Challenges related to engaging academic staff with the adoption of learning technologies are acknowledged throughout literature (Birch and Burnett, 2009). Using technology for its own sake will not necessarily add value and it is important that academic staff, as subject matter experts, make informed choices when deciding on appropriate technology to use within their teaching context (Keppell, 2015). However, academic staff are not always able to see the potential that technologies can offer and this can in turn lead to ill-informed decisions over their potential value. A lack of institutional direction can also impact the use of appropriate technologies, creating a lack of clarity on expectations (Beetham and Sharpe, 2013).
In order to challenge the views towards learning technologies and develop an institutional strategy to support the wide scale implementation of them, a number of different strategies were employed. These strategies offer an environment to debate and address conceptions of learning technologies, enabling staff to impact strategy and develop skills to make changes to practice. This has included:
A Technology Enhanced Learning Festival, an annual week long festival that brings together practice from across the institution.
Digital Retreats, an intense two day event that enables staff to transform a part of their teaching through team-based support.
A Digital Commons, a regular academic-focussed seminar series that runs throughout the year.
Hack Days, where participants are challenged to come up with solutions they face in using technology and suggest solutions.
Formal Reviews, review of institutional core learning technologies, involving wide consultation with staff and students.
Combined, these adoption strategies are helping to change culture, creating and embedding new innovations, whilst raising the baseline use of learning technology. Core to these initiatives has been in providing different perspectives and practice based evidence, to challenge views towards learning technologies by combining expertise and experiences from; academic staff, students, learning technologists as well as perspectives from other institutions. Each of these initiatives has been designed and developed to appeal to different audiences and as a result, has attracted early adopters and those who are resistant to change alike. Attendance and participation in these initiatives is continually growing and a community of practice has developed.
Feedback and research undertaken with staff that attend these events, will be provided to outline the impact that these events are having on practice and student experience at both an individual and institutional level. Furthermore, the session will outline the advantages and limitations of the different approaches used.
Attendees will have the opportunity to:
learn more about the initiatives employed within the institution
make informed decisions as to whether and when they will offer value within their own context
share experiences of strategies used at their own institutions
Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2013). Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing for 21st century learning.
Birch, D., & Burnett, B. (2009). Bringing academics on board: Encouraging institution-wide diffusion of e-learning environments. Australasian Journal of EducationalTechnology, 25(1).
Keppell, M., Suddaby, G., & Hard, N. (2015). Assuring best practice in technology-enhanced learning environments. ResearchinLearningTechnology, 23.