Model for My Students?: I'm Not Sure How to Integrate Technology Either!

Model for My Students?: I'm Not Sure How to Integrate Technology Either!

Lucretia M. Fraga (University of the Incarnate Word, USA), Sandra L. Guzman Foster (University of the Incarnate Word, USA) and Lori Falcon (University of the Incarnate Word, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5557-5.ch015
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This chapter discusses two case studies that examined tenure/tenure track faculty who participated in a consultative support model of professional development at one private university in South Texas. The professional development was faculty driven and focused on improving faculty technology skills and classroom use of technology tools. This pilot study was the result of a unique situation where two faculty members were given the opportunity to work with a technology consultant on an individual and weekly basis. Influences such as lack of time, faculty load, student skill level, and rapid changes in technology all contributed in shaping the roles and practices of higher education faculty's use of technology. However, utilizing participatory action research both professors surmised that the consultative approach allowed for all participants to engage as learners, which assisted higher education faculty's development in the use of technology.
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Technology and its increasing use have transformed the way we live, access information and communicate in the world today. Mobile learning is an example of one of the various kinds of technology that has become a ubiquitous part of our everyday life. Since many university students own mobile devices and tend to use them frequently, many faculty are searching for ways to use them in the classroom. With the proliferation and dependence on mobile devices, university students are likely to insist upon mobile learning opportunities during face-to-face, online and/or blended courses (Alexander, 2004; Prensky, 2001; Wagner, 2005). With the advent of various technologies, there has been a call for the use of technology to support learning and instruction in higher education (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Koehler & Mishra, 2009). Given this expectation and prior to effective integration of technology for learning, it is pressing that faculty must become cognizant of their own Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

However, the challenge lies with factors that determine the implementation of technology in university courses. One factor is the use of technology and mobile devices for academic recognition—that is, recognition regarding faculty promotion and tenure. Spotts (1999) determined that the level of technology use by faculty members directly correlated to their own personal benefits for using it. For example, if the use of technology did not support academic recognition for promotion and tenure, the level of technology use was low (Spotts, 1999).

Like other fields and industries, changes involving the use of technology in academic settings will present challenges to faculty in higher education as they implement new practices. However, technology alone will not change pedagogical practices among faculty (Georgina & Hosford, 2009). Herrington, Herrington, Mantei, Olney, and Ferry (2009) found that university faculty are more likely to revert to old pedagogies before trying new ones. Bates (2007) argues that the way in which university faculty implement technology depends on the support systems put in place. Therefore, it is crucial for current university faculty who are resistant in adopting current technologies and pedagogical pathways to consider making revolutionary changes (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich 2010; Georgina & Olson 2008; Hastings 2009; Keengwe, Kidd, & Kyei-Blankson, 2009; King 2007; Lucas & Wright 2009; Mishra & Koehler 2006; Parker, Bianchi, & Cheah, 2008; Zemsky & Massy 2004) in the way they teach to meet the needs of future students.

For many university faculty, formal theories may serve as an underlying structure that drives how to approach teaching with technology. Although some would argue that not all faculty are fully conscious of the methodological choices in their approach to teaching, all use their own personal experiences as learners and epistemological theories of learning (Hofer & Pintrich, 1997). Moreover, faculty can have beliefs about themselves and learners, beliefs about the utility of the tool or idea for enacting with their own practices, and beliefs of the practicality of the tool/idea for preparing their students.

Reid (2014) describes four barriers of technology professional development; the effectiveness, focus, and type/format of professional development delivered as well as the importance of pedagogical practices that support the use of instructional technology. According to Reid, (2014), the effectiveness on the outcomes of professional development are situated in participants’ perceptions. For example, the focus tended to be more about specific tool usage rather than pedagogy, and a majority of those surveyed preferred a small group format that would help to broaden pedagogical practices in the implementation of instructional technology (Reid, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Higher Education: A collegiate institution that provides a level of education to award academic degrees and certifications.

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