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portal: Libraries and the Academy 4.2 (2004) 300-302
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Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education: Foundations for Success, A.W. (Tony) Bates and Gary Poole. [End Page 399] San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2003. 336 p. $36.00 (ISBN: 0-787-96034-9)
In less than 300 pages, A.W. (Tony) Bates and Gary Poole cover established schools and philosophical theories in education, outline and explain myriad technological issues, and pinpoint the participants in the educational process who might benefit from teaching with technology. Their decision to combine in one book several important subjects and viewpoints—such as teaching and learning, application of technology, and administrative issues in academia—created an ambitious and arduous task. The book successfully reconciles those broad lines of approach, based on the personal experience and knowledge of the authors.
Both scholars have long been professionals in education, and this book is, in particular, a logical step for Tony Bates, following his books on technology and distributive learning. It is reminiscent of and ties up nicely with the works of Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt on learning in cyberspace. This work, unlike some, is not aimed solely at the virtual classroom but can also be useful for those working in a hybrid classroom. Compared to other practitioners' monographs, such as John Hirschbuhl and Dwight Bishop's Computers in Education (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004) and Vicki Sharp's Computer Education for Teachers (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), Bates and Poole offer a rather more general overview of the guidelines for technology application in teaching.
According to the authors, the book is aimed at university and college teachers. Nonetheless, other professions, most notably librarians and administrators, can benefit from the book. The terminology used by the authors is familiar to librarians and information specialists. Moreover, the practical suggestions in the book on the relationship between knowledge, learning, and teaching can be of use for academic librarians and teaching librarians. Teaching technology, applying technology, managing multimedia and interactive information, and involvement in distributive learning are tasks that are rapidly becoming part of the responsibilities of the twenty-first century librarian.
Another potential audience is academic administration. In chapter six, the authors go into detail about planning, marketing, staffing, and recruitment, and provide what could be a useful guide for administrators and faculty who are making the move from traditional to virtual classrooms.
Bates and Poole also contribute to the "no significant difference" debate regarding the effect of technology on teaching and learning. They do not shy away from taking a position and disagreeing with existing theories. The authors also remodel perceptions in line with the recent technological changes, thus determining the didactic value of the monograph. The authors' decision to provide historical background keeps ideas and theories in perspective and creates an opportunity to understand and appreciate them better.
The real value of the book, however, lies in the framework and guidelines for practical application. The authors go into detail about the connection between student demographics and class structure and use that relationship to elucidate the variables in teaching with technology. In a similar fashion, they delineate the modes, flavors, and types of distributive learning, thus transforming it from a vague and general buzzword to a concrete but complex subject that needs to be approached with attention and planning. The authors' long work as practitioners in the classroom environment results in well-chosen topics, [End Page 301] ideas, and well-defined terms. Tables and figures present and depict the processes and ideas effectively and provide clarity and structure.
The book is delivered in the traditional paper-based format, but the authors thoughtfully take advantage of the very same technology that they espouse in their work. The book has its own Web site, http://www.batesandpoole.ubc.ca, which is significantly more than an advertising tool. In keeping with their book's didactic efforts, the authors seek active engagement from their readers. The Web site offers a multimedia component and invites the reader to get involved in online discussion forums.