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Technology infrastructure and new technology: a review Sarah Porter JISC Caveat Apologies of comments are not correctly attributed to speakers or contributors Layers of interpretation and re-interpretation! Feel free to claim ownership or correct points during the discussion session

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  • Apologies of comments are not correctly attributed to speakers or contributors
  • Layers of interpretation and re-interpretation!
  • Feel free to claim ownership or correct points during the discussion session
  • Complex relationship between people and technology
    • Is technology changing practice?
    • Is it improving learning experiences for students?
    • Do we have the balance right – is technology driving practice or is practice limiting technology?
is technology changing practice
Is technology changing practice?
  • Practice has been changed: systemic use of technologies
  • Large scale use of ‘accepted’ technologies e.g. commercial VLEs
  • Approaches to encouraging use, staff development, sharing practice
  • Using one system in systemic way has implications for lots of other systems and processes
    • E.g. SMS server needs to interoperate with library system
Questioning current technologies and underlying models
    • some theoretical and ‘big vision’ – M.O.D.E.L.S
    • Others practical, focused on adapting and developing current systems
    • Service-oriented approach to systems
      • Too soon or too late? (Derek Morrison)
  • ‘Technology doesn’t just allow students to answers questions more quickly, but to ask new questions’ (Vijay Kumar)
  • Mobile technologies allow ‘populist and personal approach’ (Terry Keefe)
influencing practice
Influencing practice?
  • Technologies being implemented by practitioners who are interested in helping their students
  • Technology encourages teachers and students to be more reflective
    • ‘technology can make you a better teacher and a more reflective learner’ (David Rowsell)
technology philosophy
Technology philosophy
  • Few technologies were designed explicitly for educational use
    • E.g. phones, PDAs, computers
    • Software e.g. content management systems
      • Educational use is bolted on
    • Technologies have a business focus not educational focus
    • Is this a problem?
    • Sessions demonstrate that people are adapting technology to do what they want to
      • Ann Jones: ‘technology appropriation’
      • Interactive classroom technologies
people and technology
People and technology
  • Technology used to enhance communication between people
  • Used to engage learners
    • Interactive classrooms
  • Used to change learner’s practice
    • E.g. support reflection (moblogs - Rowsell)
  • Act as ‘intermediary between student and tutor’ (Michael McCabe)
  • Want ‘water cooler encounters’ (Heins)
  • Way we use communication tools hasn’t evolved enough
    • ‘connecting not communicating’ (Mark Flanagan)
learning through practice
Learning through practice
  • However many examples of good practice there are, people need to learn from their own process of trial and error (Cathy Gunn)
cycle of adoption
Cycle of adoption
  • Innovation occurs at many points in the cycle
    • Tends to be driven by a specific problem
    • People try something new to address the problem (or find a problem because they want to try something new)
  • If successful, innovation may then becomes embedded or systemic
    • Need to prove the concept (Terry Keefe)
    • Introducing a new technology can be v difficult, involve many stakeholders e.g. IT support
Change processes needed to move towards a new approach, new technology, new process
    • We don’t yet understand this complex process or how to make it happen
    • ‘Business case’ isn’t always clear – why change? What is the cost? What will we lose?
    • Scalability
      • Things that work in small groups may not work in large groups
  • Innovation to normalisation
    • May lose something when technology becomes systemic: ‘dullifying’; sense of ownership and personalisation may go (Peter Sloep).
institution may stifle innovation
Institution may stifle innovation
  • E.g. support departments have strict targets for service support
    • Do not want to innovate

Innovation stops as soon as administrators get involved (Richard Elliott)

Not generally good at making business cases and thinking through the implications of making a change
    • Have to do this in a business environment or delivery focused organisation e.g. LearnDirect
    • Universities becoming more corporate? (Cornford, 2002 – referenced by Morrison)
standards and specifications
Standards and specifications
  • Some are needed to increase the potential to link up systems e.g. standards to link a SMS server to a Student Record System, library system or VLE
  • Do standards help innovation or restrict it?
issues raised during discussion session
Issues raised during discussion session
  • Shouldn’t be embarrassed about discussing business cases
    • Have to demonstrate why innovation is needed; what the benefits are
  • Who can help innovation to become standard practice?
    • Innovators don’t always want to engage with senior managers or know how to do this
    • Innovators may not be the best people to try to achieve systemic change
    • Time scales are not easy – will take a long time to convince senior management to authorise change across the whole organisations
    • Support services are risk-adverse – do not like innovation
Need to refer to the literature on organisational change
    • (refs ??)
  • In a privileged position in HE / FE to be allowed to experiment with technology
    • Must demonstrate value for money and business case in order for this to continue
  • How do we influence senior managers and decision makers?
    • Student / learner preferences can be used to provide evidence
    • ‘Bi-directional’ use of survey data as they also influence teachers
JISC or other organisations (Academy?) may have a role in helping to spread innovation
    • E.g. encourage sharing between organisations through secondment scheme?
  • Need to learn from large-scale, ‘business like’ approaches to learning technology
  • Learn from the UKeU experience
    • Lessons about public / private partnerships and the need to be open about goals
    • UfI was allowed to change its model during development and was allowed to succeed
    • Plug may have been pulled on UKeU too early?