Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Promoting technology integration in faculty development

Focusing on improving technology in teaching and learning, professional development should model best practices. Whether technology rich, technologically supported or technology enhanced, there is a greater reliance on technology in teaching (using media-rich resources, for example), learning (multi-tasking, multi-modal learning, for example), and faculty development (providing resource training just-in-time, and personalized training). Not only should professional development meet the needs of improving teaching and learning, professional development should develop a sense of community for those participating. At it's best, professional development creates a community of learners, crossing disciplinary boundaries, and improving teaching for all levels of expertise, and in all contexts or environments. We want to prepare and support teaching, and we want to use technology to improve learning. This blending requires technology to become an integral element for professional development.

Blending technology and professional development requires a conscious and deliberate use of technology - in the context of teaching and learning. Faculty want to see HOW things should be used in a classroom, with particular teaching strategies, and for specific learning types. Technological skills will need to be identified - what technology is available in the classroom? Is there a "standard" technology for each classroom? Are skills learned in small groups, with peers, or one-on-one to allow faculty to learn skills that they need? Technology should be integrated, because it does improve teaching and learning. Modeling the contemporary technologies available, teachers are reaching students who have grown up with technology.

Faculty development should be topical, need-based, and focused on results - improving teaching and learning. Faculty development builds community. Faculty development involves technology in a classroom environment and demonstrates best practices.

The presence of technology requires us to find a way to integrate it into our curriculum. We realize that technology depends on the user (faculty), audience (students), and message (curriculum). Selecting the "RIGHT" technology takes time and experience. Knowing how to use it best requires practice and patience. Being successful requires support.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Technologies for Teaching and Learning

Students want to learn, they want to be involved (or engaged) in the learning process. They want to take control of their learning. Controlling the pace of learning, using more resources, determining the modality of learning is (or may, at the least) be shifting towards learners, towards instruction. To provide this capability requires a GREAT paradigm shift. The real question is not HOW should we teach, but HOW do they learn? Howard Gardner's Five Minds for the Future is a unique read.

Students use technology so naturally, and with a great deal of ease. They are not LEARNING the technology, they have integrated the technology into their lives. Do we use technology in the same manner? Do we use technology when we teach? Do we let students use technology as they learn?
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