This session (recording here) was fast moving and seemed to work OK after a messy start. It was definitely “one of those days” with respect to me and technology! I had to log out and clear my Java cache because everything was freezing on me. I have had a few issues like this recently and I suspect that there is some conflict caused by the new client provided for remote access to my workplace network. I have also been having a few problems with font sizes changing when I upload Powerpoints to whiteboards. I have concluded that this could be because I am using a mix of 2003 & 2007 Powerpoint versions to edit and then saving in 2003 format but Elluminate is using 2007 version to upload.
We often hear criticism that those of us educators that are “into” technology use it for its own sake rather than to enhance learning. This seemed to me to be an interesting topic to explore, and one that would make for a good “Talk Time” session, hence “Tech For Tech’s Sake”.
The session began with a drag and drop activity to take a look at what we understand to be technology – this in itself showed how interpretations vary from person to person. We then moved on to consider whether we as individuals felt that we had personally used technology for its own sake. There were a majority of us who felt that we had! We moved on to a whiteboard to explore the underlying reasons beneath our perception that we were sometimes using technology for technology’s sake rather than specifically for learning enhancement.
In fact most of the reasons we came up with seemed to be the underpinnings most of us use to enhance learning with just a few having different purposes. These included using the technology to: become eligible for funding opportunities; impress others; work paperless. Another reason that seemed not quite to fall into enhancing learning was that of providing access to remote or other students who would not be able to particpate at all otherwise. Following on from the reasons for using technology we took a brief look at which technology we use, with a consideration of whether we sometimes try and use too many different things.
Considering the “good” and “bad” possible impacts of using the technology for reasons not specifically related to enhancing learning gave us more “good” than “bad” impacts.The final conclusion was that almost everyone felt that there either were, or might be, good reasons for using technology in our teaching other than enhancing the learning.
I am never sure how well these kinds of discussion really work. I always try to make them very structured within a framwork of stimulus questions. Then keep them on topic and moving on quite fast. This is because in my opinion they otherwise become too much like the Serendipity Sessions which are intended to be fairly unstructured discussions and to “go wherever they go”. My usual problem (especially when there are several people not using microphones) is to get audio input from others and then to make that judgement call about how long to let silences go before starting to talk again. I have noticed that when there are 2-3 people without microphones or having audio issues then more people migrate to chat as the preferred interaction – the chat was very busy in this session. When this happens I often feel that I am (as usual) talking too much! However I do feel I have to keep some audio happening because: active chat is very difficult to follow for people relatively new to Elluminate especially if they don’t know how to change the windows for a larger chat space; long silences unless prewarned tend to give people the impression that their audio output has stopped working. So I have a continual juggling act with myself to try and “get it right”. I am very aware that I can’t possibly “please all of the people all of the time” but I am still trying.
Our next Webinar is an Edublogs Serendipity – unconference session so bring along your hot topics and burning issues (what makes you spit with anger or thump a tub with passion) and throw them into the melting pot for the poll to choose our topic in the first ten minutes.
Join us on Thursday April 29th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (7pm USA EST, Midnight BST) or Friday April 30th at 1am CEST,7am West Aus, 9am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room