Education and Values: Interface on the Internet

Case Study 4

Spreading Technological Literacy

The Pacific University School of Education formed a technology partnership with 6 sister schools and received a grant to foster change in faculty use of technology in teacher education programs (Oregon Technology Network). We chose to develop two main projects: a set of conferences in which the focus was on introducing faculty to software and giving them experience with its use, and offering mini-grants ($1k) to those interested in utilizing these technologies for specific projects. Faculty members were paid $50 to attend each conference and lunch was served. One of the most successful aspects of the project was the conference time we built in that allowed individuals from all campuses to informally talk and form collaborative partnerships. Attendance at the conferences was greater at the beginning and waned at the end. Of the many dozens of faculty at these schools, only 10 grant proposals were received. Many Education faculty disengaged from this process entirely. One faculty member stated that he had no intention of incorporating the use of technology in his courses and because of academic freedom; there was nothing that could make him do so. Another faculty member facing an approaching tenure decision worried privately that work devoted to personal technology development would not be considered scholarly work and would take time from publishing.

Key Points and Questions:
- How can we frame faculty development experiences in order to make them desirable and useful?
- how we can assist reluctant or resistant faculty to recognize the importance of this work, and support their early efforts?
- How can we continue to encourage technological literacy once the novelty fades?
- should universities retool the definition of scholarly work to include professional development in educational applications of ICT
- Should we expect faculty to continue to learn about educational applications of ICT as we would expect them to keep abreast of advances in their field?
* Once the excitement of something new wears off, it is easy to slip back to comfortable patterns.
* You can lead a faculty member to ICT, but you cannot make them link.

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Last Updated 1/23/02
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