This document is designed to stimulate a provocation around the subject of technologies in teaching and learning, drawing pedagogical, sociological and philosophical implications.
Like learning and education itself, it has no clear beginning or end and is deliberately disconnected so that meaning is constructed in a nonlinear and disorganized disturbance of normal convention.
It is presented as a set of aphorisms and maxims, which can be rejected or ultimately accepted and ideally stimulate speech. There is no question that technology improves the learning experience and no arguments for or against this are made.
It is also widely understood “… that technology is not just a neutral delivery vehicle” and that there are many structures and contradictions involved in these new standards.
Preparing the workforce and colleges for a digital future
FE should have been potentially well positioned to deal with current circumstances, given the pervasive influence of the FELTAG report which aimed to prepare the workforce and colleges for a digital future.
Breakdown is the mother of innovation. There are some in education who disregard or despise the use of technology, but if the teacher persists in creativity, the teacher becomes inventive.
Dismissing the role of technology in the learning experience is like swimming with one arm tied behind your back. To deny its function is to pretend that the arm is not even there.
The Gutenberg press has influenced our writing systems, shaped our very use of language, our ways of seeing and making sense of the world, etc. Our perceptions, reading, and understanding of life were radically and irreversibly encoded by a machine, which showed how much the medium was at least equal to the message.
Technology has the potential to shape our practice, but also to confront what education is and can be.
If nothing else, technologies are forcing us to re-evaluate the classroom as an environment and the relationships that surround it.
The online social world is developing communication, participation and identity, but these networks should not be tickets to a world that continues to be oppressive. A refusal to converge and interact is often a gesture of great resistance.
The modern world has quickly become a collection of systems that are often fluid, insecure, confusing, and confusing to navigate. Technologies can help young people make sense of all of this and it is the responsibility of educators to use these tools.
It is likely that the disturbance of this present moment will continue in a semi-permanent state; the overabundance of information can saturate without process: studying is not a consumer activity and requires action. Technology provides agency by enabling students to act on the larger world. VET providers need to make this wider social interaction the foundation for e-learning.
Plug in, switch on and off is the maxim of social media. Any modern conversation of teaching and learning must question the online ontology of passive consumption.
The âwalled gardenâ ELVs that FE institutions invest in do not reflect real-world life and are a futile training ground for administration. Teachers use them because institutions pay them; institutions pay them because data is digital gold; astute students are inherently suspicious of their mechanisms that have locked us into a self-monitoring Panopticon.
The VLE is not an environment for spirited learning and rather looks like a series of endless hallways and doors. At each domain, there is a keeper and an eye.
New environments and landscapes deserve an entirely new language and imagination for teaching and learning and the relationships at play.
But where we consider what is added and augmented by technology, we must also consider what is lost, as Mary Newbold reports in a Tweet about the pandemic:
Letâs not even contemplate this next level of alienation. Learning is a shared social experience that involves the entire body sensorium. We are more than spirits; this is what sets us apart from technologies that have become an extension of ourselves. https://t.co/sZe4hjmkxp
– Mary Newbold (@Mary__Newbold) May 3, 2020
While distance learning can be done, we should never underestimate the importance of physical environments for students – and more importantly, we must not allow politicians to fake what we have with further funding cuts, closures, or selling land and assets under the rationale of distance learning. We can have both.
While technology can improve access and peer learning, it should not become a sterile mass without personalization.
It is not in the realm of paranoia to imagine that complicit politicians (who do not understand teaching and learning or the peripheral participants of the FE student body) would replace all FE teachers with scripts, resource packs and automated âclick and goâ DIY training.
Consider the last online training you took. Was it worthy, was it touching, did it nurture your creativity, connect with others and learn ancillary matters of existential importance along the way, or did it been used to cut corners?
If parts of a subject cannot be reproduced in a technologically dynamic and humanly participatory form, then it is the programs themselves that must be changed.
Technologies can deterritorialize the curriculum and learning ground of many of its current constraints and there is no one, currently, who uses such usability tools to ensure that teachers are complicit in standardization or that students are emasculated . Teachers can teach independently if they are confident in themselves, but it takes a lot of training to teach online. good.
It’s no surprise to see unimaginative educators using the pandemic crisis to endorse rote memorization through technology at the cost of an online social experience.
Should we teach new knowledge through home learning? @daisychristo says we need to use this opportunity for review, recovery, and spaced rehearsal to consolidate learning in the short term, and that will show how role rehearsal has a long term role!
– Kaley Macis-Riley (@HoDandHeart) April 1, 2020
It is much easier to do repetition than socialism, play or creativity.
The first task is the ambiance and then the imagination. Much like the classroom, students don’t come online for rehearsal but for entertainment, playfulness, and the unexpected.
How can technology simulate the real world when the real world itself is artificial, imperfect, or contains inherent social inequalities that technologies should not reproduce by their users?
Inherent paradoxes govern online behavior:
- Autonomy, but governance
- A window onto a world of diversity, but of reflexive powerlessness
- Visibility, but surveillance
- Empowerment, but subjugation
- Individualism but conformism
“The cut worm forgives by the plow,” but a student who enters the world without being prepared or equipped to challenge and change it will never forgive his teachers.
FE must take up the new challenges presented to it.
Howard Scott, Senior Lecturer in Post-compulsory Education, University of Wolverhampton