For the past few weeks I have been pondering ideas for a new faculty development effort that takes into account the unique nature of knowledge in 2015. I am hashing out details for a cohort based series titled Teaching in the Age of Knowledge Abundance. The term knowledge abundance came to my attention during a Keynote talk by Bonnie Stewart at the ET4OL conference last April. This term resonated with me because it describes what I see as the biggest challenge facing educators today. How do we teach if the students have Google in their pocket? I hear many educators struggling with students, learning and teaching these days. The struggle is often framed around mobile devices in the classroom or lazy students, but I think these arguments leave out the real issue. The issue of the accessibility of knowledge. Unlike a decade ago, we now live in a world where information is everywhere and knowledge is easy to come by. Anyone can access information and they can also easily create sources of knowledge. This change dramatically impacts every aspect of the learning process and by default the teaching process. That said, the skills needed to be successful in the age of knowledge abundance are often not intuitive and they are new to most current teachers. Unlike any time in the past, our students now need to know how to access, collect, synthesize, critique and create knowledge. They are not limited to consuming, remembering and analyzing. This poses a new challenge for teachers. It requires teachers to think differently about how they teach and what students learn. We need to explore these changes with faculty. Discussions about teaching practices need to take place around the topic of knowledge abundance. I have set out to create a professional development opportunity that will allow faculty time to dig into questions about teaching in 2015 and beyond. The goal will be to bring together an interdisciplinary group of faculty to discuss ideas and develop learning experiences that take advantage of knowledge abundance. This is in the early stages, but the outline thus far includes the following focus topics:
- Examining traditional & untraditional knowledge sources
- The role of social media and knowledge
- Power on or Power off? Mobile devices and learning
- Facilitating curation & creation
- Crowdsourcing knowledge
What am I missing? I would love input and ideas on this topic.