This page contains some notes and advice about using educational technology.
|“||Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.||”|
As educators, our job is to weave spells of learning.
Which educational technologies might be fruitfully and sustainably pursued? Tips:
- Start small and focused - e.g., get to you know your learning management system, e.g, Moodle. Moodle is vastly more usable and flexible than WebCT and its potential is vastly underutilised. Aim to learn about and make use of at least one new resource type or activity per unit. Do not aim to use all tools, but rather aim to use a few well. Get your sites' peer-reviewed and ask to review others' sites.
- Avoid relying on a single educational technology system. So, also develop skills with at least one external educational technology e.g., consider sites such as ucspace, Wikiversity, flickr, slideshare, youtube etc. and try incorporating these into your teaching and learning. Gradually build your repertoire of external tools. The key direction for Moodle 2.0 is to better enable plugging in externally hosted content.
- Get familiar with and use recording technologies: Critical to flexible learning is having a flexible timetable. Minimise and eventually consider eliminating any learning activities which are one-off, time-bound events. Or make sure that any one-off, time-bound events are particularly well planned, communicated, and delivered so as to maximise the participation of all students. So, providing electronic written/visual materials and audio and video recordings is critical. And its also important for those who wish to build on the materials in future.
Tools I use
Educational technologies I use include:
- Traditional lectures, but increasingly experimenting with Lecture 2.0 techniques
- Tutorials - hands-on learning content experiences and generic skill training
- Open educational resources
- html-based materials on an externally hosted server (http://wilderdom.com)
- blog-based materials (mainly via blogger: http://www.blogger.com/profile/01303497574192570961)
- wiki-based materials (mainly on Wikiversity and http://ucspace.canberra.edu.au)
- presentation slides (mainly on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/jtneill
- LMS-based materials on university-hosted installations (mainly WebCT and more recently Moodle)
- Teaching staff (and also edtech training staff) should participate in specialised skill training, such as composing educational resources
- Teaching staff should be encouraged to set one "blended/open" performance goal per unit teaching iteration - e.g., as part of PDR.
- As well as individual endeavour, we need institutional commitment, action, and high quality solution-finding for digital-enablement of administrative and pedagogic activities - with a strong focus on usability - i.e., removing barriers to staff, students, and administrators for teaching in this way (i.e., online, blended, and f2f) - otherwise the critical mass will largely not bother, those at the bleeding edge will do so beyond the bounds of university, and the university will significantly miss the strategic potential and opportunity for effective use of online technologies to enhance the flexibility of its core activities and offerings. Examples of what UC needs to do:
- Digitise the workflow for all administrative tasks pertaining to unit convening
- Provide a simple, flexible video and audio recording, editing, and hosting system
- Diversify educational technology training (e.g., current training is LMS-centric - whilst no training has provided for the corporate wiki tool)
- Provide virtual server sandpit space - currently only available to IT elite
- Review academic policy to address issues raised through recent attempts at online delivery (e.g., see Amanda George's presentation on Psychology 101 Online as part of the Justice Studies Online course)
- Address recommendations of the online and blended learning review
- Walk the talk - we need to see from VC-down, authentic institutional engagement with online and blended approaches
- Review IP policy (it is long overdue) and develop an institutional position with regard to openness
- Digital archiving
- Provide a digital repository
- In the current absence of a digital repository, require all teaching materials to be stored on institutional shared drives
- Arthur C. Clare, Profiles of the Future (revised edition, 1973). See Clarke's three laws