Following #octel

OK, so I’m not the type of person who likes to keep long personal logs or elaborate mindmaps of my thoughts. I prefer short 140 character tweets. I followed quite a few MOOCs already, finished half of them and ‘cheated’ on one because I wasn’t going to make such a concept map any way (#lak13). However, in this case I’d thought I’d make an exception. It’s for Octel, an open course in technology enhanced learning. It could easily be that this is both the first and the last post and I will continue via twitter but then it has been fun while it lasted. Will I learn new stuff? I don’t know. What I do know is that TEL has had my interest for many years

  1. Starting as a computer science and mathematics in 1998 I immediately started using quite a lot of technology in the classroom. With digital resources, a website, some dabblings with the first VLE’s (first versions of Moodle) and maths Java applets. First this was quite fragmented.
  2. I then started to participate in projects for techology and maths whereby we tried to design a genuine curriculum with these tools. So tools would not just be an add-on but have a place in the curriculum.
  3. In my later role as head of ICT I had to think about strategy and pedagogy: how are we going to use these tools? Can we entice teachers to use them? Why do they use them or don’t they want to use them? Although personally I think I was a frontrunner I have always thought that change should be gradual and almost develop organically. In a sense, if a lot of teachers aren’t sympathetic towards a certain change, it is OUR job to show what could be won by adopting it. And not grumble about teachers not wanting anything.
  4. In my PhD and now my work as lecturer at the University of Southampton (mathemetics education) the use and pedagogy involved with ICT tool use has a large role. I think I have some novel and explicite thoughts about this, but find that discussing these with others ‘sharpens the mind’. Thus Octel.

For me, the main question about TEL would be how to incorporate it in daily school practice, without being evangelical about it. Of course, some tools are nice and interesting to use, but do they give much in return for the investment. Wouldn’t a classroom discussion face-to-face be more efficient? When would TEL be beneficial? And would it be beneficial for everyone (social inclusion)? Not only the white upper class? How can we show teachers how you can use TEL, again, without being evangelical? And, finally, can we have the patience that is needed to integrate TEL or should we just wait and not do anything? Maybe change will come about any way, but not just tomorrow.