Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
Maybe you should check out Khan academy on TED:
There is also many talks and conferences by Seigmor Paper talking about technology in the IT Class. As weird as it sounds, he actually makes sense.
Syllabus online does and doesn't make sense at the same time. For one, is not present on the classroom so a out of sight out mind effect would be aparent.
IT like projectors is by no mean an out of sight, since we are all watching a color-enhanced presentation on a topic. So Lectures with 'powerpoint' could be a first stop. Of course, hardware is expensive, even if you are using free software like OpenOffice Impress.
But to start, some lessons would not need to been 'redrawn' on the whiteboard each time. However when you introduce projectors and files, you are partially encpsulating a lesson, if you have an actual audio recording of each lesson, then you could have an even more complementary and shareable learning object. I would call this a medium value approach to the teacher.
This is what Moodle start doing, which is acomodating and organzing your learning objects into a program and cycles doing some heavy lifting. As teachers, there are key activities that teachers love to hate, like grading, so doing IT on this regards would be much more appreciated than just looking at the "paper pencil and whiteboard" paradigm. Dominating this, would be a strong value for the teacher.
This could be an interesting discussion!
I haven't seen any hard data on this (Who would want to advertise their lousy courses?!) but I've read reports claiming rates of learner attrition on elearning being anywhere up to 7 times higher than the equivalent face to face courses. On the other hand, I've heard wonderful things about some specific online courses.
In my opinion, I don't think the medium is the message. I think the medium, modes of delivery, syllabus, curriculum, learner support, instructional scaffolding, learning community, etc. are all equally critical in the success of courses both online and face to face.
I can see where a professor, who may have spent years developing an effective recipe, might be reluctant to change the recipe for the sake of pleasing some IT guys.
You can teach anything with a whiteboard. . .or before that, a blackboard. And before that, well, I am old but not that old.
Moodle is not a replacement for teachers, but rather a tool for teachers. It enables organisation of courses, discussion between students and teachers, resources to be shared in a variety of formats. Am I surprised that electronic-only courses have lower completion rates? No. But properly used, technology can enhance the learning experience for students, not replace it.
The first thing I ask when introducing something new into my teaching is "is this going to benefit the students?" If it is, I will give it a go. If it doesn't pan out, then hey, part of reflective practice is working out what works and what doesn't.
I pretty much agree with you Matt - an effective teacher is one with or without the technology, but that doesn't mean the technology is something we should blame or avoid.
I remember particiapting in a discussion where the question arose, "What is technology? How do we define it?" Someone came up with the answer,
"It's whatever was invented after we were born."
Pencils and affordable paper were new technology once.
Socrates(?) lamented the invention of writing. Thought it detracted from the essence of learning which he saw as in the dialogue between learners and teacher.
Let's not limit our perspectives to IT.
Mastering a technique or technology usually makes the difference on how useful is to us. However we also tend to re-create what we have done through different mediums, as opposed to rethink the whole perspective of teaching.
This is what seymour papert discussed onc, about, 'we dont have a pencil room', why do we have a 'computer room'?
Also criticizing that since computers where invented, a computer room make sense because economical reasons and also, teaching teachers how to use it.
Magisterial (school for teachers) have been widely criticized for not properly training teachers to teach with technology. Which means that they will see 'traditional techniques' before 'technological techniques'.
There is also a risk of seen the same thing we have now in technology as a whole, students are tought proprietary technology, and they go on to demand proprietary technology as opposed to tools for it. Hence the term, "industry standard". Having teachers demanding blackboard and be in a complete lost when schools have moodle, just like it happens with Gimp vs Photoshop and Linux vs Windows, or even OpenOffice vs MSO.
Then again thats a different conversation altogether.
It is not about a (new) medium, not about making somebody happy (administration, PR, IT guys, students). The argument for IT is, if it is heavily used in that particular subject area at that particular level (independent of the class room) then it is natural to use IT also in lessons. Otherwise not necessarily - the teacher is 'fcourse free to choose the tools like everything else.
In this subthread I want to limit the word technology to IT in general and LMS in particular as in the original discussion http://www.informationweek.com/education/instructional-it/classroom-technology-faces-skeptics-at-r/240148217.
If at all possible, I would also keep the area and level of this discussion to sciences and engineering at tertiary level. I fear, we will be discussing about different things otherwise.
BTW, I find the slashdot discussion http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/11/1240254/professors-rejecting-classroom-technology is exceptionally good.
I think one aspect of what we're discussing is entrenched beliefs and behaviour...
The issue is that anxiety and stress correlate strongly with entrenched beliefs and behaviour, and teaching ranks high on the lists of stressful professions (according to surveys). Even if they do get some decent training, how much are they capable of assimilating it in any useful meaningful way? I don't think the phenomenon is limited to IT/LMS/etc. adoption. For me, it comes under the wing of in service on going professional development: If they're heavily stressed already or it stresses them out, they ain't gonna learn to use it; doesn't matter if it's a pencil or a computer.
An interesting snippet I read, can't remember where (tut tut! I must cite and give credit where it's due!) that the typical scenario in many schools and colleges is that around 95% of the budget goes on hardware and software and only the remainder goes on teacher and support staff training on how to actually use it. I guess that's why we need a room to store all those unused computers :P