Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Changing institutions on July 17 2009

I have not been publishing or commenting on very much as late due to my impending move to Lingnan University in Hong Kong. I am taking up the position of Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre there on September 1 2009.

Hopefully, this will give me even greater incentive, and maybe time, to publish more about the use of learning technologies for enhancing the design of teaching and learning, particularly in regard to adoping an outcomes-based approach.

On another matter, the impact of Swine Flu or Mexican Flu or whichever name you are using in your country offers real opportunities for changing practice. Here in Hong Kong, the experience with SARS (the wikipedia entry seems reasonably correct on this matter means that the HK government is very cautious and is closing schools across the territory. All of the students are being sent home, but the teaching and learning continues! Teachers have not been sent home and are required to report for work. They are expected to continue to assist their students to accomplish the learning goals for the semester. After a week of worksheets being emailed to students, change is setting in.

The learning technology gurus and early adopters in the schools have suddenly become the most popular people to know - the question, how do we (the teachers) make this more interesting and actually develop activities that are more engaging (e.g., using student-generated audio and podcasts for language learning) and motivating for students? The learning technologists I know have their time completely filled meeting requests for 'how to (skills)', and 'how can (pedagogy)' I (the teacher) make my teaching more interesting, engaging and meaningful to students.

The same happened when SARS closed down the universities and schools in 2003. (see Chan, D., McNaught, C. & Cheng, R. (Eds). (2003). Narratives of teaching and learning in the time of SARS. Education Research Journal, 18(2).) However, there is little evidence that the impact of those changes on practice were adopted full time once the crisis had passed.

We can but hope that the changes this time might be more substantive. Having gained more confidence, people continue to develop their pedagogical knowledge and learning technology skills in the future.