Monday, 23 April 2012

Harnessing the Power of Web-based Technologies in Construction Education

I gave a presentation at a conference in Birmingham on 12th April. The event was the first time ever which the Associated Schools of Construction had held its annual conference outside of the US. It was co-hosted by the Council of Heads of Built Environment (CHOBE)


My presentation was about the potential provided by the huge range of web-based technologies we now have available to us. In recent decades construction higher education has seen a significant shift away from the traditional instructional model of higher education towards a new model which promotes social learning, collaboration, student engagement, participation and reflection. The central point of the presentation was that Web 2.0 technologies fit in perfectly with this approach to education. As Martin Weller puts it in his new book "The Digital Scholar" (citing Conole, 2008):


"Arguably there has never been a better alignment of current thinking in terms of good pedagogy .... with current practices in the use of technologies" 


However, despite this alignment, we cannot assume that students entering higher education are conversant with all the new technologies. In the presentation I refer to the results of a simple survey of students joining the Construction Studies Programme at Westminster in 2011. The survey shows that most students have very limited experience of using the new technologies, so if we are to fully exploit their potential then we need to provide guidance to students.


Finally in the presentation, I propose the establishment of an online community of practice for construction academics to share good practice and provide mutual support.


The full presentation can be viewed via Slideshare here:



Harnessing the power of web-based technologies in construction education

Reference:
Conole G., (2008) "New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies." "Ariadne." 56  [Online] Available at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue56/conole/  Accessed 23rd April 2012