The following issues were highlighted in a discussion with college staff (as part of the PADDLE project):
Learners are relying increasingly on the use of their own technology for study and for assessment. Learners are therefore sometimes ‘bypassing’ college technology in order to use technology which they are more comfortable with, have personal control of and which is, possibly, more advanced. This raises issues about provision of public wi fi for learners and wi fi access to college networks.
Tutors are allowing the use of the learner’s own technology (for assessment) where it is possible to capture and store the use of such technologies (in line with traditional assessment methods). This raises the issue of the barriers to learning faced by the technology ‘have nots’.
Tutors discussed the pros and cons of using external social media against social media designed specifically for educational use (including Moodle). The general feeling was that learners should be able to use the technologies they are more comfortable with (eg Facebook, Twitter) but that more is needed to be done to educate learners in their effective and safe use. It was recommended, where possible, for learners to create different accounts for educational and personal use.
The issue of the use of social media in the context of work based learning was also discussed. here the observation was made that many employers block the use of social media sites by staff (and therefore work based learners). In this context if was felt the use of education specific social media would therefore be more appropriate.