Arguably, the wide scale availability of computers and the internet has had profound effects on all aspects of modern society. In terms of education, these changes involve not only the way in which content is delivered, but the content itself. Increasingly, the education learners need is how to use the technology itself.
The relationship between the World Wide Web and the average consumer has never been an easy one. An article in Wired magazine asserted that it was highly likely that no single person knows everything about how a computer works (Weinberger, 2017). The wider application of technology has been more about bringing the proverbial mountain to Mohamed and not the other one around. For example, it took Facebook to fulfill the promise of giving anyone a website; no coding required.
As it pertains to education, the problem is twofold, Instructional Designers need access to easy to use resources, which can, in turn be employed in an educational setting in such a way that the technology supports the learning experience and doesn't hinder it. Designers need to focus on the pedagogy and the learner on the material, without also having to become technology professionals, or spend a fortune on advanced equipment, in the process.
To fill this need, there has been a tremendous proliferation of web-based tools, WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get), HTML interface editors that do the “heavy lifting”. These include such things as Powtoons, Prezi, Animatron and others. Such technology allows anyone to leave the digital Muggle world behind. These resources can even give the common folk the ability to live in a simulated world or create their own smartphone app. As Jason Tanz (2016) posits “code is dead” and modern computers will be trained, not programmed.
Like many things in life, however, the promise of doing something arises before the actual potential. As we are warned by Jeff Goldblum’s character in the movie Jurassic Park, we must be wary of standing on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something before we understand the ramifications more fully. The technology is not perfected, yet, and many issues of compatibility and platform stability remain, as anyone who has spent sometime around them can tell you.
Being cautious doesn't mean we should abandon the race. The future is coming, even if only the advanced guard has arrived. We must be ready. And it's really pretty cool, but as Ben McNeely (n.d.) suggests, we should be using technology as a learning tool, and not just because it’s the cool new thing.
Tanz, J (2016, May 15). Soon we won't program computers. we'll train them like dogs. [web log comment]. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/2016/05/the-end-of-code/
McNeely, B. (n.d.) Using technology as a learning tool, not just the cool new thing. [web log comment]. Retrieved from: https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/educating-net-generation/using-technology-learning-tool-not-just-cool-new-thing
Weinberger, C (2017, April 18). Our machines now have knowledge we’ll never understand. [web log comment]. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/story/our-machines-now-have-knowledge-well-never-understand/
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