Page 45 - Campus Technology, January/February 2020
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“Technology tools need to be a means to the end of learning more about extending human creativity.” — Ellen Wagner
the Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training, I’ve begun work on three new projects that incorporate simulation, mobile and artificial intelligence. We don’t just learn about the tools; we study their impact and how they can extend creativity.
For another example of related research, take a look at ShapingEdu and the Humersive Learning Project at Arizona State University. There, the researchers look specifically at immersive learning and how to humanize it while fostering innovation.
And of course, there are teaching and learning centers on other campuses that have moved from supporting student learning in a remedial way to being more interactive — labs, sandbox- es, maker centers for students, faculty and staff — covering all varieties of new and emerging technologies. Many of these look beyond the technologies for ways to help their constituents become true innovators.
CT: What do the rest of us need to think about?
Wagner: I’ll say it again: One of the most impor- tant things that educators need to be conscious of, where digital transformation is concerned, is not to focus simply on the technologies and the tools, even though it is almost impossible not to start there. Instead, education researchers should take the responsibility to focus on the use
of technology tools to extend human creativity. This means that technology tools need to be a means to the end of learning more about extend- ing human creativity. One of the really exciting opportunities is to think beyond just focusing on scale. We need to get smart enough to be able not to simply copy other people’s innovations. And yes, it’s good to know that we can be providing consistent, reliable learning experiences, so that there are common expecta- tions for common skills. But we can do that and try to shine the lights on innovation. In addition to looking forward to commonalities, we need to help people build their unique, spe- cial skills and abilities that motivate them to go further and learn more, to be able to solve prob- lems and think differently, to address the kinds of opportunities that they may have never
encountered before.
CT: What’s one easy thing people can do to get themselves closer to this type of thinking?
Wagner: I’m not sure how easy this is for most people, but we all simply need to be more com- fortable with ambiguities. That doesn’t come from looking up answers in a syllabus or some other form of prescriptive information. It comes from being open to solving real-world problems together — problems that demand working on new ground and using our new tools creatively.

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