In his article Technology in Classroom: Who’s Driving? Dwight, who also teaches online, makes some interesting observations on the effect of online resources such as Wikipedia on the learning process.
We as educators need to think of ways to engage students through the use of information. Encourage students to surf on ideas and concepts, have them offer up ideas to provocative questions. Point them to audio and visual resources online, then have them discuss their impressions. Gone is the sage on the stage; we are the guides on the side. Facilitate their learning and we will do students a much greater service in the long run.
I agree very strongly with what Dwight is saying here, but I do not feel it is necessarily any different now than it ever has been. The best educators I have worked with have never been the “sage on the stage” kind.
Weather the tools are books, slide rules, calculators, computers, the internet, or whatever may come next, the best educators have always been “the guides on the sides”. Those who facilitate learning and evaluate on understanding, not retention of information, will just see these as what they are, another tool in the toolbox.
For those educators intimidated by rapidly changing information age technology, take a step back and use this as an opportunity to learn with your students. You have more to offer than facts on a webpage… I hope.
“I know nothing excpt the fact of my ignorance.”