Evolving Instructional Technology

Evolving Instructional Technology

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1542-6.ch007

Abstract

Technology applied to education is developing and becoming more sophisticated at an increasingly rapid pace. Examples include both hardware and software applications among which are course materials such as those open course ware and massive online open courses. Mobile communications via portable and hand-held digital devices provide the means to acquire and interact with courses and course materials. These small devices show considerable promise for application in higher education by making a reality of learning anytime, anyplace. There are two keys to successful operation: the cloud and learning management systems (LMSs). These and yet-to-be-created technologies are making many jobs and occupations obsolete while creating new ones. This rapid change requires a new set of globally oriented people and business skills. Education systems must recognize this change and prepare students to meet the challenges. Two emerging technologies are 3-D printing and blockchain.
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Evolving Instructional Technology

Figure 1.

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Instructional technology is evolving along with the information explosion. The need becomes one of how to apply this technology to teaching and learning. Technology that is easy to use, ubiquitous, effective, and reliable is needed. Not being a prophet, one cannot predict the future with any degree of accuracy, but the evolving role of technology can be predicted to produce as yet the undreamed-of capability to help people to learn.

Two examples are Open Course Ware (OCW) and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC). According to “Opencourseware”(2018), OCW “are course lessons created at universities and published for free via the Internet” (para. 1). This source further states that in the latter part of the 1990s OCW projects appeared, first in Europe and later in the United States (OpenCourseWare, 2018). Educause defines a Massive Online Open Courses as “…a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance (Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) (n.d.), para, 1). It seems that MOOCs are a more recent innovation than OCW.

One cannot help but wonder what is the difference between the Open Course Ware and the Massive Online Open Course? To some degree, they might be synonymous. On the other hand, there does seem to be a difference. Stephan (2015) of UCI University of California Irvine makes a distinction between them. For example, Open Course Ware “…consists primarily of teaching materials used by university faculty members in teaching their regular courses supplemented by lecture videos” (para. 3). He notes that a Massive Online Open Course “…is a highly designed collection of teaching materials combined with learning assessments and (in a few cases) opportunities for students to interact with each other through discussion forums and peer-graded activities” (Stefan, para 2).

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Portable And Hand-Held Digital Devices

This leads to a consideration of how students interact with these kinds of courses. There are, of course, PCs. A newer addition to the arsenal of learning tools is the mobile hand-held digital device. According to “Types of Handheld Devices, Handheld Device Software, Handheld Gadgets, What Are Handheld Devices”(n.d.), such an appliance

…is a pocket-sized computing device with a display screen and input/output interface like an external or touch screen keyboard. Going by this definition of handheld devices and gadgets many appliances can qualify to be called handheld, like a mobile phone, PDA, mobile PC, handheld game consoles and so on” (para. 1).

The same source lists several such devices, which include the following:

  • Mobile computers

  • Notebook PC

  • Ultra-Mobile PC

  • Handheld PC

  • Personal digital assistant/Enterprise digital assistant

  • Graphing calculator

  • Pocket computer (largely obsolete)

  • Handheld game consoles

  • Nintendo DS (NDS)

  • Game Boy, Game Boy Color

  • Game Boy Advance

  • Sega Game Gear

  • PC Engine GT

  • Pokémon Mini

  • NeoGeo Pocket, NeoGeo Color

  • Atari Lynx

  • Pandora

  • GP2X/GP32

  • Gizmondo

  • PlayStation Portable (PSP)

  • N-Gage

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