approach, for example, promotes self directed learning where the onus is on the student to build a strong, individualised learning network because ‘learning and knowledge is distributed across nodes’ and then the student has to have the skill to make immediate decisions regarding the currency of that knowledge because the “capacity to know is more critical than what is currently known.” Whilst Heather acknowledges the potential of students plugging into a network which enables them to engage with and analyse diverse perspectives which they would not otherwise have been exposed to, she has also identified challenges that may turn them off. If the student is digitally illiterate, or digitally disadvantaged, this theory may be further alienating which, given the premise of connectivity and collaboration, is quite ironic.  

In Suzan’s experience of teaching completely online courses in her program area (learning technologies), her students’ expectations are not that different from Heather’s students. We think this is remarkable considering the differences in the two contexts.  Suzan’s courses are highly social  and encourage students to learn in a community via a social networking platform. Most of Suzan’s undergraduate students (US) have been born into the digital world and are affluent users of social media, but they too have challenges in using technology for their learning. It is common for undergraduate students to take more than four classes during each academic semester (typically equivalent to 12 credits; the expected workload for each credit is 3 hours a week) and work part-time to help with the high costs of college tuition. Students generally choose to enroll in online classes because they offer the flexibility they need to juggle work, study and social life. It is not uncommon for Suzan to see her students responding to discussions and working on class projects late at night until the early hours of the morning. Not surprisingly, many students have limited time to figure out new technologies on their own and need ample time and support to familiarize themselves with their course site and its structure.

The challenges are not merely technical or due to a lack of experience and/or knowledge. Students also have learning anxieties that directly tie into the traditional culture of teaching and learning in higher education. For example, they might feel the pressure to earn a good grade or feel deeply concerned about how they present themselves to others in class discussions and openly shared class projects. For some students using a highly structured classroom management system such as Moodle or Blackboard is more reassuring than a social networking site with loosely defined boundaries.

Last semester, Suzan taught a class in which students explored youths’ use of social media from an educational perspective. Inspired by David Wiley’s call to end disposable assignments, and to encourage students have hands-on experience with an emergent technology relevant to the focus of the class, Suzan asked her students to create a blog (optional; the blog could be open on the web or visible to course participants only) for their independent research projects. But it was challenging for Suzan to explain to her students the ethos of blogging and the necessity of creating something that would have value outside of “class walls.” Some students posted long traditional essays for their blog posts (with course descriptions at the beginning and paper-based citation formats), some students copied to their posts large chunks of content from other sites, some students created beautiful designs ticking every box for the minimum requirements for the assignment, but nothing more. Suzan was struck by the diversity in how students approached blogging – getting rid of the disposable assignments wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Students had blogs but not everyone had a voice in them – it hadn’t become a space for them to be present on the web.

How can we help our students have a voice in a networked learning context, informally or otherwise? How can we facilitate a welcoming and a suitable environment for our students: a space which enables each learner to get the most out of their learning experience?

These are not easy questions to address, but we argue that we can at least start by critically reflecting on our assumptions regarding the digital literacy of our students. To be precise, we should not assume that our students have easy access to the Internet and tools/devices; are technologically competent; and are confident in using digital technologies. To be “plugged in,” we have to ensure everyone (teachers included) has access to the tools and competency in using them efficiently. Perhaps, more importantly, we have to nurture students in this process so that, hopefully, they will gain the confidence and willingness to use technology effectively for their learning, and rather than being “turned off,” their learning will extend beyond the confines of the classroom into the connected world.

Without dismissing the need for scaffolding strategies, being connected implies partnership and we believe the best guidance happens when we work alongside our students, when we see ourselves as learners as well. Suzan, for example, could have blogged along with her students to model writing for a public audience on the web and engage in a more authentic dialogue with her students. That way perhaps she could better help her students “develop the awareness, skills, habits and dispositions necessary to take full advantage of the affordances of the web.” Heather could strengthen her own digital presence and become a node in the network, thereby providing a familiar starting point for her students, whilst guiding them to other nodes.

It is important for students to know that we don’t know everything and are still learners ourselves especially with regard to technology. Showing our willingness to explore and attempt new things…sharing our failures as well as successes…learning with and from our students… These are the types of things we might consider in our teaching because we (students and teachers) are all in the same boat with regard to navigating the open sea of numerous, unimaginable possibilities. There will be waves that may threaten to rock the boat or even capsize it and the fear of this (setbacks, failures) is often at the heart of the resistance to change/reluctance to explore those possibilities but connectivity – the idea that we are learning together – offers a lifejacket.

 

About the Authors:

Heather Thaxter profile pic

Heather Thaxter is (about to begin) studying for an MA in Literature and Digital Culture and has a background in English, specialising in literacy. Having taught in further and higher education, most recently on the Initial Teacher Training programme at University Centre Doncaster, Heather’s research focus is on digital literacy in the context of widening participation. Heather is currently researching connectivism through the lens of inclusivity.


Suzan Koseoglu profile pic
Suzan Koseoglu is a PhD candidate in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. Suzan's research focus is on online education with an emphasis on pedagogy and socio-cultural aspects of learning. Suzan has taught classes on the ethics of online technologies, youths’ use of social media, and online learning communities. 

Sights Unseen: On Willful Blindness to Education’s Higher Purpose

by Sherri Spelic, Austria

When something happens gradually, over time, it can be easy for us not to notice significant changes until we are confronted with a circumstance that surprises or shocks us. Through my readings about schools and education I find that I am often flabbergasted at some of the policies, initiatives and outcomes which document myriad ways in which student well-being and equitable treatment seem to be among the least considered priorities. Particularly in North American K-12 and higher education developments, I notice how business terminology and reasoning have entrenched themselves in our conversations about how schools should function in order to achieve the best outcomes for the economy. In this rhetorical space, education’s highest priority is to produce qualified and skilled members of the workforce.

As an educator, parent, and citizen, I fear that we as a society or even collection of societies put ourselves at risk if we fail to question and put a halt to this instrumentalist type of reasoning with regards to education. The rhetoric of brutal global competition is eroding our capacity to focus on asking what truly matters in providing our children and grandchildren with what they will need for their futures besides jobs and income. In all of our lip service to “21st Century Skills” we still pay more homage to the holy grail of what our offspring may earn rather than to how well equipped they will be to avert environmental, financial and/or social disaster by adopting and practicing those skills. We say that we want them to be critical thinkers and adept problem solvers while assuming, consciously or not, that their greatest challenge will likely be finding a job that pays well enough to free them from thousands of dollars of crushing student debt. “To get a good job” would appear to be our society’s best answer to the question “why school?” if we ever dared to pose it.

Dan Haesler recently wrote about the consequences of this phenomenon in Australia:

Our system is being guided by a perceived need to “compete” with Finland and our Asian neighbours in the education ‘race’. This leads to systems focusing heavily on comparative scores in standardised tests, which in turn puts pressure on teachers to get children ‘across the line’.

He notes a widespread disengagement among students in schools in addition to increasing unemployment levels among young people at both ends of the spectrum of educational attainment. Clearly, the focus on getting students “across the line” is not achieving its intended results.

Kentaro Toyama, in an article for The Atlantic, “Why Technology Alone Won’t Fix Schools” asserts

In America, much of our collective handwringing about education comes from comparisons with other countries…” and he adds, “We all know that our schools are unequal. Less acknowledged is that this inequality is responsible for our lack of global competitiveness.

Our societies find themselves in a race and we, its citizens, need to prepare ourselves and our progeny to win, to keep pace, or at all costs, not to fall too far behind. That’s the going rhetoric in many of our societies. Seen in this light, education exists strictly as the means to very narrow ends: securing and perpetuating economic growth. And in a neoliberal worldview, this path is the one to take.

Until I read a book review of Wendy Brown’s Undoing the Demos my understanding of neoliberalism as a political worldview and playbook for political action, lacked coherence. In “Neoliberalism Is Changing Our World Without Our Even Noticing,” reviewer Hans Rollman offers readers an excellently concise guide to neoliberal thinking and practice based on Brown’s work. In one passage he illustrates how neoliberal doctrine which advocates for unfettered markets coupled with the least possible governmental regulation has become so ensconced in our popular thinking that our attempts to counter this line of reasoning employ much of the same language and mental models.

The danger, in other words, is that efforts to resist neoliberalism are increasingly being expressed in such a way that they serve to entrench and legitimize neoliberal values – economization, efficiency, capital enhancement—rather than questioning or challenging the desirability and social and political consequences of those values in the first place.

This rings especially true when I think about recent debates about school reform in the US. Our narrow definitions of school and student success through standardized test scores, college admissions (rather than completion), and relative income levels of graduates illustrate the extent of the dilemma. Lois Weiner describes the juxtaposition of education’s purposes and how this plays out in American society in a review of Diane Ravitch’s new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools:

Ravitch does not address the contradiction between schooling’s non-economic purposes — its role in educating the next generation of citizens and nurturing each individual’s potential — and its use as a sorting mechanism to allocate a diminishing number of well-paying jobs. Unfortunately, neoliberal reforms resonate with many poor, minority parents precisely because they want the same opportunity for their children to compete for good jobs as middle-class children have.

Weiner speaks here of a contradiction between the economic imperative and what I have called education’s “higher purpose.” Her example underscores the slipperiness of neoliberal framing of public education in popular thinking. The fear of not being competitive is of course heightened for members of society farthest from the top. The certain and potential long and mid-term costs of entering the race under these conditions typically goes unmentioned.

In the neoliberal model, we lose sight of the individuals who make up our institutions, our neighborhoods, our body politic and their contributions to our communities. We become blind to the difference that volunteer efforts can make, or to the desire of many to pool and share their resources in order to benefit a greater good. We ignore the value of the resources and qualities in people which do not lend themselves to easy measurement. We put ourselves at risk as people and societies by doing so.

Education is a field which holds miraculous potential to uplift rather than sort and separate individuals and groups from each other. On a hopeful note, Dan Haessler concludes:

We need an education system that is equitable – not necessarily equal. It must be devoid of silos, rich in partnerships that bring together the corporate, academic, research, not-for-profit, community and education sectors to design a model that best suits the students in their care. Teachers must be empowered to go into schools to do what they went into teaching to do – help children – not to beat Finland.

I agree. Our schools need a higher purpose than merely feeding the global economic machine. Without questioning the prevailing ethos of competition, of celebrating winners while blaming the losers, our schools will not improve. Our schools will not become nourishing places for children until our societies decide that children are more than future members of the workforce. Our societies will not prosper unless we educate our children to understand and appreciate that nations constitute much more than their gross domestic product.

Author Peter Block captures best what I would wish for in reinventing education systems which nurture and sustain us as a society rather than squeeze us for a designated output. Speaking about the ways in which our thinking in terms of the exclusively practical and doable ( the how?) tends to hamper our willingness to engage on questions of larger purpose and general well-being, he writes:

Whatever our destination, it is letting go of the practical imperative that is most likely to guide us to a larger sense of where we want to go and what values we want to embody in getting there. What matters is the experience of being human and all that this entails. What will matter most to us, upon deeper reflection, is the quality of the experience we create in the world, not the quantity.

(bold: Block’s) Peter Block, The Answer to How is Yes. Berret-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, 2002, p. 37.)

As members of results-driven societies, we appreciate the certitude that quantification appears to provide. As humans, however, we search doggedly for precisely those qualities of life which defy objective measurement: meaning, belonging, purpose, autonomy, happiness, to name a few possibilities. That our education systems strive to become more human rather than less rings true both as my deepest wish and our mounting challenge.

 

About the Author:

Sherri Spelic profile picture

Sherri Spelic is a leadership coach, education blogger and teacher based in Vienna, Austria. Understanding and unraveling the mysteries of human relations particularly with regard to learning, leading, following and failing are recurring themes in her writing which appears most frequently at http://edifiedlistener.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter: @edifiedlistener.

 

How Class War Punk Improves My Teaching

By gz, USA

What moves me as an educator are contexts where participants – teachers, learners, citizens, anyone present – are engaged and care about the content. As an instructional designer, I’m engaged when the material and the content shifts from connecting with the learner, to scaffolding knowledge and engaging with the learners and where they are at, and then progressing further. As a human being, I’m engaged when people speak to me and treat me as an equal, as a peer. Finally, I am engaged as a teacher, instructional designer, and human when individuals or groups synthesize attention, learning, inspiration, and ethics in short, powerful pieces.

Conflict, an anarchist class war punk band from England, do all these in tracks across multiple albums. Unlike most punk bands (commercial or underground), Conflict does not limit themselves to breaking taboos, challenging authority, critiquing power relations, celebrating intoxication or property destruction, or promoting having fun for it’s own sake. Given punk’s history – over 40 years now – the movement and the history is far richer than a sentence or paragraph can cover. What is notable is that a majority of Conflict’s fans are or were drawn to punk out of anti-authoritarianism, interest in the “lifestyle,” overt leftist or anarchist politics, or simply a desire to participate in a scene where music and politics blended together.

When searching punk in the record bins or online, Conflict is rarely the first band you’ll find. They never get radio play. Their concerts sometimes ended with police rioting and attacking fans. To outsiders, Conflict are pretty niche: they are an early, aggressive, non-pacifist political band. This is a significant deviation from other political and anarcho-punk bands like Cr@ss and A.P.P.L.E. who were, of political punk bands, also peace punks and pacifists. Conflict was not pacifist. They encouraged confrontations with power, police, Nazis, and nationalists. As such, many of Conflict’s fans arguably have a good idea of what they want to hear: brash, aggressive music with anti-state and anti-authoritarian messages. While fans could find similar messages in some mainstream punk and almost all political and anarcho-punk band tracks, Conflict took confrontation to a whole new level. While some bands might match their aggressive stance towards police and fascists, for example Oi Polloi’s “Bash the Fash,” [lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/bash-the-fash-lyrics-oi-polloi.html  video: https://youtu.be/f7mRG88KPbA ] and the first part of MDC’s “Dead Cops/America’s So Straight” [lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/mdc/deadcopsamericassostraight.html video: https://youtu.be/L1DbydIMZuw ], rarely do these bands move past ethos and reaffirming their standpoint, into instruction and mentoring rebellion for social justice.

Throughout their albums, Conflict performs consistently like other anarcho-punk bands, pointing out fascist and police violence, creating solidarity to resist attacks, and engaging in abbreviated forms of political education for interested listeners. These tracks lyrically trash the state, oppression, big business, and colonization. However, Conflict moves past analysis and into education in at least one song, “This is the A.L.F.” [lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/conflict/thisisthealf.html video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZpEm_M5E8 ].

“This is the A.L.F. [Animal Liberation Front]”’s opening text explains what direct action is. Initially discussing dying children in Ethiopia and the cameraman who brought the story to the world, they summon up sympathy and imagery that some first world youth from the era of the album’s release would recognise. Conflict present a situation where a single individual, the photographer, is both moral and heroic. It’s an appealing role for idealists. After presenting this role model, Conflict ask the listener if they’re willing to do the same. While the initial example is on dying children, that pathos is then transferred to animals being tortured and the heroic role, the ethos and pathos, can be transferred from the photographer to the listener. The listener is instantly framed as potential hero, as liberator, to help free tortured animals.

For youth in a different era or different environment, these lyrics can serve to expand their understanding of oppression, violence, and corporate greed. Rather than thinking of corporate and government malice as a general malaise, references to specific abuses and atrocities help the listeners know more about the world around them. While entertaining and unifying their audience, Conflict is also educating some of them.

As an educator, we rarely have the chance to position our students as liberators, warriors for the good, or with the ability to save the lives of dying children or tortured animals. However, we can open up our lessons, either each week or day that we teach, with strong ethical and emotional appeals. Rather than relying on stolid, “Today we’re going to learn how to write a full-block business letter,” we could shift to, “You can use this if you are harassed at work to report the incident, to document workplace problems to your union, to file a complaint with your cell phone service provider, or to contact your Senator.” While filing a complaint or contacting a Telco does not seem very heroic or liberatory, by framing what we teach our students as forms for self-advocacy, conflict resolution or self-defense, we can do more than appeal to their interest. We can support their right and ability to claim autonomy, or at least a world with less harassment.

The second paragraph of Conflict’s track describes a multiplicity of physical and militant moves that can be used to destroy property of the oppressor or at least deprive them of capital. These range from gluing locks to not eating meat or wearing leather. Opening with the most aggressive moves keeps in tune with the angsty, fast, and raging guitar. Ending with personal options and choice allows those who are reticent about committing illegal, criminal acts of property destruction a way to engage with the song, with the movement, and with the feeling of supporting the Animal Liberation Front.

The third paragraph brings the direct action phase to a close and suggests a strategic approach or working in groups. It also reminds the listener of the opening appeal, that doing work in support of ALF is part of a larger agenda for human freedom, and that freedom is close.

Few things may be as exciting or terrifying as direct action or physical conflict. Fortunately, these elements are rarely present in the classroom – at least in terms of explicit violence. What we can learn from the second paragraph is that Conflict differentiates instruction for the audience and provides multiple points of entry for the audience. Not everyone needs to glue locks. People can do what they think and feel is best. After a brief exposure to the variety of tools available, the listener is reminded of the overall goal: why they are being educated. The short term stakes for most of our students rarely happen at a level comparable with animal liberation. For example, some of the direct actions Conflict describes might lead to freeing a handful or hundreds of animals (rabbits, monkeys, cats, or dogs) from ongoing tests or experiments – many of which are painful. Other direct actions, graffiti or gluing locks, might be punitive and designed to cost the corporation or agency doing the testing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Saving scores of cats from torture surely feels more heroic and intense – and comes at a far greater risk – than learning proper business letter formatting. Thus, when we plan to engage with our students and look to outside models, such as punk performances and music, we need to understand that our appeal and ability to engage our students is less strong than Conflict’s are with their self-selecting audience. However, with some work and creative thinking, we can work with our students to identify applications which will likely engage them more than our current lessons.

Paragraph four presents the challenges: being labeled a ‘crank’, a crazy person, a political or social extremist. However, these challenges are small when compared with human freedom and liberating animals from pain. While the song’s hyperbole of “black v. white or the nazis versus the jews (sic)” is quite strong, it’s there to make a point: if you do this, you will be labeled. You will have problems. But the struggle is worthwhile. Rather than hide the challenges, Conflict makes them explicit.

As educators, we can learn a lot from this by reminding our students that everything will not be easy. That others will not agree with what they do all the time, that they will not be coddled by others, and that simply being present is not a guarantee of a good life. Instead, if they choose to be educated, to pursue their work, they will, inevitably, have confrontations. When these occur, we can get lost in the names and the hurt or we can remember why we are doing this. We need to remember to help our students prepare for pain, rejection, and potential abuse. Rather than training them to be obedient, we need to help them remember why, at core, they are learning or studying or choosing their path. We can also help train our students to be purposeful and constructive, to reject the aggression, and to defend themselves. By supporting students’ ability to identify solutions that align with their ethics, we can support students’ safe and smart engagement in meaningful social and political causes.

The final paragraph delineates animal testing’s crimes, connects it to human rights, and closes by claiming the moral high ground: “Compassion and emotion are our most important safety values. If we lose them, then ‘we lose’ the vitality of life itself.” Again, Conflict situates this struggle as one of supporting the ALF, and thus supporting human dignity, versus aligning ourselves with those who torture, kill, and profit from emotional and physical torture and abuse.

Just as the opening paragraph, or opening portion of our classes, could touch on the moral and social issues at stake in our environment – either local or global – we can close our teaching, our lessons, with similar points. Rather than just thinking about teaching or educating for a simple goal or content exchange or licensure, we can work on reconnecting our students to the world around them. We could brainstorm specific situations where a person might need the tool or tools we’re working on this week. We could ask, “When might being able to write a formal letter help?” or “When could you use pathos to help increase community?”

I listen to Conflict not just because it recalls my edgy days as a punk. I listen to Conflict because, nearly 25 years later, their music and lyrics still appeal to me. Once it was their radical message and anti-authoritarian stance. Now Conflict appeals because they not only challenge authority, they show their audience how they might fight for their beliefs. I listen to Conflict because, in under three minutes, they offer an educational structure, ethos, pathos, and logos, that is more effective than 95% of the courses taught in “proper” schools.

We have a lot to learn from anarcho-punk.

 

About the Author:
GZ profile picture

gz lives in a library in Oregon's Willamette Valley surrounded by iris and orchids. He is inspired by ravens, Gysin, Fanon, Lao Tzu, and Nutella.

He blogs at http://zobelg.posthaven.com/

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

By Toni Rose Piñero , Manila, Philippines

I refer to myself as an educator and I have a Professional Teaching license, but I have never really taught inside a classroom. I have been a teaching assistant, a research assistant, an education consultant, a tutor and a director of a tutorial center. But I have never had a class I could call my “own”. I’ve never ventured into classroom teaching because I would always ask myself, what would I teach? I did not major in English, Math, Science or History but I knew I wanted to be in the context of the academic setting. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with being inside the classroom or being in contact with students. I just have that keen interest in education and the learning process. I have participated in the training of our country’s School Superintendents for the transition to K-12. Although I was just one of those organizers helping to facilitate the training, I really embraced the experience and the learning that the speakers shared. I learned why we were shifting to the K-12 system, the number of countries who still remain in the K-10 curriculum, how our schools would adapt to the new curriculum, and many more things related to the shift. There are so many implications caused by this shift. For example by 2016, we will have very few high school graduates because most of our 4th year high school students (i.e. 10th graders) will transition to 11th grade instead of entering college (in the old K-10 curriculum,  students would enter university/college education straight after 10th grade). Continue reading Jack of All Trades, Master of None