Tag Archives: Technology

To tech, or not to tech? That is the question!

To tech, or not to tech? That is the question!

At seminars, conferences, and workshops recently, my attention has once again been drawn to the technology debate. I was asked why I blog and how often, if I feel it is important to have an online presence, and how exactly I harness technology for teaching, training and learning purposes.

To coin Bax’s ‘Normalisation’ term, for me personally, technology is so embedded into my day-to-day, that I use it automatically without giving it a second thought, just as I do a pair of glasses.

The bottom line, is that I like tech, so I have an inherent curiosity to explore what it can do for me, if it can facilitate my teaching practice, and more specifically, how. This is greatly reflected in my teaching and training, and furthermore, I endeavour to transmit this at talks, in the classroom, and in online teaching and training context. I understand that digital tools will not appeal to everyone, but if fear is present, then the watershed between being a technophobe and a tech user will become more ingrained. That is not to say that digital tools can provide all the answers to our pedagogical goals and challenges, but my message here is that if we don’t even give them an opportunity and experiment, then we will never discover what tech could do for us, and more importantly our learners, whether they themselves are millennials, screenagers, digital natives or non-tech users.

So, in answer to the questions above, I blog when I have time and when I have ideas and/or reflections I would like to share. I feel an online presence supports who I am and what I do. It enables people to gain a sense of the development ideas I am interested in and I feel I am contributing to the online community that so many of us take for granted when curating resources and ideas. As I have previously said, I like to experiment with technology, so I share any new ideas I discover or learn from others in my teaching and training contexts as and where appropriate.

To tech, or not to tech? The answer is up to you!

Bax on “normalisation” at UCLAN

“As we seek to learn in this brave new digital world…how can we blend technology with human intervention in the most productive way?”

At a recent conference at the University of Central Lancaster (UCLAN), Professor Steven Bax opened his talk with this question. He went on to discuss the “normalisation” of technology once we as humans go beyond the ‘wow’ factor (Murray & Barnes 1988).

Bax argues that normalisation is achieved once technology becomes invisible and integrated into our teaching and learning practices without it being noticed. Obviously we as educators, and our learners are aware that technology is being used, but normalisation suggests that it is imbedded in such a way that it becomes unnoticed and a part of part of normalised practice, thereby supporting learning invisibly without a conscious thought.

In this way, it can be argued that more teaching and learning is achieved because the real pedagogical value of activities is considered, and the learning becomes the priority, rather than the servant, in a paradigm where technology is considered the master. Therefore, learning is maximised and the technology provides an optimum contribution to achieve this.

As individuals, Bax notes seven stages of normalisation and characteristics of users of technology:

  1. Early adopters
  2. Ignorance/scepticism
  3. Try once (find no real advantage)
  4. Try again
  5. Fear/awe/excessive dependence
  6. Normalising
  7. Normalisation

Normalisation of technology seems to be more prominent in society today due to the rise of electronic devices. However, as I reach for my glasses to step away from my screen to go make a coffee, I depend on another technology that has long become normalised in my life. I’m sure when they were first invented, glasses also had a wow factor too!

Reflective Practice

Exams Catalunya: Using the principles of Reflective Practice to improve oral skills.

The notion of reflective practice where teachers and students spend time reflecting on their performance in order to develop clear goals for improving is a very powerful one. Too often learners repeat activities in class without any focused ideas about what they want to change or improve.

This seminar looks at using technology to give learners instant feedback on their performance in speaking activities and explore how they can be guided towards formulating learning objectives to extend their learning and oral skills. This practice helps motivate students in an engaging way and will encourage them to take ownership of their learning and develop their confidence and learner autonomy.

The slides from the seminar can be viewed here:

Exams Catalunya