[iDC] Classroom technologies for control v. collaboration

Stephen Downes stephen at downes.ca
Sat Aug 28 22:37:31 UTC 2010


Instead of reading yet another storey about how professors are failing to use, or inappropriately using, learning technology, I would rather hear about whether and how people are using these technologies to learn.

Formal education, as taught by teachers or university professors, is only a small part of learning, even for students, not to mention the great majority who are not enrolled in anything. It's time to set aside as irrelevant discussions on whether professors are using technology.

-- Stephen

-- Sent from my Palm Pre
On 28 Aug 2010 7:00 p.m., Jon Ippolito <jippolito at maine.edu> wrote: 

Apologies if this study has been mentioned in the discussion already. It would seem the only 21st-century technologies at use in most classrooms are based on 18th-century politics.

"Report: US teachers use tech to manage, not educate, students"


Blogs, wikis, videoconferencing? "No thanks," say most professors; "PeopleSoft and PowerPoint will do."

American universities have taken fire recently, from tenured academics like Andrew Hacker who claim its lost sight of its liberal arts mission, to college drop-outs like Bill Gates who think students can learn everything they need from the Web (this from the guy who thought the Internet would never amount to much).

Classroom technology to the rescue, proposes a new government report entitled "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology." Not so fast, counters a recent national study. This assessment, the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, found that most professors who turn to technology gravitate to tech that helps them administer classes, like Blackboard and PeopleSoft, rather than technology that empowers student expression and feedback.

"Only 13 percent of the professors surveyed said they used blogs in teaching; 12 percent had tried videoconferencing; and 13 percent gave interactive quizzes using "clickers," or TV-remotelike devices that let students respond and get feedback instantaneously. The one technology that most teachers use regularly--course-management systems--focuses mostly on housekeeping tasks like handing out assignments or keeping track of student grades. The survey, answered by 4,600 professors nationwide, did not ask about PowerPoint, which anecdotal evidence suggests is ubiquitous as a replacement for overhead and slide projectors."


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