Moving Forward.

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October 20, 2012 by alexandragreid

The first computer my family ever owned was a Tandy. My Mother purchased it for somewhere in the $3,000 range from a Radio Shack (which is surprisingly still in business) in a small shopping center in our hometown. We were all in awe of this gigantic cube of wonder and this “Windows” way of productivity. 

Then came UNIX and text based databases accessible by a dial-up connection. Oh, those were the days when you had to warn everyone in your household NOT TO PICK UP THE PHONE!! The idea of communicating with people in different states, different countries: all from this box of wires and chips on a desk? Mind = blown. In retrospect, the non-graphic interface was a pain in the rear, but it’s what we had, and we loved it. 

BUT WAIT – GRAPHIC INTERFACE INTERWEBS?! NO WAY DUDE. Prodigy? America Online? Yahoo? Instant Messaging? Email? Holy Moly, now we’re getting somewhere! 

…are you starting to catch on yet?  (This video is actually a pretty decent representation of edupunk and where I’m going with this.)

Technology moves forward. It has to. Trends change with time and culture and needs of users.Fifty years ago, computers in the classroom weren’t a “thing”. You can now earn higher education degrees by not even leaving your bedroom. This is what I believe makes instructional technologies so, well, awesome: they are constantly changing and evolving. Even if I weren’t comfortable with “stepping out” of using learning management systems such as BlackBoard (and let’s be honest, the whole LMS concept is only about a decade old), I’d better “get with the program” and at least experiment with the alternatives.

In higher education, many students are already exploring these alternative tools on their own (i.e. Wikis, Blogs, and other Web 2.0 tools). That being said, I believe not to integrate these tools in the classroom would have more negative implications than positive ones. For example: does anyone remember when UD was using WebCT? 

Let’s marinate on that for a minute. 

Hint: it was kind of the worst ever. Students hated it, faculty couldn’t get the hang of it, and IT Staff had their heads against hard objects with the number of problems that it could cause on any given day. (Sakai is, well, a little better. I guess.) 

I think it’s imperative to use what’s available. If that means taking advantage of the LMS that your institution provides, do so. But also take a look at what sort of edupunk techniques you can integrate into your curriculum as well (check out this video for more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B70ju_2i5pE). It’s never really a good thing to keep all of your eggs in one basket, because if that basket breaks…well, that’s quite a mess, wouldn’t you say?

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