Is Teaching & Learning PURELY WEB 2.0-wise a Must?

(Last Updated On: 12th December 2008)

A nice basic summary (in somewhat broken Russian, but that is not an issue, the content offsets this minor drawback) with a lot of unstated assumptions, though. The basic supposition is that the learners MUST do everything online, and the question that is unanswered is WHY they have to do so. What is the main reason for doing whatever task entirely online either solo or on a team? Isn’t that because the teacher finds that convenient? What about the students? Another thing that bugs me about the status quo is that e-learners are always required to produce TEXT or TEXT/GRAPHICS for assessment purposes. Why not a voice recording? It would save loads of time, which is one of the primary aims of any instructional design. Requiring learners to type everything up, especially their discussions, is inefficient, unnatural and in many ways inconsiderate – when students are required to work in groups in a conventional classroom, one of the premises is that as a learner you can hear only your own groupmates while you are working towards the completion of the task, moreover, you do not jot everything down – you NOTE DOWN THE SALIENT POINTS, and get to LISTEN to summaries of what the other groups have arrived at. Quintessential summaries are available for those who want to reread something, too, but the main thing is that it is SYNCHRONOUS INTERACTIVE SPEAKING & LISTENING (which can be either F2F, regular phone or computer-mediated, or a combination thereof) that is the least time-consuming mode of knowledge sharing and building to date provided you have something to share. If you’ve got nothing to say it is an entirely different kettle of fish. Now what happens online is that you spend ages texting back and forth within your group, then you produce a written summary, and everyone gets to read it. The bottom line is the question why the general approach is that the e-learner is DEAF-MUTE? Isn’t that because the teaching community is either too slow to exercise lateral thinking, or technophobic, or wants to play safe (teachers opt for tools THEY are comfortable with, the learner has no choice apart from the usual “take it or leave it”), whereas the student population is new to the environment and thus does not know what options there are in general, and, as a result, accepts what is on offer (what other choice do you have really if you are required to text-blog-wiki in order to pass the online course you have signed up for)? To sum up, I am not advocating for the other extreme, I am just trying to say that
1. using WEB 2.0 tools for the sake of using them should not replace genuine teaching and learning
2. the e-learner should be advised on the available media, their possibilities and limitations in the light of the e-learner’s individual learning style
3. the e-tutor should receive training in multimodal instructional task design

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Stacey

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