Monday, March 30, 2009

CAL 2009: Does Technology Enhance Learning?

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

The dark side of learning in digital worlds - ‘technology never enhances learning!’
Esyin Chew, N. Jones, D.A. Turner; University of Glamorgan

Technology has not had the impact on Learning and Teaching that we might have hoped for. There remains a group of unconvertables who will not use technology in their teaching. (See The University of Google.) There is a school of thought that says technology does not impact on learning in the same way that a lorry delivering vegetables has no effect on nutrition.

Research looked at a number of universities and noted that elearning had positive effects such as ease of access, any time learning etc. However, they also reported "discomforting experiences" for example academics complained about time and discipline issues whereas students complained about no synchronous feed back and misuse of online forums. Lecturers complained about lack of time and student complained lecturers are not up to date.

See the Evaluations of Learners' Experiences of e-learning (Special Interest Group) site for more information on learners experience of blended learning. Both students and lecturers complain about technical problems. Also different ways that the academics use technology. For example, Science lecturers tend to use the technology to "preach" whereas social scientists use it to discuss.

Mutual communication would be beneficial. "The value of an educational technology reflects the values of those who make it and use it." A student said, "It's not the technology that doesn't impress me. It's the lecturer that doesn't impress me." {Once again, it's not the tech, it's the teach. DM}

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