Part E: Summary
There is a wide range of different computer tools and applications that can be used for learning and research:
- Some of these are mainly for the creation and delivery of "content", such as tutorial authoring, online assessment, streaming media, multimedia presentation and simulation software.
- Other tools are much more focussed on enabling communication, collaboration and the creation of online communities, such as discussion boards, chat rooms, webconferencing, wikis and perhaps blogs (although these can be used mainly for content too).
- Finally there are e-portfolios, which are concerned with personalising the learning experience and creating a personalised record of achievement.
This tutorial has introduced a number of the practical issues around using online applications, including the skills needed, hardware and networking infrastructure required, and the large amount of time it can take to create high quality material.
Finally we would stress that one should not think of these e-tools in isolation from each other. They are almost certainly best used in combinations. For example you might present your learners with an online tutorial and then invite them to use what they'd learned to participate in a discussion board activity on the same subject.