When hundreds of educators from all over the earth gather to share current research about the integration of technology in education, the results are bound to be exciting and eLearn 2009 in Vancouver, B.C. has been no exception.
Research about Web 2.0 tools, education trends, learning theory, instructional design, content development and MORE are explained and discussed in dozens of concurrent sessions held day by day during the week long gathering.
The experience confirms my own educational experience is up-to-date. The questions I bring to the table are the same questions being researched around the planet. There are no easy answers but many useful tips are shedding light on the path ahead. Here are just a few encouraging highlights…
1. The digital divide is not just about personal access to technology in a remote region. We learned of many organizations who use technology to raise support for charitable efforts. Those efforts, in turn, benefit people who may still not enjoy direct access to the technology but who receive aide from the organization nonetheless. This needs to be considered when we discuss the digital divide.
2. Gaming research is demonstrating unique possibilities for online textbook design that engages students who need to conquer levels (chapters) in order to move on. They can cooperate online and share tips with one another as they learn the game (material). The possibilities are limitless.
3. Outside forces such as economic stress, are forcing the creation of networked communities in order to accomplish mutual goals and fulfill mutual needs. The communities themselves are distilling various Web 2.0 tools in order to simplify to the lowest common denominator, a platform for collective information and action.
4. Open sourcing, open education, and open publishing are flattening access to scholarship.
5. Technology is the answer. What was the question? The question concerns Wider Access, Higher Quality, and Lower Cost. These are the drivers of current Web 2.0 applications.
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Of course, the same questions many of us have been asking, remain. How do we motivate teachers to create network communities for professional development in light of the time barrier? Many researchers here are working on the creating of Bot Tutors to guide individuals according to the assessment of their aggregated work and present needs and future dreams. As computer processing speeds up, we will see the creation of computer generated simulations and suggestions customized to users based on such things. The future is now. We just need to get rid of the trees in order to see the forest. lol