Friday, August 11, 2006

I have listened to many presentations at Conferences and Seminars and listened to academics presenting their use of technology in their teaching and learning process, whether it is the use of communication technologies such as teleconferencing (being general here) or the Internet. Each time it still left me wanting. There is something still missing in all this endeavours. Then it struck me! What was the problem? That's what it is. Nobody actually cited the problem, the real reason why they decided to embark on a certain technology!!

So if you are testing or piloting some new thingy, whay are you doing it. If you are trying to introduce something new in terms of the use of an equipment in a teaching process and find out that it is NOT well received by the students, don't you wonder WHY? Well, you can actually do some kind of questionnaire and present the percentages of students who liked it and those who don't. So what? And we are excited that 50% of the class liked it. Huh? what about the other 50% who DIDN'T like it??

This brings us back to the definition of technology. Yeah, right, we are going to take a BIG step backwards before we put another step forward. Well, what is the definition of technology?

Technology has a number of characteristics. Did you know that? Technology involves DESIGN!!. In fact, at the CENTRE of technology lies DESIGN. The design process in technology is a sequential process which
  • begins with the perception of a need,
  • continues with the formulation of a specification,
  • the generation of ideas and a final solution, and
  • ends with an evaluation of the solution.
Did you have all these four characteristics before you embarked on using any technology at all? When you have conformed to this, you will never be off-based!!

Further, Technology involves MAKING!!
This is so powerful and it relates to the whole point of the process of education which is engagement, constructing and activity. The motivating factor behind all technological activity is the desire to fulfil a need.

This is where our usage of technology breaks down, WHOSE need are we fulfiling? the students? the headmaster? the politicians? the businessman? the education system??

For this reason all designs should be made or realised - whether that be through prototype, batch- or mass- production or some form of three-dimensional or computer model - if the need is to be truly fulfilled, the design is to be legitimately evaluated, and the design activity is to have been purposeful and worthwhile.

Try it .. ask yourself all these questions next time you look at a piece of equipment, say a computer ... and ask all these statements and answer them in your own context. Tell us in the Forum or any feedback that meet your requirements. Talk to you again ....... have fun ..


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