Thursday, March 03, 2005

SITE05: Our presentation on Tech in Higher Education

I'll reflect briefly on our presentation yesterday (Dr. Charles Graham and I). I'd post up the conference paper here, but I can't get my server to work while I'm here in Phoenix for some reason.

Anyway, it was a roundtable reporting a project Charles and I worked on together last year that will be published in Educational Technology in a few months. Basically, we asked instructional designers on campus and department chairs for recommendations of the most "innovative" technology-using instructors on campus at BYU (admittedly, "inovative" is very subjective and means different things to different people, but what can you do ...). We interviewed about 40 of the most creative/succesfull of these teachers (based on their perceptions of success and our perceptions of creativity--again very subjective), and tried to identify some global patterns indicating how technology was impacting learning in this classrooms. This was exploratory research, and we wanted to just get an idea of what the "master" teachers were doing across campus.

We found many exciting and interesting applications of technology, and five overall patterns that seemed to span multiple colleges and departments:

1. Technology helped learners to visualize content
2. Technology facilitated learner/instructor and learner/learner interactions
3. Technology supported meaningful learner reflection
4. Technology involved learners in authentic, real-life learning activities
5. Technology improved the quality and quantity of learner practice

Anyway the upcoming article gives case study snippets and support for how teachers were using technology in these five ways. But I won't go into that now.

I felt the presentation went well--I counted about 25 people attending. A couple people were questioning at first about what our terminology meant, what our criteria for selecting cases were, and ideas for applying this research. Admittedly, those are issues with this project because of the focus of the project. Charles explained it well: This was exploratory research--so our methods were not clearly defined but more flexible and developed as we moved through the project. Basically we wanted to see what was happening, and get ideas for future projects. In fact we've delved a little deeper into a couple of the issues we identified and will address those in future articles that we're working on right now.

Now we've got to try and nail down what exactly we will be presenting on Saturday, but does anyone even stick around until Saturday?

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