The following is a reflection on Week 4 of the Trends in eLearning module using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.
Today’s class focused on the impact of technology on education, in particular higher education. Prior to class we were to read some articles posted on webcourses which focus on this area. The second part of the class incorporated a shared reflective approach utilising google apps and padlets.
Class was very productive today and I particularly enjoyed the practical approach in the lab.
We were divided into various groups to discuss the impact of technology in education in terms of challenges. It was interesting to hear the different viewpoints and many challenges exist particularly in terms of funding and at institutional and system level. Here is a picture of our mindmap.
In the computer lab we used google apps to reflect on how we would see higher education respond to the challenges facing them. This was my response:
We were then asked to use padlet to illustrate the approach we would adopt in our own practice with regard to the implementation of technology. The following picture is my response followed by a snapshot from the group.
Using padlet and google apps as reflective tools was very constructive. Consequently, I created a padlet for one of my classes this week and not only did it give great variety to the class but everyone had a voice. In this particular group (as with most groups) some students are more vocal than others and I found this platform enabled everyone to contribute and engage on an equal level. Most importantly the students found the process very beneficial and I have posted a screenshot of the padlet to the LMS to assist them with their revision. I will definitely be keeping this in my toolbox.
I was surprised by the findings on the DIT paper as to the lack of integration of technology despite a high level of support being provided. Moreover, when only 13% rated their skills as being poor on the use of academic technologies.
In my own practice implementing technology in the classroom is minimal. The onus is on the educator or trainer to take ownership of the tools they want to utilise in the classroom environment and as a contractor no support or from what I can see drive exists in same. Contracting and casual roles are becoming more prominent in this sector. As a new pedagogy is emerging we as educators need to keep up to date particularly in an environment that has become more competitive.
Furthermore, other peers I have worked with have used learning management systems as a means to share documents which correlates with the findings from DIT. Owing to my own passion for technology in the education sector I have tried to be persistent in developing new ways to utilise this to make the learning more fun and interactive. Time and lack of support at institutional and system level is certainly a factor which correlates with the findings from DIT. However, while reflecting on this I have pondered on the fact that while we expect our students to become more self-directed and take ownership of their learning should we not be doing the same ourselves? We could argue that the fact we are completing this Masters/module is certainly a step in this direction.
Implementing technology in higher education has many benefits. However, integrating it can be a challenge at institutional level where it is considered desirable and not essential. Furthermore, as highlighted in the paper What’s the Use of a VLE? many lecturers do not have the time or receive necessary support. In some cases they may be resistant to its implementation with the preference to the more traditional approach. Budget restrictions are also a factor and until changes are made at an institutional level these impacts will continue to exist. The computer lab today demonstrated the excellent collaboration tools that are available to us as educators e.g. padlet, google apps.
To keep testing these tools in the classroom and my focus this week is to work on my presentation for Flipped Classrooms.
O’Rourke, K. C., Rooney, P., & Boylan, F. (2015). What’s the Use of a VLE?.Irish Journal of Academic Practice, 4(1), 10.