Educational Development

the "enablement" principle

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In an email discussion with Terry Morris today, we talked about the enablement principle in teaching. We are devising a way to integrate the Networked Learning workshops into other teaching technology workshops, starting with the ones Terry is offering.

I really admire Terry's concept of starting off with what the participants generally already know well - that being traditional teaching methods. He then takes those methods and relates them to a particular communication technology - such as Internet broadcasting...

The introductory discussion of current teaching practices and a broad conceptual view of ICTs such as "Internet broadcasting" sits well with me. But even in the Networked Learning workshops, I have difficulty when it comes down to a specific technology. My difficulty is mostly to do with enablement. I want to find a way where participants feel enabled to choose their own technology and not be limited by what we or our employer says we should use. Is there an in between step that "should" be taken before we endorse by teaching Elluminate, Blogger, or MS Producer?

In a way enabling participants of the NetLearning workshops to choose their own technology is easy, because the criteria for the technologies are that they have to be free, web based and easy to use applications. Being free and web based obviously means that the participants can try out and swap around before settliing on the one for them.. easy to use is more subjective of course. The goal is to become fluent and confident in trying things out.

So for example:

eMail lists: We look at the history of their use, relate it to current teaching practices, then look at what free and web based serices are available. It is about here that I have trouble. It is hard not to just say "I think Google Groups is the best, so we should us it". Especially when it is clear that the younger ones probably prefer MSN groups, Yahoo groups, or MySpaces, not to mention the others who would prefer to host their own email list software!

1 Responses to “the "enablement" principle”

  1. Blogger bronwyn 

    yes I agree Leigh, Terry Morris has some very good ideas. Did you know the DEANZ conference is using enabling as a theme this people are catching on, possibly because Derek Wenmouth is part of DEANZ and has been infiltrating...:))

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