Thursday, 29 May 2008

Tag – you’re it!

Childs play, remember those days well and were still playing it! In a sense this describes how some new piece of technology can be the flavour of the month (actually we should say week, looking at the rate I get email updates on new tools!) or seen to be the ‘tool’ that we can make the best use of in the educational context – and why not? Open up your tool box (your PC!) and see what is available for you to use, a tool may be viewed as of great use to one and be used more in their ‘trade’ in comparison to another. To choose the appropriate tool you will need to have knowledge about how the tool works so you know as to how and where it can be applied (learning task).
My thoughts trailed this way as we are looking into SMS technologies and possible Facebook integration. Maybe this can be raised as part of discussion of informal/formal learning spaces, we can be seen as tagging on ‘spaces’ ‘devices’ as students happen to be using them – mobile phones– tag, social network space – tag, ipod – tag! I’d be interested to hear from students how and which ‘space/device they prefer to be tagged on the most by us! I guess it’s a matter of which learning activity or notifications works best in using these tools. I hope we can elicit this type of data when we make use of such technologies available. We really need to hear the student voice on this e.g. would they want to be texted about every assignment deadlines? I guess with our scale of audience and practitioners the onus has to be left to the tutor to decide. I would hate to think that we would impose (and I don’t think we will) a rule at any level. Issues – Evaluating the effectiveness of these technological tools that surface in our context, which tools are applicable and can be used for which learning tasks? And dare I say processes (contacting students) – through participation and collaborating together this has lead to a number of pathways and opportunities and great developments. For some staff the current technology that they are using for their teaching if not used for some time gets forgotten and thus need refreshing (its human nature, we all forget). We need to be wary and understanding that the array of what’s available does not become a blur. ‘Students happen to be using them’ – this says something about our cultural change in this technological age. We need to be clear on what our role is in this so that we are not ‘gate crashing’! So the process of having pilots, student focus groups are essential to see the viability and usability of applying any ‘e tool’ for learning and its great that we are listening to what students are saying about these tools (i.e. Malcolm Andrew’s Podcast student evaluations – they provide the key as to where the tool can be best applied i.e. revision, lecture synopsis for which we can make recommendations. Alas, let’s not forget the ‘academic’ they too will have to know about the applicability and suitability of the tool and have their say after all it’s their ‘trade’…

No comments: