The emergence of learning via online tools is nothing new, but I wonder how many educators are leveraging it in valuable ways. I have long been an advocate of students not only being consumers, where they get information from “out there,” but they become producers of new knowledge. That means that students engage in technology in a fundamentally different way than “googling.”
My argument here is to think about more meaningful interactions – students learning from students. I think that is really where some of the power of a Learning Management System. If learning that takes place online doesn’t include opportunities for interaction with others, then it is most likely taking on the role of a textbook, only online.
Tools that make it work?
forums, blogs, wikis, discussion boards, microblogging
These tools primarily focus on writing skills; the students must be able to communicate in an asynchronous method.
What I am more curious about recently are more synchronous methods for communication. Chats do this, but again, they are text-based. I think the next great improvement for an LMS is an integrated video communication method. One to one is great (ala Skype). But how about a video conference? These technologies exist, but they are not integrated components of the LMS that I currently use. I am curious to know if there are systems that can do this. From a teaching perspective, it needs to be as easy as it can be. We can’t have SYSTEMS that make it hard to integrate the powers of technology.