Saturday, 7 November 2015

This week has given you a broad overview of technologies, along with their implications for learning.
This will provide a solid foundation for the remainder of the module, which will explore these technologies in more depth. Consider the following questions:
What are the key characteristics of new technologies and what are their implications for teaching and learning in your own educational context?
What are the main ways in which you use of technologies has changed in the last few years (2, 5, 10 etc) 
What are the key challenges associated with better uptake and use of technologies for learning?

What are the key characteristics of new technologies?

We can describe new technologies using characteristics like purpose (both intentional and valuable but often unintended secondary application), the cost and complexity of deployment, risk to deploy and pedagogical focus.

Purpose

Most tools used have an obvious primary purpose that they were designed for, however it isn't unusual for educators (or their students) to co-opt them and find new uses for them. As the range of tools available to us becomes richer (and we depend less and less on office-type productivity tools as the mainstay of our work), awareness of the purpose of tools and how they can share data with others to make more complex workflow is important.

Deployment

To have an impact beyond a small group or individual, we must consider the ways in which a tool can be deployed. Cost matters (even free tools carry cost), as does the risk for the safety of learners (and their data), the complexity to make a tool available and useful and interoperability with other tools so that content and ideas can flow from one to another.

Focus

Whichever model for describing pedagogy is being used, tools can be categorised as being most effective when used with a particular intention. Tools that work well for a highly constructivist approach where the learner understands through making systems and digital media, will not be the best vehicle when the focus of the activity is on the learning conversation between students and teachers. Many Adobe tools are superb for creating rich content, but weaker then simple web-based ones that emphasise groupwork and collaboration.

What are their implications for teaching and learning in your own educational context?


  • Opportunities to make the use of technologies ubiquitous and truly embedded are growing rapidly.
  • We may not all be using the same tools for much longer - the days where a teacher can know which tools their students will be using to work with them, and plan the use of technology around that, are coming to an end. Instead the focus needs to be on pedagogy, on process and on outcomes, not the tools themselves.
  • Learners need to become increasingly more autonomous and discerning.

What are the main ways in which you use of technologies has changed in the last few years (2, 5, 10 etc) 


  • I use far more tools than a few years ago, which tend to be more focused on particular tasks rather than general purpose ones.
  • More and more tools depend on small, handheld or mobile technology where data is stored on the web rather.
  • The ability to print is becoming irrelevant.

What are the key challenges associated with better uptake and use of technologies for learning?

  • Privacy eSafety and data protection as the management of systems becomes increasingly personal and decentralised.
  • Interoperability to allow content to flow from tool to tool and allow learners to use the tools of their own choice and interact with each other in an increasingly less heterogenous environment.
  • Training for staff to maintain capability and confidence.
  • Education for staff and their leaders to support continuous improvement and flexibility.

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