Exciting Times for Education

Technology is helping us to learn in ways we could never imagine before.

By using New and Emerging Technologies (uNET), today’s practitioners, and/or their learners, now have tools that can make learning happen in ways that, not so long ago, were impossible.

Now…

Learners can create impressive “end products” that, in the past, would have required lots of equipment and/or money.Photo 30-05-2015 21 37 25

  • the smartphones, that most of us carry in our pockets, are much more powerful than the technology that was used to send man to the moon.
  • all of us can use our smartphones, and/or other devices with access to the Internet, to meet virtually anyone on the planet.
  • These are exciting times for education and some learning providers and their learners are making the most of them by using New and Emerging Technologies (uNET).

How?

Well here’s just a few examples…

  • Audio – Learners can create their own radio shows, podcasts and more; telling creative stories or collecting audio evidence for research via interviews. Those recordings can be shared widely, just like radio shows have been for years, but for free. e.g. Recording/editing audio files using Audacity and placing them in Dropbox and sharing links with others to connect with large audiences.
  • Collaboration – Learners are working together in digital spaces. They can connect whether they’re in different learning environments or different countries. No longer is the absence of a, assignment/project, team member an excuse for incomplete work. Assignments/projects documentation etc., should now be “shared work”, online; including 24/7 access by all (including practitioners). e.g. Using Google Documents to create shared research notes or co-creating essays/papers.
  • Satellite imagery – Learners can access detailed maps and photos taken from satellites to see any place in the world. e.g. Learners use Google maps and/or Google Earth for virtual field trips, to create maps of their own including layers each holding appropriate data, to measure distances and/or areas and more.
  • Social media – Communication tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others gives everyone access to virtually anyone with an Internet connection. Hashtags let learners send messages to anyone searching for that specific keyword. e.g. Learners can connect with authors, scientists, researchers, politicians, celebrities and more for unique learning experiences.
  • Video – Quality video projects used to require expensive cameras and production equipment. Now, a tablet, computer webcam or smartphone can create high-definition video that demonstrates learners’ understanding of content. e.g. Creating quick videos from slideshows using VCRec. Ideal for communicating understanding or, for practitioners, producing clips for “Flipped Learning”
  • Video chat – communication via social media becomes even more engaging when audio and video are involved. Learners can share with others around the globe while seeing facial expressions and verbal intonations of others. e.g. Courses can pair up with other courses around the world to work cooperatively on projects and share through Skype or Google Hangouts.
  • Web Presences – These days, learner work doesn’t have to be completed for an audience of one —“the practitioner”. It can be posted on course blogs and/or a course website and/or a learner’s e-portfolio for appropriate stakeholders to see. e.g. Learner ePortfolios allow all stakeholders, including the learner, their practitioner, their employers, internal and/or external verifiers, course leaders, etc. to view 24/7 “wherever they are!”

I could go on but that’s enough as a taster.Photo 30-05-2015 21 35 58

So, why aren’t more learning providers…

  • encouraging the use of learner smartphones, rather than banning them in learning environments?
  • using New & Emerging Technologies (uNET)?

Good questions! I can’t think of any good reasons – can you? 

John Dalziel
(retired eLearning Adviser)

 

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