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Editorial: Integrating learning technology

While it is encouraging how much learning technology is going on at Warwick, you would be amazed at some of the wonderful innovative ideas and passion for new teaching methods that exist here buried beneath a lack of opportunity. The Educational Technology Service serves to act as an agent of change networking, stimulating, provoking, supporting, ideas throughout the university - this is my role in "integrating learning technology" and looks at shift in culture and change management aspects. The academic's role would be two-fold: (i) to contribute to that process by sharing ideas and experiences throughout the university and, in doing so, (ii) integrate into their own teaching technology-based methodologies as a natural process of educational development in the climate of today's (and indeed the future's) higher education institution. The Dearing Report certainly encourages us to this viewpoint in placing heavy emphasis on Communications and IT (C&IT), particularly in teaching and learning, throughout its extensive findings and recommendations.

In the work of the ETS, I have found that a major result of the information sharing process is a marked increase in the attention paid to how we are teaching, both with technology and without. As a move towards using online resources and computer-based learning packages, many lecturers are appreciating the need to rethink the approaches to teaching and learning used traditionally.

 The first article in this issue is contributed by Dr Gabriel Jacobs of the University of Wales as a summary -on behalf of the Association for Learning Technology - of the main learning technology implications for higher education from the Dearing Report (hot off the press on 23rd July 1997). Gab is Editor of the ALT-Journal and a prolific writer on educational media. The article gives great encouragement to the campaign for more effective institutional measures to support learning technology development and innovation.

The second article is also contributed from outside Warwick from Dr Adrian Longstaffe of the fairly recent Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol. His summary on the role of the teacher in the new learning technology orientated teaching environment provides thought-provoking reading from the academic point of view, with reference to specific changing methodologies.

The third article is a report from the Association for Learning Technology fourth annual conference which I attended in September 1997.


Dr Jay Dempster

Head of Educational Technology
Centre for Academic Practice
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 24 7652 4670

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