“Technology and digital tools have become ubiquitous, but they can be ineffective or dangerous when they are not integrated into the learning process in meaningful ways….understanding how to use a device or certain software is not enough; faculty, staff and students must be able to make connections between the tools and the intended outcomes, leveraging technology in creative ways that allow them to more intuitively adapt from one context to the other.” (Horizon Report 2017, p. 7)
Over the past two posts, we have looked at the possible ways technology-enhanced learning can impact teaching and learning. In particular, we’ve unpacked TEL myths and assumptions, and argued that thoughtful and well-planned use of technology is key. Now, we will look at precisely that: how to design TEL activities for teaching. We’ll have some practical activities over the next few days that you can use to prepare a lesson or activity with technology – take some notes for each of the activities included in this post and share them in the comments below.
It’s vital to think about what learning outcomes or goals you’d like to achieve before considering any particular tools or platforms.
To get started, let’s have a look at this video from UNSW on considerations for choosing technology which gives an overview of things to consider.
We will aim to apply the strategies from this video into the activities, below.
Activity 1: Learning outcomes
Choose a particular activity or lesson from your teaching practice: it could be an assessment, a discussion activity, a group-work activity, a lab activity, or whatever suits, that you would like to apply technology to. If you are not currently teaching, consider an activity that you have done as a student or participant in a face-to-face course or workshop. What are the key learning outcomes for this activity? What will students achieve or learn from doing this activity?
You may want to refer to Bloom’s taxonomy (pictured below) to help you think about this particular activity: do you want students to analyse, apply, evaluate, understand, create something? You can find a range of examples at the link.
The key element for any effective use of TEL – that it considers the teaching and learning context and pedagogical needs first.
Your pedagogical approach and philosophy
Next, you will need to consider your teaching context. Are you committed to a student-centred approach, with active and authentic learning and assessment, that is flexible and accessible to students in many different life circumstances? Does your approach emphasize collaborative work in groups and the development of a community of enquiry? Some examples of tools that support this approach might include wikis, blogs, discussion forum and interactive learning objects such as the Lesson tool in Moodle (Wattle).
Are you aiming to move your lecture content online for students to access, perhaps with some questions and discussion on the side? As an example, you would probably think of making videos of your lectures available to students, or you might create short videos or podcasts of talks on your area of expertise, either of yourself sharing your knowledge, or perhaps interviewing other experts. You might supplement this with quizzes to help students test their knowledge and a discussion forum for general discussion and reflection.
Your answer to these questions will have a big influence over what technological tools you might use to assist your students to learn.
A great example of how technology can facilitate effective learning for students comes from the ANU Japanese language program from the College of Asia Pacific. In the video below, course convenor Associate Professor Carol Hayes shares how her students gain practical experience in speaking and listening in Japanese by conversing with peers in Japan, which is facilitated by the use of the web conferencing tool Adobe Connect.
Activity 2: What technology might suit?
Now it’s time to select a technology or tool for your own activity. Take a look at the following resources on what technologies might be used for different pedagogical approaches:
Reflecting on your pedagogical approach to course design, which technological tool or platform might you use to support this activity? If you’re not sure, tell us about your activity and invite some ideas from the other participants.
Technology-Enhanced Learning in Higher Education Certificate
Go here to learn more on getting recognised for your participation in coffee courses.
Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal Learning Environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 3-8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.06.002
Lai, K. (2011). Digital technology and the culture of teaching and learning in higher education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(8). doi:https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.892
McLoughlin, C. & Lee, M. J. W. (2007). Social software and participatory learning: Pedagogical choices with technology affordances in the Web 2.0 era. In ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/mcloughlin.pdf
Shabatura, J. (2013). Using Bloom’s taxonomy to write effective learning objectives. University of Arkansas Teaching Innovation and Pedagogical Support. Accessed 26/4/18. Available: https://tips.uark.edu/using-blooms-taxonomy/