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You can take the prof away from the lectern, but...

Posted By: Dick Schutz on March 11, 2008
Question: How do we engage faculty in the development necessary to help them rethink both pedagogy and the place of technology?

Short answer: We don’t.

Longer answer:
“Faculty” have no incentive to modify their current pedagogy, and “we” have no means to conduct the “development.” The thing is, a “laptop” is a powerful interactive communication system, but it isn’t pedagogical technology. A system that don’t do nuthin for you ain’t technology. One would think that would be transparently obvious. What is obvious though, is that this isn’t transparently obvious.

It’s extremely unlikely that the current generation of faculty will change very much, and who knows about subsequent generations. Yet science and technology (“how to”) advance inexorably. That they will advance in education is a matter of faith, but it’s a faith based on reason.

If anyone knew how the advance will occur we could be there now and wouldn’t have to forecast. My hunch is that it will come creeping in on little cat feet rather than lunging in on tiger paws. We don’t consider “computers” as able to read and write. But that’s what word processing systems do. We don’t think of “computers” as problem solvers, but that’s what they do. Within the next decade “computers” should be able to teach; to reliably accomplish specified instructional aspirations. This instructional technology will involve learners and some form of societal intermediaries interacting with “computers.” The instructional technology (“how to”) will be as consequential in magnitude as “word processing” and other highly functional systems.

There may be better answers to the question. That’s the best I can generate at the moment.

Dick Schutz
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