Technology; the future of education.
In the last two decades, technology has restructured the way humans live, communicate, and learn (Siemen, 2004). Therefore, it is the responsibility of today’s teachers to produce learners which will be able to subsist in the global information-based economy that is emerging (Brand, 1997). This means that not only is the integration of technology fundamental to achieve this, but also means that teachers must know how to effectively integrate these technologies into their classrooms (Brand, 1997). CQUniversity has recognised both the urgency and significance of this education need in teachers by making the Managing eLearning subject a compulsory part of the Bachelor of Learning Management course.
During this subject, a variety of technologies were investigated and analysed using specific frameworks and learning theories to gain an insight into their effectiveness when using them as an educational tool in teaching. The entire list of technologies investigated all resulted in being beneficial to help learners achieve outcomes and each promoted different types of learning. Although some technologies may have wider uses across Key Learning Areas, each technology analysed proved that they are capable of and have to potential to facilitate highly engaging, collaborative, meaningful, authentic tasks that promote deep learning.
In addition to this, the concept of Connectivism was explored through the requirement of having to actively participate in online discussions and forums, and read and comment colleagues’ blogs. This resulted in students having to network with, rely on and learn from these connections being made with other students who also attended CQUniversity campus’s in various locations across Australia (Siemen, 2004). The following are technologies which will be incorporated into future learning experiences due to their effective, fun and engaging nature.
Vokis have the potential to make teaching more efficient and enhance student learning by acting as the initial ‘hook’ to begin the learning process. Through putting Vokis into role play of a specific character, an authentic feel is given to learning tasks. This is beneficial to learners as learning is enhanced when the task has a degree of authenticity to it (Herrington, Oliver & Reeves, 2002). Another technology which has to the potential to facilitate authentic learning experiences is Google Earth.
Google Earth has such a versatile nature; it can be used across various Key Learning Areas and is fun and engaging. Google Earth could be used as the centre for many learning activities, including maths (longitude and latitude co-ordinates), science, SOSE and technology. This educational tool would also enhance learning in students through its authenticity (Herrington, Oliver & Reeves, 2002).
YouTube is a technology that all students love; perhaps not as an educational tool, but as a fun website to go on to research anything of desire. A sample of the benefits of using YouTube in the classroom is enhanced learning outcomes through high engagement levels and enriched and more productive learning environments (Burke, Snyder & Rager, 2009). In addition to this technology is the WebQuest; it too significantly enhances learning in the classroom and can be used across a variety of Key Learning Areas.
WebQuests are fun educational tools which facilitate engaging learning experiences across almost any Key Learning Area. They enhance learning by inspiring critical thinking in learners and are seen as a powerful new tool in the education industry (Vidoni & Madduz, 2002). They also have the ability to facilitate comprehensive learning experiences that promote higher order thinking (Zeng, et al., 2004).
Technological development generally means change and it happens everyday (McCain & Jukes, n.d.); the implications that this has on educators of now and the future is that there is a need for flexibility and life long learning. After all, it is the responsibility of today’s teachers to produce learners which will be able to subsist in the global information-based economy that is emerging (Brand, 1997).
Brand, G, A. (1997). Journal of Staff Development, 19(1). Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://www.wikieducator.org/images/0/04/Training_Teachers_to_Use_Computers.pdf
Burke, S, C., Snyder, S., & Rager, R, C. (2009). The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice: An Assessment of Faculty Usage of YouTube as a Teaching Resource, 7(1). Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://ijahsp.nova.edu/articles/Vol7Num1/pdf/Burke.pdf
Herrington, J., Oliver, R., & Reeves, T, C. (2002). Patterns of Engagement in Authentic Online Learning Environments. Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland02/proceedings/papers/085.pdf
McCain, T,D, E., & Jukes, I. (n.d.). Windows on the future: education in the age of technology. Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uA3AnK40T2UC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Technology+is+the+future+of+education.&lr=#
Siemen, G. (2004). Connectivsm: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Vidoni, K, L., & Maddux, C, D. (2002). Computers in the schools: WebQuests- Can They Be Used to Improve Critical Thinking Skills in Students? 19(1) 101-107. Nevada:USA
Zheng, R., Stucky, B., McAlack, M., Menchana, M., & Stoddart, S. (2004). WebQuest learning as perceived by higher-education learners, 49(4). Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/j535521083145nwh/