Currently, in learning spaces across the country and the world, there is a good chance of observing a student with a digital device in their hands capable of accessing the internet. These devices along with search engines allow for the instant locating of answers and information on practically every topic known to man. But does this translate to the development of the student as a learner? I feel we are experiencing a transition within education that is seeing the next iteration of learning being one of dramatic technological change.
I am currently employed by the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) as a digital technologies specialist teacher. The CEDP made the systemic move to migrate locally stored data on servers to the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) cloud-based storage and online tools platform. This move, coupled with a recent network upgrade, now enables students the ability to store and share digitised work with teachers and peers various learning purposes, such as peer feedback.
I am finding the content in Module 1 to be both relevant and thought provoking. Within my current role, a common request made by schools focuses on the development of online programming and cloud-based workflows. In my experience, I have found that if schools are not yet applying key archival practices such as adhering to agreed naming conventions and understanding a file tree structure, they may be creating more content to contribute to an unstructured mass of data. Without the use of agreed naming conventions and a general file structure, these digital innovations can prove to be more of a hindrance. My current role aims to support these foundational practices via a face-to-face model or through instructional video clips.
Bollacker (2010) states that “Even if the storage medium survives perfectly, it will be of no use unless we can read and understand the data on it”. This was an issue 7-years ago, and still is now to some extent, but with the onset of cloud platforms such as GAFE, the educational landscape evolves yet again. This then, in turn, raises three key questions, ‘Do I need to worry about the data’s integrity?’, ‘Where is the data stored?’ And ‘What steps are taken to ensure the safety and preservation of the data?’. Granted that it may be unrealistic to conceptually understand all facets of computer sciences – Are the digital repositories available also reliable?
As an educator within this changing landscape, I need to consider the long-term needs of the learners in my care. The Future Work Report (2010) states that 44% of jobs are at risk of being affected by technological developments in the year 2030. This is driven by the fact that the workforce is predicted to require higher skilled workers, such as programming and software development, and automation will replace most low skilled jobs. This fact is a driver for my development as an educator, and through my CSU studies, I would like to further develop an innovator’s mindset to make positive contributions to the future educational landscape.
Image retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/zipckr/4311841068