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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
'I went to [a course management software workshop] and came away with the idea that the greatest thing you could do with that is put your syllabus on the Web and that's an awful lot of technology to hand the students a piece of paper at the start of the semester and say keep track of it,' said one. 'What are the gains for students by bringing IT into the class? There isn't any. You could teach all of chemistry with a whiteboard. I really don't think you need IT or anything beyond a pencil and a paper,' said another."

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/11/1240254/professors-rejecting-classroom-technology
 
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Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
 

Maybe you should check out Khan academy on TED:

There is also many talks and conferences by Seigmor Paper talking about technology in the IT Class. As weird as it sounds, he actually makes sense.

Syllabus online does and doesn't make sense at the same time. For one, is not present on the classroom so a out of sight out mind effect would be aparent.

IT like projectors is by no mean an out of sight, since we are all watching a color-enhanced presentation on a topic. So Lectures with 'powerpoint' could be a first stop. Of course, hardware is expensive, even if you are using free software like OpenOffice Impress.

But to start, some lessons would not need to been 'redrawn' on the whiteboard each time. However when you introduce projectors and files, you are partially encpsulating a lesson, if you have an actual audio recording of each lesson, then you could have an even more complementary and shareable learning object.  I would call this a medium value approach to the teacher.

This is what Moodle start doing, which is acomodating and organzing your learning objects into a program and cycles doing some heavy lifting. As teachers, there are key activities that teachers love to hate, like grading, so doing IT on this regards would be much more appreciated than just looking at the "paper pencil and whiteboard" paradigm. Dominating this, would be a strong value for the teacher.

 
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Matt Bury
Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

This could be an interesting discussion! smile

I haven't seen any hard data on this (Who would want to advertise their lousy courses?!) but I've read reports claiming rates of learner attrition on elearning being anywhere up to 7 times higher than the equivalent face to face courses. On the other hand, I've heard wonderful things about some specific online courses.

In my opinion, I don't think the medium is the message. I think the medium, modes of delivery, syllabus, curriculum, learner support, instructional scaffolding, learning community, etc. are all equally critical in the success of courses both online and face to face.

I can see where a professor, who may have spent years developing an effective recipe, might be reluctant to change the recipe for the sake of pleasing some IT guys.

 
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Picture of Scott Milne
Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
 

You can teach anything with a whiteboard. . .or before that, a blackboard.  And before that, well, I am old but not that old.

Moodle is not a replacement for teachers, but rather a tool for teachers.  It enables organisation of courses, discussion between students and teachers, resources to be shared in a variety of formats.  Am I surprised that electronic-only courses have lower completion rates?  No.  But properly used, technology can enhance the learning experience for students, not replace it.

The first thing I ask when introducing something new into my teaching is "is this going to benefit the students?"  If it is, I will give it a go.  If it doesn't pan out, then hey, part of reflective practice is working out what works and what doesn't.

I pretty much agree with you Matt - an effective teacher is one with or without the technology, but that doesn't mean the technology is something we should blame or avoid.

 
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Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
 

I can see where a professor, who may have spent years developing an effective recipe, might be reluctant to change the recipe for the sake of pleasing some IT guys.

I can see why a teacher wont want to change the recepie, however as a first stance I dont think is necesary for him to change it. Thia recepie might not include everything, not everything is teaching. A lot has to be undesrstood about quality of comunication, counseling, motivation and other intangibles that a teacher most be competent.

Teachers also has to do a lot more than teaching, like grading, carring notebooks, preparring the class (even if its the same of last year).

Some of the value will have to do with the skillset that the teacher already has.

I doubt they wont see a point on integrating IT, when the teacher dont even use computers on its daily life. A teacher that ha never taken an online course, would see little value in teaching through an online course (or a blended course).

At the moment most IT districts have newwsletters, LMS, and e-resources that the teache most interact with the unions, and educational districts.

Just to say, the educational curriculum and teacher books are available on PDF most of the time, in most countries. Once it become mandatory as the only version, they will be pushed to consume these resources.

That said, I see a great opportunity on making testing easier for specific subjects. Say physics or chemistry, is challenging to do anotations like this one:

$$ \sqrt{344} $$ or $$ \frac{d}{d3}2$$

or molarity probles like this one:

morality quizz

is challenging even to this day. Even with MathML support, most users cant process these formulas on the computer itself, not to mention the lack of authoring editors that are natively supported on the browser. Even here it use an external Java Applet.

In that point, I agree that pencil and paper still a better way to proceed without "disrupting" the procurement process.

 
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Matt Bury
Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I remember particiapting in a discussion where the question arose, "What is technology? How do we define it?" Someone came up with the answer,

"It's whatever was invented after we were born."

Pencils and affordable paper were new technology once.

Socrates(?) lamented the invention of writing. Thought it detracted from the essence of learning which he saw as in the dialogue between learners and teacher.

Let's not limit our perspectives to IT.

 
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Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
 

Mastering a technique or technology usually makes the difference on how useful is to us. However we also tend to re-create what we have done through different mediums, as opposed to rethink the whole perspective of teaching.

This is what seymour papert discussed onc, about, 'we dont have a pencil room', why do we have a 'computer room'?

Also criticizing that since computers where invented, a computer room make sense because economical reasons and also, teaching teachers how to use it.

Magisterial (school for teachers) have been widely criticized for not properly training teachers to teach with technology. Which means that they will see 'traditional techniques' before 'technological techniques'.

There is also a risk of seen the same thing we have now in technology as a whole, students are tought proprietary technology, and they go on to demand proprietary technology as opposed to tools for it. Hence the term, "industry standard". Having teachers demanding blackboard and be in a complete lost when schools have moodle, just like it happens with Gimp vs Photoshop and Linux vs Windows, or even OpenOffice vs MSO.

Then again thats a different conversation altogether.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Rhyming with Scott and Alexandro.

It is not about a (new) medium, not about making somebody happy (administration, PR, IT guys, students). The argument for IT is, if it is heavily used in that particular subject area at that particular level (independent of the class room) then it is natural to use IT also in lessons. Otherwise not necessarily - the teacher is 'fcourse free to choose the tools like everything else.

Matt
In this subthread I want to limit the word technology to IT in general and LMS in particular as in the original discussion http://www.informationweek.com/education/instructional-it/classroom-technology-faces-skeptics-at-r/240148217.

If at all possible, I would also keep the area and level of this discussion to sciences and engineering at tertiary level. I fear, we will be discussing about different things otherwise.

BTW, I find the slashdot discussion http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/11/1240254/professors-rejecting-classroom-technology is exceptionally good.
 
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Matt Bury
Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I think one aspect of what we're discussing is entrenched beliefs and behaviour...

The issue is that anxiety and stress correlate strongly with entrenched beliefs and behaviour, and teaching ranks high on the lists of stressful professions (according to surveys). Even if they do get some decent training, how much are they capable of assimilating it in any useful meaningful way? I don't think the phenomenon is limited to IT/LMS/etc. adoption. For me, it comes under the wing of in service on going professional development: If they're heavily stressed already or it stresses them out, they ain't gonna learn to use it; doesn't matter if it's a pencil or a computer.

An interesting snippet I read, can't remember where (tut tut! I must cite and give credit where it's due!) that the typical scenario in many schools and colleges is that around 95% of the budget goes on hardware and software and only the remainder goes on teacher and support staff training on how to actually use it. I guess that's why we need a room to store all those unused computers :P

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I've been to CMS workshops where you could get this idea as well.  

The irony is these guys are from research based insitutions and they sometimes won't bother to read research on an issue.

-Derek

 
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