EXPLORING THE “NEW" LEARNING LANDSCAPE: WHICH ADDED VALUES FOR THE “NEW” LEARNERS?
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:A "new learning generation" is around. The “new” students, who actually are “digital native”, make large use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in their everyday life for both leisure and communication/social interaction purposes.
This situation has major potential implications also in the field of education: it, definitely, affects the learners’ choices and attitudes as well as their expectations and needs, but it also involves the teacher’s role and calls for significant changes in the traditional learning paradigms.
By the way, an entirely “new” learning landscape emerges where the instructional use of digital devices, applications and services is widespread and where new educational approaches appear to be required.
Starting from an all-round view of this “new” learning landscape, the present paper aims at investigating the potential of ICT applications for concretely enhancing learning opportunities and boosting learning achievement.
In doing so, the author refers to a number of field experiences where, thanks to the extensive and well focused use of ICT, the learning process appeared to be significantly improved.
First of all, the paper sketches a picture of the new learning landscape where, the “new learner” who is at the center of the learning process, is surrounded by a number of new “augmented” learning opportunities that he can grasp if and when required, if and when he feels like it. These new opportunities are available for him thanks to the possible interactions with and among other elements populating the emerging learning landscape: the “new tools”, the “new pedagogical paradigms” and the “new teachers”.
Subsequently, the “new” role that teachers assume in this panorama, is briefly outlined, in the conviction that the pedagogical choices made by teachers and the overall pedagogical approach they adopt may represent a true, concrete value for widening the learning opportunities and enhancing learning.
At the core of the paper, the potential of ICT tools for enhancing learning opportunities and boosting learning achievement is investigated by drawing on concrete educational experiences, conducted in different fields.
In particular the paper puts forward the idea that the extensive use of “new” ICT tools may lead to:
1. Achieving the learning objectives more easily and more effectively (more effective learning)
2. Having a more in-depth view/knowledge of learning contents (more in-depth learning)
3. Using knowledge acquired, lessons learnt and available information to build up new knowledge and produce innovation (more creative learning)
4. Widening the number/categories of learners that can fully access educational contents (more inclusive learning)
The experience based reflections and the ideas discussed in the paper primarily go towards the direction of supporting/improving pedagogy, by helping teachers and educators to design and enact effective educational interventions. If, in fact, we agree that the new learning landscape includes wide areas where learning is the outcome of personal, spontaneous investigations and, basically, of self-driven activities, we also see that the relevance of teacher – driven pedagogy cannot be questioned.
Keywords: learning, innovation, pedagogy, inclusion, creativity.