Monday, May 24, 2010

What emerging technologies are you using in your classroom?

I would like to facilitate a discussion about the emerging technologies you are either using in your classroom or would like to be using in your classroom. This will provide us with a deeper insight into the technologies being used and the services that I can offer so that e-learning becomes truly ubiquitous in our workplaces.

Over the next few weeks I will post some short articles and questions relating to new and emerging technologies, please feel free to contribute and share your knowledge or ask any questions.

To start the discussion consider the article 'Google to bring the web to TV sets"

You will need a web-enabled television from Sony or a set-top box from Logitech that routes web content to your existing TV set (apparently this technology will be availabl in the US by the end of the year).

So why is this technology useful?

* You can search the net while you are watching TV
* You can watch youtube on your tv set
* You can devote part of or the whole screen to web surfing

Now this is not the first time we have seen TV and the computing combined. Even back in the 90s when I worked for a computer retailer we had tv on the screen at the same time as someone was using the computer.

My question is 'why is this useful?', 'will you use this technology in your classroom?' and 'how will this benefit learners?'

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

E-learning is still hotly debated

For years now I have heard many discussions on the use of e-learning and its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the teachers engaging in these discussions have come up with many reasons why e-learning should not be part of a traditional classroom.

I have heard reasons such as e-learning will be the end of the traditional classroom as we know it, it is just another way to reduce jobs and cut funding. Other conversations focus on pedagogy and how or if this has ever been measured and if so how accurate these results are. Others felt that the quality of learning that occurs outside of a traditional classroom is somewhat inferior to the learning that might occur online or even in the workplace.

Others debated if students should be given control over their learning environment or should be allowed to choose when, how and what they studied.

Years seem to have gone by and some of the arguments are still the same; e-learning is still here and it doesn't look like it is going away anytime soon.

VET has come a long way since those early days and I think it is fair to say that e-learning has proven itself in many arenas.

Teachers have also moved on and many are now committed to incorporating e-learning into traditional learning environments.... we are calling this blended delivery.

Blended delivery gives us the ability to incorporate both forms of learning. Statistics indicate that is a successful model of implementation, vastly improving retention rates of students and providing them with greater access to training and increased choice in how and when they study.

It is true that some subjects/topics produce better results if delivered in a face to face(traditional) learning environment. Some of the advantages to the learner include the opportunity to discuss learning content with their peers and facilitator, as well as providing opportunities to seek immediate feedback from their facilitor.

Students who are not technology savvy can ask questions of their faciltiator rather than relying on limited typing skills to ask their questions.

It can also be said that blended learning brings many advantages to the learner including:

Time to reflect, practice and study at a time and pace convenient to the learner.

Greater control of when they study and what they study.

Online forms of learning are often aligned to the technologies students have available (eg: facebook, mobile learning, mobile blogging, emails, forums, chat rooms)and are familiar with closely aligning the learning experience to that of everyday life.

The Internet offers an enormous volume of information. If incorporated into e-learning activities the students have a larger resource to utlise in terms of research and trend identification.

Many of the barriers faced in distance programs are broken down when offered online or in blended formats, making this an appealing option for many students.

This discussion has only just begun, please feel free to keep this discussion going by contributing your thoughts on e-learning and sharing your experiences with us.