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Posts Tagged ‘technology-mediated

The tweet below reminded me about some email attachments that I receive.

Not only can computer viruses masquerade as Microsoft Office attachments, they are also a statement of privilege.

The Office suites used to be one-time purchases but have been subscription-based for a while now. The cost for both systems are prohibitive unless you work for an institute that pays for site licences. If you leave that organisation, you lose access unless you cough up for a personal subscription.

So if I receive a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet to complete, I know that the senders are out of touch with their students. Why? Because they do not empathise with how many more people do not have access to the tools that they take for granted. 

A little empathy can inform technology-mediated pedagogy. As the tweet above implores, educators can use free and open tools for course documents and student-led content creation spaces. These tools force a change in approach to teaching from centralised delivery to distributed discourse and discovery.

Microsoft Word and Google Docs are not just different word processing tools. They are come with different costs and have different philosophies of use. The former was dominant but still embedded firmly in the past. The latter is more common now and meets the needs of the present and near future. Mark my words: Which you choose to use reflects your mindset and expectations.

 
I do not leave home as much as I use to given the current pandemic. But almost every time I do, someone stops me to ask for directions. This happens whether I am on familiar ground or not.

So I have started to wonder if I look like I belong or somehow know the surroundings even if I do not. Either that or more people now get lost and do not know how to use a map app.

Perhaps I am thinking too much about a non-issue. It might just be faster and more social to just ask someone. This is despite the fact that a) you might get the wrong information because you cannot verify the expertise of the person you are asking, and b) you remain dependent on someone else instead of learning how to use an app.

Now consider this. I know that some in schooling and education are lost or directionless with regard to technology-mediated pedagogies. Yet they do not ask someone like me or learn from expert others via social media. They choose instead to follow their internal compass and muddle along.

They might be heading in the right direction. They might not. The problem with schooling and education is that the journeys are long and the landscape sometimes changes so slowly and subtly that folks think they are on the right track. That is until someone point this out. Then they ignore the call, shoot the messenger, or take the warning seriously. Sadly, not many belong to the last group. I wish more of these people would stop me and ask for directions.

A few people might like to use the phrase “technology-mediated pedagogies”. It sounds sophisticated and the expert you paid to explain it confuses you further.

 
Let me make it simple to understand by using an analogy. It is like a driving a car.

You are the driver and the car is a form of transport technology (which in turn is a collection of many other technologies, but ignore that for now).

You drive the car. You make it go where you want and it takes you where you need to be. The car is essential. Without it, you cannot claim to have driven.

Technology-mediated pedagogy should put your learners (the passengers or even co-drivers) first. As the driver or one of the drivers, you decide where to go and how to get there with overall pedagogies and specific instructional strategies (your choice of vehicle, the planned route, the GPS, the rest and fuel stops, etc.).

You must integrate technology (the car). Without the technology integration, you cannot claim to have taught nor can you say your students have learnt. That is how critical the technology is in technology-mediated pedagogy.

Technically speaking, most teachers use some form of technology. The technology can be as simple as a stick to draw on the sand or as complex as an immersive augmented reality system. Today the technology that comes to mind might include wearables, smartphones, and laptops.

Here are some examples of technology-mediated pedagogies.

An educator might design a series of inquiry-based learning activities for her students to experience scientific thinking. Students learn to be scientists using probes attached to mobile devices that collect, collate, and analyze data.

Learners might watch and critique video cases in YouTube. They might also create scenarios by collaborative scripting and editing in Google Docs and recording, editing, and uploading videos with their mobile devices.

Medical students might leverage on mobile devices in problem and team-based learning to access information databases and teleconference with disease experts. They might use simulations in operations or practice bedside manner by role playing in virtual worlds.

A teacher can exclude these technologies, but doing so is likely to make the experiences less powerful, meaningful and authentic.

I am making a conscious effort to make some changes in the way I faciliate the course I teach (Engaged Learning with ICT).

I continue to use wikis as a primary Web 2.0 tool. Like the past, I want my preservice teacher to develop a sense of ownership (with individual pages) and community or collaboration (with various group pages). However, I was using wikis like modified e-portfolios or as project management and course management tools. I tinkered with collaborative writing topics last semester and aim to do that in a more focused manner this semester (http://ict-course.pbwiki.com/wiki-collaborativewriting).

The other thing I started doing was requiring my trainees to actively observe technology-mediated pedagogies. On one or two occasions in the past, I would do a “let’s take a step back” and critique class sessions so that the pedagogies I employed were made explicit. In other words, I’d shed light on what I did before, during, and after a session. I am guessing that this helps my trainees because they are then able to experience the activities I design twice: Once as learners, and again as teachers. They can then learn from my modelling, pick up best practices, and avoid making mistakes.


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