Adaptation for a Changing Environment: Developing learning and teaching with information and communication technologies
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AbstractThis article examines the relationship between the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and learning and teaching, particularly in distance education contexts. We argue that environmental changes (societal, educational and technological) make it necessary for Higher Education in general, and distance education in particular, to adapt those systems and practices that are not appropriate for the changing environment. However, the need to adapt is often perceived by academic and support staff to be primarily technology-led and with a requirement for them to develop their technical skills in using ICT. We provide a critique of continuing professional development (CPD) in respect of using ICT for teaching and learning that does not address these wider environmental changes. In particular, we oppose CPD that concentrates on the individual teacher and their use of ICT. Instead, we contend that professional development should focus upon the scholarship of teaching and learning and a concern for understanding the characteristics and needs of learners. Further, CPD should reflect the organisational context within which ICT is managed and produced and so it must involve institutional managers as well as individual academics and associated staff members.