Thursday, November 27, 2008

Learners re-shaping learning landscapes: New directions for old challenges?

In a couple of days I am off to present at the ASCILITE conference in Melbourne, Australia, and am really looking forward to it - should be very interesting. Below is the full version of the paper that I will be presenting, and if you click this link it will take you to a copy of the PowerPoint presentation in Slideshare. I'll give an overview of the conference once I've arrived :-)

Please cite as: Owen, H. (2008). Learners re-shaping learning landscapes: New directions for old challenges? In Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008.

The sheer inevitability and momentum of global adoption of all forms of technology has engendered a range of responses from wholehearted welcome and exploitation, to denial and anger . Consequently, the education landscape has been shifting, although not in the colossal, earth-rending manner that was initially envisaged. Information, Communication Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) has progressively continued to evolve and mature, embedded in an increasing foundation of research. One key benefit identified in this process is the inclusiveness and fluidity that can be built into ICTELT experiences, especially when they occur within a collaborative community. This paper explores an example of how ICT was used to adapt part of an existing ‘problematic’ curriculum in a way that helped address central issues, encouraged collective learning and enabled learners. In the Foundations programme at Dubai Men’s College (DMC) students find the conventions of academic writing, and the requirement to improve their proficiency, challenging, especially as they are also struggling with the transition from secondary to tertiary education, and their own changing identities. The framework of existing Communities of Learning (CoL) was employed to introduce a blended, scaffolded approach that aimed to assist students with academic writing, as well as assisting their transition to more self-directed, confident learning. The design and implementation of the interventions is described, and a brief overview of the results of the associated research study is given, along with recommendations for educators wishing to adopt a similar approach.


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