The Social Life of Innovation in Teaching
By Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth, Program Director, Government Contracts and Acquisition at American Public University
Innovation surfaces after some invention comes to the marketplace. Teaching is about imparting knowledge and skills. The merger of innovation and teaching brings opportunities for great teachers to grow student success.
In the 1800s and 1900s the chalk board and the portable, personal slate tablet afforded a measure of innovation to students in the one-room school house. The yellow-painted No. 2 wooden pencil was another innovative idea used by teachers for student to be able to write stories for homework and take tests.
Since the invention of the computer in 1946, the technology has been used by educators to speed up testing, to communicate across vast distances. The technology has led to cyber homes, cyber universities, and cyber social lives.
I teach at American Public University, where computer technology is used to communicate ideas between student and teacher and to capture thousands of bits of data that track teacher involvement in the classroom and students interaction with their peers and teachers. Education is now part of the growing cyberspace race to move as much information as possible.
Along the way, there has emerged a social life of that information: a social life of knowledge sharing among students and teachers. That social life plays out as a method to create a new kind of information in an online classroom’s forum or discussion board and emails. Teachers and students are moving vast quantities of data and information faster than ever.
With social media, we are witnessing people using their hand-held devices, like iPhones or iPads, as a replacement for social interaction. It is common now to be in a restaurant and see two people texting or scrolling their iPhone sitting right across from each other and finish the meal without talking to each other.
This acceptance of a new social life of gathering information has an impact on how we teach. How do we continue to evolve in an online world of teaching within new social order of communicating among students and teachers?
Since social life is part of what makes the students interested or engaged with classmates and class material, teachers need to learn to leverage these new ways of communicating. If we want to capture the passion of our students and increase interactions, then we need to become part of this new social life.
About the Author
Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth is the program director for Government Contracts and Acquisition at American Public University (APU). He is the former program director of Reverse Logistics Management and Transportation and Logistics Management. Prior to joining APU, Dr. Hedgepeth was a tenured associate professor of Logistics and chair of the Logistics Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His book, RFID Metrics, was published in 2007 by CRC Press and is in revision.