16 Dec 2008

New OU course cuts through educational technology hype

Engaging the Facebook generation in learning is a challenge and the rapid growth of new technologies can be daunting and confusing for those working in education. A new postgraduate course from The Open University, Practice-based research in educational technology (H809), aims to cut through the hype and help teachers, lecturers and other educational professionals use ICT to their best advantage.

Podcasts, interactive whiteboards, Second Life and mobile devices are amongst the new and emerging technologies which can be used for educational purposes. But what evidence is there that they work and what is the best way to use them? The new course helps people to evaluate the latest research into technology enhanced learning. It also draws attention to new methods of data collection and analysis, which can then be used to study practical innovations.

Course team chair Dr James Aczel, a Lecturer in New Technology in Teaching, said: “New technologies are burgeoning, at a time of high demand for evidence-based policy and practice in education. Teachers and lecturers today have a hard task to get up to speed with the latest developments and apply them to their students. We can’t provide all the answers, but we can equip educators with the skills to be able to critically evaluate new research and to apply it to their own practice.”

Registration is open now for the course which begins in February 2009. The course lasts 20 weeks part-time, and contributes to a number of Masters degrees. It can also be a stepping-stone to a PhD or EdD.

The Open University is a leader in using innovative technology for learning, recently winning awards for its web-conferencing tool FlashMeeting and its mobile fieldwork system for mobility impaired students. The University also has its own channel on YouTube and recently passed a million downloads on iTunesU.

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