A recent blog post on the idea that we would do a variety of things “if we we were really serious about educational technology” inspired me to think of other paths we might take to pave the way for further support of educational technologies to create 21st Century learners in a digital world.
- How can we provide real-world learning experiences to prepare our learners with skills and competence in a globalized society where technology pervades throughout? It is is true that technology is fundamentally changing the way we live and work. If this is true, then why wouldn’t we weave technology throughout the educational experience in ways that are both meaningful and relevant.
- In higher education, in particular, it is important to first look at the campus culture in relation to technology as it has a powerful influence over academic transformation (Brown, 2015). How are our students already using technology in their informal learning? How do faculty feel about the use of technology in the ‘classroom’? How does the administration view technology? This is key to understanding where and how to begin our work so that we create a shared vision of a learner-centered environment that not only supports the 21st century skills/experience, but encourages them. This can only come with institutional support of innovation in both pedagogy and technology
- Communities of practice can be instrumental in building confidence and allowing time/space to explore.
- Include students in exploration! This not only gets at the heart of what we are doing, but provides further experience for the learners.
- Create a governance group that is active in looking at emerging technologies to find their value in learning and teaching, while also providing ‘voices’ in academic technology integration, knowing that we can’t always do everything.
- Last in the tidbits, but certainly not the end or least important, is the overarching idea that technology for technology sake is not the focus here. Technology as it supports the learning and teaching is the focus.
M. B. (2015, November 11). 7 Things to Know About Leading Academic Transformation | NextGen Learning. EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. Retrieved April 02, 2016, from http://nextgenlearning.org/blog/7-things-know-about-leading-academic-transformation
What does it mean to a higher education institution to transition to a new Learning Management System? What opportunity can we glean from integrating a new campus wide technology? What inspires people? How can we make technology fun and innovative?
So many questions to consider in this change! I believe that this transition provides three overarching opportunities for an institution:
- reinvigorate faculty passion for teaching;
- create a community of learners across the institution; and
- begin to change the culture of how faculty view and use academic technology for learning and teaching
Each of these overarching opportunities present more opportunities within.
First, think of it as a way to ignite faculty passion for learning and teaching by using the transition to a new technology as a means to rethink their course design and facilitation. As we partner with faculty to migrate course content, it is a perfect opportunity to re-look at course design whether from the ground up, aligning activities and assessments with learning outcomes, or simply modifying existing activities to improve community, engagement, and learning that will ultimately support student success.
Two, the collaborative teams that facilitate migration will encompass many units that work together while also creating partnerships that extend to faculty and students. This is a significant opportunity for building community efforts in change. This is noted as something very important to a 21st century learning institution. This is the community model that we strive for with our students; an institution where they feel belonging-ness.
Three, higher education has been noted to have fear and sometimes resistance in terms of technology. This is an opportunity to begin to shift that thinking as we move toward a culture of innovation and exploration. Using the learning management system tools that support collaboration and engagement for example, rather than having folks get caught up in the “pains” of moving to a new technology, hence adding to that culture of fear. Instead, cultivating a “working together” model that is both supportive and even fun, can be an opportunity to use technology differently and even more effectively.
Technology is fundamentally changing the way we live and work. It is clear that there is an ever increasing need to formulate a strategy to improve students’ success and abilities to meet future challenges in this digital landscape. Student success focuses on deep and meaningful learning experiences that move to blend informal and formal learning. In order to implement a strategy, one must first address the campus culture, as it has a powerful influence over academic transformation (Brown, 2015). Our commitment to creating a learning paradigm that builds 21st Century skills, knowledge, experiences, and competence is critical to the future of our learners and our educators. Our goal is to create a culture where institutional commitment supports our learners and educators with respect to exploration and innovation of both technological and pedagogical implementation through collective and meaningful participation across the institution. Leadership, vision and communication is critical to the effectiveness of this effort. As we begin to create collaborative partnerships designed to build relationships with faculty, staff, and students , we engage in an effort that spurs continuous exploration and innovation. Drawing upon what we know of ‘communities of practice’, we develop opportunities for faculty to participate as 21st century digital learners, that will in turn model the the very skills and experience that our students need to become self-directed, problem-solvers. Focusing on how we teach and what we teach with respect to supporting digital natives will allow us to create meaningful experiences and engagement that model 21st century learning.
M.B. (2015, November 11). 7 Things to Know About Leading Academic Transformation | NextGen Learning. EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. Retrieved April 02, 2016, from http://nextgenlearning.org/blog/7-things-know-about-leading-academic-transformation