The four directions of the compass are a metaphor used in many cultures. The First Nations peoples incorporate them into their medicine wheel. As an educator a compass exemplifies our role as a guide, helping our students find their direction. The four primary points of the compass represent our four main roles as educators. The four intermediate directions identify some strategies and tools available to educators in executing their roles.
The four primary points on the compass represent the four elements that intertwine to form an effective online or blended learning environment. An effective facilitator selects technologies appropriate to the learner and subject matter and ensures that she and her students are proficient in these technologies. As technology evolves at a rapid pace, this is not an easy task with a finite timeline.
An effective educator also realizes that it is unrealistic to be an expert in all matters. Rather than being a fountain of knowledge, she should be a navigator with a map, helping direct students to experts and resources that can help them meet their educational goals. She may use mentorship programs, Skype, Twitter or e-mail to facilitate these interactions.
Perhaps the most important role of an educator is to inspire them and encourage them explore their ideas and understand those of others more in depth. In the words of Shakespeare, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.“ (Hamlet (1.5.167-8)
As educators we have an obligation to ensure that certain learning outcomes prescribed by governing bodies are met. Finding engaging methods of helping students meet these outcomes and receive a properly well-rounded education is challenging but rewarding. Watching a student become interested in something new to them is one of the most satisfying aspects of the profession.
It is easy to lose our direction but with a compass to help us regain our bearings we can always get back on track.