Don’t be Scared of the Dork


James Clay wrote a thought-provoking post last week. Called Show me the Evidence, James talks about how: “when demonstrating the potential of TEL and learning technologies to academics, the issue of evidence of impact often arises. You will have a conversation which focuses on the technology and then the academic or teacher asks for evidence of the impact of that technology.”

James cites fear as a key reason behind this, suggesting that many lecturers don’t have the capabilities to use IT, so lack the basic confidence to use learning technologies. To save face, and because it would be mortifying to have to confess to a lack of skills, they ask for the “evidence”. This then enables them to delay things.

Weirdly, I can’t think of a single occasion when an academic has asked me for empirical evidence or to cite the research framed around my work. I tend to go about things the other way-heading the academics off at the pass because I am the one who is afraid to look like a dunce in front of them.

I delivered a lunchtime session to academics looking at the flipped classroom model last week. The conversation turned to the (still) widely-held belief that anyone under 25 is a techy-wizard, while the rest of us can barely use our smartphones. (A different kind of stalling technique, perhaps? It’s always academics who bring this up.) I offered some ramblings about Marc Prensky’s ‘Digital Natives‘ theory being a load of old cock-and-bull, and that Dave White’s ‘Visitors and Residents‘ model was more realistic and less ‘pigeon-holey’. The group liked this as it appealed to their academic mindsets, so I was then able to sneakily show them some tools while they were feeling more at home.

Another thing I sometimes do is suggest that the academic in question might want to try out the method / tool that is being suggested, and then write a paper about the experience. Again, this appeals because it’s more in tune with how academics tend to work. I think a lot of the fear that James mentions comes from an assumption that learning technologists and academics speak two totally different, and incompatible languages. We don’t, but it can certainly be hard to prove it!

13 thoughts on “Don’t be Scared of the Dork

  1. It depends very much on the Academic you meet. For some, in my experience, the challenge is not “where is the evidence” but “what can/will this do for my empire? Does it compete and erode the skills/methods I already have?”. I’m still trying to get Xerte properly piloted in my institution so that students have something to create accessible interactive resources with and learn how to share them, utilise CC etc. I have to present evidence without an installation to get the pilot service in place. It’s not part of my current work so I don’t have an excuse to run it myself although I did build develop some pilot cases through HEA work.


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  4. 놀이터는 어린이들이 즐겁고 안전하게 놀
    수 있도록 하기 위해 여러 놀이 기구를 갖추어 놓은 장소 또는 시설을 의미한다.
    ] 시간이 지남에 따라, 조직화된 놀이 지역들이 세계의 여러 나라에 채택되어 일상화되었다.
    이들 어린이 놀이터에는 시소, 철봉, 미끄럼틀,
    모래밭, 그네, 정글짐 등의 놀이 기구가 갖추어져 있다.
    분수나 인공적인 개울이 있는 물놀이장도 있다.

    대부분은 사고방지의 차원에서 부모나 보호자가 지켜볼 수 있는 정도의 넓이가 된다.
    대부분의 형태의 놀이는 건강과 성장에 필수적이다.
    놀이터는 어린이들에게 있어서 집 바깥의 가장 중요한 환경에 속한다.
    몸을 움직여 뛰놀면 신체기능의 성장 효과와 함께, 연령과 출신이 다른 유아나 아동들이 어울려
    사이 좋게 놀게 됨으로써 일정한 사회성을 체험하며
    사교성을 익힐 수 있는 터전으로서의 효과도 기대할 수 있다.
    일반적으로 말하는 공원과는 다르며, 산보나 마음의 안정을 찾는 용도와는 달리 아이들이 뛰어
    놀기에 적합한 놀이 기구가 주요 시설이 되지만,
    수목이나 꽃과 친해지는 정서적인 효과를
    위해 나무나 화단이 갖추어지기도 한다.
    민속놀이의 경우는 따로 공간이 정해지지
    않았으며, 보통 마당이나 마을 공터에서
    놀이가 벌어졌다. 산이나 논밭, 개울을 비롯하여 마을 전체가 놀이터의 역할을 하였다.
    대한민국에서는 주택건설기준등에 관한 규정을 통하여 50세대 이상의 아파트 건설시
    정해진 기준에 따라 어린이놀이터를 마련하도록 되어 있다.
    영리적인 목적이나 고객의 편의를 위한 공공기관에 의해 조성된 놀이터도 운영되고 있다.


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