Activity 2 | Reflect on reading-25 Years of Ed Tech

My reactions to Weller’s essay is a strong sense of enlightenment. In the initial eight chapters of the article, the author outlined a clear timeline that illustrated the evolvement of e-learning, Though concise and brief, the author provided key pointers that are concise but rich enough for me to have an holistic picture of how the Internet was gradually applied in education, with each stage over the 6 years mentioned in the essay, commencing from the advent of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) in 1994 to the proposal of the e-learning concept in 1999 to the final establishment of standards applied for digital education at the dawn of 21st century. Adding to the overview is the analysis of the interplay between different stages, based on the comparison of pros and cons of the advances over the period. All these lead to a in-depth review of the development of e-learning.

Among the bullet points discussed in these chapters, what preoccupies me most is the Wikis chapter. As well as being a pure supporting information resource, the construction concept and approach of Wikipedia were the very contributor to the maturity of e-learning, that is, the so-called ‘“democratized publishing”. It is by the discussion on this concept that the author provides me an alternative way to review the relevance of wikis to distance learning. Another reason why this point ‘speaks’ to me more than other chapters my personal experience with the current study in MALAT – When doing an group assignment, we are actually apply the method and concept derived from wikis back in 1998.

If I were to write a similar essay on the history of educational technology, I would also start from the year 1994. The reason is exactly same as mentioned in the introduction of the Weller’s essay – despite the emerge of the Internet in late 1980s, it is not until 1994 that this technology started to play its part in education. My own experience of this situation can be seen when I searched for reference information for my middle school assignment in early 1990s, there was hardly any digital resources apart from library. By contrast, starting from mid 1990s, BBS started to find its way in university, where students use it as a nascent tool for communication in intranet, both synchronous and asynchronously.

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Eric Yu is a dynamic English Second Language Instructor in the areas of distant learning. He holds a Bachelor degree from the Shanghai International Studies University and is currently studying in the MS degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, Canada. Since moving to Canada in 2011, he acclimated himself to the local anculture, and quickly built a cross nation online learning practice, getting involved in IELTS teaching and other online training projects between China and Canada. Eric Yu currently lives in Shanghai, China and work as the team leader of online after-school education in Global Eduation of Puxin Limited. He loves music and is fascinated to search for rare CDs and LPs of rock and jazz musicians in 1960s. Eric Yu has performed well in a diverse range of team environments, from every corner of the world. He lives in Shanghai, China but travels around the world frequently both for work and leisure.

2 thoughts on “Activity 2 | Reflect on reading-25 Years of Ed Tech”

  1. Thank you for this reflection, Eric!

    Could you speak more to how you see the notion of “democratization” working in the context of the MALAT program?

    I see this as a fascinating topic, and I’d like us to probe it more. In the context of our class, it may be helpful to think about the extent to which a particular technology influences this or whether it may be a value embedded in the program.

    1. Dear George, thanks for your comment. As for how the notion of “democratization” works in the context of the MALAT program, I would see it as one of the most essential bases in terms of the course, without which it might be impossible for learners to complete team assignment. With the democratization model, students can create the sharing file using tools such as Google File, with each team member contributing to the content and editing it from his or her own computer, without the limitation of time and space. And the final assignment is the collaborative achievements of the team as a whole. It is with this concept that my traditional role of a passive acceptor shifts to the producer of knowledge – this assignment becomes the so-called ‘public good‘ produced by collective effort. And every contributor will pay more attention to any edit, changes or comments on the work. This nascent model also facilitates the efficacy of learning process. Take this point a step further to the learning model of MALAT course – it is with the wiki culture that makes it possible for the course to be operated completely online.

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