I am now working at Macquarie University. I am also working with some amazingly insightful and diverse people. The depth of understanding of learning and teaching can at times be a little daunting. One of priorities that the Learning and Teaching Centre is seeing as critical, is the ability to build increase capacity to renew curriculum through greater integration of technology.
One issue in achieving progression, is that educational technology is a little like an elastic band. As it tries to stretch out further, to incorporate more approaches and tools, it is not only a greater distance between entry-level users and transformational users, but there is more tension. So what do we do, relieve some of that tension by reducing the scope? The Educational Developers are few, and the audience is massive.
I think this is something at all ICT based education struggles to deal with. There are some educators barely literate in using technology, let alone understanding how transforming it can be for students.
I think that it is important to stop building ‘passive’ intranets in education, but to develop Social Networks such as Ning. Inside those, we can have conversations. We can co-ordinate our activity and use them to lift some of the anchors.
There are lots of freely available ‘videos’ online to do the basics with technology. It is also relatively easy to create screen-casts specific to common tasks. For example, a basic ‘how to’ in a Learning Management System – How to log-in.
So while a lot of people focus on extending the skills of teachers, perhaps dropping back and addressing some of the basic ‘anchor’ issues would be a wise investment. Ning can be used really well to address various ‘interest groups’ and to be effective at self-paced professional development. This would also allow EdTechs to measure the improvements in individual practice. Before starting ‘storming’ – having a 101 set of resources, relevant to the curriculum will go a long way to removing tension and to differentiate between those ready to move forward, and those at the entry, or even inactive stage of ICT use.
It will also help you diagnose the areas that you need to focus on, and also allow you to turn some of those at the ‘transformational’ end of technology use, into leaders who can fall back and support people at other stages of development.
In short, you don’t need to be at the front as you end up looking over your shoulder way too often.