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2.5: Implications for IT Management

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    It was concluded in the previous section that the Standard Model is being replaced, however, it is anticipated that both the Standard Model and its alternatives will organize teaching and learning into the future. It follows that IT managers will be responsible to ensure that the systems they create and sustain have the capacity and functionality to support both types of teaching and learning. The Standard Model of education is dominated by instructionism in which an expert (the teacher) defines the content to be studied, the manner and order in which it is going to be experienced, and finally determines the extent to which each student has learned it. While some associate instructionism with the leaners being passive recipients of information, Burton, Moore, and Magliaro (2004) suggested instruction can provide a structure for approaching a complex body of knowledge and also for maintaining knowledge. Reif (2008) identified several factors that make instruction effective including articulating very clear goals; the inclusion of explicit and implicit guidance, support, and feedback that can be individualized; and providing timely and appropriate feedback. Instruction is amenable to deconstruction into several components: goals, a predictable path through known content, and clear determination of outcomes, along with appropriate feedback. These are all clearly definable and knowable before the instruction begins, thus instruction amenable to technology-based delivery. Reif (2008) concluded, “Computers are well suited for instructional purposes because they provide a dynamic medium that can not only convey information in visual and auditory forms, but can also flexibly interact with users so as to respond to their actions” (p. 428). Instructionism has been used to create a variety of digital educational materials. This list includes arcade-style games designed to teach mathematics skills, spelling words, typing skills, and similar lessons; intelligent tutoring systems for individualized lessons (e.g. test preparation systems); and simulations, which are designed to make the instructional activity more context-rich than arcade-style games typically are. Bowers (1988) criticized these designs as “students encounter a one-dimensional world of objective data” (p. 34), and he concluded the prejudices and biases of the programmers exert strong and perhaps unintentional effects on the lessons learned. When they are aware of these limitations and take steps to minimize their influence on the materials, instructional designers can create very effective instructional materials (for appropriate purposes) by the judicious application of technologies.

    Efficacious IT managers will build systems that can be used to deliver instruction by ensuring:

    • Students can access appropriate instructional materials including both locally installed programs and web-based media;
    • Teachers have resources for creating instructional materials;
    • Instructional materials are accessible to those students who have disabilities;
    • Teachers have access to easy-to-use systems for managing instructional resources they create and that they find. This can include both local copies of files and online repositories.

    One of the reports that emerged from the comprehensive John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media project was The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009). In that book, 10 characteristics of learning in the digital age are proposed (see Table \(\PageIndex{1}\)). The authors observed, “Digital technologies increasingly enable and encourage social networking and interactive, collaborative engagements, including those implicating and impacting learning” (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009, p. 24). They further confirm a commitment to developing alternatives to the Standard Model of education noting learners will become more participatory in virtual environments “where they share ideas, comment on one another’s projects, and plan, design, implement, advance, or simply discuss their practices, goals or ideas together” (p. 12). As the pillars are more completely implemented in a community, the implications for teaching and learning as well as professional learning become more pressing.

    Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 19.15.35.png
    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Pillars of Digital Learning (adapted from Davison and Goldberg, 2009)

    In the milieu of researchers’ and practitioners’ perceptions of the trends emerging in digital education, there is evidence to support Gros’ (2016) observation, “The ubiquity of technology calls for a shift away from low-level use of technology, such as drilling, practice and looking up information. Rather, smart education encourages ‘high-level’ uses of technology, utilising it as a ‘mind tool’ or ‘intellectual partner’ for creativity, collaboration, and multimedia productivity” (p. 6). Such systems are built for interoperability and seamless connection of devices (to facilitate use of multiple devices), allow for adaptable configuration for users’ preferences, and engage teachers and learners in natural engagement (Zhu, Hu, & Riezebos, 2016).

    To address the pillars of digital learning, efficacious IT managers in schools will revise how the range of IT infrastructure, practices, and policies are instantiated. The tools must accommodate interaction and creation of information as much as it accommodates access to and consumption of information. The teaching and learning that students experience will likewise be flexible and interactive in a manner it was not when the Standard Model dominated. The design of these learning environments necessitates insightful and attentive school leaders as well.

    This page titled 2.5: Implications for IT Management is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anonymous.

    This page titled 2.5: Implications for IT Management is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gary Ackerman.

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