Teachers in Digital Knowledge-Based Society: New Roles and Vision

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<ul><li><p>144</p><p>Two buzz words which have been circulating in recentyears have been digital (against the backdrop of the internet)and knowledge as a catalyst to the formation of aknowledge-based socio-economy. The transition from aninformation-based to a knowledge-based society has broughtabout dramatic changes in business, education, in terms of theway information is processed and problems resolved.</p><p>Especially noteworthy is the trend to refocus on the notionof knowledge from one involving practicality in economic</p><p>terms, to one that relates more to the value of socialexperiences.</p><p>With the development of the internet and the advancementof digital technology, the rate of information and knowledgehas accelerated and subsequently, the effective lifetime ofknowledge is shortening (Tapscott, 1997). This limitedlifetime of knowledge necessitates the constant updating,development, and expansion of personal expertise. Thisprogress however, should not be expected to be found solelywithin the boundaries of formal education and therefore,individuals should engage in self-motivated learning activitiesoutside traditional classroom settings.</p><p>Furthermore, a change in the location of learning, or thetransition from the analog era to the digital era, is alsoimportant. In the digital era, the learning environment hasgreatly broadened to the extent that the utilization of moderntechnology, namely the internet and cyberspace, allows for thelearning setting to be placeless. Moreover, the learning pacecan be adopted according to one's needs, with the availabilityand accessibility of vast pools of information just a clickaway. Needless to say, the potential for such technology as a</p><p>Teachers in Digital Knowledge-Based Society:New Roles and Vision</p><p>Chong Yang KimHanyang University</p><p>Korea</p><p>The advent of a digital knowledge-based society has brought about significant changes in many ways.Specifically, educational problems are becoming more diverse, and tasks more complex, which necessitate theability of teachers to apply feasible solutions to individual situations, as well as the flexibility to adapt tochanging environments. These changes call for a paradigm shift in education to one that is search- anddiscovery-centered, emphasizing creativity and initiative, and valuing interaction and collaboration. This digitalera requires the modern teacher to have the ability to play various roles including that of change enablers, digitalnetworkers, and learning consultants, and to possess a high degree of humanity and morality, practicality andliberal sensitivity, and logical reasoning and general sensibility, in order to effectively work and cope within thisdynamic educational environment. Asia is in a unique position to witness the materialization of a newgeneration of teachers who embody these ideals, due mainly to cultural and traditional factors. This paperproposes a vision of future education influenced by the uniqueness of Asian culture, the building of anAsia-Pacific network of teachers, and ways to effectively utilize the potential of digital society, all from the basisof Asian culture and tradition.</p><p>Chong Yang Kim, Ed.D., President of Hanyang University, Korea.Correspondence Concerning this article should be addressed toChong Yang Kim, Office of the President, Hanyang University,17 Haengdang-Dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, 133-791, Korea.Electronic mail may be sent via Internet to cykim@hanyang.ac.kr.*This paper is presented as a keynote speech at the 3rd iAPEDInternational Conference on Education Research, Seoul NationalUniversity, Korea, October 24-25, 2002.</p><p>Asia Pacific Education Review2002, Vol. 3, No. 2, 144-148.</p><p>Copyright 2002 by The Institute of Asia Pacific Education Development</p></li><li><p>learning aid is enormous.Another advantage of utilizing modern technology as an</p><p>educational aid is the developmental effects it can have onindividual creativity and imagination, as a result of theavailability of various high tech tools. Users can also improvetheir critical and analytical skills, on a basic level, by honingtheir ability to quickly search for and identify various topicsand/or materials.</p><p>A knowledge-based society calls for innovation and thewillingness to cooperate in order to further advance ideas,concepts, and/or strategies. Despite the rising levels ofinternational competition, individuals need not work alone,but rather, collaborate through mutual exchanges whichentail benefits for all involved. In fact, with the huge influxof information, it is almost inconceivable that to developnew concepts or search for effective solutions, one wouldattempt to intentionally isolate oneself and singularly facethe potential inundation of data available, when clearlycooperation with others would be both practical andeffective. The world is becoming a smaller place andindubitably, technology is the major factor bringingsocieties closer together.</p><p>The advent of a digital-knowledge-based society istransforming the world on a steady basis, and certainly variouseffects can be seen daily. With the abundance of information,the development of the World Wide Web has made it mucheasier to make such information publicly available and readilyaccessible. At no other time in history has there been thisopportunity to learn so much through free access across theworld. Consequently, the ramifications for educationaldevelopment and promotion are obvious and plenty.</p><p>In the following, the future paradigm in education that iscurrently taking shape will be described, and the implicationsof such a paradigm shift for normal instructional activities ofteachers will be explained. Finally, the new paradigm ineducation centering on search and discovery, emphasizingcreativity and challenge, and promoting interaction andcollaboration, will be summarized.</p><p>Learning Paradigm Centered on Search and Discovery</p><p>Traditionally, education has been understood in a unilateral</p><p>context, which entailed delivery of information by an expertand acquisition by a learner of a pre-packaged set ofknowledge. In this context, a teacher is regarded as an expertwho has the answers to all questions in the package andhence, an absolute authority. A student on the other hand, istypically regarded as a passive learner, a receptacle of thatwhich is presented by the teacher.</p><p>This digital-knowledge-based era calls for a new paradigmin education however, that emphasizes learners' activeacquisition of knowledge through the search for variousinformation and sources, useful for everyday or specificsituations. This new paradigm in education thus focuses onlearners' self-motivated and self-regulated learning activities toobtain knowledge that is practical in the individual contextsand circumstances that learners face. To acquire suchknowledge is to actively participate in the progress of personaldevelopment both through interactive education and application,rather than passively absorbing knowledge developed by others.</p><p>Learning Paradigm Emphasizing Creativity and Initiative</p><p>Traditional education tends to promote manual-type talentin individuals who can successfully perform given tasks. Thosewho follow given customs and rules and use given resourcesefficiently to attain the best results within the given boundariesprofited from this methodology. Those who sought new tasksand new alternatives in uncertain and complex situations foundthemselves at a disadvantage. This paradigm can be typicallyfound in stable, rigidly structured social environments and mayachieve certain ends. However, such an approach will not dowell in a rapidly developing and unpredictable settinginvolving multiple tasks and broad boundaries. What is neededare individuals with the capacity to utilize creativity andresourcefulness to apply innovative solutions in order to meetcomplex challenges. Moreover, it is these individuals arenecessarily those educated with such characteristics in mind.</p><p>Learning Paradigm Emphasizing Interaction and Collaboration</p><p>A society that has reached a high level of specializationand division of labor requires extensive interaction andcollaboration for completion of complex tasks. Individualinstruction designed to meet the needs and expectations ofindividual learners through planned interaction between thelearner and computer technology has been less then adequatein the digital learning environment. This model of individual</p></li><li><p>146 Chong Yang Kim</p><p>instruction has failed to exploit the vast learningpossibilities through dynamic interaction and collaborationbetween learner and teacher, between learner and learningresources, and among learners themselves. The opportunityfor interactive and collaborative learning enriches thelearning experience by providing learners with theopportunity to learn by presenting them with actual aspectsof real problems, diverse viewpoints on various subjects,and most importantly, experiences of sharing and livingtogether in a community.</p><p> ! </p><p>The paradigm shift in education is from one of a teachingparadigm to one of learning. This means that education is nolonger about how to deliver information and knowledge to thelearner but about how to help learners to search and discoverinformation for themselves to create knowledge useful to theirown contexts. Teachers are no longer responsible for whichinformation and knowledge is stored in the minds of learnersbut for how learners acquire information and knowledge.Teachers are not just passive helpers however. In a rapidlychanging society, they should have clear visions themselves asto the creation and application of knowledge which is to bepresented to learners.</p><p>Moral and Ethic Responsibility of Teachers</p><p>The job of teachers is of course to educate. On a sociallevel however, another major task is to inculcate learnerswith a sense of morality and ethics through the presentationof societal standards and taboos, either directly throughaspects of the education being presented, or indirectlythrough example. Rapid technological developments and theincreased convenience of anonymity are posing potentialproblems to traditionally defined ways of interaction,behavior, even attitudes. One cause is the increase inisolation for those with excessive exposure to the internetand the subsequent decrease in real face to face socialinteraction. Therefore, the possible detrimental consequencesof excessive self-imposed confinement and estrangement dueto cyberspace access, resulting in the breakdown of societalnorms and mores should be discussed and in the very least,considered, when dealing with computer technology ineducation.</p><p>Asian "Analog-Digital" Mentality</p><p>Transition from an analog society to a digital society hasbrought about the notion that analog is essentially bad anddigital is good. Analog is a general world of continuity whiledigital is a specific world of zero and one. The formerencompasses diverse alternatives while the former involves twosimple possibilities. Thus, due to the rigidity of the digitalworld, it has become increasingly important to seekcomplementary analog answers to various digital questions,which cannot simply be answered in one or two ways. Ananalog way of thinking is holistic and nonlinear whereas adigital way of thinking is procedural and linear. In this regard,in general terms, the analog approach can be seen as similarto the Asian mode of thinking, which tends to take a general,all encompassing view.</p><p>Exchange of information can be done easily on a digitalnetwork because information can be easily organized in adigital way and separated by and from the owner of theinformation. But knowledge is closely tied with the owner ofthat knowledge and it cannot be easily organized andexchanged in a digital way. Rather, a better way to exchangeknowledge is by direct and holistic contact with the knowledgeowner. Thus teachers with an Asian orientation and/or anunderstanding of the differences between analog and digitalways can conceivably work well in the transmission ofknowledge in this digital-knowledge-based society.</p><p>Practicality and Liberal Sensitivity</p><p>In a digital knowledge-based society, the idea ofpracticality relates to an emphasis on the pecuniary value andeconomic utility of knowledge. For example, in recent times,there has been a decrease in the demand for humanity relatedcourses in colleges compared to those focusing on everydaypracticality, such as the hard sciences. But what should not beforgotten is that to develop originality and imagination, onemust cultivate humanitarian and liberal sensitivity whichpresumably flourishes more in non-scientific, non-technologicalfields such as the humanities. Such creativity is precisely whatis needed in education in order to account for problems inlearning patterns and behavior, procedures and methodologies,which cannot necessarily be resolved using scientific noreconomic perspectives.</p><p>On the other hand, teachers need to be digitally literate tounderstand and be prepared for the high tech environment inwhich they are surrounded by and with which they will be</p></li><li><p>working directly. Digital literacy means not only the ability tocollect, select, edit, and process information but also the abilityto evaluate and determine the credibility of information. Theoutcome of editing and processing in particular, can vary muchdepending on the liberal sensitivity of the individual. Thus, adigital society requires teachers who are both digitally literateand liberally sensitive. The latter refers to the ability toacquire cultural knowledge and sensitivity to work successfulin the rapidly changing educational field.</p><p>Logical Reasoning and Sincerity</p><p>Teachers need to have the ability to logically reason in theirspecialized areas by building expertise and updating themselves onnew developments on a regular basis. In addition, teachers shouldhave the ability to use various real world examples to relate thelearning subjects to learners' daily lives. Teachers should take carenot to bore their students by simply delivering a preplanned unilaterallecture focusing on logic and form. Instead, teachers should promotethe idea of learning how to learn-knowledge creation throughinformation processing and experiences of students themselves-rather than taking a training and education perspective-knowledgeacquisition through abstract conceptualization and logical reasoning.Attention given to EQ relative to IQ (Goleman, 1997, 2000),experience-oriented economics (Pine II &amp; Gilmore, 1997), andexperiential marketing (Schmitt, 1999) are methods proven to beuseful and are examples of current trends in learning techniques.</p><p> " </p><p>Macroscopic changes that accompany the digitalknowledge-based society and their impacts on the paradigmshift in education have been overviewed. Next, discussion willcenter around a new vision for teachers to conduct the neweducation paradigm. In what follows, the new roles forteachers as change enablers, knowledge incubators, andlearning consultants will be examined.</p><p>Change Enabler</p><p>Change is a regular part of life. Change managementrefers to not only passively r...</p></li></ul>