Why use #EdTech? by @gmcgregorpcet

What if it doesn’t work? What if it fails? What if I can’t figure it out? What if I just don’t like it? All questions I have heard recently while trying to develop a higher education programme and make it more current – oddly, that was not the students.

Why is higher education lagging behind both compulsory and further education when technology enhanced learning is, and in my opinion should be, at the forefront of any stage in our education system?

This is a re-blog post by Gemma McGregor and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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Changes to long standing programmes, in terms of technology, appear to strike fear into the heart of some seasoned academics who, for a range of reasons, are filled with dread at the prospect of, heaven forbid, using an iPad, smartphone or tablet to enhance assessment strategies or allow for a more flexible delivery of their lectures.

Cries of “switch off that mobile phone” can still be heard across campus.

Surely, in the current climate where a smart phone can support research, allow for collaboration and facilitate information sharing we should be encouraging this kind of forward thinking. This kind of instantaneous access to a wealth of information is an obvious benefit to the students of 2015 and yet they are still being discouraged from accessing it.

Many students, including the more mature, have already surfed the Web, blogged, tweeted, podcasted and Facebooked their way to higher education and, through consultation, have found some of the more traditional approaches to HE teaching lacklustre, draconian and, quite frankly, reminiscent of their school days – while their lecturers are simply wondering why the ‘blackboard’ has changed colour and if the overhead projector is broken.

I would have thought that there was a glaring opportunity to welcome, alongside more traditional approaches to teaching and learning, the integration of new and exciting digital teaching and learning experiences.

Particularly for those of us who are teacher educators, should we not make the commitment to our students to meet pedagogical challenges in a way that is accessible and flexible for them? Where is the modelling of best practice?

Have I been unrealistic?

For some, the use of technology is considered to dilute the ‘academic content’  and using a Kindle will never replace a real book in terms of academic prowess but I don’t understand this . Am I missing something?

I thought, perhaps naively, that the days when being an active participant in a higher education programme meant you were restricted to a classroom, lecture theatre or, indeed, the library building were long gone.

When the introduction of mixed media allows for real time ‘light-bulb moments’ to happen and, at the click of a mouse, opinions can be gathered, feedback sought or help accessed then I’m keen to be part of that revolution.

When a wifi hotspot is something you think you need to see the GP about and you feel the vocabulary associated with information technology would warrant a distance learning course in a foreign language there must be something amiss.

So, technology, an opportunity or a threat? Your strength or your weakness?

A question that may never be answered here if it is either of the latter…..I’ll let you get back to your OHP.

Times are changing and it is time to accept the new and enjoy a new era in technology enhanced teaching and learning.

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