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CHOOSING LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES I S*FFIJVJAR* & ***LEE&€F*EE

logs,wikis, podcasts or just an LMS? what letter are we up to now? we e m b r a c e d e - l e a r n i n g ,b u t n o w i t seems we have to move into ml e a r n i n ga n d i - l e a r n i n gY e s- t h a t ' s . d e f in i t e l y a n i t a l i c ' i ' ! W h a t i s t h i s n e w l a n g u a g ew e h a v e a l l h a d t o l e a r n ?A n d w h a t h a p p e n st o t h o s e o f u s w h o havejust mastered last year'svocabulary only to find there'sa new set for this year? Never before have we had such an array of t e c h n o l o g i e sa v a i l a b l e o s u p p o r t t e a c h i n g a n d t learning.But which do we use,why, when, where and how? T h e a n s w e ri s q u i t e s i m p l e - t h e r e i s o n l y o n e technology to use - the RIGHTone! But how do w e c h o o s et h e r i g h t o n e a n d i s o n e e n o u g h ?l s i t t h e l a t e s th i g h t e c h m a c h i n et h a t g o e s ' B i n g ! ' ? r O c o u l d i t b e a s s i m o l ea s a C D ? There are many ways of categorising learning technologies. For our purposes here, I have divided them into two categories: 1 .D i s t r i b u t e d 2. Interactive Distributed with no implies one-way delivery

process engaged by the teacher for each p a r t i c u l a r e a r n i n ge x p e r i e n c e . l There are a number of issuesto be considered a n d a n u m b e r o f p e o p l e t o b e c o n s u l t e dw h e n considering a new technology.

some cases, resistance has been so high that t h e i m p l e m e n t a t i o no f t h e t e c h n o l o g yh a s f a i l e d completely. Technologists are very good at knowing the technology, but often do not have educational experience.They should be part of your team, but remember, they are seeing the technology with a different set ofvalues to educators. T e a c h e r ss h o u l d b e i n c l u d e d o n t h e p a n e l that selects any new technology. They know what they need in order to teach effectively a n d c a n e v a l u a t eh o w a n e w t e c h n o l o g y c o u l d e n h a n c et h e i r t e a c h i n g .A f t e r a l l ,t h e r e i s n o u s e introducing a new technology !f it is not going to p e n h a n c et h e t e a c h i n g / l e a r n i n g r o c e s s .

your needs- then choose Establish the technology
Y o u r n e e d s s h o u l d a l w a y sd i c t a t e w h i c h ( i f a n y ) t e c h n o l o g y s h o u l d b e u s e d .A c o m m o n m i s t a k e is to start with the technology and then find a use for it. Any technology should be just another delivery tool Focus on the learners and their nieds, the teachers and their needs. What are your objectives? Do you need to have high level interaction and the ability to show moving i m a g e s ?T h e q u e s t i o n t o a s k i s : w h i c h m e d i u m will BEST convey my message? For example, accounting principles can be effectively taught t h r o u g h t e x t a n d d i a g r a m s ,b u t b r a i n s u r g e r y d e f i n i t e l yn e e d ss o m e m o v i n g c o l o u r i m a g e s ! lf you need a high level of person-to-person interaction in your course, then one of the synchronoustechnologies will be needed.

Consider needsof your learners the
L e a r n i n gi s a b o u t l e a r n e r sJ u s t a s t e a c h e r sh a v e . to be comfortable with a new technology, so do the learners. e sure that you are not limiting B accessby some students through the choice of your technology. For example, the introduction of videoconferencing will preclude any students who do not have accessto broadband. Also consider the learning styles of your students. Some will prefer learning through interaction with vision, while others will not r e s p o n dt o t h i s s o w e l l .

interaction between teacher and

learners or among learners,for example, print, podcasts. (Although you can build in some delayed interaction around these using other technologies.) Interactive refers to delivery modes that provide for interaction among all participants in various ways. Interactive can be further divided into two categories: 1. Synchronous(real-time), example,audio, for web and video conferencing,instant messaging and chat. 2. Asynchronous(delayedtime), for example, email,bulletin boards,listservs, blogs How many times have you heard about the introduction of these technologies with great fanfare only to hear no more about them? Spectacular failures have been rampant and 'Why?i one must ask, Some questions come i m m e d i a t e l yt o m i n d : W h o m a d e t h e d e c i s i o n s ?W i t h w h o m d i d t h e y c o n s u l t ? n w h a t b a s i sw a s t h i s t e c h n o l o g y O chosen?What was the input of those expected to use it?

Look at the range of technologies - do not be seduced byjust one.
T h e r ea r e a n u m b e r o f t e c h n o l o g i e s h a t m a y s u i t t y o u r n e e d s .N o s i n g l et e c h n o l o g y i s s u p e r i o rt o all the others.lt is very easyto become entranced b y t h e l a t e s t ,w h i c h h a s ' f l a s h i n gl i g h t s ' a n d a l l 'bells sorts of and whistlesi Look carefully at your needs and objectives. (Do you have needs and objectives?Or are you just buying into technology for the sake of it?) There are a series of questions to ask here: Do I need sound,colour and/or motion? How a v a i l a b l e / a c c e s s i b l ei s t h i s t e c h n o l o g y ? W i l l the students have easy access to it and be comfortable using it? How much does it cost - and how much money do I have?

Whichwilllchoose?
Given that an organisation has made informed decisions about the technologies that are a v a i l a b l e ,y o u , a s t e a c h e r , f a c e t h e t a s k o f incorporating these into your learning program. In order to make informed decisions,it is n e c e s s a r yo u n d e r s t a n d h e t e c h n o l o g i e s t h e i r t t o o t e n t i a la n d l i m i t a t i o n s .

What are the technologies?
We do not have enough space here to take an i n - d e p t h l o o k a t t h e a v a i l a b l e e c h n o l o g i e sb u t t , if you are not familiar with any of the following, lsuggest you look them up in wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org). of these are being used All t o s o m e d e g r e ef o r t e a c h i n ga n d l e a r n i n g : . Email . Bulletin boards,discussionlists,listservs . CDs,DVDs . I n s t a n tM e s s a g i n g . S M S& M M S . Chat . Blogs- text, audio and video . Wikis . LearnerManagement Systems . Audio, web, video conferencing . Audio and video streaming

Includethe usersin your selection process
l f t h e u s e r sd o n o t l i k e t h e t e c h n o l o g yt h e y w i l l not use it! lt's amazing how many good reasons they will find not to use it. Or they may simply ignore it and go their own way. I constantly work with organisations that 'imposed' a technology because the

ChoosingThe RightTechnology
I see two levelsat which technological decisions are made in a learning organization. The first is the initial decision to purchase and have available a particular technology for use by t e a c h e r s .T h e s e c o n d i s t h e d e c i s i o n - m a k i n o

have

Chief Executive Officer and/or the lnformation Technology section have decided that'this is the way to goiThe amount of time that it then takes to change the negative attitudes of teachers and students is totally counterproductive. In

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. Podcasts(the new video ipod has recently been released) . VolP,for example,Skype

the technologies a series of characteristics in the table following. These are by no means exhaustive, ut may help in making decisions b a b o u t w h i c h t e c h n o l o g yt o u s e .

experrence. l f y o u w o u l d l i k e t o k e e p a b r e a s to f l e a r n i n g t e c h n o l o g i e sa n d h o w o t h e r s a r e u s i n g t h e m , join the Learning Technologies User Group (www.ltug.org)

Convergence
Although I have listed each of the above as separate and definable technologies, these b o u n d a r i e s r e b e i n g b l u r r e da n d w e a r e s e e i n g a a convergenceof all onto the one platform.

ln Conclusion
We live in an era when technology surrounds us and offers many opportunities. However, y e x e r c i s e o u r k n o w l e d g e a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n go f t e a c h i n g a n d l e a r n i n g t o p r o v i d e l e a r n e r sw i t h i n s t r u c t i o n a ls o l u t i o n s- n o t t e c h n o l o g i c a lo n e s ! Wise choicesand the use of new technology can greatly extend and enhance the learning Carol Daunt is an expert in the application & use of learning technologies.With almost twenty years experienceshe is recognisedas the leader in her field - both in Australia and internationally. She is co-founder & ExecutiveDirector of the Learning TechnologiesUserGroup.For information see: www.learntel.com.auAND www.ltu g.org

Characteristics
In order to simplify the process of choosing the right technology, I have allocated each of

T H EE D U C A T I O N C H N O L O G Y I D E TE GU

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