Moller (2008) proposes a continuum from static, middle, and dynamic to distinguish the characteristics of technology and media for Distance Education. Static technologies provide access to content and enable communication and some degree of limited collaboration. Static media remain constant and stable upon creation or enable one way communication. In this category we find books, movies and videos, podcasts, journals, static websites, magazines, newspapers, broadcast tv or radio programming, and Fax transmission just to name a few. On the dynamic end of the spectrum we find interactive tools which enable collaboration, communication, and facilitate interaction with content. The mind map introduced in Figure 1 captures both static and dynamic tools and classify them respectively by category as content, collaboration, and communication media. Examples of Dynamic Technology Media include blogs, wikis, mind tools, social networking sites, interactive databases, interactive websites, bulletin boards, and emails. Please note the difference between a static website as explained by http://technogenxx.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-is-static-website-with-example.html and a dynamic website as illustrated by http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/d/dynasite.htm.
While I acknowledge and embrace the effectiveness of interactive and dynamic tools in improving the learning process by enabling the creation of knowledge “through analysis and argumentation” (Moller, 2008), I somewhat disagree with Moller (2008) when he seems to demean the educational value of static technologies which include books, movies, and Podcasts by stressing:
These technologies, while efficient at broadcasting information, do little to help learners build their own knowledge. At best, static technologies allow learners to capture information.
During most of my life, I have used primarily static media for learning, and I believe that the same is true for much of our civilization. I am a believer in the power, originality, elasticity, and capabilities of the human mind to achieve marvels from the “Information Given”. As a civilization, we have achieved milestones of progress by just blending the given, learned, or read information in the creative factory of our brain for a targeted purpose. May be this is what Jerome Bruner (Bruner, 1984) meant when he wrote:
“Being able to “go beyond the information” given to “figure things out” is one of the few untarnishable joys of life. One of the great triumphs of learning (and of teaching) is to get things organised in your head in a way that permits you to know more thaN you “ought” to. And this takes reflection, brooding about what it is that you know. The enemy of reflection is the breakneck pace – the thousand pictures.”
Nevertheless, when I consider my trajectory as a learner who completed High School in Haiti more than thirty years ago, undergraduate education at the State University of New York about twenty years ago, graduate education at Columbia University about four years ago, and who is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Educational Technology at Walden University, I can situate my learning comfort zone within the entire static-middle-dynamic spectrum of technology and media for distance learning as depicted in figure 1 and asserted by Moller (2008).
While writing this blog, I felt the need for a deeper apprehension of the static and dynamic concepts within the framework of technology and media tools for distance education. There seems to be a great level of ambiguity between the term “dynamic” which tends to define something that is changing or in constant state of transition and the term “interactive” which translates a process of active engagement between at least two entities. I accept the natural interactive state of dynamic tools. Can static tools hold some type of interactive nature? Blogger tommydtr22 posits: “Depending how you view it, all media is Dynamic”. (Retrieved from http://atmindsedge.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/disconnection-in-education/). What do you think?
Bruner, Jerome (1984) Beyond the Information Given:
Studies in the Psychology of Knowing.
New York: Harper Collins Publishing
Moller, L. (2008). Static and dynamic technological tools. [Unpublished Paper].
This author has commented on the following blogs:
Roberts, Alicia : http://msaroberts2003.blogspot.com/
Smith, John: http://teachinglearningatadistance.blogspot.com/
Smith, Margaret: http://emmi143.blogspot.com/