This week in CCK08, we focused on changing teacher roles. As the concept map reflects, George Siemens, with the help of Stephen Downes, John Seeley Brown, and others offered a number of examples. Nancy White, our guest speaker on Wednesday, offered her views of emerging roles and practices. I'm going to address teacher roles in greater detail in my next post, but the concept map includes a few of my own contributions to the list.
On Friday, my school sponsored a professional development session facilitated by Dr. Joann Deak. She presented current research on the brain that might impact the way we teach. She was careful to focus only on well-documented research and peer-reviewed studies, and she guarded forcefully against hopping on the latest pop psychology band wagon. Almost immediately, teachers were thinking about the practical implications. It occurred to me that there is more influencing the role of teacher than just technology or social networking. The field of education overlaps nearly every other field of practice. Research is evolving at a break neck pace, and arguably all of it could impact effective instruction. This got me thinking about our responsibilities as educators. We've always been conduits of information, but we can't possibly be the keepers of all content, no matter how narrow our field of expertise. Neither can we pick and choose what is important for the learning needs of others. Rather, we become facilitators whose responsibility it is to guide others through the information filtering process. In order to do this we must also become expert researchers. The goal is not research for the purpose of regurgitation, but rather to teach the research process, how to find and filter information.