Technology and its Benefits to the Overall Learning Experience

This week we were asked to answer the following questions:
• What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?
• What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?
• What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?
• What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?
I can remember when I decided to go back to college after taking a four year break and thinking to myself, “this should be simple”. I thought that because I remember just going to class and listening to lectures then go home and read chapters and write a paper. Well, something I didn’t foresee though was that getting back into school required a computer and some knowledge of how to use it which I was already seriously faking at work. I learned a lot on the fly, but now I had to do it again and this time I was being graded. Technology plays a huge part in all learning these days because the resources it provides is unavoidable. So when I got back into school it was a struggle to get used to typing everything instead of writing. I still brought a pad of paper and a pen, but being we were on the computer so much during class that going back and forth was a burden. Then I switched to online completely and that was all technology, sink or swim. Online classrooms were still young then, but we had to use them daily and it forced you to live online. Today is no different.
“Technology can enhance literacy development, impact language acquisition, provide greater access to information, support learning, motivate students, and enhance their self-esteem” (O’Hara & Pritchard, 2014). Enhance is the keyword here because educators are always looking for ways to enhance or unlock better learning methods and technology is the key to that door. With technology added to the mix of learning educators can teacher students with different learning styles much more effective than ever before.
Before an instructor decides to insert any type of technology into their classroom they should consider their audience. Who are they teaching and how much experience do they have in the online environment? You need to know this because second on the list is the comfort of the instructor with teaching a class in the environment that is needed. Without that comfort level it will be difficult for the instructor to teach others how to use it themselves if they are not proficient. . “The effect of technology on students’ access to knowledge is determined by the pedagogical knowledge and skill of teachers. “The effect of technology on students’ access to knowledge is determined by the pedagogical knowledge and skill of teachers” (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2005).
As to the effects of usability and accessibility I fell that was answered previously being the student and teacher needs to have the knowledge or an understanding of the technology for it to be effective. It will be like me when I first started having to learn as I go which isn’t too bad if you have a great mentor, if not you will sink to the bottom and it will be a terrible experience that could cause the learner to give up.
I find that there are only a couple online technologies that impress me, one being Adobe Connect software allowing you to hold live meetings, classes, recorded session and face to face interviews. It is able to show videos live and recorded, have embedded polls and games for interactive activities, places for chatting with the class and presentation space even allowing you to split everyone into groups that only assigned participants can see. I enjoy using this software for everything and I hope every company I work for uses it. Another technology Blackboard which I want to learn and become proficient with as my back up to Adobe Connect because it is an entire classroom that can be used anytime by anyone almost like going to a building where you can find information and receive help. I feel it is superior to Adobe in this aspect but because of its capabilities.
References:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/what-impact-technology-learning/
http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te600.htm

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2 thoughts on “Technology and its Benefits to the Overall Learning Experience

  1. Eric,

    I agree that teachers can use technology to teach students with different learning styles much more effectively than before technology was as good as it is now. I also agree that the experience of the audience is of paramount importance. Teaching someone who already knows how to retrieve email how to retrieve email is going to be frustrating for the student and a waste of their time. On the other hand, if you have a large mix of experience in the classroom, there needs to be a way to have the more advanced students complete more challenging assignments and/or help the less experienced students.

    1. Eric,

      I can identify with the difficulty of going back to school and the adjustment of using technology online. I’m no stranger to technology, but there were still a lot of little habits I had to do differently. I was accustomed to printing everything out at a brick and mortar college, and so my first few classes that’s also what I did. One class had no textbooks, just a bunch of articles and journals, and I’d spend hours printing everything out before I really asked myself what I was doing and why.

      I also agree with your comment about making sure your audience is being considered when you decide what technology to use. Educational learning and fulfilling objectives occurs within a certain context, and some of that context you can’t control, but you can account for it.

      I also like Adobe Connect and all the rest of the Adobe products. AC makes it easy to connect with others and collaborate. I don’t see it too much in an academic setting though. What are your thoughts to get students to use that technology more often?

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