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We are pleased to present the following Brief on the use of IT in education, featuring short articles from six teachers who have recently presented at one of our seminars on IT-related issues

October 1998, Vol. 1 No. 2 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
Seminar 1
Dr Daphne Pan
Director, CDTL

Without asking hard questions about learning, technology remains an unguided missile.
— Stephen Ehrmann

How can users best benefit from the use of technology? IT is only one tool. General Motors learnt this lesson in the ’80s when it invested heavily in technology only to find marginal gains in quality and productivity. Critical success factors include strategic planning, astute application and employee participation. In education, teachers/learners must retain control over IT and its use. We need to ask hard questions about our curriculum and assessment procedures and we need to ensure that whatever technology-supported pedagogies we design actually help the end-user. What is the level of userreadiness? Will users be accessing in class, out of class but on campus, at home? Such seemingly peripheral questions must guide instructional design and delivery.

What pedagogical approaches best exploit IT’s potential? What is critical is not the technology per se but how it is used, not so much what happens while students are using the technology, but how the process promotes larger improvements in the learner’s overall education. Some areas where IT can be effectively used include project-based learning in an information/ tool-rich environment; collaborative learning with synchronous and asynchronous communication; learning marked by incremental improvements in a piece of work; laboratory/practical sessions using IT to replicate dynamic processes; learning at paces and times of students’ choosing; improved interaction and feedback mechanisms; doing foundation/preparation work so that contact hours can be freed for the real advantage of university education: teaching/learning by interaction, dialogue and mutual challenges.

Can IT deliver? Effective use of IT involves other issues such as infrastructure (e.g., accessibility, classroom design, scalability, connectivity) and adequate technical support for staff to initiate and sustain IT-enhanced teaching.

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Seminar 1
Seminar 2
Seminar 3
Seminar 4
Seminar 5
Seminar 6