Education during a shift. When change occurs in

Education Pendulum

            In the field of education change is inevitable.  Change is a constant in education, whether
warranted or not.  Currently the field of
education is in a state of uncertainty and inconsistency.  Going through the educational system the
pendulum type paradigm continues over the years changing from different initiatives,
methods and legislations (GCU, 2013). 
When referencing the education pendulum, it is something that moves as
far as it can to a side and it stops with a single initiative.  When this particular initiative loses its
favor the pendulum begins to swing again making its way to another initiative (Mellon,
1999).  The road to nowhere is the path
many educational models have followed over the years. The education pendulum is
never going to stop in the middle during a shift.

When change occurs in
education it is never an easy transition and most stakeholders don’t embrace it
well. The reason for the constant pendulum-type paradigm is stakeholders go in
a panic and don’t settle into perfecting the current initiative and start thinking
about what’s next.  Improvement isn’t looked at as an option it’s just
“lets change everything,” not asking “How can we improve our current practice?”
 Education is going from one extreme to the next and with no progress made
(GCU, 2013). It is imperative that instead of bouncing back and forth to
initiative, educators need to determine what initiative, legislation or method
works best for their students. The learning outcomes of individual students, should
be the focus to get the pendulum to stop. 

When paradigms are
implemented they become difficult to alter mainly because teachers become use
to specific practices.  When change
occurs in education there is recognition of a crisis and change is
necessary.  Initiatives seem to stay the
same but change terminology.  The education
pendulum comes in the form of a five-year plan that arises every two-three years
and it overrides the prior five-year plan, which was never fully implemented (Mellon,
1999).

As the educational
system continues to evolve the pendulum swings, so it is imperative to discover
other paradigms that will help move this current pendulum to a spiral (GCU,
2013).  To an extent the education
pendulum should be in existence only if it is meant to build upon a current initiative
for improvement purposes.  It is apparent through thorough
examination the pendulum of education has shifted its focus to technology implementation. 

Technology

Technology is something that needs
to be embraced in 21st century education.  Technology is often
the catalyst of new pedagogical change toward e-learning.  It is a chance
for a shift of learning and instruction outside the traditional classroom (GCU,
2013).   Internet is a new media for distance education that provides
students with a low-cost, flexible option to expand into global markets (Desai,
Hart, & Richards, 2008).   The
education pendulum has created school leaders to be zealots.  According to Mellon (1999) a zealot is “one who
is wholeheartedly devoted to a cause or goal and who typically seeks to advance
it in a partisan manner” (p. 29). Technology zealots love everything regarding
technology and it being implemented in the classroom.  These technology zealots are the individuals
that are leading the education pendulum to shift towards technology initiatives
(Mellon, 1999).   

As students begin to utilize technology
within the classroom they are no longer relying on teacher input to be their
source of information (Desai et al., 2008). 
During this paradigm shift schools will no longer be the primary
distributor of information, our students learning will be linked to a computer screen.
The 21st century learner has grown up in the age of instant access
to information.  So it is vital for
schools to keep up and use technology to keep the 21st century learner’s
attention, but it is important to effectively implement technology (Desai et al.,
2008 & Mellon, 1999).  During this
education pendulum shift towards technology there are four key questions to
making an effective shift.   

Does the presence of technology
imply learning?

As
schools begin to implement technology in the classroom it must be clear that
just because a laptop is in front of students that doesn’t define
technology.  When referencing technology,
it is vital that educators are utilizing every component that is necessary to
ensure appropriate implementation.  For
some schools it appears during this shift that just the presence of technology implies
learning, but that is not the case. 
Along with the presence needs to be the effective use and delivery of
instruction for positive student learning outcomes (Mellon, 1999). 

 

What
is the learner’s role in technology-based learning?

Accountability
is key.  During this shift of technology
based learning there is accountability concern. 
Teachers can guide a student to a laptop but can’t make them learn.  It is important that during this shift the 21st
century learner must be taken into consideration and how they can be held
accountable for their learning.  It all
can’t be on the teacher because technology when implemented effectively can
produce positive learning outcomes.  But
it doesn’t matter how well it is integrated in the curriculum, it is according
to Mellon (1999), “the learner’s willingness ability to learn that is
paramount” (p. 31). 

 

Does
one best method of learning exist?

A key focus in the
improvement of student learning outcomes aligns with the ideas of the capability
approach (CA).  CA emphasizes education as a vehicle for nurturing the
basic capabilities of all who participate in the system and be sure to ensure
that individuals are able to exploit those capabilities in relevant everyday
activities (Glassman, 2011).   Before making decisions it is important to
make sure the change made is relevant to students.

As the shift to
technology occurs it is causing a tendency to forget that each individual
learner plays an important role in the learning and teaching process so it is
necessary to use technology as a way to accommodate for different learning
styles.  Technology implementation cannot
be a “one size fits all” movement, it needs to take each individual learner
into account in order to gain positive outcomes (Mellon, 1999). 

 

How important are
teachers to the success of technology based learning?

Technology shouldn’t make
teachers interchangeable.  Teachers are
vital in technology being effectively implemented.  Teachers are required to employ themselves
with more individualized methods of teaching. 
Technology based learning requires dedication and discipline.  It is very independent of time and an environment
that is more open.  So for a teacher it
is imperative in order to set up a successful technology based learning culture
they create course content that is structured, daily activities and support for
all learners (Desai et al., 2008). 

Educational Leadership
Role

If this
technology paradigm shift continues to occur the role of the educational leader
will change.  The way in which it will
change is how leaders make sure teacher morale stays high during the
shift.  When it comes to the teacher
morale in education, that is essential to a successful learning environment for
students.  If a school leader wants to be an effective leader they have to
understand what it takes to build teacher morale and realize that the morale of
a teacher will impact student achievement (GCU, 2013). The education pendulum
is taking a toll on teacher morale. When teachers think one initiative is
working the next new one is being put in place. 
In order to keep teacher’s morale high
a school leader needs to take into consideration the following when changing to
a new initiative: teacher workload, preparation time, administrative support,
recognition and opportunities for advancement.  If a school leader
considers all of these key components, then it will build teacher morale which
then positively impacts student achievement.

Conclusion

            As the education pendulum continues
to swing educators must understand not is a time when the pendulum can be stopped
in the middle and built upon using technology. 
Use technology as a tool to increase student learning, although it’s not
the only tool.  But in this pendulum
shift teachers understand the importance of embracing technology.  With time and leadership support teachers
will flourish with the implementation of technology and produce positive student
learning outcomes.