While I host this Training and Development blog and use the occasional guest blogger, it is my hope that you will appreciate the other point of views.
“It has been my experience as a professional educator that the teaching and training industry can be an inconsistent one. The industry is certainly dynamic – but the education/study boards, committees, government departments, etc. are constantly re-writing the basic philosophies of teaching and learning, based on the current “fashionable” research. Despite the “advances” in curriculum development and delivery, it is quite a challenge for teachers to actually keep up. Concerns have been, and are now being, raised by the teaching fraternity that a large percentage of educators do not feel well supported when it comes to implementing curriculum and pedagogical changes. Now, throw the latest technology into the equation, and…
“It is difficult to immediately deal with the pre-existing culture of education. The transition from rote learning to self-directed exploring of concepts is a slow one. Will technology aid this process? Will the educational philosophy and focus change to, once again, embrace the retro views of previous decades? What effects, if any, do mobile technologies have on handwriting, spelling, language and extension concepts? These are the questions that should be at the forefront of any investigation into using mobile technologies in the classroom. Unfortunately, there are no definitive answers as yet. Research into this area is still new and has not yet resolved into conclusions that educators can base solid plans on. Of course, progressive education and innovation demands the incorporation of technology and ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) into all areas of the curriculum. However, with quality of education in mind, I go back to asking the above questions.
“In addition to philosophies of learning comes the issue of staffing classrooms with quality personnel. Without teachers who can explore concepts and motivate learners, stocking classrooms with the latest devices will have very little impact. Without teachers who can themselves spell and use language in a grammatically correct manner, communication will suffer regardless of the device used.
“The Australian National Curriculum (ANC) has been written to commence language and number concepts in Early Years (also called Prep). What used to be Grade One (Age 5-6) material should now be covered at Age 4-5, according to the ANC document, and similarly throughout all the years of Early Phase of Learning. This, to me, is a recognition of and response to the generation of teachers who have not had the benefit of a solid grounding in language and number, based in a stable, consistent curriculum. The overt focus (which commenced 5-8 years ago in Australia) on the embedding of ICTs into every subject’s curriculum may have been the catalyst for the degrading of the classical ‘three Rs’. It seems education systems in Australia have recognised this and are taking steps to ensure the next generation of teachers can spell, add and be creative in using applicable technology. Australia is finally following trends that have already played out internationally. Traditionally, Australian education ideologies have been 5 years behind those of the US and UK.
“So far it has sounded as if mobile technologies should not be used in the classroom right? Well, here comes the ‘but’…
“I love technology! I use it every day. I actually create and help develop apps for use on iPad, iPhone and iPod. I also love education and training. I have been a teacher all my professional life – right up to the present day. Technology is the way of the future. It is inevitable that it will impact upon every facet of business, education, training and networking. However, users should, and must, be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of mobile technologies.
- Mobile learning and training can improve the service you offer to your clients/learners. For example training can more readily be conducted on site or from the home, rather than learners/employees travelling to a training venue.
- More powerful solutions can link directly into office or work-based networks making the training experience very relevant to the learner’s role.
- Greater flexibility in working and training. For example, training might still be able to take place while a learner is travelling, or even at home.
- Users are able to connect to other learners around the globe increasing discussion, interaction and perspective.
- In Australia, there is a lack of network coverage in rural and some regional areas. This severely limits the use of mobile devices.
- Some learners lack technological “know-how” or are more apprehensive about technology when undertaking study or training.
- There are costs involved in setting up the equipment and training required to make use of mobile devices, as well as ongoing costs for upgrades.
- Mobile devices can expose valuable data to unauthorised people if proper precautions are not taken or followed.
“Decades ago educators were sceptical at how the desktop computer would play a role in education. Now tablet computers and smart phones have become the dominant communication devices. Social networks are accelerating contact, networking and information to a wide and varied audience faster than ever. It is up to trainers and educators to navigate these networks and to find appropriate, creative and mature levels of thinking and questioning which facilitate the use of mobile devices, rather than have mobile devices dominate education and training.”