12 Pages

An Introduction to Rethinking Learning for a Digital Age

ByRhona Sharpe, Helen Beetham, Sara de Freitas and Gráinne Conole

This book is concerned with how learners experience learning in a technology rich age. ere is no doubt that for those of us living in the developed world, it is a world full of technology. Technology surrounds us and in the last decade advances in its availability and functionality have changed the way we communicate, nd information and even do our shopping. Educational institutions have invested heavily in technology, tting out computer laboratories, installing electronic whiteboards in classrooms and managed learning environments behind the scenes. Some of the technology that we nd in educational institutions is the same, or at least similar to, that found in society more generally but others are distinct to our academic practices. Where we recognize it as being dierent, we make attempts to induct new students to its use (such as electronic libraries), but other technology is used without so much as a comment (think about electronic presentations and websites on reading lists). In addition, students arrive with their own personal technology to add to the mix – and, just when we think we understand all the tools and resources we have available to us, it changes again. What the experience of the past few years has shown us is how indelibly linked technologies are with social and cultural interactions and interchanges. is should make us even more wary of the dangers of technological determinism, and opening up new potential for more enriched and immersive learning experiences. With this in mind we are watching with interest developments in gaming and ambient technologies for their possible relevance and application within educational contexts. Practitioners and policy makers need to acknowledge how radically learners’ relationships with technology are changing, and how this impacts upon their expectations and experience of education.