Desde hace un año más o menos, los canadienses George Siemens (University of Manitoba) y Peter Tittenberger (Athabasca University) están elaborando en forma de wiki un manual de las tecnologías emergentes para el aprendizaje: Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning (HETL), que va dirigido a educadores que estén pensando en incorporar las nuevas tecnologías en su actividad profesional.
La obra ha llegado a un punto de madurez suficiente, de modo que han decidido poner a disposición de todos una primera versión del HETL en pdf descargable. Este es el índice de este útil texto en términos de conceptualización:
Introduction. How is education to fulfill its societal role of clarifying confusion when tools of control over information creation and dissemination rest in the hands of learners, contributing to the growing complexity and confusion of information abundance?
Change Pressures and Trends. Global, political, social, technological, and educational change pressures are disrupting the traditional role (and possibly design) of universities. Higher education faces a «re-balancing» in response to growing points of tension along the following fault lines…
What we know about learning. Over the last century, educator’s understanding of the process and act of learning has advanced considerably.
Technology, Teaching, and Learning. Technology is concerned with «designing aids and tools to perfect the mind». As a means of extending the sometimes limited reach of humanity, technology has been prominent in communication and learning. Technology has also played a role in classrooms through the use of movies, recorded video lectures, and overhead projectors. Emerging technology use is growing in communication and in creating, sharing, and interacting around content.
Media and technology. A transition from epistemology (knowledge) to ontology (being) suggests media and technology need to be employed to serve in the development of learners capable of participating in complex environments.
Change cycles and future patterns. It is not uncommon for theorists and thinkers to declare some variation of the theme «change is the only constant». Surprisingly, in an era where change is prominent, change itself has not been developed as a field of study. Why do systems change? Why do entire societies move from one governing philosophy to another? How does change occur within universities?
New Learners? New Educators? New Skills? New literacies (based on abundance of information and the significant changes brought about technology) are needed. Rather than conceiving literacy as a singular concept, a multi-literacy view is warranted.
Tools. Each tool possesses multiple affordances. Blogs, for example, can be used for personal reflection and interaction. Wikis are well suited for collaborative work and brainstorming. Social networks tools are effective for the formation of learning and social networks. Matching affordances of a particular tool with learning activities is an important design and teaching activity
Research. Evaluating the effectiveness of technology use in teaching and learning brings to mind Albert Einstein’s statement: «Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted». When we begin to consider the impact and effectiveness of technology in the teaching and learning process, obvious questions arise: «How do we measure effectiveness? Is it time spent in a classroom? Is it a function of test scores? Is it about learning? Or understanding?»
Conclusion. Through a process of active experimentation, the academy’s role in society will emerge as a prominent sensemaking and knowledge expansion institution, reflecting of the needs of learners and society while maintaining its role as a transformative agent in pursuit of humanity’s highest ideals.