A guest Blackboard blog post by Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University, shares his experience in content design and practice.
Technology has enhanced the delivery of instruction on campuses. But the advances risk to remain in quantity, not quality. In Kunnen’s view, we in the EdTech world seem to have left technology to overrun teaching, often dictating what to adapt and how, instead of the more sensible opposite.
Fortunately, these mistakes are mostly well-intentioned, made by excellence-seeking people and organizations. Kunnen proposes a 4-key action plan to ensure technology is actually put at the service of teaching. It is not an alliance of equals: a good teacher can overcome faulty technology, but technology cannot substitute “great teaching”.
But in a way, this keys illustrate how a great teacher would handle situations involving technology:
#1 Interaction and presence. It is somewhat of a waste of effort to have a complete, multi-channel, real-time communications platform, if the teacher does not use to make students feel heard and accompanied. After all, engagement is a defining trait of relationships among humans.
#2 Design and reasonableness. The UX in EdTech applications keeps unveiling its importance. Sites with difficult navigation or hard-to-use features create what Blackboard blogs refer to as “hot messes”. Great teaching means a teacher is aware of problems where the tool is involved.
#3 Media and openness. Too many educators spend a lot of their already limited time, to restrict students options, particularly when it comes to social media. It is true that “fake news” arouse fears about the roles these sites play in the development of critical thinking and civic education. But great teaching sides with earnest conversations about these (and the next) threats, rather than “social media abstinence” in the classroom.
#4 Resources and a support network. Neither Kunnen nor I are overstating it: our time is uncontested in terms of potential collaboration, and the wealth of resources we have at our disposal for it. A great teacher is not only a self-actualizing professional, but someone who helps in the community’s learning, even working as a mentor.
This last key is used as an opportunity to invite you, and all readers, to become more involved in the EdTech community. As Kunnen argues, “it takes a village“.
Read the full post at blog.blackboard.com.