Love technology more

One of the common arguments I hear when discussing e-learning is that ‘pedagogy should come first’, and ‘we shouldn’t be enamoured by technology.’ This is difficult to disagree with and everyone nods sagely when its said. However one of three responses occur to me when it’s said:

i) "If I hear that again, I’ll effing scream."

ii)"It’s an excuse not to engage with technology, by claiming the higher ground of pedagogy."

iii) "No, no, no – we need to be enamoured by technology more. I don’t sit around with a pile of pedagogies waiting for a technological breakthrough. Rather what happens is that I see a good technology and I think – I could use that to do X. For instance, I didn’t know I wanted social bookmarking until I saw delicious, and then I instantly saw the educational possibilities."

Just to be contrary – Instead of creating a course by starting with learning objectives, or pedagogy, I wonder what it would be like to ask ‘what are the ten coolest technologies?’ and then construct a course around them. My guess is that it would be as pedagogically sound as the more worthy approaches and maybe a bit more fun. So, my new slogan is ‘do the technology, the pedagogy will follow’. Expect to see it on t-shirts soon…

2 Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more Martin. Excessive blinkered focus on ‘learning objectives or pedagogy’ leads ultimately to content free courses.

  2. Not sure I agree with this Martin. Sure pedagogy first is an easy target, after all education is politically and policy driven so pedagogy is often not the first consideration at all levels.
    Technology is an odd area though and I would want to add a couple of comments:
    1. Technology is not some independent force it is social by nature. Who will ‘take’ these technologies and how will they appropriate them?
    2. When I have been involved either in re-design or building a course from scratch I think I start from ‘what do I want to achieve’. This would be a complex of motivations and it would immediately be modified by thinking what resources do I have in terms of people time and technologies to achieve this.
    So OK pedagogy first is a reasonable target but placing the technology in the driving seat might not be the answer.

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