Enchanted by the tools

I am late to point to this great advice by Lisa Lane for new faculty about how to teach online.

She observed that some are unnecessarily intimidated by the misconception that younger students were very technologically savvy which is not the case. And she recommends playing around with online tools oneself, and examining one’s pedagogical goals instead of getting enchanted by the tools.

In contrast to most other statements about new media in learning, this useful advice strikes a balance

  • between technophobics who shun and disdain the new tools,
  • and the technologically converted who have fallen in love with their new toys and perpetuate the intimidating impression that tech tools deserve and need fulltime engagement.

Such a useful advice can only originate from a practicioner who has thought a lot about her methods and uses them a lot herself. It exactly matches my observations at our university.

Don’t get enchanted by the tools, this would also be a great advice to software developers who need to improve usability (which is another major tag on my blog). Of course, there are users who install new software because they want to get enchanted by its wealth of functionality and colorful buttons and gimmicks. But software which is recommended by word of mouth of users who get their things done with it is different, and its users are usually more sober and judge their tools according to usability rather than enchantability.

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