My change initiative targets building a professional learning culture oriented toward systemic integration of technology into teaching contexts. Fullan (2006) identifies key components of change initiatives as being motivation (above all else), results oriented capacity building, learning in context, changing contexts, reflective action, and multiple levels of engagement.

This change initiative has several key components in alignment with Fullan’s model, including:

  • easily discoverable online resources (Techforteaching.ca);
  • online communities and discussion forums;
  • workshops and learning opportunities;
  • supportive facilitation of change efforts;
  • reflective opportunities.

Online Resources

My change initiative encompasses a domain, comprised of several websites, as a resource and network for faculty. The practical justification for online learning resources is strong – in post secondary education, the vast majority of teaching roles are part time, online or sessional, and faculty may not engage with physical campuses. Conventional workshop offerings and faculty meeting demonstrations may be unlikely to reach these audiences. Further, people are more likely to seek out online resources when learning, in order to both access in varied locations and at varied times. A final practical rationale for the domain is efficiency and accuracy of information. People are increasingly likely to prefer searching online than through their inbox. By presenting content on an indexed website, access for many people may be facilitated and information will be kept current and relevant.

Through a Reclaim Hosting, creator and promoter of education centric domain hosting, and a professional learning opportunity from eCampus Ontario, I was able to construct a website network. This set of sites gave me the flexibility to construct environments to support faculty and facilitate their sharing of experiences.

Landing page of the Tech For Teaching site.

The website is comprised of two primary sites:

  • a blog on tips for using a variety of tech, updated and managed by me;
  • and a sharing site, where individuals can contribute their own stories on their journey implementing new tech in their teaching.

Though not complex, this domain left me with the flexibility to construct the resources I needed, and the capacity to grow the sites over time.

Addressing Motivation

Motivation is often already established by faculty professional drive and interest. Key indicators seem to point out that faculty are very motivated to participate in learning opportunities.

The key goals are to provide opportunities to learn, at one’s own initiative, connect with colleagues across a variety of media, and reflect more deeply on their experiences of bringing new technologies into their teaching.

Introducing the Initiative

I wrote this shareable post to introduce the initiative to colleagues. This is publicly available on the web now, and will be widely distributed to colleagues in the 2nd week of teaching. It will also be used at new faculty orientations, introducing faculty to the resources and community. It will be distributed to anyone asking about what Tech For Teaching is, or why or how it can be implemented.

The goal is that introducing the methodology and supports for implementation will incentivize some experimentation. If some faculty identify a suitable technology for their teaching, they may be likely to begin planning with it in mind.

Sustaining the Impetus

The site and community will form the basis of the outreach I conduct. Support emails and requests will be replied to with links to the site. Social media accounts will have regular posts related to Tech for Teaching (#TechTuesdays) and these will directly refer to the site and communities.

Workshops will leverage the website as their teaching resource. Workshops will also occur in the Team community.. There will be regular Tuesday drop in sessions in the Team, creating a consistent opportunity for face to face connection through video chat. Feedback will be collected from these outreach efforts workshops, further informing practice and resource development.

Further, I will offer an opportunity for 15 faculty to participate in a sustained learning activity, using eCampus Ontario’s Technologist learning module. This select group will have the chance to be supported through a change experience that will appropriately frame and facilitate their experience.

Building a Sharing Culture

Through the communities, I hope to “call in” colleagues to advise on topics. Facilitated conversations will invite, though not require, sharing resources and experiences.

In December and January, I will introduce the Share Your Story site, asking faculty to reflect on experiences and contribute a self authored post.

References

Fullan, M. (2006) Change Theory – A force for school improvement.” Centre for Strategic Education, 157, 3-14.