5.4.3 Technology and Pedagogy

Background

Technology provides both the tools and the instructional contexts for teaching and learning. Even though the earlier technology of chalk and blackboard have, for the most part, been replaced with computers and multimedia classroom spaces, technology should nonetheless support the pedagogy and learning goals that remain at the core of teaching and learning.

Technology is not neutral in the classroom (or in any other context). When teachers use technology, the technology they use should be based on classroom needs and should be selected to support or enhance pedagogy. This means that decisions regarding software and hardware will have pedagogical implications and should be based, to a great extent, on faculty input and existing research. (See 5.9.1 and 5.9.2.)

Electronic classroom spaces, too, should match classroom pedagogy: instructional presentation spaces (with a built-in multimedia workstation) are certainly appropriate for lecture classes; however, other sorts of electronic spaces (with student workstations and connectivity) are needed to support hands-on learning, group work, and collaboration. (See 5.4.2). Some disciplines have a need for special technology or specialized teaching and learning installations. These discipline-specific needs are addressed in this section of the Technology Master Plan.

Finally, training of both faculty and students should address needs that affect the classroom. What this means is that although section 5.17 in this Technology Master Plan addresses technology training for faculty in general terms, technology training should also include a pedagogical component. It also means that students should develop base-line technology competencies to enable to them to do well in the classroom.

Discipline-specific needs. Some disciplines require discipline-specific technology and learning spaces that are secured and supervised spaces. Examples of discipline-specific technology include the following: a human performance testing lab; a spatial analysis lab that uses computers in a manner that requires specialized equipment, software, input and output devices not generally available in general purpose computer rooms; a broadcasting television or radio studio

SCSU needs to review the needs of these discipline-specific technology spaces to determine

  • how they are managed
  • what mechanisms they use to maintain or replace equipment and to support it
  • what means can be used to support these spaces long-term

The existence of such discipline-specific technology spaces is often needed as part of students' education in the field and as a requirement for program accreditation.

In the past five years, educational uses of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), the burgeoning of the Worldwide Web, the proliferation of digital technologies, and the advent of Internet2 have opened up many pedagogical possibilities. These possibilities have exacerbated the need for attention to copyright (especially copyright of images and music used in the fine arts) as well as the need for bandwidth (see 5.19). These technologies have also introduced field-specific applications that should be explored in addition to the discipline-specific technology listed in the last Technology Master Plan.

Training faculty in technology and pedagogy. A central need for faculty teaching in technology-rich classrooms is education about pedagogy and technology. Because technology use in the classroom should support pedagogy and classroom goals, teacher training should include discussions about pedagogy and technology applications — not just training in using technology applications. The Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence or other university units might sponsor professional development opportunities, brown bag lunches, discussion groups, or demonstrations requiring knowledge of pedagogy and knowledge of technology. These might include sessions on using particular software applications or technology functions to accomplish particular classroom goals, using electronic classrooms for particular pedagogical purposes, or using large classrooms effectively to enhance student learning. Another possibility for training in technology and pedagogy is support groups like SCSU's WebCT user group.

Training students in baseline technology competencies. Faculty have indicated concerns that they need to provide technology training for students with a wide range of technology backgrounds and competencies. This technology training often needs to be incorporated into an already full classroom curriculum or added in individual sessions with students outside of the classroom. Some sort of technology training for students would be valuable and would enable faculty to concentrate on course content rather than on the technology used to support course content or student learning. This training might take the form of a Technology Skills Center, a required technology course, a set of technology training workshops that students could take voluntarily, or sessions that faculty could request for individual classes. (See 5.17.)

Goals

In the next five years, SCSU will

  • investigate needs for discipline-specific technology and learning spaces on campus (including existing and new installations as well as emerging technology applications) and recommended means for addressing those needs (including the total cost of ownership of such spaces and such technology)
  • determine needs for faculty education about technology and pedagogy and recommend potential training mechanisms
  • facilitate a university-wide conversation about technology and pedagogy
  • explore student technology literacy needs and make recommendations regarding training (see 5.17)

Specific Actions and Timeline

A committee will be formed that comprises members of TPR, InfoMedia Services work group, technologists, faculty, and students interested in technology and pedagogy.

  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions necessary to accomplish the goals for technology and pedagogy in this part of the technology plan.
  • The committee will consult with appropriate individuals and work groups to assure that the committee has all necessary information for informed decision-making.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will produce a final report on technology and pedagogy, and a planning document for the next five-year plan. These will be submitted to TLTR by February 1, 2008, for review.

Resources

Resources for technology and pedagogy would need to be determined. Primarily, costs would be mapped out by the committee and would be tied to their recommendations. They would most likely involve the costs of training faculty and students as well as the costs of installing, maintaining, and supporting discipline-specific technology applications or technology spaces.

Evaluation

  • Has the committee investigated the needs for discipline-specific technology and learning spaces on campus (including emerging technology applications) and recommended means of addressing those needs?
  • Has the committee determined needs for faculty education about technology and pedagogy and recommended potential training mechanisms?
  • Has the committee facilitated a university-wide conversation about technology and pedagogy?
  • Has the committee explored student technology literacy needs and made recommendations regarding training?
  • Has the committee completed a final report?
  • Has the committee developed recommendations for the next technology planning cycle?

Revised: May 2003