... because they exist.
As our lives become more and more technologically integrated it becomes vital to understand how people consume, use, and generate information. That is, what do we learn in this increasingly digital age, and how do we learn it.
How many times has this happened: you are out with friends and you will be involved in a conversation where some details are missing. For example, when a particular event started, or what years a TV show aired, or the name of an actor in a movie, or the title of a sing or book, or how to convert from cups to gallons, or whatever. After a few minutes of banter and deciding that you do not know the answer to the question, someone says, "if only there was a way that we could figure that out". At which point several people take out their phones, retreat into the internet for a few minutes, and emerge with some facts that address the question.
This is the most obvious (and maybe most prevalent) kind of online learning. The sort where facts can be found relatively quickly. I'm not sure how much teaching is happening in the above scenario. The question I wonder about is whether this fact acquisition is the only type of learning that can happen in online environment. A search engine is much better than a human at coming up with facts. But, a computer is not very good at synthesizing information or asking good questions. It is not even very good at so-called adaptive instruction. (Technically, the program/website/app is not reacting at all. It is only following an algorithm designed by a human.)
My questions are: How does a human teacher use technology to enhance learning? How does a teacher use digital technologies to move beyond fact acquisition and procedural knowledge?