My colleagues at HKU published a new book entitled: Educational Technologies in Medical and Health Sciences Education (http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319082745). I went to their book launch seminar.
I firstly have to admit that I am not a fan of technology and quite a late adopter. I used to perceive technology to be of marginal use in education. Whenever there is a chance, I always like to use post-it notes to facilitate discussion rather than an e-board or something electronic. However, with all these young generations being the native technology people, I feel that I cannot always bury my head in the sand.
There are some interesting observations and discussions from the book launch seminar:
- Authenticity and situated learning
The use of videos and other multi-media technologies seems to bring more authenticity to the problem-based learning, especially in medical health education. I am convinced in this aspect.
2. Social dimensions
This is the point that I am struggling with. On one hand, technology could provide a different social learning process, for example, students can communicate through online conference, virtual concept maps and various e-tools to co-construct something, like a collaborative knowledge building process. It could be more convenient and faster. On the other hand, I still feel that nothing can beat the face-to-face discussion. It is so awkward that students sitting around a table all looking at their computer and communicating there. Why not just talk to the group? I am not convinced in this aspect yet. I could only see the benefits for this if students are located in different places.
3. What will be the changes in assessment in technology-enhanced learning?
This is something very difficult to answer. On one hand, you can say that with the electronic evidence and data, teachers will be better informed of students’ performance and give timely feedback. On the other hand, we are so unsure about how to assess some of the students’ work in the technology-enhanced form, for example, a collaboratively written document or concept map.
4. Are we pushing students to surface learning?
This is a great point brought out by the book editor, Dr. Susan Bridges (also my colleague). She said (I paraphrased) that the pace of learning becomes so quick and just-in-time in a technology-enhanced learning environment and will this push students to use more surface learning approaches?
I do have this concern. When our young generations (and maybe us too) are already so used to social media, quick news updates, twitter, and other fast things and when their attention span becomes shorter and shorter, are we contributing in this trend by making learning so fast-paced?
I don’t know about others but I still enjoy my book reading time in weekends (not e-book, not through internet, I mean the real paper back books) and I read slowly, sometimes back and forth, to allow me sometime to think.