GoogleTranslate Service

Beyond the Virtual Classroom

February 6th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

Every day now, I get invitations to participate in online seminars, courses and events. For free. And if I took up every invitation from my Twitter feed, I could spend all day participating in online learning events. Whilst somewhat overwhelming, it is a very big step forward. One of my complaints about Technology Enhanced Learning has been that it has provided more opportunities for those who already have opportunities, whilst ignoring those not enrolled on a formal course or programme at an institution. Now everyone can take part, provided they have access to a computer and bandwidth.

However, I still have issues with the design and pedagogic approach of the applications being used to provide such online learning. We still seem overly hung up with the metaphor of the classroom. True, whenever developing innovation we tend to fall back on the previous paradigm, in this case of the classroom and then try to express that paradigm through new technologies. For me one of the big issues is control. whilst I have mainly used Elluminate for online seminars and have somehow grown quite fond of the programme, it has its irritations. Hand raising if you wish to speak seems so elearning 1.0.

But you can get round these restriction in Elluminate through the settings. the whiteboard can be transformed into a collective area for sharing pictures and text. The microphone can be opened to allow four simultaneous speakers, thus, at least in smaller groups, alleviating the need for handraising.

Last week I had a look at WizIQ. It would be interesting, I thought, to try another system. And WizIQ runs in a browser, thus overcoming potential firewall restriction on installing the Elluminate Java client. I have to say I was disappointed in how far they had gone in replicating both a classroom and teacher control. No one can speak without permission. The moderator is called a teacher (that put me off straight away). The aim seems to be to preserve teacher control. Surely this is at odds with the changes which Web2.0 and elearning 2.o is bringing, focusing on more participant led learning, with the role of a teacher becoming that of facilitating, scaffolding and supporting learning.

Educational technology is not pedagogically neutral. All technology makes pedagogic assumptions, whether these aare epxlicit opr implicit. And the message from WizIQ seems to be to sit down, be quiet and listen tot he teacher.

4 Responses to “Beyond the Virtual Classroom”

  1. Simon says:

    I think WiZiQ can be adapted for more participation. Their premium service offers more flexibility in giving control to the learners, although in my experience having several microphones on simultaneously produces a lot of echo. It is definitely a platform better suited for an “expert” to give a presentation – rather like an Instant Presenter with more functionality. But it does depend how you use it to a certain extent.

    One thing I do like about WiZiQ though is the networking aspect, and the huge variety of learning opportunities available (many of them free). I definitely prefer the Elluminate platform to work with, although it doesn’t provide the networking opportunities for learners and “teachers” (sorry, did I use a dirty word 😉 Elluminate is of course much more of an investment, but then, you get what you pay for. WiZiQ offers a lot, considering it’s free.

  2. John Pallister says:

    Found myself thinking about where the web-enabled ‘teaching’ bit fits in with the PLE, what proportion of a learners time might be spent being ‘taught’/collaborating in this type of environment and what proportion of their time might they be operating on auto-learning-pilot – and what proportion would be spent face to face? – crystal ball required!

  3. Jsnet Hale says:

    I see your point(s) regarding blending the “old” with the “new.” The teacher’s role is changing, some grasping the newness better than others. There has always been a synergy between learning and teaching. If one seperates the two to consider the recent past, current, and future “look” of this synergy, teachers/professors/facilitators still are primarily responsible for determining what students (whether 6, 16, 36, or 56 years old) need to cognitively know and be able to do (i.e., learning). The biggest shift is in the “teaching,” the “how” this learning takes place and is measured, which given the expotential possibilities for 21st century “teaching” provides forums wherein students become more actively involved in the both the teaching, and when possible or appropriate, the expansion of the planned learning.

  4. Janet Hale says:

    When typing at 6AM, fingers slip! Proper name for post is: Janet Hale.

  • Search

    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.

    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @John__Field Boost digital skills or leave workforce “ill-equipped for jobs of the future”, Open Knowledge Foundation warns…

    About 2 days ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for Android

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories