This week we’re looking at materials, platforms, and technologies for enhancing learning. We will explore digital learning resources that ‘fit’ with your learners and their different needs, and some technologies to facilitate learners and learning. There is a broad range of digital materials and technologies that you can use to stimulate learning, both online and in the classroom. The challenge is finding the right resource or platform for any given learning context, and determining both the quality and effectiveness of those resources. As an individual instructor, you may be looking for resources to support your individual coursework. If you hold an administrative position, do your choices affect a department or larger entity? For example, selection of a learning management system such as Moodle could be an institutional project, but referring students to a learning community tool such as OpenStudy could be for an individual course.
Learners all have unique needs. Learners and staff with special needs or disabilities may require additional design and resource consideration. Technology expands our capacity to provide personalised and customised learning opportunities. There are also legal and ethical obligations to ensure inclusion and accessibility for all. Users should be consulted on how to best meet their needs, but we should also take the opportunity to help them become aware of all the possibilities and options that are available to them. They may not be aware of recent developments or new tools and resources to meet their needs. Acting early in the design stages generally saves time and money – it’s easier to design in accessibility than try to make a system accessible later. Designing for accessibility from the start leads you to:
- choose technology that is accessible;
- produce resources that are accessible (e.g. screen-readable docs; transcripts for audio recordings; captions for video);
- inform students and staff that there is adaptive tech available to them, either though the institution or elsewhere.
If you have an established practice of creating learning resources and using technology platforms, we invite you to share your experiences with other participants, and take this opportunity to explore a new resource you are interested in but haven’t used yet. If you are new to digital learning resources and technology enhanced learning, this week can provide an introduction and starting point for your exploration.
This week’s aims
By the end of this week, we aim for you to be able to:
- identify appropriate digital resources for particular learning contexts by reviewing implications for accessibility, learner requirements and implementation;
- appreciate discovery and reuse issues with open educational resources (OERs)
- explore a range of options for creating new digital resources;
- assess the affordances of different learning platforms and their impact on learning;
- apply your understanding about pedagogical affordances to current trends.