The field of professional development and workforce training is dynamic as technology continues to drive change. Think about it. The way our kids learn today is dramatically different than the way you or I learned. The highlight of my 3rd grade year was computer day in the library; not only was it a break from worksheets and teacher lectures, but we got to play Oregon Trail. Each day new ideas emerge that enhance the knowledge delivery model or the content itself. That’s the idea that our Division’s new initiative Fridays for Workforce Innovation is based on.
Changes in Education Technology
An infographic provided in 2012 by the USC Rossier School of Education outlines the evolution of technology in our classrooms:
- 1977—the first personal computers entered schools
- 1981—18% of public schools have one or more computers for instruction
- 1991—there is one computer for every 18 students in public school classrooms
- 2004—51% of K-12 schools had mobile computers available for students
- 2007—1 in 5 college students take at least one online course
- 2012—education technology investments surpass $1 billion
The current generation of learners have not known a world without email or a mobile device. They have no idea what to do with poster board or what a Trapper Keeper is and have never had to pass a note or share a notebook with other students. The world continues to change and we must all prioritize how both technology and learning methodologies will continue to enhance our productivity in the work place.
Fridays for Workforce Innovation
I have spent the past decade in workforce development and continue to be amazed at the changes that enhance our ability to learn. It is my job at Towson University Continuing & Professional Studies to look at these new opportunities and share them with our workforce. That is why we are beginning a new series called Fridays for Workforce Innovation at Towson University. We will look at innovative educational practices, share new opportunities with the regional workforce, and create a new space for networking. We have lined up top thought leaders in education to join us each month to discuss the latest advances in education in terms of technology, delivery, and assessment that, we hope, will inspire ideas and collaboration between industries.
Towson University is the epicenter of workforce development in the state with over 22,000 students and more than 81% of our graduates living and working in Maryland. The Continuing & Professional Studies provides learning opportunities to thousands of Marylanders each year. We know that this new series will continue to provide all of us with an opportunity to innovate in our respective workplaces and make proper investments to improve the efficiency and productivity of our teams.