Three days into my course (first module H808 – the eLearning professional) and a couple of things have struck me. The first is what an interesting mix of people are studying with me. The forums are already buzzing and there are people from all kinds of backgrounds with different perspectives. This is particularly useful for me because I belong to a very specialised field of education – we coach people to pass professional exams. This requires a very specific approach and we can get quite narrow in our perspective. It will be great to learn from people in the vast field that is education.
The second is that I have a steep learning curve in terms of familiarisation with technology. Given that I was born (just) in the sixties, I consider myself reasonably tech-savvy. Funnily enough, this is a fairly recent thing for me. I wasn’t particularly into technology for many years, but got a big wake-up call three years ago when I suddenly realised what a profound transformation we were going through. I was particularly inspired by a Robert Scoble blog post Scoble has a productivity problem and set myself the goal of being, and being seen to be, an early adopter of technology at work.
On the whole, this has been successful. I am comfortable with the common web tools like Twitter and Google Reader and am reasonably good with Excel and Powerpoint. I feel I know where to look if I need help or instructions. At work, I am a go-to person on these matters, and the faculty lead on projects connected with social networking and digital gaming. I am proud that I will shortly be a guest blogger for The Accountant magazine , representing the world of accounting education.
But perhaps I have become complacent. On the forums, people my age and older are enthusiastically comparing the merits of diigo and delicious, chatting about their experiments with Google+, and other tools which I am vaguely aware of but have never used.
These tools are always less daunting to use than they seem at first and using new technology is much like any other skill – the more you do it, the better you get at it. One of my development objectives for this course is definitely to get out a bit nearer than I am to the cutting edge.
Postscript – educators are so often enthusiastic adopters of new technology as I am seeing. In that case, why is educational practice as a whole so conservative and resistant to change? Maybe another blog post in that…