Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Activity 21 How technology and pedagogy inter-relate #h817open

My own experience is coloured by my 40 years of teaching computer science and always seeking to employ the latest computer and networking technology to improve my teaching. I spent over half of this time in my last institution and notched up a number of firsts that include:

  • first online test (Macintosh 1991)
  • first web site (1995)
  • first web forum (1996)
  • first 'LMS' (SharePoint, 2000)
  • first student assessed blogs (2005)
  • first pilot with BlackBoard (2006)
  • first virtual teaching laboratory (VITTL, 2008)
  • first lecture screencasts (2009)
Throughout this process I faced uphill battles to co-opt my colleagues and have ploughed a reasonably lonely but exhilarating furrow. Nevertheless I venture to suggest all these technological advances are now recognised as bringing significant improvements to the teaching process. At the same time it is realised all bring concomitant changes, sometimes very substantial, to teaching preparation and presentation.

Looking back over the years I estimate I spent between 15% and 20% of my time keeping abreast of advances in technology. A small proportion of the outcomes of this effort found its way into the curriculum of  the subjects I taught. The larger proportion of the technological changes affected society as a whole, and, of course, the students coming on campus. Thus the major pressure comes from changes in the way society communicates and that inevitably cause a change to education itself. I firmly believe that all activate educators must spend of the order of 10% to 15% of their own time keeping abreast of technological advances if they are to remain effective educators, not to mention staying in step with the society in which they live.

A couple of years ago just before retirement I was pleased to find the smartphone and tablet revolution was being recognised by a much larger group of colleagues including myself. In my last year of full-time work I did not feel alone in the pursuit of applying new technology to better higher education.