Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!
My technological dream of carpe diem - Inside Higher Ed
“What comes across is a sentimentalism of a glorious education past that is on the verge of being corrupted.”
Dan Butin’s strongly-worded response to the survey on faculty attitudes to technology in Higher Education discussed in last week’s round up makes for a recommended read. When comparing whether online learning is “better” than traditional face-to-face instruction, what gold model are we aspiring to? Indeed, much of university teaching suffers from a variety of issues including large class sizes and uninspiring lectures without any elements of interactivity. As Butin rightly notes:
“Such bravado is all nice and good if these faculty are truly inciting roomfuls of earnest youth on a daily basis. But the reality is far different.”
Rather than asking whether technology is able to deliver a better learning experience we should think about how to reform an ailing model and how to learn from the many inspiring examples of great teaching out there. Rather than regarding it as a threat, we should seize the opportunities technology offers us to improve teaching and learning in our universities.
Student views on technology - Educause
We’ve talked about the faculty, what about the learners? This short, but informative image summarises the findings of a study on student views on technology. Two findings are worth highlighting: First, a third of teachers still seek to actively discourage or ban the use of tablets in class, even though all students owning one stated that they use it for their study. Second, If asked, most students would opt for blended learning, rather than mere online or face-to-face delivery, suggesting a demand, rather than just greater openness, for the use of learning technology among students.
Teaching crowds: learning and social media - Athabasca University
“If you’re going to use technology, then you need to think carefully about the consequences — not just for yourself but for your community.”
This new book on crowd (or networked) learning explores the possibilities for collaborative, personalised and self-directed learning. Specifically, the authors address the potential, but also risks, of using social media and web 2.0 technologies to facilitate this kind of learning. A free digital copy of the full book can be downloaded here.
The problem with learning technology - Kirstin Wilcox, University of Illinois
Having received nothing but praise in the comments, this article criticises learning technology for distracting, rather than contributing to, the kind of in-depth discussions and engagement needed in academia. Indeed, the author’s fascinating reflections leaves little doubt that she knows what great teaching looks like. She fails, however, to recognise that most of the problems she outlines (e.g. mass delivery of content, lack of engaging class discussions, etc.) are linked to higher education itself, rather than to learning technology. In the wrong hands, learning technology is indeed unlikely to improve learning – but few if any learning technologists would ever make such an argument.
Women’s walks app - LSE Library
Even if it may be regarded as a shameless self-plug, this mobile learning experience created by the LSE library is worth highlighting: The LSE library in partnership with Arts Council England has created a mobile application to enable users experiencing Women’s history through London’s streets. Women’s Walks combines smartphone technology with the fascinating and diverse archive material from The Women’s Library @ LSE, transforming the collection into an engaging and interactive historical journey.
Learning is like sex - Washington Post
“On the matter of teaching, the only aspect that is truly threatened by technology is bad teaching, particularly lecturing. The institutions that are most threatened by technology are those that rely on large lecture classes and graduate assistants.”
“Consider teaching and learning, for a moment, as analogous to sex. Technology has no doubt added opportunity and diversity to the experience, but it has not rendered the basic transaction obsolete, and it is not about to”
While we are not sure about the analogy, there is to little to add to these quotes.