The use of technology within teaching and learning has been daunting for a number of academics, including myself. It is quite challenging to move away from a strategy that you are used to and that is completely within your comfort zone for something that it completely foreign, and in most cases, taking your power away. Take writing on a board, for example. Some of us are used to making use of colour and drawings as we go along, while the focus is on yourself rather than being on a slide or image. That might be what you are comfortable with, as opposed to, say, PowerPoint where you have little control over external influences. The moment someone asks you a question not covered by slide, the rhythm of your teaching might be off, something that has made a number of presenters, whether academics or not, a bit squeamish. Then there is the age old dilemma… how much to put on a slide? Too much? Too little? Which sources do you use? Images or no images? Wouldn’t the session seem rigid? It should be planned, surely, but doesn’t the slides cause restrictions? Students will focus on the slides, and not the actual presentation… they will be busy copying the slides instead of engaging in the class… And from another perspective… preparing the slides… another, often confusing, aspect. Copy, paste. Credit. Open sourced. Copyright. Things one doesn’t worry about when you have creative freedom. Smartboards… an intriguing concept, and one that can be seen as a bit more flexible and fun. Of course there are many other options available, which may assist in the reaching process, especially in teaching and learning, online… blackboard is an example. Although I do understand that online learning is an actual reality and that it can be beneficial for teaching and learning, it does make me uneasy in the sense that everybody is connected, but in a sense the human element is missing, which is an integral aspect of the learning process. Being in the actual presence of a person is just so much more rewarding, from my perspective. Seeing the thought processes evolve in an actual group with actual pens and paper just creates a sense of comradery, and a sense of cohesion. The actual output of online groups might be the same as that of a tangible group, but the interaction and human capital are lacking to a certain extent. Yes, technology is a necessary evil, and we should move with the times, but it should not displace or void the original ideas, systems and processes that have proved to be successful. Reinvent the wheel, but don’t discard it.
All images are copyright free and easily accessible from Pixabay.