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Challenges of using educational technology

Just another one (still procratinating about those 200 unread emails) a response to this http://digitalliteracywork.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-6-biggest-challenges-of-using-education-technology-edudemic/

From the point of view of someone who used to be in staff development for educational technology I think the mistake we make is to focus on showing people how to get the technology to work, and not focus on showing how best to use the technology. Frankly anyone who’s alive in the 21st century should not need to be shown how to upload files, click on the right link, install software, call up a skype ID or any one of the numerous things I was asked to show. We should take digital literacy for granted from professionals. If you don’t have it, f..k off and get it, then come back to work. There is nothing that can’t be picked up on one’s own with an hour or so of playing about with it. I mean … really this is ridiculous what we allow lecturers to get away with not knowing and what we feel obligated to provide for them.

What we should be focusing on in staff development is showing what the amazing new pedagogical things we can achieve with the use of technology are, and what the skills and techniques that make best use of them. Inspiring people, or even just giving them a few ideas, is enough to get them started.

Where we really let them down though is in the fact that the technology doesn’t work in the majority of cases. PCs in lecture rooms that take 30 mins to boot up, or don’t have the right drivers to run USB sticks, firewalls that block access to Skype or Second Life. IT suites lacking the minimum spec graphics to run even the most basic virtual world platform. Admin rights jealously guarded and with no-one on hand to install the software needed. The horror stories heard about insufficient IT support for lecturers continue to do the rounds. It’s no wonder that people are put off from implementing new forms of teaching when it’s a constant struggle to get anything to work. Once tried and failed (in front of a room full of students) it takes a lot of courage to give it a second go.


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