User Generated Education Teacher, Blogger, Author Jackie Gerstein Believes, “It is the best time in history to be a teacher!”
Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D, has been a fixture on the education technology scene for years. Dr. Gerstein shares inspiring ideas, practical advice, and the joy of teaching and learning through her blog, User Generated Education, on Twitter (@jackiegerstein), and on numerous other web media channels. If you’ve been browsing the web with an eye for teaching and technology insights and ideas, you’re highly likely to have come across this education technology thought leader.
I first came across Dr. Gerstein’s work through her excellent post, “The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture”. I love the graphic and how it illustrates the full cycle of activities that should inform a well-designed flipped learning environment. Clearly many others appreciate this work as well, as this has been the most popular post on her site for years. Jackie’s writings cover many topics, often focusing on issues related to advancing how teachers teach and how students learn in our schools, with technology being just one of the tools at teacher’s disposal. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have her join us on EmergingEdTech for a conversation about her work and continuing to heighten the relationship of education and technology.
1. Thank you, Dr. Gerstein, for making some time to have this dialogue. Your Twitter home page says, “I don’t do teaching as a living. I live teaching as my doing, and technology has AMPLIFIED the passion”. Would you elaborate on that a little for EmergingEdTech readers?
Sure! The first part is related to one’s call to teach – it is the innate passion that many (not all) educators have for their profession. Now, more than ever given the Internet and social media, educators are living teaching as their doing. I am regularly on Twitter and attend a lot of online and virtual conferences and webinars. I am often amazed and proud of our profession in that these educators are engaging in professional growth opportunities on their own time without compensation. This directly relates to the second part of my byline about technology amplifying my passion in this age of open, accessible information. Other educators and I have the tools, resources, strategies to offer students a constructivist, self-directed learning environment. Both educators and learners should have a similar byline . . . that technology has increased their passion for interest-driven learning. It is the best time in the history of education to be a teacher. I often say that if John Dewey lived today he would have a field day with all of the technologies.
2. You write in Schools are still killing creativity, that “Creativity is a great intrinsic motivator, the essence for innovation, and important for the continued evolution of the self and humankind.” What are some concrete steps you can envision for moving schools to a place where using creativity as a motivator is a part of education’s core goals?
First and foremost, educators need to tap into the innate human desire to create. This is evident in young children as they build castles in the sand, create forts of pillows, make play dough people, and engage in imaginary play. Second, educators need to provide the time, resources, and support for creativity. I believe that educators need to be tour guides of learning opportunities. They should give learners the opportunities to be creative and then get out of the way. Too often, and with the best of intentions, educators often try to control the learning. Creativity and learning flourish under the right conditions and the right conditions are often with the student at the center of learning not the educators. This is why I believe there is a growing interest in Maker Education, STEAM, and gaming in the classroom – these are becoming popular and successful trends in education.
3. Your article SAMR as a Framework for Moving Towards Education 3.0 and Vicki Davis’ interview with Richard Wells introduced me to the SAMR model (thank you both!). On the one hand, it’s exciting to hear thought leaders discuss the next steps in the evolution of education and instructional technology (re: Education 3.0), but at the same time it’s hard not to be discouraged by how far we still have to go to make Education 2.0 a reality in more schools right now. Do you think teachers and schools need to grow through Education 2.0 to reach Education 3.0, or can some leapfrog right up the higher level?
My belief is that educators should leap through Education 1.0 to Education 2.0 and/or 3.0. The educator’s role has or should change in this age of information abundance or Education 2.0-3.0. Education 1.0 can be likened to Web 1.0 where there is a one-way dissemination of knowledge from teacher to student. It is a type of essentialist, behaviorist education based on the three R’s – receiving by listening to the teacher; responding by taking notes, studying text, and doing worksheets; and regurgitating by taking standardized tests which in reality is all students taking the same test. It is a standardized/one-size-fits-all education.
Similar to Web 2.0, Education 2.0 includes more interaction between the teacher and student; student to student; and student to content/expert. Education 2.0, like Web 2.0, permits interactivity between the content and users, and between users themselves. The teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships are considered as part of the learning process. It focuses on the three Cs – communicating, contributing, and collaborating.
Education 3.0 is based on the belief that content is freely and readily available as is characteristic of Web 3.0. It is self-directed, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation and creativity drive education. Education 3.0 is also about the three C’s but a different set – connectors, creators, constructivists. Why should educators spend their time recreating Education 1.0 using technology at the substitution and augmentation levels when there are tools, techniques, and opportunities to modify and redefine technology integration for a richer, more engaging Education 2.0 or 3.0? So depending on the content to be taught, objectives of the class, and teacher and learner characteristics, the educator should strategically choose either strategies associated with Education 2.0, those with 3.0, or a combination of the two. Except for helping students pass a content-based test (which I believe standardized tests have no purpose in the learning process), I see no purpose for a strict Education 1.0.
4. I first came across your work through your popular article The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture a few years back. This visual model struck me immediately as such an excellent illustration of why flipped teaching and learning just makes sense. The flipped classroom has been increasingly accepted in the last year or so, being touted by the 2014 Horizon Report as ripe for widespread adoption. Do you think this may be one of the key instructional technology techniques that help achieve the tipping point for technology integration in education?
As you’ve noted I blog about several trends – flipped classrooms, maker-education, education 3.0, the “other” 21st century skills. I have one goal in mind when I discuss these trends – to utilize these current trends to move educators into a 21st century teaching pedagogy; towards Education 2.0 and 3.0.
Emerging technologies, social networking, ability to connect globally, instant access to any type of content, and information abundance has dramatically changed the nature of teaching and learning. These developments have already created a tipping point for technology integration in the classroom. Educators need to tip with them rather than trying to tip back the classroom to a state of irrelevancy.
5. You’ve authored or co-authored a number of eBooks in the last few years, including The Internet and Social Networking for Social Emotional Learning and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture. I love “The Full Picture” and recommend it whenever I do presentations and training on flipped teaching and learning. Any plans for future eBooks?
Thanks for the plug and asking. These are actually compilations of my blog posts series aggregated and then put up for sale on Amazon Direct Publishing from anywhere from $.99 to $1.99. I earn a little extra pocket change and readers have the access of my posts as a ebook that can be easily accessed and read on their mobile device. I have been working, on and off on a new series, entitled The Other 21st Century Skills – see http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/the-other-21st-century-skills/ for the introductory post.
6. Speaking of books, are there any specific books or other resources that you would recommend that every teacher spend time with?
As is characteristic of Education 3.0 and related self-directed learning, I read off of the Internet based on what interests me at any given moment. I have lots of interests (past, current, and future). I often say, jokingly, that the Internet is the universe’s gift to me as I am a learning and information addict. If I see an interesting Tweet or Facebook post, or hear about a interesting story on TV, I do a search for information. So, given your question, I recommend that teachers develop a strong PLN, get on Twitter AT LEAST several times a week and read the resources that other teachers are posting. I do read YA Dystopian books for fun but my professional reading is all online now and I believe I read a lot more than I ever have . . . and I always have read a lot.
7. Something that I’ve been asking all of the education technology thought leaders that I’ve been interviewing is … if you had just one recommendation to make to teachers everywhere regarding the integration of technology and education, what would it be?
My advice to teachers in regards to technology integration is to learn to let go of the need to control all the variables in the classroom; to move from content expert (a misnomer anyhow) to being lead learner. Emerging technology and educational and world trends are making the role of the educator as disseminator of information irrelevant. Educators need to be open to and model using emerging technologies so students can learn the processes of technology utilization and usefulness. Young people are using technology but often not taking it to the extreme of amplifying their learning. It is a role of the educator to show them how – they are (or should be) the experts on how to learn using technology. So simply put, my recommendation to educators is to just do it – use technology in front of and along with the students.
8. What are the most important recommendations would you like to drive home for administrators and leaders at other institutions regarding the integration of technology and education?
It is not about the adults, it is about the kids. We need to give them the tools, skills, and opportunities to use the technologies to effectively navigate their worlds now and in their future – it is about educators and administrators having empathy for their students – seeing the world as their learners do.
9. The ever expanding array of technology tools at our disposal these days can be rather overwhelming – what specific uses of technology do you see emerging as the most meaningful and most promising for engaging students and impacting learning outcomes?
Your question actually reinforces the need for educators to learn the processes of technology integration. There are web tools that disappear in a day and others that emerge that same day. This emphasizes the need for educators to be lifelong learners – trying out different tools and remaining active on social networks to discover how other educators are using the technologies in their learning environments. I know that skirted the question – I am hoping for a future with enhanced Augmented Reality, Haptics, and Virtual Realities – where students, teachers, experts, hobbyists can meet in virtual environments from all over the globe for real time discussions, demonstrations, simulations.
10. I couldn’t agree more with your observation that educators need to be lifelong learners. Speaking of which, you’ve taught me something new in this last reply – Haptics. I’d never heard this term before. Can you tell us a little about what it means and how you might see Haptics becoming a part of technology-enabled education in the future?
“With haptic technology, users feel the vibrating force or resistance as they push a virtual button, scroll through a list or encounter the end of a menu. In a video or mobile game with haptics, users can feel, the engine rev, or the crack of the bat meeting the ball. When simulating the placement of cardiac pacing leads, a user can feel the forces that would be encountered when navigating the leads through a beating heart, providing a more realistic experience of performing this procedure” (http://www.immersion.com/haptics-technology/what-is-haptics/).
As an educator who believes in multisensory, hands-on, experiential learning, this is the missing piece for technology integration. Educational technology is still too passive, too dependent on sight and sound. Once technologies include the means to feel, touch, sense the interfaces, technology experiences will become more immersive. Learners will be able to use their whole bodies in the learning process making it more complete, engaging, and authentic.
Thanks so much to Jackie Gerstein for this fun and informative interview. We look forward to continuing to read her wonderful articles and inspiring insights for many years to come! Be sure to check out some of our other Education Technology Thought Leader Interviews for more inspiration.