ocTEL W0 Activity 0.1 Big and little questions

Andy's ocTEL Blog

What matters to me in TEL?

The notion of old wine in new bottles…  Seems a little strange to be starting of on a TEL based blog saying that I am worried about the adoption of technology!  My thoughts are this, sometimes technology can ‘take over’ where actually it isn’t appropriate.  I took over a training department from a colleague (and friend) and he explained ‘every thing is sorted Andy I’ve now got every session on powerpoint’.  My heart sank to say the least.  It’s getting the balance between technology and pedagogy.  Who was ‘everything on powerpoint’ suiting ?  I suspect much more about the trainer and the least about the learning.  Having said that the last thing I would want to be doing is stifling innovation.  A bit like when the ipad first came out and thinking ‘what’s the point of that?’ but then seeing the innovation that is happening now.  I love the idea of seeing new technology and thinking ‘wow what can I do with that?’ but conversely it’s also about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater…

A bit about me:

My early teaching was very much student centred, working through issues and learning in class, typically on longer training courses.  I was around when powerpoint started to emerge and initially I wasn’t that happy with it.   later started to use it in different ways, mostly about images and overlaying photos onto whiteboards to expand on learning (lot of my teaching at that time was about roads, vehicles, mechanics and so on.   Later did some good stuff with smartboards (really interesting stuff about building up witness accounts using photos and then composite images)

Once I got into HE much of my TEL was about web searching, online resources etc.  Laterly having become involved with a project through HEDG I started looking at the way different people used technology and in particular the widening gap between those who do and those who don’t – look here (http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/48783639/HEDG%20DL)

Through my current project I am really getting into the way people use technology, particularly the notion of the flipped classroom.

One of the things I am coming to is this… the idea that technology supports teaching is now only partially true, I would argue now that technology forms part of the pedagogies.  It’s role has gone from being subservient if you like to part of the mainstream.

I still find that I learn much the same way as I always did, in that I reflect, take time, understanding as a longer process and that I am by nature a social learner.  I value very much the discussion and the deeper learning that this brings with it.  Tech tends to make this easier, more portable or accessible, what I do wonder. really wonder though, is in learning, what is important?



One thought on “ocTEL W0 Activity 0.1 Big and little questions

  1. Hi Andy – thanks for posting your first blog post for ocTEL, and I think you raise some really good points. One of my pet hates too is overuse or bad use of PowerPoint. To me PowerPoint is usually used in the wrong way or at least for the wrong purpose – as a reminder for the teacher as to what to talk about, so as a teaching aid rather than a learning aid. I think that shift to thinking about how people learn and what you need to do to help them learn is huge and many people still are very led by content, and thus the use of PowerPoint.

    The other point you make is also very important in terms of people using technology for the sake of it rather than having a real pedagogic use for it. Often people jump on the bandwagon without fully thinking it through, which can then lead to a poor learning experience for both the tutor and the student. You do have to consider the pedagogic value and also how to manage the use of that technology. However I think we also have to be mindful that new technologies can have new affordances so sometimes the technologies can allow something to happen that wasn’t previously possible, so a bit of experimentation is not a bad thing as long as you are not taking too much of a risk.

    I think you are right to be critical of new technologies, but also seem to be asking the right questions and being reflective about the issues.

    Excellent first post – we look forward to your future reflections.

    Sue Folley (ocTEL Support Tutor)

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