When in response to a question from a journalist from New Woman magazine, he said of the Arctic Monkeys on his iPod it “really wakes you up in the morning”. Subsequently put on the spot by a mens magazine he failed to name a single track and was forced to admit he was more of Coldplay man really aka middle of the road soft indi-rock.
This takes me onto Universities and Web2.0 and the whole raft of cool social software applications. Do I really want my university to try and be cool by appropriating these technologies or would I rather that they remain somewhat dour but trustworthy and effective in what they do?
The argument is made that teaching staff need to ‘go where the students are’ (YouTube, facebook, etc.) if they want to be relevant and effective educators. However, this somewhat ‘false’ adoption may have just the opposite effect as we in fact appear shallow, fickle, untrustworthy, etc. Back to Mr Brown…
What we really need to do is identify the ‘added value’ that the institution offers to students in this fast changing technological world. This may well require staff to use new and different technologies, but it shouldn’t be characterised by a ‘headless’ rush into the fashionable technologies of the day.
An initial analysis of a recent survey of 10 online facilitators, who are technologically capable and experienced, indicates that the adoption of new technologies at a reasonably steady pace resulted in tremendous pressure for them in integrating it with their teaching practices and reported corresponding difficulties for their students.
Some university staff will feel comfortable using the new technologies and will be readily able to integrate it into their teaching practices, others will not or will take a long time to do so. Very diverse practices will and have emerged.
This doesn’t really matter so long as everyone, students and university staff alike, have a clear understanding about what the added value that the institution brings is and expectations of staff and student responsibilities are aligned.