eLearn’s 2008 predictions and my response

In response to eLearn's predictions for 2008, ( hat tip to Karl Kapp and Stephen Downes) I had to leave a comment that I share with you. Although the “experts” cited are all amazing, it struck me that teachers continue to be “at the bottom of the food chain.”

Here is my prediction:

I think it is very important to include classroom teachers in these discussions. I was bothered that no “experts” of that nature were included. So, here is my prediction.

The grassroots movement of teachers to connect will become more pronounced in 2008 with administrators, researchers, and consultants having to take notice. Teachers will wonder why they need “facilitators” when it is more efficiently done themselves and districts will realize that teachers need time to be “teacherpreneurs” as they create and collaborate on projects with their colleagues around the world. E-Learning will become an integral part of the face to face classroom with students learning to collaborate not only with their seatmate but with teammates from around the world.

What are your predictions?

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Downes January 27, 2008 - 5:53 pm

> Although the “experts” cited are all amazing, it struck me that teachers continue to be “at the bottom of the food chain.”

It would be interesting to know how many of the teachers you have in mind read (a) eLearn magazine, where these predictions have been posted for a number of years now, or (b) any of the people who offered predictions, most of whom have their own website of blogs.

It’s a two-way street. To be recognized, you have to give recognition. To be read and commented upon outside your own circle, you have to read and be commented upon outside your own circle.

Sue Waters January 28, 2008 - 7:20 am

Definitely agree regarding your point about teachers not being included especially due to their important role in the implementation of the technologies. I decided to focus my predictions not on predictions but on challenges that would continue to the real issues that many of us educators are really concerned about.

Ultimately we aren’t worried about what is the next big thing rather whether we will have access. Here are my top 5 challenges for 2008.

Downes January 28, 2008 - 2:42 pm

> I also wonder how many districts pay for subscriptions for elearn FOR their teachers.

It’s not necessary; eLearn is freely available online.

Vicki A. Davis January 28, 2008 - 1:32 pm

@downes – I also wonder how many districts pay for subscriptions for elearn FOR their teachers. Traditionally, teachers are given “teachery” magazines to read. However, I think that there are a growing number of teachers who are not only contributing to the classroom but are emerging into the discussions about education. That is why my prediction is that teachers will increasingly let their voices be heard. Remember that many teachers are told not to blog and many schools BLOG teachers from reading them. I think this is definitely something that needs to change.

@suewaters – “Ultimately we aren’t worried about the next big thing rather whether we will have access.”

You are so right. Access continues to be the challenge for teachers.

Vicki A. Davis January 28, 2008 - 8:39 pm

@downes– I didn’t realize it was strictly online. I’ve seen it several times. However, I think few teachers still look for education news online from the look of the magazines at many places. I hear many of their professors tell them to distrust online sources.

However, to me the point is this… I’m sure that someone is a reader of elearn. I follow them since I’ve seen them mentioned in several of your posts, however, as you know, our readers become very full of things.

I still think that perhaps they could have found ONE teacher somewhere who meets the criteria for inclusion as part of the panel of experts.

jon January 29, 2008 - 5:14 pm

Well said, Vicki and Sue. I wholeheartedly second the prediction, and am looking forward to helping make it come true!

As somebody new to this field, I saw exactly the same marginalization of practitioners in the Economist’s debate. (Speaking of which, I’ve got links to the ongoing discussions and an open thread on Tales from the Net, and there’s a Wikia page as well.) What makes things even worse was that students and parents were completely excluded from the debate — and teachers are their best advocates and allies.

downes, it sounds to me like you are implying that it’s the teachers fault for excluding themselves from the debate. Note the asymmetry: “experts” are typically paid to take the time to read and write these predictions (with the exception of experts who are also teachers and teaching professors), whereas practitioners are expected to do this on top of everything else. Why didn’t eLearn take the time to find teachers and ask them?

It’s not hard. During the Economist debate, I spent five minutes on MySpace and found a teacher’s groups. I asked a question there. An excellent discussion of teachers’ use of MySpace is going on, with issues coming up that I didn’t hear either the pro or con side discuss in the debate. The thread’s really worth reading. Not being a practitioner, this was a completely different perspective to me.

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