Using Multipoint Audio-Conferencing with Teaching Students: Balancing Technological Potential with Practical Challenges

Using Multipoint Audio-Conferencing with Teaching Students: Balancing Technological Potential with Practical Challenges

Nick Pratt (University of Plymouth, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-814-7.ch014
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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to explore e-learning and e-teaching from a social perspective in order to show how the use of new technologies, like older technologies before them, must be considered in the light of human activity. It is hoped that such a perspective will allow the reader to better understand how, in one example at least, the use of new technology and the context of that use are integral to each other. The chapter considers how multipoint (i.e., multiple people) audio-conferencing might be used with higher education (HE) students undertaking work- or placement-based learning at a distance from their university base.
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Background Context

Students training to work in primary (elementary) schools in England must work toward national standards of competence (Training and Development Agency [TDA] for Schools, 2007) to achieve their qualified teacher status (QTS). For school-based elements of their course, they are usually placed with a particular class and hence a particular teacher. In addition to the ongoing support of this professional, the teaching of students on school-based placements is also undertaken by having school staff, who are trained by the university as mentors, with university link tutors supporting them. The project reported here aimed to supplement this link support through remote desktop audio-conferencing, which meant that in addition to making just a few visits to individual schools, a group of students could also meet with a university tutor every week in a virtual conference.

The technology (both hardware and software) used for these meetings created a distinctive virtual environment within which the students and the tutor could learn together. However, this environment is situated within a number of other environments in the real world and must interact with them. As John and Sutherland (2005) have pointed out, any learning is not a function solely of the technology, nor can any technology “automatically guarantee learning” (p. 406). On the other hand, users are not independent of the features of the technology in use since, as Adams (2007) demonstrates, the internal structures of any technology are “quietly and persistently informing our every digitally-enhanced action and experience” (p. 232). Understanding how new technologies can be used to the best effect may be supported by theoretical models, but what is also necessary is “describing and reflecting on the lived experiences of teachers and students engaged in technology-enriched environments” (ibid.). In the context of work-placement learning, one cannot simply articulate how multipoint conferencing supports students’ thinking since it is implicitly tied to a consideration of (at least) how learning might be understood in general and the features of the particular context (schooling, national standards for a teaching qualification, higher education [HE], etc.) within which the work is being undertaken. Just as importantly, studies of teaching and learning situations have shown that simply enacting superficial features of teaching does not necessarily change underlying patterns of learning behaviour (e.g., Pratt, 2006; F. Smith, Hardman, & Higgins, 2006; H. Smith & Higgins, 2006), which are often deeply historically and culturally embedded (e.g., Alexander, 2000) and strongly tied to the perceived aims of the programme, particularly the assessment regime (e.g., Rust, 2002).

Complete Chapter List

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Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
Charles Juwah
Acknowledgment
Roisin Donnelly, Fiona McSweeney
Chapter 1
Sabine Little
This chapter has been composed as a piece of reflective practice, and as such traces and researches the development of a new technology-rich... Sample PDF
"Oily Rag" or "Winged Messenger": The Role of the Developer in Multiprofessional Teams
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Chapter 2
Rhona Sharpe, Jillian Pawlyn
This chapter reports on an implementation of blended e-learning within three modules in the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes... Sample PDF
The Role of the Tutor in Blended E-Learning: Experiences from Interprofessional Education
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Chapter 3
Diana Kelly
This chapter makes a case for the importance of preparing e-teachers by requiring them to have an experience as an e-learner. The chapter begins... Sample PDF
Modeling Best Practices in Web-Based Academic Development
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Chapter 4
Tony Cunningham, Claire McDonnell, Barry McIntyre, Theresa McKenna
This chapter explores the insights gained by a group of teachers from their lived experience as e-learners participating in a blended module on... Sample PDF
A Reflection on Teachers' Experience as E-Learners
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Chapter 5
Catherine Manathunga, Roisin Donnelly
Professional development for academic staff in higher education is receiving increasing attention. The focus has been on providing an opportunity... Sample PDF
Opening Online Academic Development Programmes to International Perspectives and Dialogue
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Chapter 6
Louise Adele Jakobsen
This chapter, written from experience in implementing e-learning in further education through various roles, identifies key issues relating to... Sample PDF
Embedding E-Learning in Further Education
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Chapter 7
Catherine Matheson, David Matheson
This chapter considers some of the major questions around access and accessibility, beginning with the most basic: just what is meant by access and... Sample PDF
Access and Accessibility in E-Learning
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Chapter 8
Morag Munro, Barry McMullin
This chapter examines some of the tensions that may exist between e-learning and accessibility in higher education, and aims to redress the balance... Sample PDF
E-Learning for All? Maximizing the Impact of Multimedia Resources for Learners with Disabilities
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Chapter 9
Ursula Wingate
This chapter proposes online preinduction courses as an innovative method for preparing students for learning in higher education. It is argued that... Sample PDF
Enhancing Students' Transition to University through Online Preinduction Courses
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Chapter 10
Pankaj Kamthan
The discipline of software engineering has been gaining increasing significance in computer science and engineering education. In this chapter, the... Sample PDF
A Methodology for Integrating Information Technology in Software Engineering Education
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Chapter 11
Gordon Joyes, Sheena Banks
The focus of this chapter is on the use of technology in the teaching and learning of research methods in masters’ and doctoral programmes in higher... Sample PDF
Using Technology in Research-Methods Teaching
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Chapter 12
Richard Walker, Walter Baets
Blended learning occupies a prominent place within higher education teaching strategies, yet there is no clear definition for what we mean by this... Sample PDF
Instructional Design for Class-Based and Computer-Mediated Learning: Creating the Right Blend for Student-Centred Learning
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Chapter 13
Ann Donohoe, Tim McMahon, Geraldine O’Neill
The primary purpose of this chapter is to explore how online communities of inquiry can be developed to facilitate students to engage in reflective... Sample PDF
Online Communities of Inquiry in Higher Education
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Chapter 14
Nick Pratt
The aim of this chapter is to explore e-learning and e-teaching from a social perspective in order to show how the use of new technologies, like... Sample PDF
Using Multipoint Audio-Conferencing with Teaching Students: Balancing Technological Potential with Practical Challenges
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Chapter 15
Timo Portimojärv, Pirjo Vuoskoski
This chapter will illustrate a combination of problem-based learning (PBL), information and communication technologies (ICT), and leadership in the... Sample PDF
The Alliance of Problem-Based Learning, Technology, and Leadership
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Chapter 16
Steve Millard
This chapter sets out a number of ways in which effective use of the online discussion board in a virtual learning environment can contribute to the... Sample PDF
The Use of Online Role Play in Preparing for Assessment
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Chapter 17
Simon Wilkinson, Heather Rai
This chapter focuses on the use of computers for online summative assessment, in particular for objectively marked items. The aim of this chapter is... Sample PDF
Mastering the Online Summative-Assessment Life Cycle
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About the Contributors