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the potential of the new tools to support learning by capitalising on the competencies and skills students bring into the classroom, while at the same time helping them obtain the attributes and capabilities to prepare them for work and life in the digital economy and networked society (see Brown & Adler, 2008; Kennedy et al. 2009).
The challenges for educators are complex and multifaceted, and include the provision of personalised learning experiences using suitable technologies that cultivate independent learning skills, while also scaffolding learner reflection and the development of generic competencies. The pedagogical change that is required involves not only the espousal of appropriate teaching approaches, but also awareness of the learner experience, and the importance of valuing learners’ pre-existing skills and capitalising on them, while exploring and integrating social media in ways that pave the way for participation, community connections, social interaction and global networking. At the same time, teachers who adopt social software tools should not do so merely to appear conversant with the tools, but to ensure integration of the tools with sound pedagogical strategies so as to facilitate authentic exchange and dialogue with and amongst students. They must be wary of potential privacy issues involved in the use of Web 2.0 tools for teaching, learning and assessment, not to mention the fact that they may feel unwelcome in their students’ online social networks and communities. Although there may be attempts by teachers to co-opt the technologies students use for communication and entertainment, such attempts may be perceived by students as intrusions into “their space” (Mazer, Murphy & Simonds, 2007).
All in all, addressing the need to rethink and reposition pedagogy for the new learning landscape of the 21st century calls for the active involvement of students in defining their learning goals and choosing both ICT tools and strategies for learning; it also requires recognition that user and learner generated content has a central place in a curriculum that fosters self regulated learning. There is a fine balance to be achieved in attempting to promote learner control, knowledge creation, agency and autonomy by offering flexible options and choice, whilst offering guidance and structure when needed and adding value to the learning process through personalised, customised and adaptive approaches.
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Ashton, J. & Newman, L. (2006). An unfinished symphony: 21st century teacher education using knowledge-creating heutagogies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(6), 825-84.
Attwell, G. (2006a). Personal Learning Environments. The Wales-Wide Web [weblog], 1 Jun. [viewed 9 Jun 2009]. http://www.knownet.com/writing/weblogs/Graham_Attwell/ entries/6521819364
Attwell, G. (2006b). Why Personal Learning Environments are important. The Wales-Wide Web [weblog], 20 Jan. [viewed 9 Jun 2009, verified 14 Jan 2010]. http://www.knownet.com/writing/weblogs/Graham_Attwell/entries/8463960484
Attwell, G. (2007). Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning? eLearning Papers, 2. http://www.elearningeuropa.info/out/?doc_id=9758&rsr_id=11561
Aviram, A., Ronen, Y., Somekh, S., Winer, A. & Sarid, A. (2008). Self-regulated personalised learning (SRPL): Developing iClass’s pedagogical model. eLearning Papers, 9. http://www.elearningpapers.eu/index.php?page=doc&doc_id=11941&doclng=6