Developing vision for teaching with technology

Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, May 30, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I guess it's not a workshop unless it has flipcharts, but that quirk aside, I think Tony Bates has the right idea in pushing academics to try to imagine learning beyond the current context. "Probably the most serious problem we have identified is the general lack of imagination about the possibilities of technology for meeting the needs of today's students," he writes. The response to this, he proposes, is a scenario-building exercise that compels academics to envision different possibilities. "The purpose of scenarios is to develop a way of identifying future possible academic goals and outcomes that are facilitated by or made possible through the use of technology." But it's not automatic. "Many faculty have been badly burned in the past when trying to innovate on an individual basis, so there is often a deep cynicism about such ‘blue sky' thinking and particularly the institution's capacity to support innovative ideas about teaching and learning. Institutional leadership and support for the process is absolutely critical, as is the input of learning technology and IT support staff."
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