A report into “the impact on higher education of students’ widespread use of Web 2.0 technologies”, Higher Education in a Web2.0 World was published last week.
Both staff and students, according to the report, are struggling to see how social web technologies can be applied to learning. It also highlights that face-to-face teaching really matters to students and I’m pretty certain this is true of teachers too!
However, the report suggests that there is a digital divide between students and teaching staff in terms of more general usage of social technologies. While this is undoubtedly true to a certain extent, there is also a danger of overstating it. It’s like the digital native – digital immigrant labelling, it just isn’t that simple. Many students don’t engage with digital technologies and many teachers do.
Anyway, there is a need, as the report indicates, for staff to:
- be technically proficient, i.e. capable of using social web technologies
- make effective use of these technologies for teaching/learning (effective e-pedagogies)
- keep up-to-date with ongoing developments as web-based ‘resources’ continue to grow
The report goes on to suggest that students could help with this. There is some mileage in this, particularly for 1). But in terms of e-pedagogies it seems more likely that for a while to come students will continue to look to teachers for this?