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1 Changing the technology or the pedagogy?

A classroom in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
Figure 2 How does the use of technology shape your teaching?

How much difference does any technology make to how people teach or learn? There is often a tension between the significance of technology and pedagogy in online teaching. For some, the technology is merely a conduit and their focus is on pedagogy. Others prefer to utilise the possibilities that technology offers us and wait for theory to catch up. It is probably more useful to think of the two as being involved in an iterative dialogue. Technology opens up new possibilities and is used in ways that its designers never intended, which in turn drives theoretic development, which feeds back into technology development, and so on.

This view of technology, and particularly how it relates to education, is addressed by Weller (2011) in Chapter 1 of The Digital Scholar [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

This tension between the role of technology and pedagogy is particularly acute in online education. Many of the topics we have looked at in this course would simply not have been possible without internet technology. However we also have to consider the roles of learners and educators, and what they bring to each online education context.

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