AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – INNOVATION

transformation

AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – INNOVATION

Chapter 5 discusses Innovation.

Along with the future of education, innovation plays a significant role in the forward leaning domain of learning for the next generation. This section of the literature review includes a few innovative strategies based on current trends in education and will explain how AU might leverage these capabilities through and past transformation. First, information on emerging instructional technologies will be presented. This area of study cannot be overemphasized. Through technology, education has already been transformed in many ways and the next generation offers at least as much promise as what we have already witnessed. Next, we will look at innovators in instructional technology to see how these people are bringing education into a new renaissance. Technologies that are on the horizon will be discussed as well. While these are nascent technologies, they have some bearing on the present and may have direct application and significance in the future. Finally, the future of the field of education in general will be discussed.

Web 2.0 technology is an item of wide discussion in education today. With the flexibility and pervasive use of technology in the classroom today, it is important to understand the emerging technologies and trends coming o the forefront. “Learners today are digital learners and the instructional methods used need to match their needs. The vast amount of available online resources and tools is part of the everyday reality and has introduced a diverse set of instructional methods with applications in student learning” (Daher & Lazarevic, 2014, p. 42). With the introduction of the vast amount of instructional technologies and methods available, the opportunity for confusion and being overwhelmed has increased in concert with the opportunity to succeed. “Web 2.0 technology is a relatively new, fast changing, and developing area of advancement. As such, educational uses have only been introduced to instructors in the last few years” (Daher & Lazarevic, 2014, p. 43). In their study, Daher and Lazarevic found that in order for new Web 2.0 tools to be used successfully in the classroom, teachers needed to feel comfortable and successful using them. “Instructors with a graduate degree were more likely to use these tools for instruction. However with the appropriate training, participants reported being more likely to incorporate these tools. Since educators are interested in how to use technology, not how to master it, it will be more beneficial to use a product-based approach in training rather than focus on a product itself” (Daher & Lazarevic, 2014, p. 49). Therefore, the use of emerging technologies needs to be supported well in order to use them effectively and with the most impact.

To follow on the discussion of emerging technical capabilities in education, the next article includes an interview of an innovator in the field of instructional technology and what we will see in coming years. The conversation is recorded by Fred Baker. Baker begins his discussion with Jason Ravitz, Ph.D., an education outreach evaluation manager at Google. In discussing his research in the field of education, Ravitz states: “Across many years and projects, I have always sought to understand effective designs, conditions for innovation, and the equity of implementation and outcomes” (Baker, 2014, p. 13). This approach to understanding and implementing educational technology is about looking forward and setting the stage for optimal integration and success. Ravits then explains some of his focus on evaluation in education and how this is vital to the proper implementation of educational technology: “I also value opportunities to evaluate new products and services, designing ways to get feedback to people who need it, creating measures and “data dashboards”. This emphasis on creating feedback mechanisms for teaching and learning programs was the focus of my second post-doc at SRI International and helps explain my longevity at the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) where we worked with hundreds of schools” (Baker, 2014, p. 13). The concept of evaluation of new technologies is extremely important in discovering what and how these tools and products can be used to highest effect. Ravitz also discusses trends influencing the field right now: “Increasingly, we see efforts to improve computer science education so that more diverse students and women can get involved in creating the technologies of the future. In my new job at Google, I will be looking at how to evaluate computer science education initiatives like these” (Baker, 2014, p. 14). Additionally, Ravitz states, “Another trend for me has been use of information systems like Customer Relations Management (CRM) software in educational organizations. As new capabilities emerge, using these systems to support professional development and research on teaching and learning seems like a natural next step” (Baker, 2014, p. 14). Through the use of CRM, research can be managed more effectively, allowing for the growth and synthesis of information necessary for moving education forward. Finally, Ravitz answers a question concerning other areas impacting the field as it relates to critical thinking and collaboration: “I am intrigued by ideas from the Critical Thinking Consortium and Roland Case who emphasizes that application of shared criteria is at the heart of critical thinking. Combined with tools like Project Foundry or ShowEvidence, we could give rubrics a much needed overhaul, so they do a better job of promoting critical thinking when they are used” (Baker, 2014, p. 14). Dr. Ravitz’s advice bears minding and may have practical application for programs at AU, especially in the realms of research, evaluation, and critical thinking.

In their study concerning teachers’ attitudes toward new educational technologies introduced in the Horizon Report, Hodges and Prater discuss technologies these teachers would like to see integrated into their classrooms. “It is clear that teachers’ beliefs of the value or perceived usefulness of various technologies are important elements to consider when adopting technologies for teaching and learning” (Hodges & Prater, 2014, p. 71). Based on the responses of these teachers, it makes sense to keep in mind that these are educational professionals with years of practical experience whose advice should be taken very seriously. The Horizon Report “includes predictions for technologies that will be adopted in schools in three categories: one year or less, two to three years, and four to five years. Interested readers can access the report in its entirety online at: http://www.nmc.org/publications/horizon- report-2011-k-12-edition” (Hodges & Prater, 2014, p. 72). The choices most selected for technologies one year or less out from that time were cloud computing and mobiles while the most selected from two to three year out were GBL and open content. “Mobile devices were noted as capable of making learning fun for the students, and allowing easy access to remediation software” (Hodges & Prater, 2014, p. 75). Conversely, GBL was not viewed as favorably, mostly due to the amount of development needed to implement them and a general attitude of ambivalence toward GBL, specifically from leadership in education. However, the prevailing attitude toward technology in the classroom was positive, especially as it relates to interaction, collaboration, and open education that would allow more influx of ideas and information.

Tutaleni Asino discusses the future of the field of education in an article that looks at “three areas that should be discussed further as we contemplate the future and growth in the field of educational technology: (1) Interdisciplinary applications of educational technology; (2) Culture’s impact on learning and learners and (3) Considering culture-specific designs for learning” (Asino, 2015, p. 20). These three considerations are discussed by Dr. Patricia Young who states: “The United States Census population projections from the 2010 Census report a growing racially and ethnically diverse population by 2060 and that this population will peak in 2024” (Asino, 2015, p. 20). This projection highlights the need for a new way of looking at how education is delivered, socialized, and constructed. Culture’s impact on learners and learning is included in this discussion and is given wide importance. “Advocacy for the integration of culture seems to have made advances in school aged STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related literature and in higher education literature on e-learning” (Asino, 2015, p. 21). Ultimately, the issue that continues to surface in education throughout every strata of society is the need to be ready for diversity. “Determining how people learn, think, behave and understand has applicability across disciplines and could change what, why and how designers create technologies” (Asino, 2015, p. 22). Kyle Peck follows some of these same thought patters in a slightly different way when he states: “Motivation to change seems to be powered by three primary factors: 1) a vision of what could be; 2) dissatisfaction with what is, and 3) evident, achievable next steps that can be taken to begin the transformation” (Asino, 2015, p. 24). The prevailing attitude is that the future of education must be forecasted using vision, what is not working now, and goal setting that makes sense for the future. Peck lays out a few ideas that could help education get there including: the growth and validation of online learning, flipped classrooms, MOOCs, open educational resources, competency-based learning, digital badges, prior learning assessment, and adaptive learning systems. Through these concepts and technologies, the future of education is an exciting place to be heading!

References

Asino, T.I. (2015). The future of our field. Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 59 (1), 20-30.

Baker, F.W. (2014). Conversations with innovators in learning and technology. TechTrends, 58 (5), 12-15.

Daher, T. (2014). Emerging instructional technologies: Exploring the extent of faculty use of web 2.0 tools at a midwestern community college. TechTrends, 58 (6), 42-50.

Hodges, C.B. & Prater, A.H. (2014). Technologies on the Horizon: Teachers Respond to the Horizon Report. TechTrends, 58 (3), 71-77.

AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – FUTURE OF EDUCATION

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AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – FUTURE OF EDUCATION

Chapter 4 of the paper deals with the future of education at Air University.

Whenever someone speaks of the future of anything, it’s best to take that speculation with some skepticism. The most recent research, while it does indicate some future trends, may only be as useful as it seems to be at this very moment in education. While trends do appear to be heading toward schema and strategies such as gamification and interactive social networking, one must never overlook the fact that new strategies and technologies enter human history as abruptly as Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The following research gets at current technologies and educational philosophies with a look toward the future of education. While these trends may be helpful in vectoring toward a future outlook for education, AU must have the flexibility and cutting-edge savvy to make hard turns as necessary. Game-based learning (GBL), or gamification, is a method by which game development and playing are used to support learning within the realms of several different subjects using a wide array of strategies and platforms. Since this is a new method for teaching and learning, there are several areas in which exploration still needs to be made. Some negative attributes of GBL are still under scrutiny. “GBL may not also be beneficial to all learners. For example, the multimedia elements of game-based-learning may also increase students’ cognitive load because they have to play and learn at the same time; it might go against learners with low ability” (Ku, Chen, Wu, Lao, & Chan, 2014, p. 67). While initial concerns are warranted, GBL does show some promise. “The results indicate that both high-ability and low-ability students with the GBL approach gained significant improvement on their confidence toward mathematics” (Ku, Chen, Wu, Lao, & Chan, 2014, p. 75). GBL has its place in the future of the classroom, but education cannot rest alone or even mostly on such a nascent theory. More must be done to undergird the rapidly changing educational environment across the spectrum of education.

In his article analyzing three models to reshape educational practice, Sam Roberson discusses how to improve teaching and learning based on a look into the future of education. “The work of schools is teaching and learning. However, the current educational culture is dominated by three characteristics: (1) the mechanistic view of organization and its practice based on the assembly line model where students progress along a value added conveyor; (2) the predominance of the Essentialist philosophy of education, in which the teacher-centered classroom transfers bits of “essential” knowledge to students; and (3) the high stakes testing mentality, which believes in the rigid and frequent testing of students to ensure learning and enforce accountability” (Roberson, 2013, p. 340). As an alternative, Roberson presents three models that highlight other options for creating deep, complex, generative learning. “Three models for reshaping the current educational practice are presented and discussed briefly. These include (1) a comparison of testing driven environments with other view-points for possible educational environments: The Goals of Learning Model; (2) a comparison of a testing-driven curriculum with what could be offered to students: The Limitation of TAKS Model; and (3) a model that summarizes the shift needed to refocus student achievement towards higher, more complex learning: The Trajectories of Learning Model” (Roberson, 2013, p. 349). Behind all of these strategies rests the purpose of using education to move toward application and creation rather than merely seeking to fill the boxes. By setting a path and looking for ways to reach the end of that educational path, teachers and students can move more readily toward achieving the goals set out. “Were the culture of schools configured in any other way, in a culture of possibility (Roberson, 2011a) for example, in which students were encouraged and challenged to pursue the type of learning presented by the three models above—an education not limited by simple, shallow, novice level learning characterized by passively memorizing massive bits of inert knowledge, but an education that is wide open, one characterized by deep, complex, expert level learning in a wide range of subjects or disciplines presented in an interdisciplinary, real world based way” (Roberson, 2013, p. 357).

Massive open online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming more widespread in education by way of innovation and exploration in technology and the future of education. MOOCs were initially developed to help those who were disadvantaged to have more open access to education for career and personal development. “The first MOOCs to catch the media and public attention in the autumn of 2011, so called xMOOCs, were in very technical subjects (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Databases)” (Macleod, Haywood, Woodgate, & Alkhatnai, 2015, p. 58). Through the open delivery of technical education, many individuals were able to increase the KSAs in this area in particular. Of course, the initial success of these offerings opened up the educational opportunities to many more. “One feature of our MOOC learners that changed dramatically from the first to second offerings was our learners’ prior experience of study on MOOCs, where we noted a rise from 22% to 58% in learners who had previously taken a MOOC” (Macleod, Haywood, Woodgate, & Alkhatnai, 2015, p. 59). Thus, the growth of the programs mirrored the success of the material and opportunities within the MOOCs. “How do these data help us decide on a MOOC strategy to help us plan for the future? In many respects the MOOC learners are quite like those who come to our campus for our open studies (continuing education) short courses. Our 17,000 registered open studies learners tend to be older and well educated, mostly study for interest, pay very low fees and do not seek formal university credits” (Macleod, Haywood, Woodgate, & Alkhatnai, 2015, p. 62). The MOOCs concept, then, is not only a success as far as education delivery to those who would not have opportunity otherwise, but a boon for the university that uses them. Through using MOOCs, the reputation of the school is bolstered and advertised as a veritable phalanx in the arena of education. Through the use of MOOCs, AU can position itself on the leading edge of education, not just of the Airman, but the world.

Ku, O., Chen, S.-Y., Wu, D.-H., Lao, A.-C.-C., & Chan, T.-W. (2014). The Effects of Game-Based Learning on Mathematical Confidence and Performance: High Ability vs. Low Ability. Educational Technology & Society, 17 (3), 65–78.

Macleod, H., Haywood, J., Woodgate, A., & Alkhatnai, M. (2015). Emerging patterns in MOOCs: Learners, course designs and directions. Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 59 (1), 56-63.

Roberson, S. (2013). Improving teaching and learning: Three models to reshape educational practice. Education, 134 (3), 340-358.

AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – DIVERSITY

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AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – DIVERSITY

Chapter 3 of the paper deals with the effect of Diversity in education.

Diversity and teaching to diverse populations has become increasingly important with the precipitous increase of widely arrayed social, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds within higher learning today. As difference increase, so education must change and adjust in order to met the learning demands and needs of a spectrally gifted community. Following on the discussion concerning community, diversity within the educational realm must be scrutinized and understood to some degree in order to build and grow the community and culture of AU and the Air Force as a whole. The following research looks at student-centered education for diverse populations as well as how educators at AU can more effectively affect the learning environment for better communication and community among students of varied backgrounds.

As the population of the United States has become increasingly diverse, so too has the classroom. This has precipitated the need for more focus on the student in order to understand the needs of a quickly changing culture and society. “Education that keeps the student at the center is the expectation of students and their families” (Sandoval-Lucero, 2014, p. 22). This expectation has led to a mandate by many institutions of higher learning to provide more breadth and depth in the areas of personalized attention, diversity experiences that build cultural competence, contextualized learning that increases relevance, and internship and immersive learning experiences that allow students to develop both skills and knowledge and support to transition to their next phase. As these needs continue to grow, it is incumbent upon post-secondary and graduate-level schools to provide more opportunities for growth, understanding, communication, and community in order for diverse populations to integrate fully into that particular learning village. “Diverse college students, while newer to the college student population, are still individuals. Each one comes to college with a unique set of experiences, expectations and needs. In order to become more student-centered and asset-minded, diverse college students need to be viewed as individuals with unique qualities that can enhance the college environment, as well as their own college experience” (Sandoval-Lucero, 2014, p. 22). Diversity, then, appears to be not only about the individual student, but the community as a whole. Through the enriching influence of diverse character and backgrounds, the entire educational community can grow and benefit. At AU, diversity is definitely a part of the richness of the educational experience. Besides the international students who call AU home for months at a time, there are many other ethnic, cultural, and religious groups who bring with them an understanding of the world that would not be present at AU otherwise. As a result, AU has an opportunity to leverage this diversity and use it to benefit the whole AU community as well as those of diverse backgrounds.

While understanding students of diverse backgrounds is necessary to the community of AU, teaching them and creating a critical, joyful, and socially just environment in the classroom is just as, if not more, important. Part of this as explained by Bemiss, Hass, Laman, Smith, and Stockdale has to do with understanding one’s self as his or her standing in society. “Using autoethnography, critical literacy, critical sociocultural theory, and Whiteness theory to undergird teaching and research, a teacher must begin by “unpacking” her own history, beliefs, and personal experiences relating to the power struggles that often take place within society” (Bemiss, Hass, Laman, Smith, & Stockdale, 2014, p. 62). Through examining how he or she interacts with society as a whole as well as understanding various social and cultural groups, a teacher can raise consciousness within him or herself and use this as a platform to raise social consciousness within the entire learning environment. “However, merely raising one’s consciousness about social issues is not enough…educators must take action by allowing students to be co-inquirers along the journey to better understand the intricate systems of privilege and power in society” (Bemiss, Hass, Laman, Smith, & Stockdale, 2014, p. 62). Again, the outlook of inclusion in community as a catalyst for affecting social and cultural understanding cannot be overstated. The necessary element to understanding and bringing the diverse community together is inclusion. This action of bringing together students of diverse beliefs and backgrounds feeds directly into the idea of social justice in the classroom. “A social justice approach is a set of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in relation to teaching, learning, and students that form the foundation of one’s pedagogy. Such an approach also challenges stereotypes, provides students with material and emotional resources needed to learn

to their full potential, draws on students’ talents and strengths, and promotes critical thinking and agency for change in a democratic society” (Bemiss, Hass, Laman, Smith, & Stockdale, 2014, p. 63). This high-concept way of handling social and cultural differences can be applied to many different institutional spheres, but holds well in the realm of education as social justice is an area where the student’s locus of control can often be compromised if the other students and teacher are not sensitive to the many differences found there. This belief leads finally to the joy to be found in education by student and teacher alike. “Teaching is viewed as an act of love and an ethical endeavor, where teachers are advocates and challenge the status quo, and where teachers thrive as learners who honor students’ identities and believe in their futures” (Bemiss, Hass, Laman, Smith, & Stockdale, 2014, p. 63). The generation of joy within the learning community is not only a good thing to have, but vital to the full experience of learning and progress within the institution and in society as a whole. Through this altruistic endeavor, students and teachers work together for meaningful social progress through learning and holistic understanding.

Bemiss, E., Hass, C., Laman, T.T., Smith, D., & Stockdale, L. (2014). Language Arts, 92 (1), 62-63.

Sandoval-Lucero, E. (2014). Student-Centered Education for a Diverse 21st Century Student Population. Diverse, 1 (1), 22.