Every day, working in the ed tech industry, we see new programs, products, strategies that scream, ‘the future is here’. Over the past 12 years, One-to-One Institute’s services have morphed into blended models. The face-to-face, personal approach is crucial to developing relationships: building on trust, collegiality, and the foundation of learning communities. Virtual opportunities follow on, capitalizing on use of online collaborations, presentations, and other interactive modes. Then I read about Amelia II: http://www.ipsoft.com/what-we-do/amelia/. Imagine the possibilities!
If we think about not only adult but student learning, using a platform like Amelia, the learning opportunities are beyond imagination. Nothing replaces the power of a real live ‘teacher’ or ‘mentor’. We all know how such individuals have changed our lives or helped put us on the path toward personal and professional fulfillment, but once we launch, adults and children alike, we can be self-directed in our learning, just in time, or over time.
It is often that I hit the Internet to find out ‘how to’ do something. There’s always a forum, a YouTube video, a Do-It-Yourself landing page that gives me the directions, tools I need for what I’m trying to learn to do. Gone are the days when I relied on handbooks, guides, instruction manuals that accompany new gadgets/equipment. It’s so much easier to type in what I’m looking for and hit ‘search’, but there is the matter of vetting the content/veracity of what one is trying to learn/find. That’s where teachers/mentors or otherwise guides are needed. This is true not only for young people, but for adults.
There are times when the return on a ‘search’ for something is overwhelming. Navigating the options for where to go and make book on what you’re trying to figure out takes some time, wisdom, and trial and error. It is true that so much is now at our fingertips – and for today’s learners that means courses, advanced and remedial learning, test prep, etc. Bricks and mortar ‘school’ has to be relevant, engaging and embracing of the virtual possibilities, while enhancing them through the power of personal relationships-teacher to learner and learner to learner. The latter is even more important today – going into the future because the Amelia II’s of the universe are spinning quickly into everyone’s reality.