We Talk with Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School Administrator Darren Cannell

Administrator Darren Cannell is with us today. Darren works with the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School, an online k-12 school which delivers accredited classes to Canadian students. Darren also writes ferquently about education on his blog Tado. He is here with us today to talk about education and technology.

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

Blogging for me was a newsletter for my online teaching staff, I use it to share my thoughts, websites, the educational articles and anything else that I think would benefit the teaching staff at the online school for which I am the administrator. Since the original plan it has become a repository of my thoughts, approaches to online education, and resources that more than my teaching staff view daily. But I still blog for my staff and if others find it interesting and of value…yahoooo.

2. Why is the current generation of students different from past ones in terms of technology?

They have access to so much information in their out of school life. This information is available to them because of technology. In the past there was a limited amount of information available and schools (maybe libraries) were the only source of this information, maybe TV, maybe radio. If you remember, TV was seen the same way the internet is today…too much is bad for students, ruins their attention span, makes them violent etc. This concern is now being focused on the internet and the current technology. TV or computers are not bad by themselves they can be harmful if not used properly. Heck… locking a student in a library all day and forcing them to read books all day long with no regards for what they are reading would raise the eyebrows of most. It is not the books fault it is how it is being used. The scary part of technology is how completely the current generation has flocked to it as a source of information, entertainment and social interaction.

3. As an educator, how do you see technology changing education?

Education is slow to change and we have lost our student’s focus, some students see the internet as a better source of information then the schools they attend. As teacher we need to embrace technology to educate the students on how to use it effectively and at the same time figure out how we as teachers can use this exciting tool to enhance what we are doing in the classroom.

Technology will force teachers to be facilitators rather than sages on the stage, a change in role that some teachers will fight.

4. What is the biggest obstacle in integrating technology in education and the classroom?

Money is the biggest obstacle because technology is not cheap, secondly the understanding that there is a need for education reform due to technology, third after understand the willingness to change.

5. Do you think it is possible to one day have an all-online classroom?

We have all-online classrooms currently in our division because of the cyber school. The cyber school courses are being used by face to face teachers as a method of providing educational material for their students. This and cyber school courses are all-online.
Thanks for the interview Darren! Again, you can find his blog here. For more information about revolutionizing online education, see Udemy’s main website here.