A few years ago, the Chief Scientist of Australia, Professor Ian Chubb tasked the Australian Council of Learned Academies to consider which technologies were the most promising for Australia to pursue. Leading academics from the humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering and technology disciplines responded with a narrative that described a way of thinking and an approach suitable for the nation1. Among other points, they note:
“The adoption of new technology and its effective use depends on people with diverse skills playing a variety of roles.” (p. viii)
“Accepting that failure can occur in any attempt to do something new and removing its stigma will facilitate and accelerate technology development and adoption.” (p. xi)
How should UNE select which educational technologies to trial?
It is in that spirit of collectivism and experimentation that ILTAG met recently. We discussed learning technology categories and types, the criteria that could be useful to move us from ‘discovery’ to ‘lets evaluate’ and how we partner with the many UNE experts, groups and stakeholders. We also discussed how we systematically consult and analyse the many technologies that may be useful for UNE.
With this in mind, we are trialing a decision-making approach and software that will assist in collectively evaluating and prioritizing the adoption of new learning technologies (including Learning Management Systems, Applications and IT Equipment). Proposed technologies are compared according to the following criteria:
- Level of innovation
- UNE Staff
- UNE students
- Suitability to support specific teaching and learning activities
- Assessing learners
- Designing for learning
- Engaging learners
- Technology features and functions
- Ease of use/simplicity
- Student-centredness of the technology
- Supports improvements in productivity
Will this approach work? Are the technologies we’re reviewing the best of the bunch?
We simply don’t know yet. What we do know, is that we can’t afford to wait and gamble on past technologies that may or may not suit the future needs of our students. The more we practice innovating, the better we’ll get at.
If you would like to know more, or have comments or perspectives to provide, please make contact with a member of ILTAG:
Dr Greg Winslett (Chair)
Dr Amy Lykins
Dr Janelle Wilkes
Dr Julie Collins
Ms Kay Hempsall
Associate Professor Lillian Corbin
Ms Lynda Cooper
Ms Melanie Pittard
Dr Sue Gregory
Ms Sue Whale
Dr William Billingsley
1 Robert C. Williamson, Michelle Nic Raghnaill, Kirsty Douglas and Dana Sanchez, Technology and Australia’s future: New technologies and their role in Australia’s security, cultural, democratic, social and economic systems, Australian Council of Learned Academies, September 2015.