Blending current and emerging technologies to enhance learning and empower learnersKeith SmythAcademic DevelopmentEdinburgh Napier Staff Conference Jan 8th 2010
Many learners are already using a rich range of technologies within their everyday lives, and also in their formal studying (WebCT, Turnitin, Elluminate) But using technology in LTA isn’t so much about meeting learner expectations as recognising that the ways in which some learners are using technology, and the possibilities offered by technology, align well with important pedagogic principles around enabling collaborative learning, supporting learner autonomy, and the development of skills needed during and beyond formal education An starting perspective
Driven by individual and collective needs Group work often involves case study investigations around shared interests… …while individual projects often involve implementing engaging tasks & resources
Learners as co-tutors tutors as co-learners A student-led online seminar implemented in Ning
Empowerment in professional communities Students prepare questions for online guest expert sessions and also explore online communities that would support their learning
Extend classroom seminars with online follow-ups, in which pairs of students post summaries with a follow-up question for others to respond to (this can be particularly effective in engaging those less forthcoming in classroom seminars) Consider the use of social bookmarking tools or wikis for learners to gather links to relevant resources. In the spirit of sharing and collaboration that characterises the read/write web, these artefacts can be passed to the next cohort to support their learning Provide skeleton PowerPoint slides or a wiki page (with headings, key terms) on a specific topic to a small group, for them to research and further develop ahead of the next class Simple but effective things to consider...
Similarly, encourage early engagement with key concepts by having small groups produce a short audio podcast to be shared with class, or having individuals take turns in writing the definitions for key terms on a wiki-based class glossary Consider using (Not Just For) Problems Forums, where general questions and queries can be posted in the first instance for the tutor and other students to respond to and help one another Cheeky plug for ‘Who says online discussions don’t work?’ session ...
There’s huge promise in engaging learners through more participative, learner-led uses of technology. However ultimately that promise is not actually about putting the technology into the learners’ hands. It is about new ways of putting their learning into their own hands. A concluding thought