Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
Being the morning person that I am I showed up for 8:30 session at 9:00 â€“ so needless to say I have very little to report on that session. The subsequent 3 sessions that I attended either provided interesting new techniques or reinforced techniques already in my toolbox, but more on these sessions laterâ€¦
I wanted to spend a little time in this post reflecting on two observations. First, it was wonderful to see so many educators at the conference, but a little sad to see so many engaged with their computers instead of their peers. This is an issue that a number of the leading educational journals have been telling us is a problem with our students. But, when given the choice some of us would rather engage with the laptop, blackberry, or tablet pc rather then engage the person sitting next to us in conversation during a break.
Second, when walking around the convention floor I noticed that a number of vendors offering tools that assisted in making online and classroom courses more interactive. My initial thought was great! The software makers are really trying to help us create communities of learnersâ€¦. Unfortunately, after asking some more specific questions, I found that several of the products used true and false or multiple choice questions in pooling students. This type of presentation would be fine if we lived in a â€œmultiple choiceâ€ world, but we donâ€™t, there are things that students are presented with in life that arenâ€™t on the test. Then again how do we create life-long-learners if we present students with scenarios that only have one right answer? This is not to say that an educator would use one of these products to the exclusion of other classroom techniques. I just ask that we not get distracted by the bells, whistles and hype of some of the new flashy products.
In general, the conference planners have provided a large enough assortment of presenters, vendors, and resources that all attendees will find something new an interesting. I really look forward to the next two days of presentations.