I recently came to the end of an Emerging Technologies course in the BHOLD program at the University of Manitoba. There were many wonderful technologies that were introduced to us during this course. I am a “heavy user” of technology but not a technologist so learning the benefits of several new programs and programs that I was not confident enough to try was a real asset to my work. One of my weaknesses is to jump to the latest thing when the latest thing has not been developed into a truly user friendly tool. For instance I was using video conferencing when the technology and connectivity was not yet developed for it. After several failed meetings, I no longer wanted to try. In the course we used Adobe Connect and it worked flawlessly. As a result I have revisited Skype, JoinMe and Adobe Connect and have practiced with patient friends and family.
Teaching online is a huge challenge for a baby boomer since most of my students are millennials who seem to be born with the intuition needed to navigate programs. Constantly learning about emerging technologies is the only way to meet that challenge. Being willing to let your students teach you helps too. All you have to do is ask. The Emerging Technologies course required us to make a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) diagram which turned out to be lots of fun to create.
I made my PLE diagram in Prezi because I had not used Prezi before. It is in the spirit of this course to look for innovative technology that is new or at least new to us as students. It was very informative to draw out the technology learning through time. As much fun as it was to look back to the beginning of my relationship with technology and the current importance of technology in everyday life, it was even more fun to set some new goals in personal learning.
Lynda.com and Coursera are excellent for Personal Learning and I recently added the BHOLD certificate. Someday soon I will enroll in a Foresight program at an Australian University and continue working on an online PhD. Lifelong learning is the secret to an interesting and fulfilling life and I encourage everyone to take advantage of everything the Internet and technology have to offer. The fast pace of Emerging Technologies in Learning and Teaching keeps me involved with many interesting people who have a passion for teaching excellence.
Thanks to Ben and the University of Manitoba for making BHOLD possible.