Word(s) on the street: teaching & LEARNING

Word(s) on the Street: teaching and LEARNING
Word(s) on the Street: teaching and LEARNING

Is Higher Education becoming  “post-technology”?  I wonder lately, as I seem to be hearing a lot more interest in teaching and learning than in educational technology.

Yay, I say.  Sure, many of us have spent much of the last 15-ish years responding to the impact of technology on education. Many systems and courses have been developed and deployed; countless workshops, webinars, and sets of instructions have been provided,  thousands of integration projects have occurred, and bazillions of buttons clicked. At times, cool new stuff had us all jazzed, both for the “whiz-bang” factor as well as the potential to support learning in communities (e.g., remember when web conferencing was new?! So cool!).

A lot of good has evolved from attending to new technology and its affordances. For example, we learned that time and place independence is possible; we can engage in meaningful work and learning communities online, which supports access, and choice. We learned that technology can support students’ creating and publishing their work.  There’s blended learning, and networked learning.  Access to information and resources. Media! The rise of Open (resources, access, practices). Sharing! And so on…

But…it seems many folks are getting back to first principles. Maybe because we have integrated many technologies into everyday life (they are no longer esoteric), we can more easily focus on facilitating learning (with or without tech).  I think we’re seeing more…

  •  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) events, initiatives, grants, etc., encouraging scholarly approaches to understand teaching and learning
  • interest in Teaching Stream Faculty (TSF) – including research and actual teaching tracks at places like UBC and McMaster, formally acknowledging that teaching is as important as research in higher education
  • interest in ensuring that higher ed instructors are more than subject matter experts – i.e., they also have some background in designing and facilitating learning, assessment, etc.   This is increasingly important with more contract faculty teaching in higher ed, as well as the rise of trades education. Instructors need education about Education. Students should be demanding skilled teachers.
  • interest in evidence of learning , learning analytics, etc

Many years ago, one of my Education professors cautioned our class not to break our legs jumping on and off the inevitable bandwagons in the field of Education – I think he would be extremely pleased to see that the foundational pieces – teaching, but more importantly,  learning –  seem to be trending.

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