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Smoke and mirrors in the classroom

Mark Canny
School of Management Information Systems, Edith Cowan University
Teaching tools and aids have evolved over the years to a point of expectation of certain technical services at an institution such as a university. Within a series of software development and system design units, unfamiliar topics such as programming and learning new software tools have a steep learning curve. Integrated topics need precise explanation and have a heavy reliance on practical examples and technological or software aids to enhance the learning environment and automate repetitive tasks.

The desktop computer was a major milestone in the delivery of services to students and the merits of the Internet in communication, administration and content delivery need no elaboration. The laptop redefined the presentation factor when multimedia presentations and reference data can go where you need them into the classroom. Pocket PCs, handheld computers and new tablet PCs have created truer mobility in a more agreeable form factor while wireless transmission standards enable network access for these mobile devices.

With the hardware comes the software and tools for administration, research, presentation, marking, content delivery and preparation are quite common and varied in their use and impact.

Software and technology enablers

With the good comes the bad and technology and software are susceptible to many issues. Fortunately there are many software and hardware solutions such as GPS tracking security alarms, smart cards and backup, firewall and viral software.

Lecturers, regardless of their topic of presentation, need technology to enhance the learning environment for the student, but must also make use of it to better manage their time and resources, and the content made available to students. Technology and software that have made this lecturer's life easier will be highlighted as well as new developments in technological learning aids.

Please cite as: Canny, M. (2003). Smoke and mirrors in the classroom. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/canny-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/canny-abs.html