Technology is not, by itself, the savior of education, according to Kathleen P. King, Ed.D., professor of adult education at Fordham University.
But new technologies such as podcasts, wikis and blogs can transform classrooms into truly collaborative learning centers.
That was the message she gave a group of teachers and other educational professionals on April 7 at an inter-university symposium on adult learning.
Speaking at the McMahon Hall Lounge on the Lincoln Center Campus, King told representatives from New York University, Teacher’s College at Columbia University and Fordham how “Foundations of American Education,” a class she is teaching to 30 students, has embraced new media.
“It’s so exciting to see this come alive with these students, as they create their critical essays not just as papers that they hand in to me, but as critical essays they then post to a password-protected blackboard for the whole class to read,” she said.
“They’ve never done that before in this particular situation,” she continued. “We’re finally getting that learning community with them, whereas in the classroom we’re always playing beat the clock.”
What’s really taken off for King is podcasting. Since she began recording and editing them, King has made freely available 160 hours of lectures on professional development and published Podcasting for Teachers: Using a New Technology to Revolutionize Teaching and Learning (Information Age, 2007).
She said more than 3.6 million people worldwide have downloaded and listened to the podcasts, from as far away as Turkey, Russia and Malaysia. As a result, adult students are taking her lessons with them to gyms, on trains and wherever else is convenient.
“They’re fitting learning into their lives,” she said. “They’re the lifelong learners; they have more options, and we’re decreasing the barriers.”