Effective practice in a digital age
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This publication is designed for those in further and higher education whose focus is on designing and supporting learning: academic staff, lecturers, tutors and learning support staff, facilitators, learning technologists and staff developers. What unites this diverse group is their interest in enhancing the quality of learning and teaching, and a curiosity about how technology can assist them.
Much has changed since the publication of Effective Practice with e-Learning (JISC, 2004) – the first edition of this guide. National strategies for e-learning have now formally recognised the importance of technology in learning, teaching and assessment in all sectors of education in the UK, and in response many institutions have embedded the enhancement of learning and teaching through technology into their strategic missions.
As revealed by JISC research, the social context in which learning takes place has also changed, and in ways that were not foreseen in the early part of the 21st century. Learners are increasingly dependent on technology to help them fit learning into their complex, demanding lives. Ownership of personal technologies – from computers to mobile devices – is now pervasive, and use of the internet, including Web 2.0 technologies, is commonplace.
Many learners expect to be able to access their personal technologies in institutional environments, and to personalise technologies provided for them by institutions. Flexible access to resources with opportunities for formative assessment and feedback are considered essential to support learning. Equally important is the ability to extend communicative and collaborative activity beyond the classroom.
For practitioners, the rapid adoption of technology presents many challenges but, by the same token, rich opportunities for enhancing their practice. Rather than replacing the teacher, technology has in many ways increased the focus on pedagogic skills. The art of the practitioner as instigator, designer and animateur remains key to the process of learning.
Effective Practice in a Digital Age, like its predecessor, is a guide for those who seek to understand better how to integrate technology into their teaching. The focus is primarily on institutionally based blended practice, while recognising that in some cases learners may be studying partially or wholly at a distance and/or engaged in self-directed collaborative learning as part of a taught curriculum.
This publication combines the outcomes of research with examples of current practice. To reflect the different starting points of readers, the case studies are divided into colour-coded sections to indicate the different degrees of access to technology and institutional support that practitioners may experience. Definitions of acronyms and technical terms are provided in the glossary. The publication can be ordered in hard copy or downloaded in PDF and accessible text-only formats. All resources associated with this publication can be downloaded for use in educational contexts.