"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Friday, 12 April 2013

Does technology really save time?

Image by Jeff Werner
During the course of this week I had a really interesting conversation with one of my colleagues about how she was using Moodle to save time. Her faculty normally would have printed out reams of paper so the students would have all the handbooks, campus information and so on. Instead of printing it all out she has uploaded all this information to the course Moodle site and now the students can access it if they need it. It probably took less time to upload it than it would have waiting for the photocopier to print it all out. Sustainability in action!! At TAFE we are always looking for ways to be more efficient and I think this teacher has done just that. Technology can be our friend when it comes to sustainability but does it take more time to do so?

In my experience yes and no. Yes in that once you have created the technology to engage in a process that will help students you only have to do it the once and then you can reuse the resource over and over again. No in that it takes time to produce the resource in the first place. This term I have tried to record my lectures and post them on my class Moodle page. Teaching on 5 courses has meant a lot of recording and to be honest I haven't kept up. In fact I plan to 'catch up' in the holidays. So I guess with all my work and family commitments time got me in the end. However, the feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. Those who were away found it to be great and also those studying for exams. Now that I have produced them I can use them again in second semester or if I want to change them I can. Technology gives you that flexibility. 

I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons like anything and work it in to fit with what you are doing. I often say to teachers that technology is just a tool. You need to use the right learning tool to get the job done. It's important to remember that we are not 'entertaining' our students with technology. Joe Bower writes on his blog. 

 " Too many uses of technology doubles down on the assumption that the learner is a passive receptacle that knowledge must be dumped into."

There is much research that supports the use of experiential learning and students should really  have the opportunity to explore, develop and grow through a number of teaching methods and not be entertained or have information dumped on them as though they are an empty vessel or 'passive receptacle'. It's important to be time efficient and maximize the time we have in preparation so I guess I will continue to work on getting the balance right. 

Image by ginnerobots
Looking forward to these two weeks of school holidays and hope to recharge the batteries. Looking forward to catching up on some reading and attending to some of the books that have been sitting on my bedside table all term.

Favorite sites for the week,

Making mistakes

Can technology replace teachers?

Teach Amazing

Until next week,

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