Tech Features Useless if No One Uses Them

Ben Wieder for Wired Campus wrote a post on the struggle of publishers to get profs to use the newest features in e-texts.

Publishers studying the effectiveness of their latest interactive e-textbooks are finding that the biggest challenge is getting professors to use the new features of the digital texts.

“On the instructor side, that’s where the inertia is,” says Jay Chakrapani, McGraw-Hill’s digital general manager for higher education. “That’s the biggest challenge that we’re all facing.”

This is exactly why my technology QEP (which was not chosen, alas, or yeah!) said:

Train the professors in digital technology and digital pedagogy so that they will feel comfortable using the digital their classrooms. For example, online syllabi production could be taught and then syllabi would be created with links, graphics, videos, podcasts, and other digital media. This may need to include in-class training, where tech folks work with the teachers individually on an instructor’s particular class. Create faculty grants for new projects. Help the faculty write grant applications for external funding of digital technology projects.

I took it further than that, though.

The technologically advanced or innovative instructors would be the most likely to apply technology pervasively, at least in the beginning. Course/class pilots could provide a springboard for educating other faculty within departments, experimenting with the most appropriate technology for particular tasks, and helping to assess the program.

Technological integration should not be limited to course/class pilots, but should be encouraged throughout the college. Grants for technology innovation, publicity for successful implementation, and status as a mentor-teacher could advance the adoption and incorporation of technology, even among less technologically-adept instructors.

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