Educator, author and speaker Dr. Rob Furman visited campus to speak about the future of technology in education Oct. 5.
Furman is best known for his series of books that discuss topics varying from reforming the typical classroom to different ways to adapt teaching methods in order to incorporate more technology. The books were published through the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
“My focus has been the need for change in education in order to compensate [for] what’s going on with future technologies,” said Furman.
Furman graduated from West Virginia University and was in the marching band during his time there. For 10 years after that he served as a band director for the university. He then moved his way into school districts around western Pennsylvania before landing his current job as an elementary principal in the South Park School District just outside of Pittsburgh. Furman’s father is also an educator and author, he is some [Furman] has looked up to and followed.
Furman has a YouTube show with fellow educators where they tackle different ways and strategies for modern day educators to intertwine technology in the curriculum.
“We do a lot of talking about the need to not teach the way you were taught because that [way], that era doesn’t exist anymore. We need to start teaching the way that kids are learning and that is through the technology. They live and breathe it, they are better with it than we are, but that doesn’t give us a reason not to use it,” said Furman.
Furman’s belief is that teachers should be willing to modernize their teaching styles because at the end of the day, they are in their field to help children.
“We need to take charge and help to facilitate their learning with all of these wonderfully, cool technologies that are out there,” said Furman.
Additionally, Furman is a member of the World Futures Society.
“[In the World Futures Society] we talk about the future of education, look at research and talk to different experts to make calculated guesses as to what [technologies] we think we like in the very near future,” said Furman.
Speaking to future educators is something that Furman cherishes because of the idea that they are next up to make an impact in the education field.
“In 20 years, the kids that are in this room right now will be right in the heat of their tenure, teachers [usually] go for 30 to 35 years, so when we talk about the future, they will be living it,” said Furman.
With the rapid development of technology, Furman wants future educators to understand that it will be hard to keep teaching in the same way because new ways of teaching will continue to consistently evolve.
“They have to be very prepared to deal with these ridiculous, unknown quantities that none of us can predict. We don’t know what technologies or what jobs will be there,” said Furman.
Furman knows that the future educators will have to live within but his mission is focused around the idea of having them learn how to deal with it and implement it into their classrooms so that the next generation after themselves are prepared with how to deal with the change.
“When my parents and then when I was in school, we could talk about the [technologies] in the next two to three generations because we knew it wouldn’t be that far off. The job market was that different. Now for my kids, who knows what is going to be possible,” said Furman.
As Furman continues to travel around the country to speak with educators of today and tomorrow, he felt strongly about this visit to Waynesburg.
“Honestly, this will be the best one all year, because those people at the conferences are great and I love them, but you don’t get the chance to talk to the preservice teachers, the ones who are going in the front door. They are the ones that will be ready to make the changes,” said Furman.