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Let's get interactive;Letter

ASA technologist (media in education) who has been in education for many years, I was interested to read in your issue of June 18 about information and communication technology (ICT) and related assets such as video and video conferencing.

I agree that the focus for such technologies should be as a learning tool. However, if a far-reaching effect or real success is to be gained from using them, then all the processes involved must be addressed. This means that the educator who uses it must be trained in the applications, processes and techniques of video in all its forms. There must be an active and participative approach between those experienced in the technology and those experienced in education.

For too long unfortunately, educators in the main but some technologists as well have developed their own sometimes unassailable professional respectability. What each discipline really needs is greater flexibility. Teaching will always dictate the subject matter, but it must seek advice from the media technologist. If not, a combination of ad hoc, haphazard, uncoordinated and uninteresting programmes will result.

In a correctly balanced system, the role of technology should in many instances be limited. Coming from a technologist, that may sound a little strange. But limitation is all to the good because it should then only be used when it has a contribution to make.

All too often the educator makes the mistake time and time again in persisting with the belief that the whole synthesis of creating such materials is only within their domain. They think for too long, only in standard classroom methodology. This is why the majority of productions are just adequate.

While an educator's strength lies in his or her ability to produce original ideas for subject context, few can visualise the media presentation of the concepts.

Technology cannot be other than it is. It is there to be used. It cannot change. The educator and the system can. Much is made of ICT, but much more needs to be done to exploit its learning potential.

R T Carr

Education Department

Edinburgh City Council

Waterloo Place, Edinburgh

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