Selecting

After much debate we had decided that an Australian Shepherd would be a great breed for our family, just as MET was the right educational program for me. But that decision was only the first of many tasks necessary prior to bringing a puppy home, or actually starting courses!

The next step in getting a puppy involves picking that one individual pup. Every puppy within a litter has his/her unique personality. Having located a breeder, eventually it came time to pick which puppy would be ours. Being the daughter of a breeder, I remembered all sorts of little “tests” to look at personality traits. We did not want a dominant puppy, nor one that was too independent, too shy, too fearful, or too terrorizing. Our puppy had to pass each test, including such things as laying on his back, being held in mid-air, being exposed to a sudden loud noise, and more. This puppy had to be just right, carefully selected to meet our family’s requirements.

In MET, my choice of courses had to fulfil a similar role. They had to be the right fit for my learning goals. After much deliberation, I plotted my path.

Semester Course
January 2011 ETEC 500 Research Methodology in Education (core)
May 2011 ETEC 510 Design of Technology Supported Learning Environments  (core)

ETEC 565 Learning Technologies: Selection, Design and Application

September 2011 ETEC 521 Indigeneity, Technology and Education

ETEC 512 Applications of Learning Theories to Instruction (core)

January 2012 ETEC 530 Constructivist Strategies for E-Learning

ETEC 520 Planning and Managing Technologies in Higher Education

May 2012 ETEC 532 Technology in the Arts and Humanities Classroom

ETEC 511 Foundations of Educational Technology (core)

September 2012 ETEC 590 Graduating Project

Selecting the right puppy, course, or technology tool for a specific learning activity all requires a thoughtful process. Throughout my MET courses I was continually confronted with the task of selecting the right tool for the job. One piece of foundational research supported and directed these decisions. In ETEC 530 and ETEC 565 I read Bates and Poole’s (2003) A Framework for Selecting and Using Technology. Over and over again I came back to this article when selecting technology tools for my assignments.

Bates and Poole (2003) outline a framework to use when selecting technology, commonly referred to as the SECTIONS model. It involves taking a close look at the:

Students

Ease of Use & Reliability

Costs

Teaching & Learning

Interactivity

Organizational Issues

Novelty

Speed

Several criteria and questions for each section provide guidance for judging the suitability of the technology being considered. I came back to this model countless times during MET, as I selected different tools and applications through which to present my learning. I have posted a brief summary of the article on my office bulletin board, to remind me of the importance of evaluating the technology I employ in my teaching practice. This has already been valuable, as this Fall my department has been looking for options for practicum students to present a variety of digital material to instructors and classmates, and we have been using SECTIONS to help guide our decision making.