The Rollercoaster Ride of Faculty Development

Swimming in my PLE this weekend and it felt a little like the Dow Jones Stock Index…up one minute, down the next.  I am an optimist by nature and believe that as the web grows even more ubiquitous, faculty by and large will look for ways to integrate it into their classroom.

There are certainly good examples from the early adopters.  Stephen Downes posted a powerpoint on Slideshare this weekend from his Prince Edwards Island 2008 presentation entitled “Integrating the Internet Into the Classroom.”


View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: downes e-learning)

Yet, at almost the same time, Dean Shareski pointed in Twitter to an article on the Britannica Blog entitled “Why I Ban Laptops in My Classroom,” by David Cole.  First, David apparently only sees laptops as a stenographer tool – good only for taking notes.  His complaint is that his students are distracted and not engaged in his class unless he bans laptops!  One wonders whether the problem is the laptop or the delivery?  One only needs look at how Michael Wesch has engaged his class (full of laptops) by co-opting the students into the learning process.

Luckily, Beth Holmes got me excited again with her post “Creating a Disturbance!” She was blogging about three educators who were actually doing what many only talk about:  Stephanie Sandifer in The Knowing – Doing Gap; Alec Couros’ K12 Online Conference presentation “Open, Connected, Social: Reflections of an Open Graduate Course Experience”; and David Truss’ 10/21/08 Pair-a-dimes post POD– or Personally Owned Devices.

As she noted:

“Boy, did I hear the old music and see the new steps! There they are – three educators who are familiar with the tools – making the transition from “knowing to doing” and urging us all to START DOING NOW.”

I hear that tune myself, Beth!  (But then again…it may just be Pandora…)

I think others are hearing that tune and are uncertain how to start dancing.  Jeff Nugent tweeted from the POD annual conference that he had met a fellow faculty developer who was starting blogging for the first time.  She (I am assuming “she” since the blog is Development Diva) felt that she had to remain anonymous due to her profession of working with other faculty.  In “Blogging: Confidentiality vs. Accountability“, she stated:

“My first thought, in my first post, was to protect the identities of any of my clients about whom I might write and thus to attempt to conceal my own since my work is tied to place and from place to people. That feels like a no-brainer…But yet I felt an unease that I struggled to put into words. What about the scholarly record? There are good reasons that scholarly work needs to be both public and attributed (e.g., dialog is essential to develop further knowledge, tracking the source of ideas is key in building new understandings). If someone wanted to quote my work here, either the content or the process of doing a blog, then to whom do they attribute it? P(l)odder? that feels dishonest.”

Maybe I should worry more (as I do the same job she does), but I believe that I can safely reflect on my profession without naming the names of my clients, and have done so for ten months now.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that cloud computing will “shake up campus technology.”  My own students (most many years older than early 20’s) are busily updating and editing our class wiki this weekend and doing just fine in the Web 2.0 stream.  The K12 Online Conference continues to pump out fantastic presentations.  So I remain optimistic!

Wondering what my colleagues think?  Is the glass half empty or half full?  How do we get that big early and late majority population to transition from “knowing to doing” and START DOING NOW!  Is the music playing for you?

{Photo Credit: Jespis}

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