Convocation confirmed the need for a Teaching and Learning Community. It is clear that education is shifting focus out of necessity to a model that focuses on the learner. The theme “Empowering Innovative Learning” energized and revitalized our thinking as educators because it shifts the responsibility to include student and instructor as partners of the process rather than the traditional hierarchical teacher speaking down to student.
Dr. Saundra McGuire reminded all that student success is not limited to the few but is a skill that can be realized by all students willing to adapt and adopt a process that works. As instructors at an institution like Keiser where students are the focus and not research, there is already a learner centered model of education loosely in place. Dr. McGuire gave us a name and a system for what we are already building and ideas for how to effectively achieve the objectives and outcomes desired.
How exciting to know that rather than develop a nation of passive and limited learners, educators can instead inject a ‘virus’ that is incurable and self -sustaining for a lifetime of learning. If we are serious about developing critical thinking skills then we must embrace this learning model. The information age has been here and unless we can encourage and show our students how to train themselves to gather and process knowledge usefully (i.e. analyze, apply, synthesize, evaluate), we are simply dooming many and ourselves to stagnancy and antiquated traditions.
Learning as a goal immediately transforms us and makes us continuously relevant. If relevant then constantly in demand, and if in demand then growth and innovation is the ultimate and indisputable result. This will set us and our students apart, creating a community that will be leading the charge into the future. Couple this brain shift with the exponential growth of technology, as Mr. Matheson so aptly pointed out, and it becomes immediately clear that integrating technology in academia is essential.
Convocation reinforced and renewed our resolve to develop a Learning model that is sustainable and that will transform our institution into a community that turns out the thinkers of the future; the general consensus was that this was the most productive convocation because we walked away feeling empowered, excited and equipped.
TLC’ya next time!