Monday, March 26, 2007

Thoughts on technology and teaching

Imagine a learning space where access to technology is not confined to a physical location. Access to computing resources and internet connectivity should be a commonplace occurrence, and not an infrequent activity (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998; Brown, 2003). Learning occurs more often within spaces outside of the classroom and at times other than scheduled class periods. Ubiquitous and pervasive access to resources should be equally as fluid, flexible and transparent (Brown and Petitto, 2003; Moquin and Travis, 1999). Institutions must be bold and flexible in creating, growing and supporting the technological infrastructure to allow for access anywhere and anytime (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003)

Imagine a learning space where technology is so transparent, so pervasive and so ubiquitous that learners are more focused on learning with technology than learning how to use technology (Westera, 2004). Technology should not be viewed as the driver of education, but an option to provide quality educational opportunities to all (Brown, 2003). Through the careful and deliberate integration of technology into the teaching and learning spaces, we are now able to tap into a wealth of information (and multimedia) that was previously untouchable and out of reach (Green, 1999; Moquin and Travis, 1999). Instructional technology, or information technology, must become a partner and provide, support, encourage, facilitate and fund transformations of teaching that integrate technology into teaching and learning (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Imagine a learning space that can easily be reconfigured without technological limitations or restrictions (Moquin and Travis, 1999). Not only should the physical or virtual space be mobile and flexible, the content that is delivered should be flexible and provide learners opportunities for personalized training and growth (Brown and Petitto, 2003). The central focus of a university, learning, is constantly adapting to new curriculum and other physical elements and should be equally adept in adapting to new technologies (Masi and Winer, 2005). Institutions should actively engage both technology and pedagogy in the design and development of learning spaces that promote and positively impact learning (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Imagine a learning space that creates and fosters collaboration using technology to facilitate the process rather than direct or control the process. Collaboration between and across traditional stakeholders in all aspects of teaching and learning can produce the need, desire, direction and suggestions for improvement (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998). This form of collaboration can lead to and contribute to personal, professional and institutional development (Lanicci, 2002). Institutions should model technological collaborations, information dissemination and communications to acknowledge the efficiency of technology in institutional growth and development (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Imagine a learning space that produces technologically skilled and proficient workers. Training and skill development should be thought of as an integrated part of the curriculum, where students, faculty and staff have the resources, assets and opportunities to learn (Brown and Petitto, 2003). Technological literacy is fast becoming an expectation of and for all stakeholders and providing the training and support to become technologically literate should be commonplace (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998; Westera, 2004). Institutions should invest in the human capital improvement by providing common software, platforms and training for all stakeholders (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Brown, D., Burg, J., & Dominick, J. (1998). A strategic plan for ubiquitous laptop computing. Communications of the ACM 41(1), 26-35.

Brown, D. (2003). The ubiquitous computing movement. In D. G. Brown (Ed.), Ubiquitous computing: The universal use of computers on college campuses (pp. 1-13). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Brown, D., & Petitto, K. (2003). The state of ubiquitous computing. Educause Review 38(3), 24-33. Retrieved March 25, 2007 from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0331.pdf.

Duderstadt, J., Atkins, D., & Van Houweling, D. (2003). The development of institutional strategies. Educause Review 38(3), 48-58. Retrieved March 25, 2007 from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0333.pdf.

Green, K. (1999). When wishes come true: Colleges and the convergence of access, lifelong learning and technology. Change 31(2), 10-15.

Lanicci, J. (2002). A concept model for integrating IT into education. Educause Quarterly 25(1), 46-49. Retrieved March 25, 2007 from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0218.pdf.

Masi, A., & Winer, L. (2005). A university-wide vision of teaching and learning with information technologies. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 42(2), 147-155.

Moquin, B., & Travis, J. (1999). Community colleges on the highway: Major issues for technology planning. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 23(2), 147-159.

Westera, W. (2004). On strategies of educational innovation: Between substitution and transformation. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning 47(4), 501-517.

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