June 9, 2008, by Teaching at Nottingham

Normalising e-learning

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Matthew Nilan: “I’m quite a technologically aware person, but I also like to be aware of the, sort of, anxieties people have about, you know, even about the word ‘technology.’

“So I think it’s important to make them feel at ease about what they do, and to remind them about what they – the sort of, practices they have embedded in their day-to-day life.

“I mean, email’s the obvious one, but it’s not that long ago that people didn’t even know what email was, and I’m certainly one of those.

“So people forget that they actually are quite technologically competent people, and so I think e-learning, in that sense, can be quite an off-putting term, because they think, oh, that’s going to be, sort of, entirely different from the learning I’m involved in, you know, it’s e-learning.

“Whereas I think we’re partly interested in the idea of taking the ‘e’ off e-learning, because the technology should be a natural part of it, in the way that some technologies are a natural part of our everyday lives anyway, now.”

Do Coyle: “What we want is for the projects to just become normalised into regular practice, so that they’re no longer projects. They’re just part of what you would normally do.

“That requires a lot of support and encouragement of all the issues that have been discussed already, in terms of networking, support, time management, all those things needed to be brought together. And what emerged from our early, sort of, analysis of what was really happening on the ground was that the mentor was in that, sort of, pivotal role, in terms of sustaining all the different projects.”

Rolf Wiesemes: “We had the ePioneers Forum a while ago, and there seemed to be a real buzz. I think, or what seemed to be happening then was really that people involved in the ePioneers project, and all the people involved, they were really thinking, well, this is quite interesting. This is really interesting stuff that we’re able to do.

“I don’t know whether that necessarily reflects everything that’s going on within the school, but I think, what it probably does reflect is the, sort of, wider topic of technology becoming more and more embedded in learning and teaching.”

Show and Tell event – staff sharing their work with colleagues.

Rolf: “So I guess, at this point, I’m starting to think more about pedagogy, whereas before, I wouldn’t really have been able to do that, because I was too, sort of, focused on, how do I produce this thing, first of all, and where do I put it, and so on?”

Do: “During the ePioneer initiative, I think, generally, people were more aware of what possibilities there might be to incorporating other technologies into their work. And whilst I’m anxious to not just – not overemphasise the role of technology in all of this, because it really was to do with process, nonetheless, if I take another concrete example of videoconferencing, now, it’s becoming normal and usual for a wide range of people to use the videoconferencing facilities that we have in the school, for many, many different reasons.”

Gordon Joyes: “There’s a much wider community who are doing e-learning. It’s not just restricted to a few early adopters. The majority are doing e-learning. They’re doing e-learning, you know. And Administrators, oh, hang on a minute, they’re doing e-learning?

“Of course they are, because they’re actually using technology to support the experience of the students, you know, and that’s, I think, been a change, the way that people can see the value that they have within our community.”

In conversation with: 
Do Coyle, Gordon JoyesMatthew Nilan, Rolf Wiesemes (School of Education).

Extracts from interviews with staff who are starting to use technology in their teaching, and those who are mentoring them. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s ePioneers collection. Produced June 2008.

Posted in Integrating technologyTools