Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 22 seconds

On Technology Adoption by Faculty: a faculty development perspective

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 22 seconds

I just finished reading a beautiful article by Marisol Brito in which she says:

When we choose to adopt (or not to adopt) technologies we do not need to act out of laziness, ignorance, or fear. Instead, if we work to know ourselves as educators, and to identify our core values, we can begin our relationship with technology from a thoughtful and passionate place.

I read this as a faculty developer, not a teacher. It’s my main role, after all, but also maybe because I’ve been virtually attending the #eli2015 conference and listening to some useful talks about how institutions take decisions about which technologies to adopt and support. It’s a different level of a question, but it’s an important one. Because quite often, the tech choices made available to faculty are based on decisions by IT people and administrators, and at best, faculty developers and a handful of “innovator” or “early adopter” faculty.

What I loved about this article by Marisol is that it feeds into some of my thoughts on the importance of understanding a faculty members’ teaching philosophies before giving them any faculty development consultations, technology or not. I realized I feel much better able to support a faculty member if I have done an in-class assessment before (observing them or getting confidential student feedback) than if I haven’t.

I’ve wanted many times to talk to people about teaching philosophies, have a workshop on developing it… Even though I myself don’t have a solid one (it’s too dynamic to be solid, but I mean I don’t actually have a well-thought-out one that I develop – i actually just keep tagging on little bits and pieces when I like someone else’s philosophy or feel it represents my own thinking well; this is kind of weird given the volume of my own writing, but it’s another story).

My point is… Very often, the kind of support we give faculty depends on our own capabilities as faculty developers, the tech our IT people can support, and “good” practice” literature and matches between pedagogical intent and the tech – how often is it about whether there is congruence or harmony with the faculty member’s own values? Even if we think something will resonate really well with students, I wouldn’t want to recommend it if the faculty member will feel it conflicts with what they value most. Why would I? More importantly, why would I want to make them feel like they’re not doing enough if they didn’t do it? I feel really sad when a faculty member comes to me and says they want to learn how ot integrate tech into their teaching when they don’t have anything in particular in mind they want to do or change… They seem… Lost… Or like they feel they’re missing out on something and want to catch up. They shouldn’t.

4 thoughts on “On Technology Adoption by Faculty: a faculty development perspective

  1. The quote you started with really connected for me to the work by Parker Palmer (A Hidden Wholeness). It’s the underlying belief that we have to know ourselves in order to teach since we teach from who we are. The fluid nature of your teaching philosophy is part of that. Since we are always in transition from who we are to who we are becoming, it’s only natural to pick up, drop down or shift our thinking as we learn. But it’s the underlying foundation of who we are that our philosophies are built. That’s where the deeper understandings and values lie, and where the greater challenges need to be faced. It’s rich and rewarding work as a teacher of teachers! It’s well beyond just adopting technology or teaching digitally.

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