Why Technology Training for Faculty is a waste of time… (not really… but…)

The title of this blog post caught my eye for obvious reasons…

http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/why-tech-training-for-faculty-is-a-waste-of-time/ via onlinelearninginsights

The title drew me in and the post itself reminded me of the conversations we had at our meeting last week and a theme that has been coming up repeatedly for the past several weeks (or months). Technology of technology sake is not the answer, technology training needs to be accompanied by instruction that shows faculty how to incorporate tools to enhance learning.

The blog post is generally talking about institutional use of the LMS (Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn etc.,) and the research used in the post rings true with our own use of our LMS. Our use of the LMS is mostly for administrative purposes such as posting notes, conducting assessments, submission of assignments etc., We need to focus more on the pedagogical purposes for using the LMS. Administrative use of the LMS is not wrong but we need to take our use of it further… as well as incorporate other technology and tools in more meaningful and purposeful ways.

I like that the shift in focus (in this post and in our conversations)  is not on the how to use it, but the why to use it, and to take it further the why to use it in a much more deliberate and meaningful way

Food for though for moving forward, especially as we evaluate and choose a new institutional LMS. I’ll finish off with this final quote from the post…

“Too often training is ineffective, is one-dimensional focusing on only one aspect, either technical or pedagogical skills. Both are need to support and develop faculty in becoming an instructor that is relevant and skilled in knowing when and how to use ed tech tools appropriately and effectively.”

 

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3 Responses to Why Technology Training for Faculty is a waste of time… (not really… but…)

  1. George Fogarasi says:

    This is great! Thanks, Alana, for not taking the easy out.

    You’ve nailed some of the conclusions of “A Critical Examination of Blackboard’s E-Learning Environment,” namely that the design of these systems, at present, may be more for admin purposes than pedagogical ones.

    I’m not suggesting that we chuck out the digital baby with the bathwater by any means. As you note, we use tools best when we remember that they are tools, a means and not an end.

    It’s easier to default to the shiny and distracting e-What and forget the Why… thank you for keeping learning front and center.

    By the way, this is the article your succinct note reminded me of

    http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2434/2202

    • George says:

      P.S. I just realized this forum is accessible to the public (students, other colleges, parents etc.). In theory, I am all for transparency, democracy and engaging the widest possible scope of stakeholders… but in practice, does our process–this collegial dance of ideas that was once done over coffee and in an office–end up as an airing of our dirty digital laundry? Just a thought, one with wider implications for e-Learning, for once something is digitized… it’s…t/here. Somewhere. A pixel trail.

      I think wrestling with ideas–and, in public, at that–can be a good thing. It shows that we are critically engaging with material and, even more importantly, have our students front and centre. This is clear. However, things can be taken out of context, and some readers could potentially wonder what all the hand-wringing is about: it’s easy! Dontcha’ know what to do? Do “X” and be done with it! Darn spoiled academics / bean counters etc.

      It’s kinda’ Goldilocks for me, as so many things are (this is too much, this is too little, this is just right). I’m happy to be accountable, transparent and in the open with many things. In fact, we have nothing to hide. On the other hand, something is lost by not being able to stand by the water cooler and chat with the comfort of knowing that the words bandied about will disappear.

      Indeed, this is not just about our blog here… these trajectories do apply to e-Learning and our wider (if not wilder) digital lives…

      🙂

      • alanacallan says:

        Interesting to think about this as a public, open space for collegial dialogue – does that change the conversation, tone and intent of the posts/sharing or does it broaden our audience and provide us with the potential for input from a wider network of educators… How do others feel??

        Very interesting to think about… hmmmmmm

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