Monday, 1 March 2010

Hype cycle

It's not news but is very interesting. From the Times Higher Edcation Supplement:

Second Life out as techies embrace cloud email

20 August 2009, By Zoë Corbyn

Virtual worlds are about to plunge into a "trough of disillusionment", lecture podcasts are fast becoming obsolete, but cloud computing will soon be on the "slope of enlightenment".
These are the findings of an analysis of the "hype cycle" of technology in education, published by Gartner, an IT advisory firm.
The annual study looks at the popularity of emerging technologies, from internet TV and e-books to microblogging sites such as Twitter, across a range of sectors. It tracks their progression as a function of expectations.
The cycle ranges from over-enthusiasm as technology is hyped, through a period of disillusionment when it fails to deliver, via a slope of enlightenment to a "plateau of productivity", as users learn how best to employ it.
The results for the education sector provide some interesting insights.

And an even interesting input can be found in he comments on the actual report. Some quotes:
"What is both unbelievable and incredible frustrating, is higher education's lack of focus and research towards developing suitable means for digital learning. One could expect these institutions to have enough integrity and knowledge not to just jump on any wave of hype: LMS, Blogs, Wikis, Podcast etc, and after a while find themselves surrounded by more or less useless digital means for teaching and learning. Why are these institutions not developing proper applications for specific learning goals? Why do they, again and again, think that what we have, or can find on the web, is what should be used? Development and design of applications for learning and teaching is an art in it self, and the matter needs to be addressed as such. …"

"I find this article and the comments on it quite remarkable. Not one of the contributors considers whether educational technology is based on anything we know about learning; and not one considers what kind of learning might ensue. There is a underlying suggestion that knowledge is the same as understanding; and not even a hint of the simple fact that the makers of IT are in it for the same reason as the makers of corflakes. …"

"…But then, it is unfortunately common to this day to think that learning and teaching are almost self-evident activities, and it is rare to come across accounts of the use of technology in an educational setting, written by people who are conversant with the literature on learning, and who have a reasonably viable theory of it. What therefore prompts the introduction of technology into educational settings is, usually, not how it might dovetail with what has been established about the nature of learning, but a general belief that, as technology can be used for washing laundry and mixing cement, and in that way ease our lives, so technology can also be used to ease learning. A very great deal of money is used in this illusionary way, but then, this is only one among the many illusions we all live by."
Eric Sotto

"The last two posters get to the heart of the problem. The best lectures and practicals are ones that capture the students imagination and encourage them to take part and "do" things. Information delivery is important but subsidiary. I kid you not but I have seen a good educator captivate a group of sixty students using nothing but a whiteboard. I have also seen good and novel use of IT but IT is just a tool."

"I think that the use of virtual worlds have yet to be integrated into a pedagogy and design that is integrated in a mixed reality form of education. I think that alone they are only a piece. One of the critical pieces for virtual worlds adoption is intuitive input devices which will enable an ease of use. I think disillusionment is with the current generation, cost, options, and maturity of technology. What has not kept up with the technology is instructional models and designs that do not set the use of technology apart but integrates it into instructional spaces where it is appropriate. :"
Paulette Robinson

read the full story here

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