As I prepare my paper for Learning Technologies 2004 in Mooloolaba, "Can Technology Enhance Learning?" I have become acutely aware of the number of innovative approaches being employed by practitioners across a wide range of educational institutions and within organisations – but there’s been something nagging in the back of my mind for a while – what drives these people? What do they hope to achieve? Are they just early adopters, keen to share their enthusiasm with others? Or can they really see and understand how to creatively engage and potentially enhance learning opportunities for their learners?
From what I’ve discovered, I think the innovative ideas are isolated individuals or small groups (look at smart mobs from Howard Rheingold) – not necessarily backed by their institution or organisation – just doing creative things … but what happens when the institution becomes aware of the practices and decides it’s not within "policy" to use disruptive or alternative technologies (James Farmer entries 2 Nov & 6 Nov).
A need exists for us to become actively involved in the development of educational policy that clearly supports innovative adoption of technologies that lie beyond the boundaries of organisational infrastructure.
Hmmmmm – I have a feeling I’m developing a new theme to my paper here….watch this space….