Teacher Preparation: Relevance (Not Courses) Rule

Teacher educators must reshape teacher preparation for the new emerging landscape of learning that is modular, competency-based, and personalized, while also offered in a range of environments, including face-to-face, virtual, and face/flip.

In this previous post, it was noted that modular design (not “classes” or “courses”) is surfacing as marketing models support competency-based learning founded on specific skills personalized for individual students. This shifting model is one that teacher educators must examine to reshape curriculum designed as “modules” of experience, where an individual can demonstrate mastery and “move on” to new knowledge and skills to  overcome deficits. Coupled with module design, delivery and participant environments of engagement are shifting as well, including blended and face/flip.

To dismiss module, competency-based experiences in preparing teacher candidates is, perhaps, foolhardy. Recently, in Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen contend that modular design, coupled with online competency-based approaches, will become the more valued option for targeted skill attainment.

Further, Andy Calkins, Deputy Director of Next Generation Learning Challenges, an initiative managed by EDUCAUSE, noted in Moving Towards Next Generation Learning that next generation learning is blended, competency-based, and personalized.

Consumers – future teachers – are growing smarter, pushing non-traditional markets to respond by increasing choice and return on investment to meet personal and professional needs. Merged with real-world mentoring with teacher leaders, this emerging model could provide a more practical and meaningful approach in becoming an effective teacher at a lower cost.

Consumers – future teachers – are growing smarter, pushing non-traditional markets to respond by increasing choice and return on investment to meet personal and professional needs.

David Wiley, professor of psychology and instructional technology at Brigham Young University, chief openness officer of Flat World Knowledge, and founder of the Open High School of Utah, wrote the following in his blog post University Presidents on “Irrelevance”:

For years I’ve been saying that our nation’s universities must evolve to reflect basic changes in their broader societal contexts or risk becoming completely irrelevant.

How has your learning organization responded to shifting markets by redesigning teacher preparation? Please share your story.

Running the Digital River of Learning with You,

Emily Vickery

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Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: 2030 – What’s at the End of the Telescope?

 Note: This post is the final in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on Open Ed, Equity, and the College Debt Bubble.

In the previous post, the impact of the college debt bubble on educational options was discussed, and it is the college debt bubble, coupled with the sense of betrayal, which Anya Kamenetz describes, that will push young people, including our nation’s future teachers, toward quality open-education. It will be these edupunks who hack their own education, create their own crowdsourced learning playlists, and undertake apprenticeships mentored by teacherpreneurs in local-to-global contexts.

In DoItYourself University, Kamenetz interviewed Dr. Judy Baker, who manages distance learning at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, a residential community of Silicon Valley, and shared her idea of what the future may hold:

The way I see it, higher education, ten, twenty years from now is going to look very different. It won’t be the brick and mortar and the semester and a course in this and a course in that. It’s going to be more outcomes based and skill based, project based. You don’t have to take these sixty courses or whatever it is to be a journalist. Someone will identify your gaps and then you address the gaps, in whatever way is possible. And that may mean taking a course from New Zealand, being in a discussion forum with people in Canada, an internship in Mexico with Habitat for Humanity. You just need to get the knowledge and skills whatever way you can and then test out or present a portfolio. And when you add it all up, a few years later, you actually are ready to be a good journalist. (p. 133)

Dr. Baker has imagined what the future of teaching and learning might be. And, we, teacherpreneurs, have begun to do the same as we have examined only a few of the converging points that are changing traditional teacher preparation and exploring imagined possibilities. From crowdsourced, open education to economic innovations and cultural shifts, one thing we do know is that by 2030 traditional teacher preparation content, context, and delivery will not survive but must, as Wiley wrote, “evolve to reflect basic changes in their broader societal contexts” – to remix and mashup to create fresh forms. We don’t exactly know what those fresh forms may be, and it will be messy and confusing along the way as we “learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

But, what is important to note is that in a participatory culture supported by open education, those who will become teachers in 2030 will do more than react to their own learning, they will shape it. And, it will be teacherpreneurs who shepherd their learning and propel the teaching profession forward.


Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Open Ed, Equity, & the College Debt Bubble

 Note: This post is the eighth in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on OER, Open Teachers, and the Learning Architect.

The disaggregation of learning is escalating, providing the Open Teacher, the Learning Architect, and other teacherpreneurs an even broader canvass of possibilities, challenging traditional preparation programs to prepare teacher candidates to participate in and lead online learning and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are gaining traction, as several “elite” higher education institutions have partnered with the hosting service provider Coursers, including The University of Virginia, John Hopkins University, Stanford University, Princeton University, and Duke University. According to Coursers, they have enrolled 680,000 students, mostly from other countries. Coursers outlined their pedagogical foundation, which includes active learning, peer assistance, and mastery learning. And, the company has further plans to use the platform to augment face-to-face instruction with its partner institutions, akin to the flipped learning model.

This past spring, MIT and Harvard announced a joint venture called edX, which will offer online courses at no cost and where participants can earn a certificate of mastery. edX also welcomes other universities to offer courses through edX.

Harvard President Drew Faust said:

“edX gives Harvard and MIT an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically extend our collective reach by conducting groundbreaking research into effective education and by extending online access to quality higher education. Harvard and MIT will use these new technologies and the research they will make possible to lead the direction of online learning in a way that benefits our students, our peers, and people across the nation and the globe.”

George Siemens, associate Director of Athabasca University’s Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research institute and an early pioneer in MOOC design and delivery, observed, ‘”It’s a natural progression of the Internet influencing and impacting what we thought was a pretty stable field,” he said. “But all it takes is six months of pretty surprising announcements in terms of open-course initiatives, and all of a sudden you can start to picture that education seems to be at the threshold of a very dramatic change.”‘

After investigating what MOOCs will and won’t do, it will be interesting to see how teacher preparation programs transition to their use, if they do. And, surely they will in some fashion. Skepticism surrounds the rise of MOOCs, including how the experience will translate into “real learning” gains for students. Thus, with the upsurge in learning badges and other non-traditional methods documenting content mastery in online and MOOC environments making some folks uneasy, it came as no surprise that Udacity, another MOOC provider, partnered with Pearson in providing “4000 testing centers in more than 170 countries” for those who took Udacity courses. There is a “nominal fee” to take the assessments, which will be multiple choice and short answer.

Equity – the watchword in this democratization of learning via MOOCs and other yet-to-come environments –  is something on which to keep an eye. Martin Snyder, senior associate general secretary at the American Association of University Professors, said “the organization has principles in place asserting that faculty must have control over the constitution of the curriculum and the delivery, structure and assessment of a course.” He also observed:

If this kind of a system takes off, you might have a situation where the very wealthy students go to a campus to interact with real professors, while the rest of the world takes online courses… what appears to be a democratization process might be more aristocratic than democratic.

MOOCs are not relegated to higher education. Google has offered its first MOOC this summer, Power Searching with Google, and, at last count, has over 100,000 registered, according to EdSurge Newsletter 074. Also, educator Verena Roberts’ offers the MOOC “#DigiFoot12: Learn about tracking your digital footprint by using social and digital media, create and develop your PLN, tweet your learning, see what students are already doing with social media, chat about cyberbullying, and learn how to network and connect in your own way.”

These courses are open to everyone, where a teacher provides an experience for learners pursuing passions and the “want-and-need-to-know” emerging model of things to come. Today’s MOOCs will transform by 2030, growing more sophisticated and transforming teacher preparation supported by the future morphing of today’s Hive Learning Networks and the emergence of learning regions.

Open access to quality education could not have come at a better time as student debt is escalating. When learning is open and free, cultural and economic shifts happen. Akin to the housing bubble, the college debt bubble is upon us, pushing traditional education institutions to rethink the way things have always been done. And, it is not lost on university presidents. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a joint poll conducted with Pew Research Center that the “rising costs test families’ faith, while 1 in 3 presidents see academe on wrong road.”

Peter Thiel, “co-founder of PayPal and a legendary investor, has a long history of identifying bubbles …and believes that higher education fills all the criteria for a bubble: tuition costs are too high, debt loads are too onerous, and there is mounting evidence that the rewards are over-rated. Add to this the fact that politicians are doing everything they can to expand the supply of higher education (reasoning that the “jobs of the future” require college degrees), much as they did everything that they could to expand the supply of “affordable” housing, and it is hard to see how we can escape disaster.

Further, Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt and DoItYourself University: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education and who wrote about the college debt bubble eight years ago in the Village Voice, now acknowledges that young people are finally fighting back. In her Huffington Post article Generation Debt at the Barricades, she writes:

It took half a generation and a global economic meltdown, but now they finally are. Occupy Wall Street is Generation Debt at the barricades, on blogs, Twitter and Tumblr, expressing their deep sense of betrayal. At the heart of that betrayal, the one issue that comes up over and over again is student debt.

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: OER, Open Teacher, & the Learning Architect

 Note: This post is the seventh in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on Learning Ecosystems, Geographic Imprints, and Localnomics.

The emergence of crowdsourcing learning advances the role of the Open Teacher, a teacherpreneur who participates in and leads networked learning, shaking-up higher ed’s ivy tower. One of the earliest renditions of the Open Teacher was MIT’s 2001 announcement of OpenCourseWare, and other universities followed. In 2006, University of California Berkeley announced that courses would be provided via Apple’s iTunesU. Since then, hundreds of higher ed institutions deliver content using iTunesU, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, and YouTube EDU also serves as a platform. Other early adopters of open source and the use of Open Education Resources (OER) in education include OER Glue, which hosts content from a number of higher education institutions, such as Notre Dame and MIT; Open CourseWare Consortium, whose global “members have published materials from more than 13,000 courses in 20 languages, available through the Consortium’s web site”; Connexions, out of Rice University, offers “more than 17,000 learning objects or modules in its repository and over 1000 collections (textbooks, journal articles, etc.) are used by over 2 million people per month“; the Open Educational Resources Commons, where teachers and learners can choose from over 36,000 openly licensed and free-to-use resources; and the Learning Registry, where the educational community can publish and retrieve OER resources. Further, K12 and State Departments of Education have learning channels as well in iTunesU and YouTube. And, TED’s new initiative TEDeD will magnify excellent teaching.

Today, relevant and meaningful teacher preparation programs include guiding teacher candidates in leveraging OER and other open content to construct and deliver a learning experience – a merger of curriculum content, pedagogy, assessment, and learning management – using various digital tools. To meet learner objectives, teachers become Learning Architects as they create games, podcasts, 3D video maps, online assessments, and collaborative spaces where learning takes place. The Learning Architect, one ideation of the teacherpreneur, leverages the power of digital tools to capture content, distribute modules of experience, engage learners, and assess student performance. In 2030, it will be commonplace for teacher edupunks to learn from leaders in the field – teacherpreneurs – how to bundle learning for customized, passion-based learning.

What are your thoughts? How will teacher preparation programs include OER for the Open Teacher and Learning Architect?

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Learning Ecosystems, Geographic Imprints, and Localnomics

Note: This post is the sixth in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on Surgical Learning Analytics and Learning Playlist.

Teacher preparation will expand beyond what we know today. Learning ecosystems will become more sophisticated, tying into geographic and interest-imprint dashboards, where the data “will track and manage diverse data streams from multiple agencies and institutions, offering visualizations of a region’s “educational ecosystem.” Today’s Hive Learning Network, “a community of civic and cultural institutions dedicated to transforming the learning landscape, and creating opportunities for youth to explore their interests in virtual and physical spaces,” may provide a glimpse into how teacher candidates are prepared in 2030 by weaving place-based and networked learning together. Community Connectors, another role teacherpreneurs adopt in the future, play a pivotal part in connecting students with educational opportunities in a Hive Learning Network. And, Learning Brokers, teacherpreneurs who assist families and students in investing their Educational Debit Card expenditure, which amasses federal, state, and local monies, will be the equivalent of today’s guidance counselors on cyber-connected steroids.

Already, we see districts banning together, dissolving borders, to offer blended and online learning to lower costs, including the purchase of eBooks, as well as the use of free textbooks. Overtime, there will be geographic pockets that no longer recognize city, county, or state lines as they pool their resources to bring economic stability predicated on learning opportunities for their children and future generations. However, especially in rural areas, the rise in CyberConnected earning merged with CyberConnected economic opportunity (jobs) – or localnomics – will be on the rise in 2030.

Richard Florida, senior editor at The Atlantic and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, wrote in 1995 about the rise of the knowledge-economy and learning regions in Futures Towards the Learning Region:

The new age of capitalism holds even greater challenges for regions. The very fabric of regional organization will change, as regions gradually adopt the principles of knowledge creation and learning. Learning regions will be called on to supply the requisite human, manufacturing and technological infrastructures required to support knowledge-intensive forms of innovation and production. Rather than ushering in the ‘end of geography,’ globalization is likely to occur increasingly through complex systems of regional interdependence and integration. And, as the nation-state is squeezed between the poles of accelerating globalization and rising regional economic organization, regions will become focal points for economic, technological, political and social organization . (pp 534 – 535)

TIME magazine acknowledged the rise of localnomics in its August 20, 2012, issue, drawing attention to Florida’s prescient observation. Perhaps the geographic regions where Learning Regions and localnomics will take hold most quickly will be those areas that are “spiky,” according to Florida, where the merger of “talent, tolerance, and technology” is nurtured. Teacherpreneurs flourish in these regions for their expertise in orchestrating learning is vital to the success of the community and region.

Steve Haragon wrote the following in his post A Tail of Two Ed Tech Agendas in regards to explaining the difference between the traditional economic model, the head, and the Long Tail model, where selling less is more, popularized by Chris Anderson:

The head is very vertical, as volume is the key. The head is about scaling and scope, and success is more of the same. The tail is very horizontal, as it is about as breadth and depth, and success in the tail is differentiation, diversity, and choice. The head requires hierarchy, corporate decision-making, and control. The tail requires networking, an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and freedom. The head is about money, by which approval is conferred. The tail is about passion, and approval is less about the financial and often more about relationships and fulfillment. The head and the tail are actually very different economic models, and it turns out they may also be a powerful way to differentiate two different ed tech reform models

In 2030, teacher edupunks seek out local needs and participate in the future’s learning regions and Hive Learning Networks, while also learning with others globally. Early examples of “hive” or “hub” learning networks exist across the globe. Skillshare also serves as an early example for they “began as a way for communities to share local knowledge by teaching and taking classes on everything from programming to entrepreneurship to cooking.” Teacherpreneurs thrive in dissolved-border, CyberConnected communities, which grow along the lines of a Long Tail approach and push the creation of even more differentiated professional pathways and careers for teachers we have yet to imagine.

Perhaps it is in these “spiky” (a counter to Thomas Friedman’s “flat world”) regions of the world that Hives will first flourish, where the blending of “technology, talent, and tolerance” creates hotbeds of innovation, feeding local-to-international teacher preparation.

Spearheaded by teacherpreneurs and fueled by the Long Tail economic model, teacher preparation is not about scope-and-sequence curricula or higher ed hierarchal systems but is based on passion, freedom, networking, relationships, and the crowdsourcing of learning.

What are your thoughts? Will Learning Regions and Hive Learning Networks be the future’s hotbeds of innovation redefining the role of teacher?

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Surgical Learning Analytics and Learning Playlists

 Note: This post is the fourth in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on the Gamification of Education.

As technology grows more sophisticated, so will the capacity for harnessing data with the targeted importance of surgical learning analytics, as Open Colleges’ Learning Analytics Infographic outlines. And, interest in learning analytics is increasing as evidenced by the doubling of registrations for the Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference between 2011 and 2012 and increased research efforts in how teachers use data to inform instruction.

However, the data gathered is only as good as the assessment. Teacher candidates must master designing appropriate and effective measures of student learning, as well as interpreting the results. Moreover, surgical learning analytics will prove even more crucial when designing customized, personalized learning experiences, let’s call them learning playlists, which tap into student interests and passions, while leveraging the best digital tools available to get the job done.

The School of One is an example of applying the backend use of surgical learning analytics – algorithms – to inform practice and teacher know-how on assessing student success, making customized, differentiated learning more engaging and relevant. Therefore, teacher candidates must have intimate knowledge of assessment, the best tools for gathering learning data, and putting the results to work.

Look for an extension on the Learning Management System design in becoming a Next Generation Learning Platform, which merges student data and teacher professional development needs, housed in the cloud, creating more relevant, personalized learning for students and teachers. The development of a Next Generation Learning Platform would be especially timely considering the projected December release of the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and its encouraged development by the Chief State School Officers; the SLC will house student data in the cloud, making the need for understanding surgical learning analytics even more of a turnkey in teacher preparation.

Further, surgical learning analytics will expand with students using mobile devices in a variety of settings. In the Harvard Graduate School of Education course Learning Goes Lifewide: Using New Media to Connect In and Outside of School, among many topics, participants discuss how “children and young people are turning playgrounds, camps, museums, shopping malls and vacations into learning environments,” blurring lines between formal and informal learning and how “educators can conduct assessments continuously and incorporate useful feedback immediately.” Leafsnap, which “uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves,” is one example of growing experiential, place-based mobile learning beyond traditional classroom walls.

By 2030, today’s crowdsourced learning playlists, which are designed around passion and interest, such as those found at Skillshare, Mentormob, OpenStudy, and Mightybell, will become more sophisticated. And, advances in neuroscience prompt the invention of new cognitive tools that “allow educators to identify distinct cognitive pathways for individual learners, supporting increasingly customized learning experiences.”

2030 teacher edupunks, as self-directed learners, will have grown-up with the early rendition of learning playlists and have first-hand knowledge of beneficial designs, positioning them as teacherpreneurs to work in concert with for-profits or begin their own business ventures. Further, surgical learning analytics will become more sophisticated as learning ecosystems track a learner’s digital footprints, creating an information-rich, connected web of experience, skills, and learning (not education) attainment.

What are your thoughts? How will teacher preparation programs include learning playlists and learning analytics?

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: The Gamification of Education

Note: This post is the fourth in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on the growth of digital literacies.

According to New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report 2012 K-12 Edition, “Despite steady interest from educators, game-based learning has been tantalizingly just out of reach for the K-12 mainstream.” Yet, the report predicts that the time to adoption is only two to three years out.

The Gamification of Education is defined as “applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.” Although gaming in education is not new, take a look at Knewton’s Gamification of Education Infographic, video and app game development is growing, as programs such as Technovation and Youth APPLab support and spur students to become creators of their own apps, games. Programs such as iBuildApp, 3D Game Lab, GameSalad, Alice, Scratch, Gamestar Mechanic, CodeAcademy, and Globaloria (and there a many, many more) provide students the fun of creating learning games and digital stories, while digging deeper into content without having to learn a programming language. Moreover, students then publish their games, sharing them with a global audience. In turn, students can remix games created by others, making them their own.

Additionally, MIT’s Education Arcade has, for a number of years, researched the role of gaming in learning, as well as the Center for Game Science, among whose funders include the Gates Foundation and the National Science Foundation. The Institute of Play, a leader in game-based learning, has several projects underway and has designed and implemented the school Quest to Learn, which “supports a dynamic curriculum that uses the underlying design principles of games to create academically challenging, immersive, game-like learning experiences for students. Games and other forms of digital media also model the complexity and promise of “systems.” Understanding and accounting for this complexity is a fundamental literacy of the 21st century.” And, that is something that those attending the Serious Play Conference discussed.

In a move to acknowledge the effective use of games in learning, the White House appointed “gaming researcher Constance Steinkuehler as a senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.” “Steinkuehler is shooting for games to address grand challenges that bridge subject areas and gaming platforms. These games will be used to improve learning in many areas of national need such as STEM education, health, education, civic engagement, the environment and other areas where individuals can gain expertise and empowerment through play and the learning that accompanies play.” In another government move, but not game related, NASA’s release of a 3D augmented reality app to understand how robotic spacecraft work portends future technical feats having an impact on designing games for learning.

While there is increased interest in gaming to improve learning, cautions do exist, such as Jenkins has noted: making certain that games meet learner outcomes and avoiding the chase to accumulate points. Justin Marquis, Ph. D., blogger at Education Unbound out of Online Universities, wrote in the post The Trouble with Gamification:

In two very significant ways educators lack the skills and knowledge to delve into a rich integration of gaming in their curriculums. For starters, most teachers have not been trained in the pedagogy of gaming in their teacher education programs. Using games in the classroom requires a rethinking of the student-teacher relationship, a new model for ownership of tasks, complex structures for support of learners, new ways of evaluating learners, and a host of technological integration issues that most teachers are not prepared to undertake.

 Additionally, teacher-training programs seldom include even a list of educationally appropriate games. Consumer games are also relatively expensive and change with such regularity that it is challenging for teachers to evaluate them to determine their efficacy in the classroom

Today’s teacher candidates should not only create digital game-based, system-learning experiences but participate in them as well, guided by teacher educators and mentor teachers. Joel Levin serves as an example of how today’s teacherpreneurs are influencing teacher preparation. A private school computer teacher from New York City, Mr. Levin, co-owner of Mindcraftedu, is working in conjunction with the creators of the blockbuster game Minecraft and a “small team of educators and programmers from the United States and Finland” to use the game for learning.

As game-based learning increases, so will the use of mobile devices in and out of school, as well as in teacher preparation programs and professional development. In the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning, as part of a collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking, the state of mobile learning throughout the globe is outlined and offers examples of initiatives, as well as providing the five essential conditions for successful programs. Yet, “according to Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, …most colleges and universities in the United States and Canada do not train teachers to integrate mobile learning into their instruction, and teachers have not typically had professional development opportunities specific to mobile learning. “

With game-based learning, app development, and the use of mobile devices on the rise, traditional teacher preparation programs must incorporate these approaches immediately and embed them in their next-generation design. This emerging model of learning, championed by teacherpreneurs, will become an integral, common learning experience in preparing teachers for 2030.

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: The Growth of Digital Literacies

Digital Literacies: Beyond Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Note: This post is the third in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering intoTeaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on the imperative of connectivism.

In one of the most influential blog posts of 2007 in educational circles, and it still rings true today, Colorado high school educator Karl Fisch tackled an extremely timely if sensitive question: Is it OK to be a technologically illiterate teacher in the 21st century?  For Fisch the answer is clear.

If a teacher today is not technologically literate – and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more – it’s equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn’t know how to read and write.

Teacher preparation must extend beyond the traditional literacies, as well as technology literacy, which Fisch notes. American media scholar Henry Jenkins coined the phrase Participatory Culture, which calls for new media literacies – an outgrowth of a media-rich society. In his white paper, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, he calls for the needed skills in the new media culture, which build upon the traditional skills taught in the classroom. Hence, new and emerging skills have been identified that are necessary for students to learn today for them to fully participate in and create their future. Additionally, Kathy Schrock recently identified 13 literacies in a digital age. From data literacy to health literacy, today’s teacher preparation programs must embrace an enlarged application of what it means to be literate in the 21st century.

Today’s ISTE’s NETS for Teachers provides standards for “evaluating the skills and knowledge educators need to teach, work, and learn in an increasingly connected global and digital society.” These standards provide a springboard for preparing today’s teachers.

In 2030, informed by an ever-growing, data-informed learning ecosystem, the literacies will have grown to incorporate advances in learning science and data from the use of ever-increasing sophisticated programs, such as the descendants of today’s gesture-sensing, voice recognition technologies, 3D video mapping, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and the future emergence of immersive virtual reality and holography. Teacherpreneurs serve as models in understanding and implementing new literacies for learning and guide those who are hacking their own education.

What are your thoughts on the importance of incorporating digital literacies in teacher preparation?

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Connectivism

Note: This post is the second in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post.

Connectivism: The Imperative of Personal/Professional Learning Networks + Personal Learning Environments

Online communities and learning networks are pivotal to a teacher candidate’s experience and learning. By creating and engaging in Personal or Professional Learning Networks (PLN), teacher candidates lay the foundation for understanding connectivism by undertaking it themselves, participating, by becoming a Networked Teacher. Teacher candidates must learn, as do their students, of how to connect, share, and collaborate with others worldwide to enlarge their canvass of learning. In The Networked Teacher, Dr. Kira J. Baker-Doyle, assistant professor of education at Penn State-Berks, outlines her research and theory on the importance of connectivism, networking by following “the stories of four first-year teachers, illustrating the significant impact that social support networks can have on teachers lives and challenging common misconceptions of professional support.”  Understanding the value of professional networking, the U. S. Department of Education has launched a new initiative naming August 2012 as the Connected Educator Month.

Today’s teacher candidates must learn how to locate relevant and quality resources as they grow their PLNs using various digital tools, such as Twitter and Diigo, and focus attention and time to those professional learning elements that will be useful to them. The Connected Educator, by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall, is must read in creating an effective PLN. Also, the Educator’s PLN community website supports educators in creating and expanding their PLNs by providing connections, resources, and discussions. And other communities abound: Teacher Leaders Network; Middleweb; The English Companion Ning; Classroom 2.0; and The Future of Education. As professional development becomes more job-embedded via PLNs, more focused on competency rather than “seat time,” learning badges, similar to a Scout earning a badge showing proficiency in a particular skill, will become a standard as “learning” has been redefined and new assessment frameworks acknowledge informal, passion-based learning.

Today’s teachers are leveraging connected learning through web curation by using web spaces as Learnist, Pinterest, and ScoopIt. Teacher candidates in 2030 will have already curated a sophisticated personal learning network through seamless connections in and out of cyberspace. Using PLNs, teacher candidates have designed their own Personal Learning Environments (PLE), a “personal collection of tools and resources a person assembles to support their own learning – both formal and informal..to support one’s ongoing social, professional, learning, and other activities…While the concept of PLEs is fairly fluid, it is clear that a PLE is not simply a technology but an approach or process that is individualized by design, and thus different from person to person,” according to the New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2012 K-12 Edition.

In 2030, it will be commonplace for teacher candidates to share with and learn from their PLE as they hack their education. If teacher preparation as we know it today still exists in institutions of higher education in 2030, its basic premise will be founded on connectivism via a PLE, where teacher candidates learn of the world’s best teachers, those who are teacherpreneurs, and beat a cyber path to their portals, putting the new virtual apprenticeship into action.

What are your thoughts on the importance of connectivism in teacher preparation?

Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future

Note: This post is the first in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030.

The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

–Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist

         David Wiley, professor of psychology and instructional technology at Brigham Young University, chief openness officer of Flat World Knowledge, and founder of the Open High School of Utah, wrote the following in his blog post University Presidents on “Irrelevance”:

For years I’ve been saying that our nation’s universities must evolve to reflect basic changes in their broader societal contexts or riskbecoming completely irrelevant.

         As part of our nation’s higher education institutions, teacher preparation programs must also evolve as a convergence of today’s trends and happenings point. As edupunks hack their own education, teacher preparation as we know it will change dramatically in content, context, and delivery by 2030, if it is to continue to exist at all. Along the way, we’ll see that Alvin Toffler’s words ring true in teacher candidates being prepared to learn, unlearn, and relearn, as must teacher educators and veteran teachers. And, it will be teacherpreneurs who navigate us to the future.

In a series of blog posts, let’s examine a few of the converging trends shaping teacher preparation today and where they may possibly lead in 2030: