Friday, November 16, 2007

Learning: The act or the process

So, who are the new learners? The new learners assume that technology is “a natural part of the environment” (Oblinger, 2003, p. 38). This causes, or should cause reflection on the part of every person involved in teaching. For technology to be natural for the learner, it must be natural for the teacher. Students use technology in every aspect of their life, from information gathering, to entertainment, to networking, to communication and to collaboration (Oblinger, 2003). How do they differ from the traditional learners? The new learners may be called many different names but a key difference, I believe, is technology.

Technology may change the learning experience (Green, 1999), but does it change the learner? The newer technologies like blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts and others have the potential to extend learning (Salomon, Perkins and Globerson, 1991). These new technologies are natural and common place for the new learners (Alexander, 2006). Do these technologies change the learner? More often, it is the learner who is using the new technologies to change learning from an act, to a process.

Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review 41(2), 33-44.

Green, K. (1999). When wishes come true. Change 31(2), 10-15.

Oblinger, D. (2003). Boomers, gen-xers and millennials: Understanding new students. EDUCAUSE Review 38(4), 37-47.

Salomon, G., Perkins, D., & Globerson, T. (1991). Partners in cognition: Extending human intelligence with intelligent partners. Educational Researcher 20(3), 2-9.

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