A holistic approach to designing for learning: A vision for the future

Conole, Grainne (2010). A holistic approach to designing for learning: A vision for the future. In: Annual International CODE Symposium, 18 Feb 2010, Chiba, Japan.

URL: http://cloudworks.ac.uk/index.php/cloud/view/2695


The pace of current technological advancement is phenomenal. In the last few years we have seen the emergence of ever more sophisticated gaming technologies, rich, immersive virtual worlds and new social networking services that enable learners and teachers to connect and communicate in new ways. The pace of change looks set to continue as annual Horizon reports testify (http://www.nmc.org/horizon) and as encapsulated in the following quote from the NSF-report on cyberlearning:
Imagine a high school student in the year 2015. She has grown up in a world where learning is as accessible through technologies at home as it is in the classroom, and digital content is as real to her as paper, lab equipment, or textbooks. At school, she and her classmates engage in creative problem-solving activities by manipulating simulations in a virtual laboratory or by downloading and analyzing visualizations of real- time data from remote sensors. Away from the classroom, she has seamless access to school materials and homework assignments using inexpensive mobile technologies. She continues to collaborate with her classmates in virtual environments that allow not only social interaction with each other but also rich connections with a wealth of supplementary content' (Borgeman et al., 2008: 7).
Clearly new technologies offer much in an educational context, with the promise of flexible, personalised and student-centred learning. Indeed research over the past few years, looking at learners' use of technologies, has given us a rich picture of how learners of all ages are appropriating new tools within their own context, mixing different applications for finding/managing information and for communicating with others (Sharpe and Beetham, 2010).
This paper explores the question: 'What is likely to be the impact of an increasingly 'open' technologically mediated learning environment on learning and teaching in the future? In a world where content and expertise is often free and where services are shifting to the 'cloud', what are the implications for education? Materials for the paper and the presentation at the conference will be made available via our Cloudworks site for learning and teaching (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/index.php/cloud/view/2695.html) along with a set of questions for consideration. The paper draws on research at the Open University, UK. In particular, our work on:
– Learning Design (where we are developing tools and resources to help teachers design better learning experiences)
– Open Educational Resources (through our OLnet initiative which provides a global research network for those interested in using Open Educational Resources).

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