Sunday, April 11, 2010

Embedding ICT in Learning Teaching and Administration

Despite the massive investment by governments and institutions, there is still a huge distance to travel before the majority of educators are able to effectively utilize technology. Apart from the strong research evidence here are a couple of local anecdotes.

Last week a visiting lecturer asked for an overhead projector for their class. Anyone over 30 will remember overhead projectors accompanied by clear plastic transparencies and felt pens. After several days of phone calls we managed to track down a supplier who actually had one in stock. They said there was still a demand.

When I mentioned the capability of wiki’s I was met with shrugs and smirks by one educator and irritated consternation by another. Image what the students must be thinking.

This week a leading supporter of ICT in teaching at their (rather large) institution said matter of factly that the organizations move from Blackboard (they were using an unsupported version) to Moodle wasn’t going to work. Apparently most of the staff where resistant to even turning Moodle on and in any event there was no organization wide strategy for utilizing technology in teaching and learning and Moodle wasn’t going to integrate with their bevy of legacy admin systems.

So why all the resistance. The evidence points to lack of confidence. The confidence issue in turn appears to be a function of lack of confidence that the technology will work when required;limited availability of technical people to support you; limited easy to access pedagogical tools and techniques; lack of institutional leadership and support; and wrapped up with all the above no real incentive to change.

The focus needs to be on teaching and learning not technology. But having said that their needs to be a major investment in providing all the support and motivational requirements. Educators arent dumb. They know where their students are at and what motivates them. But they need a quantum leap in the type and extent of assistance and reward to change.

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