Technology Education 30 • Special Education 32, 33 • Multidisciplinary 34 • Tip 36
Not an Expert? Then Go Out and Find One!
I’m truthful with my students. I tell them,
“I’m learning new stuff, just like you are."
Digital age teachers realize they have little hope of keeping up with trends in science, technology, the internationalization of economies and governments, and most of the rest of modern thought. These are
simply progressing too fast for anyone to maintain any
semblance of currency.
So digital age teachers adapt. They find subject matter
experts (SMEs) for a given topic and, using these SMEs,
become consultants for their students. For example, I don’t
pretend to be an expert software engineer in my game
programming classes. The industry is too progressive, and
there are too many dangling technological tentacles for a
full-time teacher to stay abreast. So I use two or three dif-
ferent SMEs to help fill in the educational blanks, and I’m
truthful with my students. I tell them, “I’m learning new
stuff, just like you are. We are going to watch how these
people do it because they have years of industry experience
and know what they are talking about. Then we’re going to
repeat what they have done.”
A five-minute streaming video on a topic might take
a half-hour of stopping and starting, going over what the
SME just said, and making sure everyone is on the same
page. At the end of it, we have had quite an experience
together, learning how a SME goes about accomplishing
a programming task.
So Who Are These SMEs?
Technology teachers can find numerous SMEs to tap
into—not just for curriculum subjects, but for professional
development as well. SMEs may offer content online or in
print. Some SME content is free, though high-quality content generally comes at a cost.
I recommend using streaming online content because it
engages the learning styles of digital age students, but I also
look for workbook or article sources to augment an online
SME’s content. Here are a few online streaming sources I
recommend for computer technology instruction:
Lynda.com. I teach Adobe Flash Professional as well as
its programming language, ActionScript 3.0 (AS3). I use
Lynda to cover the basics of Flash, AS3, Dreamweaver,
CSS, PHP programming for websites, HTML and XHTML,
and the Drupal content management system. I also like the
“What’s New” segments that Lynda offers. And I use Lynda’s website design courses, which I teach as a precursor to
the HTML and CSS classes.
For my own professional development, I use Lynda
to catch up on technology upgrades and learn new technologies. All courses are delivered by SMEs with a strong
industry background and relevant certifications. A variety
of payment options are available.
By Bill Heldman