Posted on July 29, 2012 - by JourneyGirl_2012
Digital Technologies in Education…
I thought a lot about my final blog post, what I would write about, what I was thinking, what conclusions I’d drawn as the final week of ADLT 640 comes to a close. I can honestly report that I learned more than I thought possible as a student of this course. I can see that my learning style has been affected in a positive manner. I’ve grown in how I think and how I see the world around me; in addition to how I see myself as a future educator and as a current student.
Last week, Dr. Watwood asked us, if any of us thought we would teach or learn the same way again and I believe we all agreed that we would not. How could we? Once you’ve experienced this course your perceptions change or become altered. For me, e-learning is not just about participating in “online” classes. It is how the user or participant uses not only the internet and the digital tools around them, but how connected the learner allows themselves to be to that information outside the typical or traditional education environment. I think for many of us learning took place in a building with teachers as the holders of knowledge, the experts on any given subject and we the student accepted what they passed on to us, in the method and manner of their choosing. With e-learning knowledge is not limited to a place or methodology. It is an open resource available for anyone to access the information provided. How that information is accessed is also unlimited, in a sense, once you have The Key; the key being a device or tool that will assist the learner in their journey. The Internet has been described as “The information highway” in my mind the tools used to take a ride on that highway are what gain the user access to knowledge.
The NMC Horizon Report 2012 discusses the emerging trends and some possible future developments with digital technologies and how they have shaped and will shape higher education present and future.
“…There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge-based and active learning…The active learning approaches are decidedly more student-centered, allowing them to take control of how they engage with a subject and how to brainstorm and implement solutions…”
From the report, I recognized many practices that I participated in as a student in ADLT 640. I experienced first-hand, a more learning-centered style through community based learning in an online world with student and collaborative learning, with my fellow classmates; instead of a teacher to student methodology, more common in a traditional classroom.
One of the requirements for ADLT 640 was to have access to a device that would enable mobile learning. The idea being that all learning would not take place in the classroom. The classroom would become whatever we the learner perceived it to be. Use of digital tools gave access to more information than found in a traditional class. From the exploration and sharing of ideas along with learned theories of online class development, we the learner, began to see education in the digital world in a much broader sense.
“Simply capitalizing on new technology, however, is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level.”
Through the building of online communities within the four-week online portion we the learner – learned how to synthesize the information around us, by communicating as collective from a distance with our course instructor and our fellow classmates. I used resources and technologies that were unfamiliar, learning as I went, using them to stretch myself and my knowledge.
The next generation of e-learners that are emerging have created new methods of learning for themselves outside of the traditional classroom through the use of their digital tools and devices. Their definition and perceptions of what e-Learning is and can be has been instrumental in how those involved in Education view learning and in how educators will provide an engaging environment for those students.
In Henry Jenkins, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century the term participatory cultures is examined as a viable form of education that emerged as a counter-culture method of learning developed by teenagers through the use of media content collected and shared on the internet:
“A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.”
The use of media content as a method of sharing knowledge is now seen by educators and learning institutions as a form of connected learning. The perception of what is acceptable and unacceptable in education in a digital world has also changed. Facebook® and Twitter® are social media tools initially seen and in some cases dismissed as entertainment tools, when first introduced, are now recognized as powerful devices for learning, communication, and used as aids in the dissemination of information – transferors of knowledge. It is now uncommon for a higher learning institution, in North America not to have a Facebook page.
Learning in the digital age with digital technologies that will continue to shape shift and evolve as we the user and learner continue to adapt, grow, and create within the digital world has been life-altering. I see this as an exciting time for educators and students.
When I decided to “check out” ADLT 640 and see what all “the fuss” was about behind “e-learning”, I had no idea how this eight-week summer course, would change and expand my perceptions of my learning environment from a four by four box into world without limits or borders. My access to information and knowledge is a finite or infinite as I choose to make it.