Teaching with Technology: A Report on Efforts with University of Idaho Faculty
As a part of the Doceo Center for Innovation + Learning’s goal to improve student learning across the state of Idaho through effective technology integration, the center provides educators opportunities for professional development. As a team of four, we work to research and disperse innovative practices to further this initiative. While the center’s technology integration specialist for K-12 offers these opportunities to teachers and pre-service teachers serving grades K-12, higher education professionals are often overlooked when it comes to pedagogical development. Therefore, the Doceo Center hired a technology integration specialist for the University of Idaho to fill this gap and offer sessions for higher education faculty.
The Doceo Center is just one of many groups across campus that work to improve pedagogy. It is because of this that we must come to understand how we fit into the campus as a whole and not replicate any already existent efforts. By forming connections across campus, such as collaborating with Distance & Extended Education, we can utilize other resources on campus and widen our impact. Forming connections also allows the center to become familiar with individual college or department initiatives and assist with those when applicable. While the Doceo Center is not the only place on campus that innovation takes place, we seek to act as a hub where innovative efforts come together.
Initiatives to encourage the innovative use of technology in classrooms are not easy, and the center must work towards enthusiastic faculty involvement. Faculty involvement is often limited due to hesitations using new or unfamiliar technologies, schedule restrictions, or disinterest stemming from not knowing the relative advantages or capabilities of technologies. Part of the center’s goal, then, is to determine where innovation on campus is already happening and who the innovators and early adopters, or those already incorporating technologies into their pedagogy, are. By recognizing where innovation exists, we can then bring together the innovators and help to disperse this innovation throughout the university. Then, we must persuade both the early and late majority to incorporate technologies into their classroom. One step in doing this is understanding faculty members’ availability and interests in order to create a schedule and opportunities that are most fitting to faculty needs.