Emerging Technologies for Learning – Vol 3

Becta – the UK Government’s lead agency for ICT in education – has released their latest edition in the Emerging Technologies for Learning series (Volume 3).

Not surprisingly, they have again selected a diverse range of authors and issues. (If you haven’t read Vol 1 or 2 – make sure you do!)

In the Foreword – Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive comments:

"… the adoption of technology in society is genuinely influencing expectations about where and how learning takes place. Educators will increasingly need to understand what these trends really mean and how to respond to related demand from learners. It will become increasingly important to understand how new technologies can enable rich, social, personalised and contextually-based interactions to support learning."

Yes indeed! And that’s sooner than later….!

Diana Oblinger’s (current President of Educause) opening chapter: "Growing up with Google – What it means to education", extends on her earlier works on the NetGeneration.
A few key points and implications from the chapter:

  • students’ consumer perspective of education as a commodity to be consumed, acquired, and accumulated
  • the high value place on technology as a convenience
  • students expect academic success without little academic effort
  • more oriented to visual media – prefer to learn by doing rather than telling or reading
  • identity online is a flexible concept – pseudonyms and avatars expand their identity
  • the web is a medium for commenting, collaborating and creating
  • they show no fear of technology – but digital comfort does not mean technology proficiency
  • nor does it imply an appreciation of IP, privacy or security!

Wow – any of these issues ringing any alarm bells?
No – not yet? Then the implications for education outlined by Oblinger may:

"educational institutions have an obligation to help students cultivate those skills that learners have the most difficulty attaining on their own:

  • judgement – the ability to distinguish the reliable from unreliable information
  • synthesis – the capacity to follow the longer argument across multiple modalities
  • research
  • practice – the opportunity to learn by doing within authentic disciplinary communities
  • negotiation – flexibility to work across disciplinary and cultural boundaries to generate innovative, alternative solutions"

The challenges presented by these implications will have a fundamental effect on our practice as educators – how we design our courses, learning activities, and assessment tasks, even through to the philosophical approaches to education!
Coincidentally, for me, these implications relate directly to research and writings I’m doing on assessment. I’ll be posting more about this shortly…

In the meantime – I’m going to let you ponder your own educational context and these comments from Oblinger – what does the future of education look like, in your context, through this framework of implications?

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