Thursday, 20 February 2014
On 'TEL' & Symantics...
In honesty, part of me thinks it's all a bit of nonsense and we should just get on with stuff rather than wasting time. The other side of me recognises that actually, the words we use are important because they portray meanings to different people, and as such, engagement can rely on this understanding.
A few years back, the term 'Technology Enhanced Learning' came into power after HEFCE (2009) suggested its predecessor ‘e-learning’ can "sometimes be too narrowly defined to describe fully the widespread use of learning technology in institutions".
Is 'Technology Enhanced Learning' any different?
For as much as we love the innovation taking place, I believe academic managers are more interested in the implementations that address significant (e.g. Faculty-wide) processes and problems, as I said when attempting to debunk the Horizon reports and provide a realistic view of the coming years in TEL.
With this in mind, things like addressing minimum standards doesn't really fit into the TEL terminology - it's not really 'enhancing learning' per sé. The same could arguably be said for lecture capture - these, two of the biggest areas of discussion across UK HE EdTech at the moment! Even when we think particular innovations do fit into the term TEL, does the technology actually enhance learning? Or is it the processes i.e. reflection, communication, collaboration; that are facilitated by technology?
@Lawrie was kind enough to share the reflections from the 52Group, which quotes Douglas Adams:
"We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works"
Their thoughts in preparing for the postdigital era suggest that, just as the Digital Clock is now seen simply as a clock, we are coming to an era whereby 'learning' is simply seen as learning. I've skimmed the short document but would recommend you have a look for yourself, but does the focus on technology (like separate TEL strategies, etc) actually hinder the implementation?
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So what do you think? Does it matter? Shall we just get on with it? Do we need to rethink the terminology we use yet again? I've come across various documents from other HEIs that seem to avoid TEL in favour of other terms....
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