VCC Event: Technology Trends and the Courage to Adapt Recap

On April 24th 2012, we gathered at Vancouver Community College to listen to Gary Poole and Tony Bates on Higher Education and the changes in technology. The room was packed full of educators from the Lower Mainland eager to see what it takes to adapt to the changing landscape of Higher Education. As part of BCcampus’s effort to open up access to local events for the benefit of those in other parts of the province, and, indeed, the world, we were on site and online to capture the highlights. This time we tried something new, and had several people join us through the live audio steam through the #DS106radio station. Sylvia Currie reflects on the experience here.
There has always been a push and pull between traditional teaching techniques and more innovative teaching practices. With the rise of new devices and software, instructors should be aware of available resources to aid their classroom and the steps to go about adapting to technology.
We looked at a few more significant developments, in particular how some instructors have incorporated some of these technologies, and suggest some simple steps or strategies for instructors to be innovative without getting overwhelmed by the changes in technology. Change can be difficult, both individually and institutionally, but we can approach change more constructively and thoughtfully.
Karen Belfer from Vancouver Community College kicked off the event by introducing Gary and Tony.

Gary Poole
Technology Trends and the Courage to Adapt

Gary provided lots of personal examples in regards to the evolution of the classroom and how it differed around the world. Distance learning has pushed us to enhance education programs and the learning environment for students. We need to use tools properly to construct meaning in our work. We need to continue rattling education and keep on thinking who we are and why we are educators.
With his background focused in psychology, Gary referenced a few theories to help understand the nature of change and how we perceive change.

  • Life Change Units 
    • All change is stressful to some degree
    • The greater the change, the greater this stress
      • Entering is more difficult than adapting to continual change once we are in
  • Stages of Change Model 

    • Change is  coming…so we need to decided if we want to adopt now or later. Nonetheless, we will get there
  • Diffusion of Innovation

    • Change can affect identity
    • It is very applicable in teaching
    • Changes can assault a professionals knowledge base

We could conclude:

  • For all encounters with change, gauge your perceived personal control
  • Don’t categorize yourself, assess the pros and cons of each change and act accordingly
  • At the same time, acknowledge your tendencies regarding change and seek other opinions to approach objectivity
  • Try to avoid “hardening of the identity”

Tony Bates
Designing Online Learning for the 21st Century

Tony Bates presented on the emerging trends in Educational Technology and emphasized on the importance of change. Technology and new innovation has shifted the dominant teaching model and educators need to understand how it has changed and what they can do.
His presentation discussed the drivers of change, the skills that are needed to excel, what technology is available, instructors roles, and what types of courses to teach students.
Full Summary of Presentation:
As the session concluded, there were lots of questions from the audience about the different tools used from different institutions. There is a trend of moving towards cheaper open sourced software to increase engagement and collaboration between educator and students. As for the next steps, institutions need to make a move towards innovation in teaching & learning and provide incentives to motivate educators to adopt change.

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