It is Time for Faculty to Get on Board with New Technology

So argues Robert Eisinger, the dean of the school of liberal arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Imagine the following hypothetical scenario. Jen is a college first-year student. She attended a public high school in which randomly selected students received iPads as part of an innovative curricular grant project. Jen was fortunate enough to be one of the selected students. She loved writing, reading and using the computer – sometimes for fun, sometimes for homework.

Jen scored in the 78th percentile on the SATs, played on a varsity athletic team, and late in her senior year, showed an aptitude for and interest in photography. She worked during the summer. One of her two parents is a college graduate. Their combined income approximates $95,000.

Jen was accepted to a variety of colleges and universities, and decided to attend a mid-sized university, largely because of the financial aid package, and because its website showcased a new photography major.

Jen was bemused after her first week in college. She is a product of iPhones, smartboards, iPads and text messaging, and yet her classroom was devoid of technological gadgetry. Her professors lecture, sometimes with PowerPoint, sometimes without. They talk about research as if it is something to be done in a library, and not on one’s lap or in one’s hand.

The following example may or may not sound familiar to many educators and students, but it is likely to be the norm in the next few years. Our students process, retrieve and garner information in ways unimaginable a few years ago, if not months ago. We faculty, trained with card catalogs, photocopy packets, and reserve reading, are rapidly becoming living, breathing anachronisms.

Eisinger suggests:

1.  Provosts make technology in the classroom the theme of faculty retreats
2.  Administrators should listen to incoming freshman concerning technology
3.  Administrators should hold sessions with their IT departments in which they “imagine together” what the future classroom will look like.
4. Colleges should develop “strategic partnerships” with computer companies.

2 thoughts on “It is Time for Faculty to Get on Board with New Technology

  1. While I do appreciate advances in technology, and the amount of information available to me during research, technology for technologies sake is something to contemplate. As our generation becomes the 30 second soundbite overly entertained generation, there is something to be said about the old style of lecture, the face to face communication of ideas. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here Dr. Fea but, I enjoy having a good lecture over a power point most days of the week. Incorporating technology to advance scholarship is great, but changing the approach of the University simply to keep the interest of a generation of overly stimulated students is another matter entirely.


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