Being educators in 21st century brings unique experience as digital educator for me. Digital educator is someone who work for education who want to get out his comfort zone and learn about the design of digital education and ways in which learning theory and media research inform those designs, gain the knowledge necessary to evaluate digital media with respect to curricular fit and their impact on learning, practice different digital media to explore the use and implement of those media in contemporary classrooms and other educational contexts and settings. In the midst of fast growing technology, students, teachers could not stay at his comfort zone, reading the textbook, and just transfer the knowledge in class.
Becoming expert as digital educators requires great passion and commitment to active student learning expert that values diverse talents and ways of understanding, the experiences you select should help you improve your understanding of the challenges of classrooms in academic and other professional settings, prepare and teach coherent, cohesive lessons; integrate current ideas from research, technology, or practice it, communicate effectively with parents, students, and other educators; and continue to reflect on and refine on educational practice. After this, I will show one of the digital educator who has inspire a lot of educators around the world to learn digital educators skills. He is Barry Fishman.
Barry Fishman is an Associate Professor of Learning Technologies in the University of Michigan School of Education and School of Information. His research focuses on video games as model learning environments, the use of technology to support teacher learning, standards-based systemic school reform, and the role of educational leaders in fostering classroom-level reform involving technology (Fishman, 2012). Barry is the 2010 recipient of the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize, the 2003 Pattishall Junior Faculty Research Award from the University of Michigan and was the 2001 recipient of the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies. His work with the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools was recognized with an Urban Impact Award from the Council of Great City Schools and as a Computerworld/Smithsonian Laureate. Barry received his A.B. from Brown University in English and American Literature in 1989, his M.S. from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology in 1992, and his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University in 1996 (Fishman, 2012). Fishman’s research is concerned with the design and implementation of reform supported by technology. To this end, he is a co-developer of the Design-Based Implementation Research framework. This research builds on prior research in professional development design, including the construction of an online professional development tool for use in curriculum-based reforms called Knowledge Networks On the Web (Godin, 2012). Another ongoing project involves developing technological supports for early literacy teachers, called Individualizing Student Instruction/Assessment to Instruction. Fishman also conducts research on the design of teaching and learning environments that use video games as models, in particular for influencing student motivation and effort (Godin, 2012). He received his AB from Brown University in English and American literature in 1989, his MS from Indiana University in instructional systems technology in 1992, and his PhD in learning sciences from Northwestern University in 1996.
I learn a lot from Barry Fishman who has committed to be expert as digital educators. I think based on his experience in research and practice, I learn that digital teacher require crucial skills and experiences such as researching technology that fits within disciplined study so that students will succeed in the global community, empowering learners to succeed using digital tools for the creation of content, developing collaborative communities and rigorous evaluation and research activities in educational technology, facilitating systemic change to transform the learning environment, sharing research-based best practices, sustaining collaborative communities, and expanding access to digital content research activities.
Reflecting on Barry Fishman short biography, I think Coyle’s (2009) arguments about the meaning of deep practice which means “struggling in certain targeted ways, operating at the edges of ability, mistakes makes smarter learning experience” totally match with Barry’s experience because being expertise as digital educators require great determination in practicing digital media in education. As digital teacher learner, I do not think any physical and genetic condition of teacher determines characteristics of expert digital teachers. There are lots of educators in this world, however digital educators is not easy to find because it require someone who does not only master computer science or educational theory, but someone who can collaborate those areas in educational context. Then, it absolutely require someone who do research, practice, and reflection on their experiences frequently. Therefore, I conclude that being digital educator requires several deep practices such as networking, technology, and reflection practice. First, networking practice. someone who always connected with others like Barry Fishman did and it require consistent commitment to connect to other teachers, administrators, parents, students and other education minded people around the world. Looking at his personal blog, I learn Barry Fishman tries to connect with the other educator around the globe using social media as Twitter and blog. Second, technology practice. Digital teacher educators the difference between which technology is shiny and new and what truly has the potential to transform learning for their students. Digital educators knows what technology are needed and when and how to use them. Third, reflective practice. Digital educators are learning to reflect their own practice and adapt and change based on the needs of the learners. What we know about student learning and motivation has changed, so too must the art of teaching and stagnation is the death of any educators (Stumpenhorst, 2012).
Based on the research about being digital educators, I have several questions about this topic such as how could we spread the spirit of digital educators in our school environment? How could we maintain the characteristics of digital educators in the midst unsupportive environment? How could we become digital educators in traditional school? How could we choose the best technology for specific topic on lesson?
Finally, I think it is crucial for being expert in digital educators to have constant growth and improvement. Being digital educator is not as easy as opening computer in classroom and teaching using tablet or online sources. It requires great determination and consistency for each educator to learn, apply, and evaluate their holistic teaching experience using any kind of technology.
Fishman, B. (2012). Barry Fishman. Retrieved on May 10, 2013 from http://www-personal.umich.edu/~fishman/
Godin, E. (2012). Barry Fishman. Retrieved on May 10, 2013 from http://www.soe.umich.edu/people/profile/barry_fishman/
Stumpenhorst, J. (2012). Being a 21st Century Teacher. Retrieved on May 10, 2013 from http://stumpteacher.blogspot.com/2012/06/being-21st-century-teacher_3568.html