Getting there from here: learning to use readily available technologies to engage learners and enhance learning

Boyle, Liam (2011) Getting there from here: learning to use readily available technologies to engage learners and enhance learning. [Conference Proceedings]


With information and communications technologies (ICT) ubiquitous in contemporary society, it is natural that educators in higher education should seek to harness these technologies to support student learning. For example, web technologies facilitate communication and make vast information resources and online tools readily available at the click of a mouse. Benefits for learners include flexibility about where and when they access learning materials, while allowing for a level of interactivity and immediacy not previously possible for distance learners. Web resources can also enrich classroom learning by adding vibrancy and vividness to classroom topics. Effective use of ICT can help develop skills of independent learning and promote critical engagement with course topics.This paper describes a 10-Credit Level 9 module developed to address the professional development needs of teachers in higher education who wish to make better use of ICT in their teaching. Rather than produce learning technologists, the aim is to help working teachers to identify pedagogical advantages of these technologies and equip them with skills and knowledge to harness technology to their own teaching needs.While teaching staff in higher education increasingly recognise the benefits that these technologies offer, they may be disinclined to engage with them due to uncertainty about how to leverage these benefits. They have little time to devote to figuring out how to do so, and have access to, at best, only meagre institutional resources to support their efforts. Cognisant of these limitations, participants in this module work with readily available tools and learn to build on the skills that they already possess. The module is delivered using flexible methods so that participants can work around their teaching schedules and the delivery models some of the methods it seeks to teach. Pilot delivery of this module has been completed and an evaluation of the pilot will be discussed.

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