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Keeping Up with Technology

Teaching with Technology

Keeping Up with Technology

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Could you use some tips to help you keep up with how technology is changing teaching and learning? Here are 10 that the authors of the article referenced below call “timeless” because they're designed to help faculty keep up no matter what form the technology takes. Although they were written by faculty in psychology for faculty in psychology, they can help all of us “effectively seek, select, and place new technology into pedagogical practice.” (p. 69)

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Could you use some tips to help you keep up with how technology is changing teaching and learning? Here are 10 that the authors of the article referenced below call “timeless” because they're designed to help faculty keep up no matter what form the technology takes. Although they were written by faculty in psychology for faculty in psychology, they can help all of us “effectively seek, select, and place new technology into pedagogical practice.” (p. 69) Accept that it is your responsibility to be technologically literate. The need to keep current with our content is obvious and so should be the need to keep eyes and ears open to what technology can be used to accomplish in the classroom and online. Develop a sense of what is, and what is not, technology worth pursuing. The first tip says to keep up. This tip acknowledges that keeping up can be overwhelming, “so it is important to develop mechanisms for determining” (p. 70) what you can and can't use. Whatever the innovation, it's got to promote learning with your content, for your students and when you use it. Streamline your ability to explore new technology quickly and efficiently. Given the need to keep current with our content, most of us have developed techniques for keeping up with new discoveries. We've learned what scholarly publications we need to read and how to get through them efficiently. Most of us have a network of colleagues with whom we regularly share ideas and information. The same approaches can be used with technology. Search out what looks good, see what others have to say about it, and then try it out. You can make an informed decision about a new technology before you've mastered all its fine points. Explore new technology from a student's perspective. When you're trying it out and using it for the first time, you are a learner, just like your students will be. Notice how it works for you. But don't forget that you aren't a student, which is why you also need input from students. Join (or create) a face-to-face “tech talk” community. Many of us don't find a new technology all that easy to master. Support systems are a great way to streamline your exploration and mastery of a new technology. We advocate group work for our students. Maybe we ought to be using what we tell them expedites learning. Attend conferences on educational technology. Educational technology conferences provide opportunities to not only find out about new technologies, but to hear from folks who've used them and who willingly share how those technologies did and didn't work. Embrace technology that interests you personally. Then apply it to the classroom. “We recommend that you blur the lines between your personal technological life and your pedagogical technological life.” (p. 71) If a technology has benefited you personally, chances are good it will benefit you professionally. Hire technology-savvy faculty. Most of us don't hire faculty, but our departments do, and most of us serve on search committees. That's an opportunity to make the case for new faculty who will help the department “embrace and exploit” (p. 71) those technologies with the potential to promote learning and teaching. Budget for annual upgrades in technological equipment and infrastructure. Here as well, individual faculty members don't have budgets, but departments, divisions, colleges, and institutions do. The authors recommend that departments let faculty experiment and explore new technologies before making large purchases of them. If that's being done anywhere within the institution, faculty members should avail themselves of the opportunity to explore the option and offer feedback. Seek representation on university-level technology committees. If you care about technology at your institution, for your students, and in your department, these are the committees that either make the major decisions or have an important say about them. The pace of technology change used to be more measured. New innovations came along at a manageable rate. In case you haven't noticed, those days are over. The authors' hope “is that these strategies will transform technology obstructionists, validate and reinvigorate technology enthusiasts, and arm everyone in between with the skills to manage the demands of technological overload.” (p. 71) Reference: Poling, D.A., and LoSchiavo, F.M. (2014). Ten timeless tips for keeping on top of teaching technology. Teaching of Psychology, 41 (1), 69-72.