Emerging Technologies in Learning

With the shift of the Web from a mere portal where static content is displayed to the Web as a medium, where the people become speakers as well as listeners has opened whole new possibilities in learning.

Researchers describe this as the e-learning 2.0 shift, and learners become what is termed as ‘prosumers’; i.e. producers and consumers of information. People of all ages, and coming from all angles; diverse backgrounds and cultures, have started contributing to this Web of Knowledge. Experts over the Web seem to have been placed in the shadow, as new tools are giving more opportunities for people to share what they know.

Contribute with your comments on how the Web is shifting to become more interactive and how this is affecting teaching and learning. In addition how can the Web 2.0 concepts and its tools be exploited within a classroom setting?

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43 thoughts on “Emerging Technologies in Learning

  1. >Having undertaken a little bit of research on this unfamiliar, yet popular concept of Web 2.0, it is very clear that it is and will have a huge impact on education. Up till now, the web was mainly used by lecturers and students to receive information, read that information, and research. However, the Web 2.0 concept is providing a means of active and real contribution from both parties, being the student and lecturer. Moreover, the web is nowadays potentially used to enhance collaboration and creativity from the students' side. In my opinion, the Web 2.0 concepts, such as blogs, are a means for enhancing education and teaching, by creating a sense of participation and innovation.

  2. >Web 2.0, 3.0… n.0Really and truly I think that Web 2.0 (or the seemingly emerging Web 3.0) are simply a marketing hype. They are part of the technological world, a "world" that tries to version everything. All these version numbers seem to excite the techies who are by nature attracted to logic and numbers. It also calls for costly launches, trade shows and conferences that have the power to bring techies and business people together (face-to-face). All of this helps the vulnerable economy to keep ticking.As for technology in education, it will certainly play an increasingly more important role and it should. It is unfortunate that most schools, colleges and universities do not have the IT resources that are then to be found in a workplace, especially the IT resources and infrastructure to be found in international companies and organisations. Information overloadFurthermore, while today's students are surrounded with information, I still feel that we are not teaching today's students strategies to cope with such information overload effectively. The term information overload in itself was coined by the futurologist Alvin Toffler back in the 1970s. And if Toffler felt the pressures of information overload back in the 1970s, today's students and lecturers alike will certainly be suffering from a more inflated overload.One of the greatest challenges that I find with my students is to get them to distinguish between "valid" information and information that is not as reliable. Such a distinction cannot be made with ease, especially since it is difficult to identify the the authors behind such information. In addition, the same information might appear in many different locations, for instance, a journal and Wikipedia. Of course, logic would lead us to believe that such information is credible in a journal, but the same information would not be on Wikipedia.Maybe, future generations should invest in a worldwide web cleaning exercise that removes any duplicate information from the web. That would certainly be one revolution that is difficult to implement! Maybe this could be called Web 10.0…

  3. >More versions of the same technology , using Sir Ken's words here , technology also seems to be continually reforming. You hardly get to know how to use a software when there are a number of versions supposedly superceding it. The Windows for example. I agree with Rachel ,the reason for this is just money . To make us buy , everything in the web is virtual , even our needs have beome virtual. For people to learn how to use new things , it takes time. Versions come out faaster then people can cope so an overload in people's minds is taking place. It becomes complicated and frustrating and many people simply give it up.

  4. >When in class we made reference to "prosumers", i.e. people using the web to both convey as well as receive info, hence learning, my attention immediately shifted to a forum that I am a member of. I am a very keen fisherman, so much so that a few years ago I had undertaken a significant research exercise regarding fishing methods and evntually published my findings in a guidebook entitled "Sajd Bir-Rixa". This was fine, however more recently as a group of friends we started an online fishing forum wherein people can share their experiences. The forum (maltafishingforum) now has well over 1500 members, all of which are specifically interested in fishing in Malta. It is impressive how much one learns from such an online forum. You get people who are highly knowledgeable in a particular aspect sharing their experiences. Others might share photos. Others migth ask questions and you often learn from the answers given to questions of others. Moreover, such a tool is ideal as unlinke a book, it is constantly being updated so one is constantly in touch with what is going on. The interactiveness (eg. I have uploaded a number of fishing videos) is a further added plus. I truly think that such a tool provides an ideal platform for people to learn and it could be applied to any subject, academic or otherwise.

  5. >I have to agree with Jonathan's statement that 'it is impressive how much one learns from such an online forum'. In fact, I am really amazed by the fact that Fisherman, can truly have such an online forum. I never imagined that forums can reach such a level (high or low???). Putting aside Fishermen Forums, as this is not an advertising forum, I really believe that the main positive aspect of Blogging or Forums for a classroom is the potential for increased access and exposure to quality information. Rather than just sharing photos to show who caught the most fish (vopi), I really believe that educational forums provide creative thinking and a means of brainstorming, without putting much pressure during class hours.

  6. >Educational freedom…or is it?The use of web 2.0 technology as a means of education opens up a whole new dimension of education. It has the potential to put an end to the current model of educational system. This is because it offers the possibility of power sharing between the learner and the educator.It offers the possibility to end monopolisation of the education system by the few and gives the power to the masses. It allows a wider spectrum of knowledge and knowledg base to be included in the educational system. This added liberty however does not automatically equate to better education. The fact that many people say something does not make it a good thing. One should be careful not to allow the eductional system end up a collection of mere opinions by different poeople. I personally think that opinions which are not based on facts have little weighting. As with any technology, web 2.0 is a double edged sword..you just need to learn how to handle the sword!

  7. >This discussion should not shift from the Web as a medium concept it started with. I am sure that the amount of time our students are already spending chatting on line by far surpasses the amount of time they are spending in class. They are already using the Web as their preferred communication medium and so the transition to the e-learning 2.0 is not that difficult and should be readily accepted by them. Ok I accept that some will resist it but isn`t this normal when any change is made?The real problem lies elsewhere : MCAST seems more keen to build a state of the art campus rather then invest in the hardware and soft-ware needed for the immediate introduction of e-learning. It is true that MCAST is investing money in us a well but what`s the use of having a fully trained formula 1 driver if you don`t provide him with a performing car? The irony of it all is that whilst in primary and secondary schools the necessary investment in interactive whiteboards, laptops and software has been made, at MCAST the topic is taboo. So how are we supposed to teach e-learning to our students? By using our own equipment and making the students using theirs is not an answer, let alone a serious consideration.And what about allowances for research and what have you? If I am to perform on line I want to make sure I have at hand the best source of information possible. The truth is that at the moment MCAST is being run on pure factory line principles and we are at best the semi-skilled operators. Does this provoke more discussion or what?

  8. >@Edward Said…. perhaps you could clarify to us what you mean by "never imagined that forums can reach such a level(high or low???)"?As lecturers in a vocational institutional I believe that one of the things which should distinguish us is the direct relatedness of what we teach to a particular occupational sector. This means that rather than discussing concepts and ideas on a purely abstract level, our message can and should get through clearer through the use of concrete tangible examples… and this applies to any audience that we might be communicating with – students, colleagues, superiors and industry representativeness alike!As to David's comment I would not be so fast in shooting down opinions as not being a good thing either. Such a statement is reflective of a positivist perspective towards study. But this is not the only perspective which one may adopt. The proponents of the humanistic perspective would maintain that it is a falsity to seek some objective truth out there as there isn't one in the first place since all there is are subjective perceptions. In this regard, the Web has an excellent potential to serve as a platform wherein ideas are shared without any undue centralised control on who can say what, or what can be said and what cannot be said. As long as no infringes some law or another person's right, anything can be said on the web and it is then up to the individual to personally evaluate what is being said, what can be learnt from it, and perhaps what can be dismissed. But this is not to say that what is irrelevant to me might not be relevant to someone else…. at the end of the day isn't that what a learner-centred environment is all about?!

  9. >Web Technologies are in continuous development and in my opinion it is getting more interesting by time. The main aim in such technologies is the increase of interactivity on the world wide web. In fact even the term was changed, rather than having a website, now we're having a web application. Present technologies already offer very good interactivity to the end user. Currently Rich internet applications are crucial not only in education but in all sectors (have a look at the bank's online services and Google's online services).Though in technology we're are pretty advanced, we lack to combine this technology with our day to day duties. I'm afraid that often e-learning is more used as a buzz word. Some people may argue that technology may never replace the classroom. The problem is that many people pretend to experience online learning as if they are following a normal course, so perception plays quite an important role. As regards to management of e-learning, in my opinion there are 2 main streams, full online course and partial online course. Normally when having a full online course (like the degrees offered by the British Universities) are organised and managed quite well. On the other in partial online courses are not always managed very well, due to the student's perception and the lecturer focusing more on the contact hours rather than on the online preparation. Currently at MCAST there is no e-learning taking place. The closest is the ICT institute where Moodle is being used for all modules. The full potential of Moodle is not being used since it's main objective is a content repository where student's can download material done in class. There are different opportunities at MCAST where e-learning can take place such as part time courses and if necessary even combined approach for full time students where. Obviously, like what Tonio said before, this can only be done if the infrastructure is in place and the central administration has to support such idea and invest in human resources.

  10. >As in all other ideas, there are the positive and negative aspects to web 2.0 (and 3.0). As Rachel and Ted asserted, at times this is simply a marketing hype where the consumers will be interested in using the latest technology for the simple reason that it is the latest. Moreover, further agreeing with Rachel, the students find it hard to distinguish between valid information and invalid information. This leading them to uncertainty as to which sources are useful in their line of study, and which sources they should avoid. Nonetheless, we cannot dismiss e-learning as mostly negative. Even though we face the problem of having no face to face communication in e-learning and the likes, which as Charles Taylor comments, can be very destructive as it makes people center on themselves, become more individualistic resulting in the fragmentation of society, web 2.0 has its perks. As most have stated the power of technology in the classroom, if used properly, can achieve great goals. The use of moodle, interactive white boards, films in class will all contribute to the children's learning, leading to great success. The pupils are all keen to have a say in their education, and through the use of such blog sites they have a chance to do so in a moderated environment. However, the effort needs to come from the educator. If the educator is unwilling to at least try, avoiding all prejudices, to make this system work then it will surely fail from the start. When looking at something in a negative light from the very beginning we will never warm up to the idea hence making it impossible to succeed.

  11. >The Web 2.0 and all other related technology is more than just marketing hype or a flashy new tool, it is a change in culture, its a new mentality. If you ever bought a computer or laptop you would have had to make certain software requests. If the OS is of importance for you would have had to select between Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. Most probably you would have requested an office suite of the liking of Microsoft Office or Sun OpenOffice. The concept of Web 2.0 is that it is not important which OS you are using, you do not need any other software on your system other than a browser. The concept of Web 2.0 is that all applications are found on the web, all data is stored on the web. If you are accessing your data from your work system, from your home system or your mobile you will always find your data and applications on the web.Of course certain applications requiring a lot of resources would have to remain on the computer but many other applications can be pushed up to the cloud (web) thus changing the concept of computing.The same applies to Education, it is not required to have very powerful computers in a classroom, all you need is a low budget computer system with an Internet connection. Instead of having a school invest in a high end systems, administrators who need to install a lot of applications on many systems, all is needed is an Internet connection, all data and applications will be found in the cloud. This makes management of computer systems at schools much easier and efficient.Many companies are taking advantage of this shift in mentality and are creating packages such as "Google for Educators" and "Microsoft Innovative Schools" who are creating various web tools which can be used in classrooms instead of having the software installed on the systems at class.Currently at MCAST it might not be immediately apparent that we are making use of any of these technologies but the process has already started. Having attendance, assignment and course management systems available on the web are all part of the cloud computing idea and have helped us improve our educational system.Drastic changes are difficult to occur but surely gradual shifts in technologies will lead MCAST to becoming an e-learning college.

  12. >Elearning and education – looking at the span of human history and how education has evolved, elearning is probably still in the embryonic phase, having lot of potential yet not sure what is in store. I’ll bet my bottom dollar (or Euro) that when the internet was first set up by the US military (so it is proclaimed), they had no clue as to the potential it had decades later. The fact that it has significantly changed the way society communicates and interacts is somethng that we have already experienced great social significant on the way society communicated (and let’s face it, teaching and learning are done via communication). If elearning is lagging behind the times in educational institutions (as in formal, ‘controlled’, monitored learning), one certainly cannot say the same for informal learning. Taking Jonathan’s example of his affiliation with the fishing forum, it is amazing how people with a common interest can converge to a common point in cyberspace to share information not just for the sake of sharing but to learn and give advice on how to improve and enhance one’s fishing practices. AND it is managed by fellow fishermen, for fellow fishermen, with fellow fishermen. Now that can be called democratic in many respects. The coined term “prosumers” shows that people don’t only take in, but actually participate in the creation/production of information (via multimodal texts and multiple new literacies) and that is something that Internet has had a key role. Take sites like flickr.com, etcDo people learn these things at school? The answer is probably not. People are more likely to learn these things informally, and anywhere except school. (The horror that the teacher is not in control, or not as technologically savvy as the people they teach..save for the techie teachers..;))The challenge is now HOW we can make use of this technology in enhancing the students’ learning experience. I think the use of elearning will change the concept of the classroom as we know it today, and learning will cease to be the transmission of education as we are accustomed to. I think people may find that scary in a way.However, as Tonio has aptly said, how can we mere mortal educators take advantage of this when the use of IT is still considered taboo? There is still a penchant for the traditional technology of paper and pen – an example is our outdated examination system. Remember that we are still in the firm grip of the traditional style of education, and attitudes, feelings and beliefs regarding what education should be and should not be won’t be changed overnight. And this includes the beliefs, attitudes and feelings of the powers-that-be in our college and at higher levels. And let’s not forget that there is the financial issue which is always a sore point with politicians and the like (and who most likely have never been in the shoes of educators who face these enormous educational challenges on a daily basis). Feel free to disagree!

  13. >Back in time, when the motorised vehicle was introduced, some still refused its application and preferred the horse – by all means, a trained horse was one's best workmate and could take one back home even when one exceeded the alcohol levels. – Good old days. At least arguing with horse one gets a reaction, arguing with a computer…. I wish web 2.0 could be a reliable workmate as the horse used to be.Back to the allegory of a car: What would be one’s reaction if on turning the steering wheel to the right, the car instead steers to the left! One may sustain that the vehicle in reality did change direction. The same concept applies when considering the validity and reliability of information available from the web. I often ask myself, the information I am getting from the web is it from a reliable source and of the right quality. I agree that from the web I do get allot of information but most of it is marketing of products and marketing of ideas.On reflecting on this concern, I realise that in reality, generalising “we” are thinking less, and using less our brains, instead “we” let others think for us. I think more than a “knowledgeable society” we are just “opinion supporters”. It is easy; you just look for the readily available information or ask others “experts” (who may have personal interests). We need to keep using our brains. The web 2.0 is strategically influencing the end users. The original concept of sharing ideas and information has evolved and changed to conditioning thoughts and out breaking opinions. May I remind that the web 2.0 is accessible by all, even by my 5 year old son, and its use may be beyond educational purpose? Is the web 2.0 being abused, or my own-self?Supporting David Kenely’s statement; web 2.0 is a double edged sword, ‘one’ needs to learn how to handle the sword. (But unfortunately, one needs to learn it the hard way).Let’s look at the bright side of the web 2.0. It is a means of faster communication and potential for real time communication. One may deal, direct, educate, teach directly from his desk or from a virtual classroom. It is a window accessible from anywhere on the globe. Web 2.0 has a high potential for application in education, especially for vocational education, where visual interactivity and distant learning during work placements or during on-job training play an important role.

  14. >I am reading a lot of comments with regards to the use of elearning technologies and I do believe there is a great knowledge base that can be tapped in by all the internet users.Jonathan commented a few posting up that he found a forum with regards to fishing very useful for him. I tend to agree with that, not on the fishing side, but on the use & sharing of experiential knowledge. This is knowledge that is not attainable through books but through experiences by the users. Hence it is extremely powerful but you need experts feedback to attain it.On my end I do resort to forums to help me out on various issues, especially ICT related ones. Where people have come across similar problems that you are encountering and the official documentation doesn't really help you out.@mjbagley I do believe that the effectiveness of using these tools in teaching relies also on the Socratic approach. Just look at the blog up above, basically what the lecturer has done is to start off the discussion and by continuing the debate we are actually reverting to the ancient technique of debate that used to be used in the old Greek city states. Isn't that also a very strong form of teaching/learning?

  15. >These tools help to make teaching more interactive and perhaps may motivate students. Remember that a problem we are all facing is the drop out of students and their laid back approach, which is felt all through the academic year. Using these tools will make us lecturers speak up their language. Not only notes and links can be posted but discussion about the topics can be initiated and maintained through blogs. This will enable the participation of students, even of those who are reluctant to participate in class. Also, will give student an incentive for additional research.

  16. >@ Jonathan Sammut: Blogging has changed its concept from being a mere diary, towards the intention of making you popular or give you some sort of social status on the Internet. Now, I consider myself a fan of blogging, so please do not get me wrong, but I feel that sometimes I read certain blogs and keep questioning the reason for creation of such blogs/forums. I also agree with the fact that blogging is a powerful educational tool, yet, like any other tool (take for example, a knife), it can be misused, or much worse, could lead to a loss of status. This especially occurs if one starts a blog or a forum, and then keeps on writing or updating the same blog, even if you do not have anything to write about; for the sake of being updated. One last thing – certain blogs (or most of them) are not very accurate, and therefore, one shall not everything someone says or talks about in a blog. Blogging, obviously, has its benefits as well, especially when you are a good writer, but let's all consider its repercussions.

  17. >Coming back to suggestion of internet connection availability in classs, I wish to share my experience at IBAC regarding possible abuses and possible good uses.Class rooms in Block B near the Libary are within range of the wireless internet connection. Students have become aware of this and so I started seeing gleaming laptops appearing on their desks during my lessons. Although we have strict rules on the use of mobiles, the use of laptops in class is as yet not regulated. At first I gave the students the benefit of the doubt and trusted the students were taking class notes during my lessons. Then I started noticing blank faces to what I was teaching and this could only mean that the students were distracted by the internet browsing they were doing. I started going round the desks and yes, the students were on Facebook, football sites, chattting away etc. I stopped all use of internet use immediately. With hindsight I could have tried to create a network in class by bringing in my own computer and giving the students a time frame to research over the net a particular study topic and submit an online report. I could started a blog over Facebook in class on particular study topics and invited them to continue in at home. We could even have started a database of information research individually. The possibilities are endless.This would not cost MCAST anything further and maybe it would improve the learning process of my students. Should we do this until MCAST sets the proper e-learning system?

  18. >As in anything else there are benefits and limitations in e-learning. In my opinion one of the main disadvantage is that unmotivated learners or those with poor study methods might fall behind. In our dept (IME) we teach a lot of technical subjects. I believe that hands-on courses (work shop sessions) can be very difficult to simulate. How can a student learn to work on the lathe, say, if he is not physically doing it?

  19. >As modern technology has become possible to high end media content on-line in the comfort of one's own domestic space, it is impossible to rule out the dependence of every individual to web access and information. In a very short period of time the world got pretty much linked through dexterous uses of free open-source software packages and second-life virtual spaces. Life over the net cannot not be assessed over various aspects of human dependence to technology. For some this even goes to the extent of labeling our present era as the 'Google Age'. In a nut shell I believe that this access has definitely launched a new-age of information trafficking that can only be evaluated over the accuracy and effectiveness of work provided by the user. As the web has increasingly dominated the areas of information market where one can simply log in and download 'free data' one should not foresee the implications about how accurate are the sources of data acquired. Cristopher Dawson elaborates on this notion by contrasting academic value in relation with internet access: ' Technology can make it easy to coast, cheat, and otherwise circumvent the educational process. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars would like students to embrace integrity instead'. The statement above left me wondering about the integrity in our learning curricula and how biased are our students' works in relation to the ready-available samples of work as provided on-line. Personally I am not approaching this matter with the aim to monitor the students' work in terms of scholarly standards however this makes me question the creativity and innovation of the works submitted. Looking forward to see your views. Ian

  20. >@Edward SaidYou have still not explained to us why “you are amazed that fishermen have a forum ….. and why you never believed that forums could reach such a level (high or low)???”. As to your next comment regarding such a forum being used to show “who caught the most fish”, I guess that at best I can take this as an indicator of the fact that you have never visited such a forum before, and that you’re unaware of the sharing of experiences and opportunities for learning which such technology facilitates. I do not want to get drawn into further posts regarding this particular example which I have utilized to substantiate my belief in the new opportunities which the online realm has opened. But just to cite a few tangible learning examples, I can include explanations of fishing regulations which are being given by professionals in the field, underwater video footages of fish in their natural habitat, the promotion of a civilised culture of catch and release, the explanation of rigging techniques to newcomers to the sport (& sometimes such explanations are being kindly given by professionals who work in the fisheries industry in Malta – a sector which together with agriculture contribute 2% of our GDP), the identification of several species including dangerous ones and how to treat any injuries which might arise (first aid), the rigging up of equipment to ensure safety and effectiveness, what species are migrating and in which places, the effect which the changing climate and weather conditions can have on fish, etc… These are just a few examples of knowledge, skills and attitudes which are being conveyed by this one particular example of an online forum which I have cited.As to your subsequent post regarding social status, I do not see where this argument is coming from or how it is linked to the previous post… many online forums including the one I mentioned as an example are infact not owned and/ore represented by anybody. ALL the members, out of their own free will, voluntarily contribute their time to keep the system going. This is only done out of a genuine belief in the benefit gained from the sharing of knowledge/skills/experiences and a sincere interest in the subject matter at hand, be it fishing, be it car maintenance, be it gardening, be software applications, hardware maintenance, personal development, etc. No one gains more than any other person. If anything a problem often experienced is that some share their knowledge whilst others might have an interest in withholding it. As to a loss of status, in Maltese there is a saying that “Il-mistoqsija oht il-gherf”. In this regard, for online learning to truly occur, one of the essential criteria should be that everybody should feel welcome to contribute. An online blog/forum, is not like a book where the author writes and everybody else has to stay mum. The online world is interactive… meaning that one can read what has been written, put forward one’s own comments and ask any question which one might have, but this can only take place if there is an open environment wherein genuine comments and questions are not subject to silly attempts of ridicule. 🙂

  21. >I would like to comment about a commercial benefit of such forums or blogs. Once I was reading in a local magazine, the successful story of a young entrepreneur who has actually managed to turn his love for the table tennis game into an on-line ordering business. This guy started building his own website and added a forum to it so that people could comment, add videos, tactics, experiences, tournament schedules etc. In a few months the number of contributions and members was considerable so much so that this guy started adding some adverts and made some contacts with key suppliers to source him for a growing on-line market. Today this 24 year old guy is having his own business selling anything related to table-tennis world wide. I am saying this because I observe my student in class and talk to them. They speak of what they did the night before on msn (chat). They talk to their colleagues, make new friends, organise meetings (or collectively decide to come for the lesson…) sometimes even provoke each other through chatting, which can result in a physical fight the day after etc.So this virtual world is real life for today’s generation. I am sure that many more students could be able to find a niche market –circle of friends on line through which they can start their business which will multiple exponentially. This could enhance the self-esteem of these people and make them believe in education where resources are available online. It will be an alternative way to survive in such a competitive world and where they can show that they are capable of doing things which are their own creation. Within a few years web-based tools can be used within Mcast in such a natural way that they become the practice of the lecturer, the student, the institute and Mcast in general to make more and more use of web-based learning as the natural and modern way of learning.

  22. >Strictly speaking web 2.0 does not refer to some specific change in the internet, mostly a change in attitude towards the way programming is done. One of the biggest shifts that is slowly emerging is that of the semantic web where queries and searches across the internet are not done in a pattern matching fashion, but where software captures the meaining or intent ofthe user and tries to come up with plausible answers to the request. the future is interesting.As for the learning aspect technology should not stop at the internet. there are many other improvements that for instance help dyslexic easier to cope. Typically phonetic spell checkers, electronic readers. But what really makes a person disabled is our attitude towards him rather than his difficulties.The internet opens a new world of exchanging info across traditional boundaries and removes them. Moreover the bounaries of difficulties are being surfed too …

  23. >to write or not to write. That is the questionOne common problem that many of us frequently complain about is the level of wrting skills that our students have. Most of us have spent hours toiling though piles of assignments trying to make heads or tails of what it is that our dear students are writing. In a mixture of maltese english, some copy and paste…(thank you wikipedia)…and the occassional… sry 4 being L8, you are left bewildered about what is really the meaning of the text. What is this to do with e-learning? Well part of all the above mentioned problem is the fact that most students are more than happy with copying and pasting (doing the necessary referencing of course!), but they find little aim in trying to come up with original text. At times this feels as though instead of coming up with an original painting one is mmerely tracing out a picture from another picture. e-learning, especially the use of blogging might give the students the necessary carte blanche, so that the student can feeel free to experiment with the art of wrting. This can give the them a reason to write without shakling them with too much boundaries about what they should be wrting about.This will allow the students to explore the wilderness of their creativity.A wildrness which is full of potential and of new areas to be discovered.

  24. >There is another problem to the above. Throughout their HND, my students are not penalised for writing incorrect English, therefore they can get distinctions all along….THEREFORE they are eligible to continue studying for their 1st Degree. I am already having a taster of this and it is horrible. How can you correct a thesis written in some "ununderstandable" language which is suppose to be English? Shouldn't a good basic knowledge of English be a pre-requisite for these students to continue their studies? For me the system is to put it frankly screwed up.Correct me if I am wrong.

  25. >I agree with some of my colleagues that it does not make much sense to attach versions to the web as the web is evolving all the time.I think that one has to monitor developments in his/her area and experiment with them. For example, the link posted by Aaron has a lot of potential in teaching languages.I am concerned with the concept of 'prosumers'. Letting everyone to contribute (and pretend to be an expert) on a particular topic has its value but might be problematic as an alternative to traditional approaches as it often results in poor quality (e.g., Wikipedia).

  26. >What Ranier is saying about the concept of 'prosumers' is true. I have been involved in the correction of final year project dissertations of HND students and in several cases it was very evident that information was taken just from Wikipedia. In no way I am trying to say that Wikipedia should not be used! However we must ensure that students make good use of these websites where everyone can write whatever he/she wants. Students should be encouraged to use these tools. However, it is the role of the teacher to explain the students how and when these sites are to be used. Sometimes I wonder whether books are still as important as they were in the past! Several students nowadays do not refer to books and only use the internet for reaserch purposes. Are you comfortable with this situation?

  27. >It seems that we all agree that blogging is an effective tool for e-learning. The latest educational tool I found interesting are ‘Screencasts’. Screencasts basically record the computer monitor and they can also capture audio narration. By using screencasts the teacher is able to create a virtual lesson. One of the benefits of this technology is that it enables students to view and listen to a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform a task. @Kenny: I agree that books are not so popular with students but nowadays internet has a lot of up-to-date information. Personally, I don’t mind if the students use only internet for research as long as they cite the work consulted rather than just copy and paste from a website.

  28. >I had found animations of some important basic electrical concepts on the internet and suggested them to the students however few would come back and say they had seen them. Recently by using the screencasts and recording them I have had discusssions going far into the breaks and after lessons with a higher depth of detail and hence understanding. This has also come out during the correcting of the assignnments relted to the subjects. So now I can't imagine going back to just the traditional "chalk and talk" in these topics. I have also found virtual labs very interesting for my topic in electrical circuits theory. Simulations have now also become a must in certain areas because the visual aspect is so important for the students and at the same time they have the oportunity to check their work which is something they do not usually bother with.

  29. >I would like to take the discussion at a tangent though, as we are moving around in circles. Students do not feel engaged. Many a time they are demotivated. when they come into lessons the lesson does not engage them too, so they switch off. How does technology help in this regard.One can start off by giving students problems to solve through technology, or else use technology as an assistance tool. Next the use of blogs helps in sharing ideas. My main point is that we have to mimmic real life as best we can in the class room. Students realise that the situations are "realistic" and they will give value to them.In reality I have never tried this out. But I feel that if situations are interesting then they engage students better. What do you think?

  30. >For one or other reason technology always change, but education not. The aim of the education is the same from the time that we know about ourselves. So, technology is technology and education is education. When change in the technology takes place the education is far away. The education can benefit on the margin of technology use. I would not say anything new, but it is not that technology has changed only, the whole society has changed. The values of the society of today are not the same of the society from yesterday. Actually, changes in society are more influential on the education, rather than changes in the technology. Information technology, can help a lot when comes to education. First of all it can help teachers in various ways, from delivery to practical exercises, and assessments. It can help students, just the same, but one has to know that cognitive process of truly understanding let’s say a theory, has to happen in student’s mind. No technology will do this instead. Student has to meet himself, get focused and get hold of that understanding in his own. Otherwise, the gap in his knowledge will remain there.

  31. >I really believe in the power of technology in education. Besides offering advantages in that it might help students understand the concepts better, it also helps students get more involved in the teaching-learning process.I think that static websites (i.e. plain HTML) are limited, because they do not offer much more advantages over the traditional method of teaching. However, there are several available technologies which make websites far from static, such as Flash, JavaScript, and Applets. These allow students to make hands-on simulations, and I believe, promote discovery learning.This does not mean that these kinds of technologies are suitable for every subject…there is also an issue of appropriateness.There are different methods of how such tools can be used;1) they can be used after the student would have already learnt the topic, 2) as an introduction to the topic, or 3) having technology intermingled with normal lectures.I am not experienced enough however, to comment about the difference in effectiveness of each of these 3 different usages.

  32. >@3M : Students spend a lot of their time at the computer but I am quite sure that for the majority of them it is not for learning or researching purposes. I do not think that promoting the use of blogs to encourage sharing of ideas between students would work since for them this is not socialising but working. The students, especially the younger ones, will not be willing to contribute to a blog just for the sake of using the computer.I feel that it is up to us teachers to put technology to use and find innovative ways by which we can capture the interest of our students and induce in them a passion for learning. Once they develop this passion, they will become more motivated to study and learn both in class and even at home.

  33. >Different people watching this video clip give slight different versions, because each one will focus more on the points which one finds more of interest to him than others. I relate this video clip to my situation as an educator in Mcast.I have joined MCAST 3 years ago and I feel that we, MCAST lecturing staff, are genuine vocational educators, we practice teaching with dedication and vocationally. We do this because we have targeted a purpose, contributing to share our knowledge with dedication. Otherwise, we would not go through the entire PGC VET course with such dedication. Personally I take it seriously; and my driving force is that I would like to get better in this profession. This is my sense of engagement to mastery. Our capability to manage a class and conduct lessons on our own, proofs that we are self directive, and autonomous.Our motivation is intrinsic: autonomy, mastery, and purposeThis proves that we are thinkers, self – motivated with our personal satisfaction. The next challenge is to successfully engage students to be enthusiastic and motivated as well.

  34. >I think that elearning would be very beneficial to any student. I believe that the 'type' of elearning should vary with respect to the age. Example for the younger students online games and interactive websites would be the best. I believe that as the student gets older, he/she should be introduced to a different aspect of elearning, namely forums or blogs, where members in these forums can ask and get answers from other members.As stated before, our students do lack the motivation to work. Therefore it would be best to first only improve the elearning in class, maybe we manage to capture the student's interest in the subject. If we force them to participate from home, then the student will simply see elearning as an other assignment … only worse. What do you think?

  35. >@ Chris CutajarChris I agree with your last point. Students tend to lose motivation quickly. Considering my own personal experience, I started to give out my notes electronically from a blog rather than submitting hard copies of notes for the students to photocopy. At first students liked the idea and used to comment a lot on what was being blogged. I set up some online quizzes and games on the topics I learned which they found very useful. However I noticed that after some time most start to lose interest and some seldom check the blog except when I inform them that new notes are available.

  36. >Following suggested reading related to Impact of Technology in Education; perspectives from around the world, I came across an article from the E-magazine from 2008, titled “Understanding today’s learner”, where author tried to build up a profile of learners by age and technology use”. Currently there are five generations that are alive and they are: 1. Veterans (born 1925 – 1945) 2. Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964)3. Generation X (born 1965 – 1979)4. Generation Y (born 1980 – 1995)5. Generation Z (born 1996 – onwards)There is a description about each generation with prevailing attributes, with one can agree or not. Regarding the technology use there are only two groups of people. Ten years ago, according Marc Prensky, author of Digital Game-Based Learning, they are either digital natives or digital immigrants. It understands that digital immigrants would be older generation; while younger should be digital native.Ref: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf.I noticed that last generation is label as Z. This is the last letter in the alphabet. Since the next generation is already within us, i.e. those who are born this year, what letter designation is going to be given to them? Actually, what I am saying is that we hardly understand present generation and their life style, imagine how long is going to take to understand a new generation that will be in our education system within a few years. Are we ready for them?

  37. >Blogs – the swiss army knife of educationBlogs for educational purposes can be seen as a sort of Swiss army knife, giving its users a rane of options from where to choose. The use of blogs can be a very interesting option for education as it gives a number of opportunities both to the teacher as well as to the learner. One could either have the teacher keeping a blog and having the students follow the blog. This would keep the balances of power pretty much intact as once again the teacher will be the main source of information. It will give students flexibility but still no drastic change in terms of power and knowledge. One way that the student might be obtaining some power in such a scenario is by the fact that they have to power over when to access and which information to access. The students thus can be in a position to determine the pace of his/her course of study. This freedom would also give students more time to reflect.As for the teacher the blog can used as an affordable means of writing publicly about his/her field without the need to stay publishing material through official means. On this particular note however one should put in a word of caution as with blogs any Tom Dick or Harry can write down anything they like without any form of monitoring.Blogs on the other hand can become a much more powerful liberation tool if one encourages the students to be bloggers themselves and not just the readers of a blog. Such use of this tool can offer the students the possibility to enhance their writing skills. From a progressive point of view, the students will be learning by doing as writing will be put into a real life context. Students could be let free with their writing thus allowing them to be more experimental. The learner will cease being just a spectator of the educational system but s/he will be one of the actor as well as a scriptwriter and director.

  38. >PodcastsAnother tool that is making its way into the modern educational system is the podcast. As with the blog, the podcast has a wide range of uses and purposes in the educational framework. The teacher for example can make use of existing podcast to assist him/her in teaching. It allows for audio-visual methods to be introduced either directly in the class room or else being provided to the learner so that the latter can make use of them at his/her leisure. When used in the class room the podcast a pretty powerful tool as it allows the learner to be stimulated in alternative manners. It provides the teacher with means to reach out to students who have different learning styles.The podcast however has the potential to be much more powerful as a learning tool if students are allowed to create their own podcasts. This would allow students to share their learning experiences. If looked at from a perennialism point of view, such a tool could provide the students with everlasting skills such as the ability to voice one’s own opinions and points of view, as well as communicate with a varied audience. It allows students who might be shy or who would usually avoid speaking up in front of a class to voice their opinion. It can allow the students to do the teaching, thus moving away from the notion of the educator as a source of information but the education system becomes student centered. This allows for a more real communication process to happen, where it s not just the educator who is the sender and the learner is the receiver, both of them will play interchangeable roles. This would not just allow for the student to voice his/her/ opinion but also to voice his/her knowledge and experiences, which given the age bracket of vocation education students, this can considerable.

  39. >Referring to what Kenny said, I think that a good approach in class would be to teach our students how to research, rather than just giving them a research based assignment and let them do the job on their own. This would certainly help our students refrain from plagiarising.As a result of today's popularity of e-books it is expected that the use of library books diminishes.E-learning is certainly a more environmentally friendly method of education; it helps reduce the amount of paper consumed.

  40. >I agree that the use of the web is shifting to become more interactive. Reading one of the latest editions of a technology related magazine I was impressed about the organisation of “Webinars”. Webinars are seminars that are being organised online. Students or even professionals are being given a website address, a user name and password and a time and date when to get online and the teacher/lecturer starts his/her presentation. In these online seminars participants can ask questions in real time and thus they are enhancing their learning through two way communication where feedback is permitted. If students face problems after the webinar, they can search online about the matter that was being discussed or else they can ask the teacher about their problems in forums that are organised after the webinar.

  41. >I see webinars as a perfect e-learning tool. Teaching online differs considerably from teaching face to face and webinars are a perfect alternative. With the help of an experienced mentor, the online transition can be more successful. Since students’ needs can be diverse and academic disciplines require different approaches, guidance from a mentor, who can offer support on general competencies and tailor his or her support to the needs of the learner. Short for Web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web. These online seminars are actual, live interactive learning experiences. Participants will be able to ask the instructor questions and get answers in real time. The instructor is usually able to conduct polls and ask questions. Participants receive course materials by e-mail prior to the seminar and are able to view the instructor's PowerPoint (or other media) slides during the seminar. These types of online courses have a much higher impact than simply reading material on the web. Webinars offer exceptional convenience and are very cost-effective. Another key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements — the ability to give, receive and discuss information. This contrasts with Webcast, in which the data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience. Thus, the webinar is a proven methodology, that enables learning leaders to take an active and more strategic role in ramping up capabilities, addressing competitive challenges and preparing the future workforce. The webinar may be usually is usually followed by an interactive Q & A session.

  42. >I agree that webinars is a good way of training people around the globe but it also has its disadvantages. From my experience one drawback is that the lecturer cannot judge the level of understanding of his students since he cannot see the participant’s expressions. Additionally the discussion between participants should be well structured to avoid any misunderstandings. Another disadvantage is that webinars cannot support the discussion hands-on practice or skills.

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