dinsdag 12 oktober 2010

Where to start? The combination of flexibility, pedagogy and technology

The last few weeks I’ve posted some information on my weblog. This information can easily be split in three main topics:
- flexibility
- pedagogy
- technology
These different topics interact and influence each other because you (as a teacher) use them all during your lessons. The main question that rises is: How can you combine these three aspects to get the best results? I’ll explain my vision in the following section.

When I thought of a combination of flexibility, pedagogy and technology I always chose pedagogy as my main starting point. I chose for example inquiry learning, thought of the characteristics and how it could be made more flexible and how it could be supported by technology. But I experienced that you could also take another starting point, for example the technology part.

I used to think that technology should be adapted to the pedagogy a teacher uses, but the way technology is used can also influence the pedagogy of the teacher. When for example some difficult topics can be practiced in an online game, rather than in a book, the teacher has to adapt her pedagogy to the technology that is given. When he/she has to adapt his/her teaching style, he/she also has to decide which degree of flexibility he/she offers to the students. When he/she is used to work with online learning games, he/she would give more freedom than when it’s completely new to him/her.
The phenomenon of technology as a starting point was experienced by us in the last lecture about technology. Petra gave us a digital camera and we had to think how we could implement this kind of technology in several subjects and the teaching style of teachers.

You can also look from a different perspective, namely the flexibility part. When students need more freedom and flexibility because they want to study in their own pace, they have to travel a lot etc, you have to adapt your degree of flexibility to the wishes of the students. It also happens that a University wants to promote their flexibility, for example to students from abroad. In that case, the pedagogy needs to be adapted to the degree of flexibility that is promised to the students. When the pedagogy is adapted to the kind of flexibility, you also have to adapt your technology to the flexibility and the kind of pedagogy that is used.

So, the combination of these three main elements can be interpreted in very many ways. I think it’s important to look at the context and circumstances because they play a main role. When your context is clear, you can decide what your starting point will be. After that you will adapt the other two elements to this basic starting point. There’s also a possibility that this starting point can change over time because the context and the participants will change along the way. A regular update of your context and needs will be necessary to create and to make a good combination of the three factors for the most successful results.

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