Technology Creates New Opportunities for Educational Growth in the Fire Service

Blog by Eddie Buchanan
Past President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors

Technology is a vehicle to assist in the learning process and I believe there’s a change coming in regards to education and growth in the fire service. Technology is a portal to a new way of thinking about education. We use the term flipping the classroom.

What used to be homework is now pre-work. Before the class session, a student can do pre-work at home which is now the lecture, and the technology is the vehicle to get that information to them before they go to the classroom. Now, when the student physically shows up, they can focus on discussion or hands-on application of the new material. TargetSolutions is a great example. TargetSolutions provides that vehicle to be able to flip the learning environment.

Being able to do this requires a whole new set of skills for instructors. Rather than an instructor standing in front of a PowerPoint screen and lecturing and doing an instructor-centered type of delivery it’s now a student-centered delivery, which requires a different skill set.

It’s now about discussion and facilitation, and getting our students to work as peers together. As instructors, it’s about facilitating the learning. So, it’s a completely different type of environment and skill set instructors are looking at over the next 10 years.

About the Author
Chief Eddie Buchanan began his fire service career in 1982 and currently serves as the operations division chief for Hanover (Va.) Fire & EMS. Chief Buchanan is author of the “Volunteer Training Officers Handbook” from Pennwell Books and Videos and lectures throughout the country on fire service leadership and training topics. Chief Buchanan served as President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.

 

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