Education Technology reflections

Posted on September 21, 2010

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I just posted about a number of Education Technology tools. In this post I want to further explore my thinking on education technology. My current unit of study, Education Technology through Central Queensland University has required us to consider online learning in terms of both Kearsley and Shneiderman (1998)’s Engagement Theory and Oliver’s (1999) ICT learning design framework (see image). Co-learner and educator Richard Hu summarized that the ICT framework: “It is made up of three components of learning tasks, learning resources and learning supports, with assessment as the core in the middle where the three components overlap.”

Another co-learner and educator Jess Parker offered the following for the engagement theory which I thought was quite nice:

‘Engagement Theory’ which provides a framework for technology based teaching and learning. This theory requires three key elements to ensure learner engagement;

1. Emphasis on a collaborative effort
2. Project based assignments
3. Non Academic Focus

If these three elements are combined in a learning task, it will result in creative, authentic & meaningful learning experiences. Students will be intrinsically motivated to learn which is required for ACTIVE self directed learning.

The post about individual tools offers more information about how individual tools meet this learning ideals. I think another important consideration is the (inevitable) comparisons between face to face and online education. Learning principles are of course not isolated to either or, but I admit I had not really fully considered online teaching in this sense. Jess Parker summarizes many of the advantages of educational technologies but in some respects I disagree. The true advantage of the online era is flexibility. Students no longer need to be on-site, this restriction has truly disappeared. Further still, whether we like it or not and for numerous reasons, online education is here and we need to make the most of it. The advantages of online do not exceed those of face to face, but the thoughtful use of educational technologies means that many of the principles of learning do not have to be compromised by it either. Principles of the ICT learning design framework and engagement theory promote good learning activities and in some cases (such as the openess and re-use of resources) offer greater opportunities for the learning to be recycled.

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