I watched the gameshow, “The Weakest Link” a couple of times. I didn’t really think it was a good game or an entertaining show, but I sure did love to hate the host. She was just so…mean. Why did she have to be that way?
All I wanted was for a contestant to turn the tables on her. Sadly I never saw that happen…but I was able to move on. I think the show only lasted a season or two, so that was satisfying. The premise of the game was that the weakest player of each round of play would be eliminated, until only one remained.
I was reminded of the show when I came to realize a particular problem when considering our readings this week on the emergent/current trends in EdTech. As a teacher, when I am developing a project, unit, pedagogy, etc… I always hit the same wall and discover that part way through my design process, I have sought to create something that is much to large and needs to be trimmed. I then, of course, cut the weakest sections of my work out. Later when I am using my creation, I refine it by eliminating the least useful, the under performing, or the most rigid parts….the weakest links.
So I am feeling particularly fatalistic after reading various articles on EdTech trends plus Implications of Shifting Technology in Education by Holland & Holland, as I discovered what I believe to be the weakest link in emergent/developing Edtech is not something we can simply say “Goodbye” to in British Columbia…our curriculum. I am not stating that the curriculum is flawed or weak. Rather, I believe the new version to be quite strong and flexible. However, it will always be vastly behind the curve of technological development and fail to address the learning styles that EdTech technology either promotes or renders obsolete.
Consider the statement by Moravec which Holland & Holland cited: “Most universities are using the same methods to teach all of the same stuff. This is very dangerous as the world is changing so quickly that entire fields and bodies of knowledge risk being outdated/outmoded very quickly”. I believe this to be partly true. Universities definitely trend towards the “old-school” mode of teaching, but I can think back to my first experiences in post-secondary (2003) compared to now, and many changes have been made to implement EdTech. What is important to consider is not Moravec’s point on the danger. I think this is self-evident. Rather, I believe that we should focus on the university, specifically, the fact that it is an institution. A university will likely have trouble implementing ways to make use of EdTech, let alone making available the access to said technology! The shear size of an institution like UVic (for example) brings bureaucracy, protocol, and logistical management to the forefront of their operations. Knowing the size of these mechanisms only are proportional to the size of an institution, what chance does our own provincial government have of keeping up with trends?
Therefore, I do not blame our ministry of education nor the curriculum itself for always being the anchor stifling our progress in EdTech development/implementation, but it/they will remain so. As a fairly critical person when it comes to change, I worry that the trends and benefits listed in the articles may never fully come to light in our current system. However, this problem also begs the question: is the bureaucratic nature of a large institution serving its own requirements by passively and inadvertently testing the longevity/sustainability of new EdTech?
Perhaps, like the game show, a new trend in EdTech won’t make it to the network if it can’t sustain on public access.
Link To Article: Implications of Shifting Technology in Education