Boring Tools vs Boring Instructors

I just finished reading this from Michele Martin’s blog:

“As adults we look at an empty cardboard box and see it as a storage device. Somewhere to put ‘stuff’. As children we looked at that same cardboard box and saw a plane. A car. A train. An adventure waiting to happen. What happened to our own creativity? It seems like we get confronted by a ‘virtual learning environment’ and think that’s enough. The learning will happen regardless of the effort we put into it. Wrong! So, so wrong! When eLearning works, it’s an amazing, interesting, vibrant, evolving, engaging, rich space. When it’s just a shell. A place to download PowerPoints… boy oh boy is it a sad bag.  Sarah Horrigan

One of the teaching patterns I observe again and again is the mundane use of dynamic technology tools. I can’t believe I am defending PowerPoint but one of the  reasons there is a backlash against PowerPoint is because presenters have chosen to replicate traditional handouts in PowerPoint slides when there are so many other features that could make this tool an interactive engaging communication tool. For example how many people have ever used the pointer options in slideshow mode to emphasize a statement or an illustration? It’s a basic option that can be easily activated in slideshow mode but I rarely see is used. We adopt the same monotonous patterns when using learning management systems to distribute course materials or communicate with students. Unprecedented commitments of money and time are wasted in creating repositories of resources in which the control of content is managed by the instructor. This reinforces the antiquated expression of learning as a passive activity of consumption rather than an interactive accountable construction of ideas and perspectives.




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