Smitten with Synch? Just say no

Boyle, Liam (2011) Smitten with Synch? Just say no. [Conference Proceedings]


Continued development of internet and web technologies offers a range of innovative technology based tools that can be used to support learning. Through online learning, learners can overcome limitations of geography and time, to learn at their own pace, and at times and places that suit them. They can thus adapt their learning to work schedules and to domestic and other commitments, making this form of learning especially suitable for lifelong learning. Recent increases in bandwidth have made synchronous real time communications though web based video conferencing a reality, with teachers able to simultaneously teach a dispersed learner group, emulating an attendance based classroom. Many educators are keen to embrace this development. This paper urges caution in the use of such synchronous real time technologies and online live classrooms. It argues that educators should think hard before they require learner participation in synchronous events, unless on the strongest educational grounds. While there are educational benefits to these technologies in certain circumstances, counter arguments include the fact that by requiring participation you compromise the flexibility introduced by the first wave of online tools. They also can facilitate a return to teacher centred approaches where being present takes precedence over the achievement of learning outcomes, and where listening to teacher takes precedence over active engagement by the learner with the subject.

[thumbnail of NAIRTL 5th Annual Conference.pdf]
NAIRTL 5th Annual Conference.pdf

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