Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World
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1 Comment

  1. Ushma Ushma
    September 9, 2014    

    “…use of high powered social networks can and will be associated with increased engagement, but to do so, these tools must be skillfully woven into the objectives, assessments and activities of the course.”

    I found myself nodding along fervently to this last paragraph.

    Morris and Parker, like many contemporary researchers and educators seem to be dazzled by the glamour and popularity of social media and its role in increasing student engagement.

    While I wholeheartedly agree that appropriate use of technology/social networks can be a powerful teaching tool in traditional and online classrooms, learning to use a new software/social network/online platform can also create more confusion among students – and actually take away from the course content if students (and often, educators) are fumbling with the technology over the course of a short semester.

    In the Morris and Parker (2014) article you referenced, they concede that “usage alone does not produce a community experience, as was expected by the instructor”. I was both surprised and amused by the instructor’s expectation – having been on both sides of the technology-based teaching-learning continuum, I have come to realize that the use of technology in and of itself means nothing. It is the skillful curriculum design and implementation of teaching strategies weaving these technologies into purposeful learning activities that determines whether the technology supports or draws students away from the intended teaching-learning goals.

    Much like a book or novel that rambles on without leading to a final climax – if the technology does not serve to reconcile learners with their learning goals, it will only confuse, irritate or bewilder them.

    Your point about skillfully weaving technology into the course work rings true especially today when there are social networks cropping up literally dime-a-dozen all over the internet.

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