Playing with Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

Are faculty scared of technology?

In an article published today in The Guardian and highlighted in the The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, David Buckingham from the Institute of Education says, “Schools are becoming ‘technically irrelevant’ because pupils know more about computers than their teachers.” Is Prof Buckingham correct? Wooster has a large number of faculty using technology in their classes and has a history of innovation in the use of technology. There are certainly those among the faculty that use technology sparingly, but everyone has a style they are comfortable with and I don’t think pushing faculty to use technology will lead anywhere. Rather, show them what is possible and let them play with the technology so they can make an informed decision.

Prof Buckingham states that research shows that faculty don’t want to make mistakes with technology in front of students. This is an area where Instructional Technologists can make a difference. Providing adaquate training on how to use the technology available in the classroom is one of our responsibilities, and is a relatively painless way to enable faculty to feel more confident about their technological ability.

While Prof Buckingham does not seem to be talking about College and University faculty, I think there are some things that one can learn from his article and the supporting research.