With the appropriate use of technology, learning can be made more active, social and learner-centred – but the uses of IT are driven by pedagogy, not technology
Oblinger and Oblinger, 2005
Elsewhere in this guide we have stressed the importance of co-ordinated strategies that link the efforts (and capabilities) of our staff with the buildings that we build and the technologies that we deploy. These three threads of activity are deeply intertwined and the effect of each is amplified by co-ordinating its development with the other two.
However, there is no argument that the fastest moving of these three is technology. And in the context of building technology-rich learning spaces it is technology, due to its greater rate of development and change, that stands to lose if its trends and directions are not considered in new build and refurbishment projects. Hence the need to look at some trends here.
A Hype Cycle is a graphic representation of the maturity, adoption and business application of specific technologies. The concept was developed by the Gartner Group who state that hype cycles aim to separate the hype from the reality, and help decision makers to decide whether or not a particular technology is ready for adoption.
Technologies for learning
Information technology is allowing instructors to finally remove the yoke of expository lecture, freeing them to work with students in more intellectually challenging ways.
Graetz and Goliber, 2002
There is general agreement, quite rightly, that technology should be the servant and not the master – ICT should facilitate better learning and better teaching. If, as expressed elsewhere, learning and teaching are conversation-centred then technology, especially the C in ICT, can enable conversations and develop a sense of community that is broader than the classroom.
Technology can be used to extend the conversations of the classroom to the broader learning experiences of self-directed learning, individual and group learning extending the classroom into the student residence, library, and home.
The journey we travel is one of technology that is ubiquitous, useful, and used naturally by teachers and learners to enhance their experience. But it is journey and not a destination. Some of the ideas on technology and its development may help you in designing technologies into your learning spaces – rather than bolting them on later.
Students appreciate being able to work in their own way; the technology affords both privacy and also differentiation.
Margaret Weaver, University of Cumbria