Sunday, 25 September 2011

Online collaboration v research

For the past few months, I've wholly believed in the power of networking and the benefits that collaborative working can bring.  For example, being able to connect to other educators via the internet - and in particular Twitter - has meant that I'm frequently exposed to, or directed to, tools which may enhance the learning experience for my students.  On an almost daily basic, I'm clicking on links to educators' websites or blog posts which help me think about how I teach and what I could do differently.  This is highly valuable to me, and I don't doubt will continue to influence my teaching and own learning for some time.

However, starting back on my MA course this month, and being involved in a course delivered under the UHOVI project has reminded me how essential it is for me to read reports and publications from key bodies within the industry - such as BECTA (abolished earlier this year), JISC and so on.  Whilst my online colleagues can provide me with instant examples and ideas, as well as workable solutions to problems and an insight into what has worked for them, there is no substitute for the critical, in depth reading that is available from bigger organisations with a wider remit.

Today I have read (and thoroughly enjoyed) "Emerging Technologies for Learning" published by Becta in 2006.  It hasn't given me immediate ideas for the classroom, but it has given me a broad overview of some of the key areas of growth.  As it is some years old now, I can see how Becta had a thorough view of what was to come and how many of their suggestions (such as the BBC's then non-existent iPlayer) are already mainstream now.  It's provided me with much food for thought, and taken me away from the immediate question of 'how can I make this interesting' to thinking more broadly about teaching strategies and how education is changing in today's world.

So, note to self:  "continue to read beyond what might seem necessary, and search out those interesting articles to broaden my own understanding of changing pedagogy in a digital world".

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