Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Technology for schools; why not?

Figure 1. Interface of Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools
Last Wednesday, I experienced nice activity in one of my master course in CIMA (Pedagogies for Flexible Learning Supported by Technology). On that lesson, we were assigned to explore many kinds of educational technology innovation that support teaching and learning process. I browsed nice educational website called Web 2.0: Cool tools for school. I just realized that there is a wonderful website that combined lot of technological application that supports educational activities. It categorizes those applications into several sections, such as presentation tools, research tools, video tools, collaborative tools, file storages and webpages, etc. It makes easy for users or schools to utilize their intended application based on their needs. For example, if teachers want to make nice presentations about their subjects, they can go directly to ‘presentation tools’ section. Another example if teachers want to share their learning materials to their students with large size files, they can use ‘file storages and webpage’ section. I experienced that contents organization in this simple website is so good.

Figure 2. Home interface of the Dropbox
At that time, I decided to explore about file storages and webpage section. I considered exploring this section since file sharing through online media is interesting issue about education technology implementation for schools in my country; Indonesia which has low internet connection. I decided to explore more about ‘Dropbox’ application. The ‘Dropbox’ is kind of tool that allow users to share their files to other. The Dropbox is just common application for students or people who are living in developed countries. How about for those who are living in developing countries? Let’s say my country; Indonesia. File sharing using sharing tools like the ‘Dropbox’ becomes fascinating issue. It is because most of teachers or students at secondary and higher education level are still using e-mail to do file sharing. Indeed, there are some limitations if they are still using e-mail for sharing their academic documents. I experienced that email could only attach file size maximum 20 to 25 MB, depends on mail provider. With the Dropbox we can share our files up to 250 MB. Besides, we also could increase our Dropbox capacity by inviting other to join the Dropbox, and then we can obtain 250 MB extra. In addition, large size files sharing through email really takes time in the countries with limited internet bandwidth. It consumes time to upload files, sending files, and surely download it by recipient.

Figure 3. Sub-folders in the Dropbox folders
Furthermore, it is easy to use the Dropbox for teachers who have limited skills in information and communication technology. They just need to copy their files into the Dropbox folder which is usually located under ‘My Documents’. They also can make sub-folders on it. Then, to share files which are located under particular sub-folder, teachers just have to invite their students to join that sharing folder. So, they can easily upload and download that files. However, it is recommended to copy the intended files into their local disk, if students want to modify it. Then, upload it again with renamed file. It is important to avoid file crash if some students open and save a file in same time with same file name. I considered that teachers should make brief guideline for the students to use the Dropbox.
From this experience I inferred that technology can be implemented at schools in limited conditions. In developing countries which lack of internet connection and bandwidth, we can use technology application that suitable for that condition. It is because educational technology applications are not only designed for high-end technological facilities. Some of them were also designed for basic technological support facilities. Furthermore, I also perceived that technology has flexibility to be implemented to support teaching and learning process. Schools can adjust their intended educational technology that will be implemented based on their needs and also current conditions that support it. If there is a will to implement educational technology at schools, it must be a way to do it. Thus, technology at schools; why not?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Zeno, thanks for this description of Dropbox and it's opportunities in an educational setting, even if this setting has limited facilities!