ocTEL week 0: big questions

Activity 0.1 asks us:  what is the most important question about TEL for you?

Mine is: how can we get rid of the ‘T’ in ‘TEL’?

The question could be re-phrased as: how can technology become transparent, invisible and normalised? Something is normalised when it has become part of the norm, when you no longer notice it. If we are talking about enhancing learning, do we really need the technology in front of it? Do we ever talk about BEL (book-enhanced learning) or PEL (pencil-enhanced learning, or even paper-enhanced learning)?

What’s so different about TEL, then? Just as a reminder: books, pencils and paper are all technologies – arguably with bigger and more dramatic impact on learning than many of the modern tools that TEL usually refers to.

5 April 2013

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6 Responses to ocTEL week 0: big questions

  1. Hi Alejandro,
    An interesting question. I guess both the relevance and significance of technology is essentially due the constant state of change that it is in. Books and pencils have remained fundamentally the same for centuries. Losing the T may not happen for a long time—if ever. Think of how many new technologies have been developed in just the last 10 years and then consider how many pedagogic applications can be associated with each. I’m not sure if it will end, or even if it should.

    • Thank you for your comments, Tim. We may not lose the ‘T’ for now, but what the T refers to (and associated practices) will continue to change. The speed of technological change itself suggests that at some point, it will be irrelevant to have a ‘T’ in TEL – not least because T is too broad and too vague. Enhancement is not about the toys but about how they are used. Innovations should never end, but the ways we refer to them will – think about ‘CBT’, for example! In 10 years, I suspect that TEL will not only sound like CBT sounds today, but also it’ll be hard (also then) to conceive learning without some form of technology associated with it… a bit like pencils, books and paper.
      Best wishes,

  2. I remember back when everyone was trying to find a consistent spelling for eLearning there was a significant group that really wanted to just lose the “e” completely.
    I would like to lose the T, but I think we might be stuck with it because there is already a group of people who specialise in learning (Teacher Trainers). These tend to be teachers with years of experience – they dont always appreciate what the technology can help with (some do!).
    Im a person with years of experience in using “teaching & technology” (I work in a TEL team), I dont have experience in all aspects of teaching (I have a few years teaching under my belt) and I might upset others if I called myself a “Learning” expert.
    Although “Enhanced Learning” might work if I got a chance to explain what it meant….

  3. Pingback: Activity 0.1: My big question | kshjensen – ocTEL

  4. Daran Price says:

    Hi Alejandro, I appreciated your post and agree with you. I often feel that there is a disproportionate emphasis on the noun technology when considering how it may enhance learning outcomes. It is often difficult to focus on the real objectives when technology is such a seductive bed fellow… I do quite like the 3E Framework from Edinburgh Napier uni, Enhance, Extend and Empower. Seems like a better place to start!?
    All the best Daran

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