How technology has moved on. I happened to stumble across and old episode of “Little House On The Prairie” – “Crossed Connections” The episode covered the implementation of the “telephone” in Walnut Grove in USA late 1800’s. Connections were made through a switchboard and an operator. How far we have moved on. I remember purchasing my first mobile phone back in the 90’s and at that time text messages weren’t even available.
Today the telephone can do so much. I remember when The Carphone Warehouse trained their staff on new developments within telephone technology and rolled out the first in new style telephone operators called “Firefly”, nowadays we rely on “Siri” by Apple or “Cortana” by Microsoft as our modern Day telephone operators. Technology moves so quickly we now do so much through our telephones and tablets. I have been teaching online now for just over a decade and in those ten years witnessing how technology has moved on in leaps and bounds to help the learning process is astonishing.
Lecturing online allows me to amass an unusual amount of international contacts. 95% of my students tend to keep in touch and are eager to sign up to new course I deliver. A large number of them are adult learners that sign in from all over the world in varying times zones. Some students use a laptop or computer but what I have noticed is that a fair number of them are learning through their smart phones or their tablets. The interface is not as strong if they were learning through the laptop and/or computer but they are learning all the same. For example some students may only have a text function to communicate, as the bandwidth may not be strong depending on their environment. In my first years of teaching online I conducted most of my classes through the chat method. These days we know that students like to learn with visual communication in addition to chat room functionality.
We should not rule learning through the Smartphone and/or tablet out. I believe this could very well be useful for those that are hearing impaired even visually impaired if we take sound into the equation. I am really interested in developing courses for the disabled through hands free telephones utilising voice activation. I know that learning through smart phones and tablets opens up a wealth of opportunities for different types of learners. We can reach so many with technology. It does not take away from one to one and/or face to face teaching but eLearning can be used to enhance experiences not necessarily take away from traditional teaching methods. Utilising technology in this way can be excellent in terms of combining technology with traditional methods otherwise known as “Blended Learning”, this is definitely a method that we will be exploring over the forthcoming months.
Watch this space.