“We can’t shape what we don’t understand, and what we don’t understand and use ends up shaping us.” ~ Catarina Mota
I always need to take a deep sigh when working with some newly minted Instructional Designers and Faculty. Especially those who want to load courses up with the latest and greatest tools, instead of matching learning outcome and student skills to the most appropriate methodologies. Maybe I am just from the “old school” of curricular design, but one of the things that I tell my students in their “Introduction to Instructional Design” course is that a pencil is a piece of technology and in some cases it is the most appropriate technology for a learning event.
The current environment is rich with accessible tools and techniques that can be adapted for teaching and learning. Unfortunately, there are so many options, and the pressure to be seen as an innovator so strong in some circles, that curricular mismatches and student overloads occur. For example, I was talking to a faculty member a couple of days ago who wanted to add three different Web 2.0/3.0 tools that (s)he had never worked with before integrating them to a course that starts in a week. After much “politically correct” conversation that continual references back to learning outcomes and the baseline skills of the students, the three tools were abandoned and a single technology successfully used the previous term was added. This change in approach reduced the stress level of the faculty member and seamlessly integrated the technological tool into the course.
Now I will get off my “soap box”. If you have a moment view the following French commercial. In less than a minute it humorously demonstrates my point about the use of technology for technology sake.