In a recent blog, I expressed some of the difficulties that come with choosing technologies. I stand by these claims, but I don’t want anyone to give up just because it’s difficult. In fact, I believe now more than ever it is necessary to make a habit of consistently upgrading our knowledge of technologies. I would even go so far as to say that by not making personal upgrades, we will soon find ourselves endangered on the “survival of the [technologically] fittest” list–a sort of socio-technological Darwinism (I know the innuendo of this term could be disputed, but you get my drift).
Last week, I had a conversation with a friend who is in the process of looking for a mid-career job shift as an instructor. She mentioned how difficult the job market has become in her field (languages).
One issue is the types of technologies an instructor is now required to know. Many job posts prefer experience in teaching online or teaching with a learning management system (LMS). Other technologies and technology-based methods, such as polling, testing programs, adaptive learning, etc., are also seen as a plus. If we’re not constantly upgrading our knowledge of the various technologies and methods that exist for instruction, we’ll soon find ourselves lagging in the ability to compete with an economy built around upgraded learning systems.
Another issue is that lower-level courses are being automated by publishers or other learning platforms. This makes the number of jobs requiring individuals with higher-level degrees much smaller, so all of those with higher-level degrees are now competing for a diminishing number of jobs. This issue parallels what I stated previously about the future of teaching. How do we counter this? We can’t necessarily stop this wave from rolling in, but we can inform ourselves on the best field-specific learning platforms and fill in the gaps that are systematically pervasive in these programs. If we can reach a high enough level with these technologies, we can even make certain that we’re on the top of the programming chain instead of getting served others’ programming, such as Douglas Rushkoff’s idea of “program or be programmed.”
I could go on and on with the reasons to upgrade yourself, but let’s just get down to the nitty gritty practicalities. Make a goal and go for it. For a list of ways to upgrade your technology skills, click on the following: How to upgrade yourself.