Technology is being used to facilitate or complement flexible learning in many ways. Key benefits of these technologies include: enhanced access to learning opportunities; provision of assessment or performance feedback techniques; and the ability of these technologies to enhance student collaborations. Generally, a key effect noted of technologies applied to educational settings has been the increased learning opportunities they afford. Some of the main benefits and challenges afforded by these educational technologies are:

Benefits
  • Students can use technology to help plan and implement projects related to specific subjects

  • Technology can facilitate access to University, course and program information

  • Computer work at the learning site can be extended and complemented by work at home

  • Applications can provide opportunities for student collaboration

  • Applications can adjust for student abilities and prior experiences

  • Efficient, accurate and in some cases immediate feedback is available to the student and teacher about student performances

  • The technology should be integrated into the typical instructional day, and

  • Technology can provide opportunities for students to design and implement projects going beyond the curriculum.


  • Challenges
  • Some technologies are expensive to implement and support

  • The human element, especially to assessment work, cannot be replicated by technology

  • Some students and teachers may prefer face-to-face communication to online or other methods, and

  • Staff and student training is very important to ensure uptake and optimal use of technology.


  • Further reading
  • Website for the Centre for Applied Research into Educational Technology (CARET): http://caret.iste.org

  • Website for Educause, including case studies of good practice in the use of educational technologies: http://www.educause.edu

  • An AUTC project has examined a range of high quality learning designs in order to develop a series of guidelines for good practice in the development of ICT-mediated learning experiences: http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au

  • The OECD three-year study of the impact of information and communications technologies on schools (Ceri Program on ICT and the Quality of Learning): http://www.oecd.org

  • The Department of Science, Technology and Education (DEST) report on international trends in ICT educational policies (Towards the Connected Learning Society): http://ictpolicy.edna.edu.au

  • On this site

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