I’ve been an educator for long enough to hear my share of references to the cynical pendulum metaphor. You know, the one where innovative ideas and new ways of thinking are viewed as a temperamental, often shifting swing between current education trends, and past practices.
Sometimes, although not nearly as often, I hear references to this metaphor in the context of the technology platforms we are moving towards to support student learning, specifically cloud-based platforms such as GAFE. However, this is where the swing of the pendulum ceases. I often tell the occasional cynic I meet that it’s not a pendulum swing, it’s an evolution of the computing platform.
Not only has it added a level of convenience for users, it has opened doors for our learners, and dramatically increased opportunities for them to develop a skill set linked to the 4 C’s (Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration). Below is an exert from the recently released 2016 NMC/CoSN Horizon Report.
Cloud computing has been particularly lauded for its role in bolstering collaboration as it instills unlimited potential for teacher, student, and parent communication. By using cloud-based collaboration tools from a common virtual location, such as Google Apps for Education, people can easily access and share learning materials with each other, making updates in real time. – NMC/CoSN Horizon Report – 2016 K-12 Edition
Is the pendulum really going to swing back in the reverse direction? Of course not. When technologies allow us to engage in ways previous inconceivable, but clearly beneficial, we move forward, and don’t look back.
Although the specific tools we will use over the coming years may change, the cloud-based foundation on which these tools reside isn’t going anywhere, and the momentum is only going to accelerate. For the sake of our learners, it’s imperative that we squash the occasional cynicism.