November 15, 2012

My First ‘Captivating’ Blog!

Guest Blog by: David Dunbar, Seasoned Educational Professional at Mochrum E-Learning Development

When trying to think of how to begin my first ever ‘official’ blog, I thought about trying to make some profound or controversial statement, to provoke a response amongst the Captivate community! However, when it comes to Education, it would be difficult to say something very new or different, as teaching and learning affects absolutely every single person, in the whole wide world!

From nurseries, to adult education, kindergartens to IT courses for the elderly, we all learn, and are taught, which makes the job of the educational technologist difficult yet exciting, puzzling yet challenging, all in equal measure!

Therefore, rather than beginning my very first Captivate blog with a profound or controversial question, intended to make an impact, I offer a small but perfectly formed conundrum -

How can Captivate be used by educationists to cope with the puzzling, challenging, fun and infuriating world of education today?

It has taken me a long time to reach the point where I might feel qualified to address such a question, especially as it is only in the last couple of years that I have been in a role (ILT Content Advisor), where I was able to critically comment on education.

My previous jobs (too numerous to mention!), were on the whole far removed from Education, and it was purely by chance that in recent years my focus has returned to what I love the most, which is helping people learn.

That I was also able to think in much more depth about how technology might be able to help people learn, excited me even more. I now knew that my understanding of a variety of learning technologies (built up through years of mucking around on my PC!), could significantly aid both teachers and learners, which more than adequately counteracted the fact that I had never taught! I had developed skills as a facilitator of learning. I had found my niche.

This was a huge turning point for me, as I realized I didn’t have to become a teacher to become involved in education. By understanding how teachers taught, and learners learned, I could find appropriate technologies to help the experts teach their students, which brings me to the main focus of this blog!

Being a geek doesn’t work in education, as it makes it more difficult to empathize and understand the methods being used to teach the subject. When I support educationists, I try to appreciate the way the teacher wants to deliver the lesson. In a sense, I try to learn how the subject is to be learnt!

Lectures, role play, group work, independent study, demonstrations, simulations, etc. can all be developed using technologies like Captivate, as long as you come from the pedagogical side first. If you start with the tech, you will end up with something technologically amazing, but educationally unsound.

I have made much more progress with staff nervous of technology, when I show them that I empathize with how they deliver the course. Only then will I try to show them how technology can support that delivery.

Therefore, in a blog that was meant to focus on how Captivate can be used in education today, I end by stating that it is irrelevant which type of tech you are to use, if you do not first consider the pedagogy involved in delivering that subject.

Captivate is an example of a top quality learning application, that provides the educationist with a number of options for presenting learning to students. Demonstrations, simulations, and assessments, etc, can all be developed using this software, and it is an incredible one stop shop for teaching and learning.

However, whatever Captivate (or any other type of learning technology) can do, it will prove a disaster if the reasons why you are using the application are not properly understood.

Do not fall into the trap of developing your next Captivate learning resource

“because it is technologically possible rather than pedagogically desirable.‟

(Higgins, 2009)

Posted by poojajaisingh11:42 AM
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