Drawing on a critically reflective account of designing and implementing two institution-wide strategic approaches to learning and teaching with technology over the last four years, we argue that the role of learning technologists as agents and leaders of change at a strategic level is often compromised by tensions and actions arising from implicit internal practices or explicit external relationships. In both cases we found that as teams who led learning technology initiatives we continually found ourselves in untenable positions, arguing for the ongoing support and efficacy of institutional systems that may run counter to engaging the institution in more innovative pedagogical approaches. At the same time, functional tensions arose over who owned ‘pedagogy’, ‘technology’ and ‘learning’ institutionally, and whether there was a role for collaborative stakeholder experimentation and evaluation as opposed to reactive project and systems support.
Finally, we make the case that learning technology teams need to identify and be identified as having a different strategic role within institutions. This would be a role where the learning technologist argues, lobbies, supports and resources change and where they work to break down functional barriers and siloes between academic and professional services, in order to seek change through the development and celebration of a collective identity. A role which shapes and integrates a shared orientation and argues for the need to challenge the status quo and to address change through practical action (James and van Seters, 2014) and where they flip the support of practice at a local level to one where they advocate and lead change at an institutional level.
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