Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Learning Design

Learning Design has been a very interesting module. Presnky's article on Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants has, in my opinion, hit the nail on the head in outlining that there is a gap between our teachers and students these days. As Presnky (2001) states, "today's students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors." If this is the case, then it is imperative that our teachers 'catch up' with our students. Today's teachers can accept that there is a gap, and become Digital Immigrants, or they can continue using the same teaching styles and remain Digitally Ignorant. Prensky(2001) states "Smart adult immigrants accept that they don't know about their new world and take advantage of their kids to help them learn and integrate."
Our course, Manging E-learning, is a course which is set out to try and bridge the gap between our Teachers and Students. It is presenting us with various tools that we can all take with us in our careers as teachers, or any career for that matter, as it is aimed to get us back in touch with the 'e-world' and therefore 'keep up' with our students.
The issue of Cyber safety is a complex one. How do we tackle this issue in our learning environments? I certainly do not have all the answers, but being aware of this issue instead of pretending it does not happen is certainly a start. At this point in time the only way that I can see us tackling this problem is to ensure that the ICT's that our students are using are being monitored correctly. We would certainly need to work with parents on these issues. Aggregators could certainly play a part in this, as it would help teachers monitor what is being written on any Blogs, WIKI's etc that have been tasked to students. As for outside of the classroom, as previously stated, teachers need to try and work with parents. Schools could hold information nights for parents and offer to teach them all about ways that they can monitor and get more involved in their children's Internet use.
This then brings us to the Access and Equity section of our module. Of course there will be families out there that do not have access to the Internet and all it has to offer due to their socio-economic situation.
When asked what I would do with a magic wand to try and fix the problems that face some of our disadvantaged students, my first thought was funding. Its a given that if all schools were allocated the same amount of funding, there would not be these differences and disadvantages. The second is educating. We need to educate the 'powers that be' in how important online learning is for today's students. As spoken about in the Web 2.0Technologies section of our module, with all that the World Wide Web has to offer, for eg. students able to access various volumes of encyclopedia's, books and even the opinion of an overseas university professor, would it not be a more financially viable decision to buy the computers rather then the textbooks? It would not surprise me, if in the not too distant future, the majority of text books are accessed online anyway.

The Engagement Theory was another topic that really interested me. I absolutely agree with the opinions presented in the report 'Engage Me or Enrage Me',(Prensky 2005) however there was one point in this article that did make me ask myself whether we are going too far down the path of making sure that our students are constantly engaged, and missing one key lesson in life. Prensky (2005) says that "In school..rather then being empowered to choose what they want....and to see what interests them....and to create their own personalized identity.....-as they are in the rest of their lives- in school, they must eat what they are served." It is a fact of life, that sometimes, you must just 'eat what you are served'. When discussing the topic of engaging our students, I believe that we still need to be mindful of teaching them the basic respect and discipline that they will need to get through the rest of their lives. There are going to be times when something they are required to do does not fully engage them, but should they then just walk out on it or refuse to participate? There seems to be, in my opinion, a fine line between constantly ensuring our students are engaged, and preparing them for the 'real world'. However, if we do not begin by engaging them, we will not have the opportunity to teach them anything, including respect and discipline.


CQUniversity Australia (2009, T2) FAHE 11001 - Managing E-Learning. Rockhapmton, QLD, Australia: Author.

Prensky, M. (2005) Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved July 3, 2009, from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf

, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retreived July 3, 2009, from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky - Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants - Part1.pdf

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