The Techno-Pedagogical Context of Distance Learning: Conceptual Roots

The Techno-Pedagogical Context of Distance Learning: Conceptual Roots

Timothy F. Duruz
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-822-3.ch003
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The incredible array of collaborative communication tools that have been incorporated into modern day education rely primarily on the internet as a delivery mechanism. Our zeal to employ the latest and greatest technologies towards instruction often ignores both the genesis and best practices for use of these innovations, which can be traced to collaborative scientific and educational efforts and experimentation in the latter half of the twentieth century. Knowledge of these advances and tools can help us to understand newer emerging technologies, which have profound potential for learning applications, such as Multi-User Virtual Environments. A brief discussion on the history of technology and information sharing follows the section on pedagogical issues.
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The Conceptual Roots Of Distance Learning

The educational tools we use today include interactive multimedia devices such as Shockwave, FLASH, presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint®, web pages and CD-ROM based textbook ancillaries, all of which were the results of the personal computer and internet revolutions. Numerous other technologies have found their way into our classrooms, often implemented by enthusiastic early adopters, and at other times, as a result of institutional mandates (Straubhaar & LaRose, 2006). Sometimes, the technology just happened to be available, and it was adapted to fit the needs of the learning environment, other times, technological possibilities prompted the development of new tools. In many cases, the implementation of any new tool or pedagogy served to generate a great deal of debate within the academic community.

If one were to travel back in time to the early Renaissance, printers such as William Caxton, who between 1475 and 1490 produced virtually all English Language literature using the new ‘moveable type’ technology might have caused a stir. One might imagine the uproar among “professors” of the day as they decried the use of mass-produced books, seeing them as an anathema to the traditional learning process. Imagine the following hypothetical statement:

Students that no longer have to copy their own books by hand? Unheard of! Blasphemy! How will they learn anything?!

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