Monday, November 7, 2011

EDUC-7105-1/EDUC-8845-1 Module 5 Blog Post

New Technologies
Going by what I have seen over the years of being a tutor and teacher, people in general have positive attitudes toward experimenting with new technologies in the workplace. However, there are always a few individuals who might put up resistance to change. Some might out rightly oppose these new ideas, while others might engage in a more subtle resistance to the change. I believe that teachers who engage in passive resistance can have a major negative impact on students’ learning.  For one, there will be inconsistencies in terms of what students expect to use as tools as they move through their programs.  I find resistance to new technologies in the workplace to be disheartening, since there is so much new learning resources out there that educators could tinker with that might help to motivate learners.
An Educator may encourage students to learn by employing a motivational design. According to John M. Keller, motivational design refers to the process of arranging resources and actions to bring about changes in motivation (Keller, 2006). Keller explained that a motivational design can be useful in terms of increasing students’ motivation to learn, workers’ motivation, the design can be used to develop of specific motivational characteristics in individuals, and to improve an individual’s skill in self-motivation (Keller, 2006). Marcy P. Driscoll explained Keller’s model for understanding motivation in her text.  Driscoll explained that Keller assumed that learners’ motives (or values) along with their expectancies, will influence the degree of attention and effort they will supply to a learning task (Driscoll, 2005, p. 332). The idea is that multiple elements contribute to a learner’s performance, elements that go beyond a person’s current capabilities and skills. One troubling item is failure, where this may negatively influence the learner’s motivation in future learning experiences.
I currently teach at a college in my neighborhood for almost one year now and interestingly, last week I was asked to speak at the school’s faculty development meeting.  Having a technical background along with a good rapport with students, I was asked to train faculty members on collaborative tools that students can use for their course projects.  Most professors seemed interested and excited as I began with a brief overview of the various free tools that are available for students to use.  However, some faculty members appeared uneasy once I mentioned the possible roles that they as educators can play pertaining to the collaboration process for these course projects.  In other words, once professors realized that their input would require tinkering with the actual technologies; they became more or less daunted by the rest of what I had to say.  For example, instead of asking each student to complete a “team evaluation” form, professors could simply asked students to share for instance their Google Document account with him or her.  In this way, professors would readily have access to the revision history of course projects and will be able to see the actual input of all team members.  One problem that surfaced was that most professors were reluctant to setting up additional accounts outside of what they are familiar with of which most of these programs will require new user accounts. 
On the contrary, last week my students and I were online discussing creative ways of how to improve and monitor their own learning. I wish other professors at the school could have witnessed how much information some of these young students are tapping into on their own! My students and I spoke of technologies that might aid their personal learning styles for instance, text-to-speech software that can help students whose learning styles are more auditory.  Some students spoke about various ways in which they can use their iPads to increase their learning since their learning style might be more visual.  The whole point that I am making is how these young learners are more open to experimenting with new technologies in comparison to my fellow professors at the school which can become a problem since students might lose interest and become bored with traditional teaching methods.  My students constantly let me know how much they enjoy being in my class, and I believe it has to do with my openness to new technologies and my willingness to uncover new ways of achieving learning goals with them.
I was told that my overall presentation at the faculty developmental meeting was a success; however, it was disturbing to sense the subtle resistance that some professors displayed towards collaborative tools. As mentioned above, I am used to seeing students displaying sheer excitement in regards to new technologies, therefore, I feel the need to press towards winning the minds of those professors who displayed resistance.  With that said, the implementation of Keller’s ARCS motivational design process might increase the level of success the next time that I am asked to continue with the series of presentations on collaborative tools at my place of work.  Keller expressed that this motivational design is a systematic problem solving approach that requires knowledge of human motivation and progresses from learner analysis to solution design (Keller, 1987, pp. 1-8). This design process would include: 1) knowing and identifying the elements of human motivation; 2) analyzing audience characteristics to determine motivational requirements; 3) identifying characteristics of instructional materials and processes that stimulate motivation; 4) Selecting appropriate motivational tactics; and 5) applying and evaluating appropriate tactics (Keller, 2006).  Even though Keller’s ARCS model seems feasible, I am still finding the implementation to be challenging in regards to my audience of fellow professors. For me the job of teaching teachers is far more complex than teaching ordinary learners in schools! Maybe someone can shed some light on this matter! How do we motivate professors to learn and adapt to new technologies in the workplace?

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Keller, J. M. (1987). The systematic process of motivational design. Performance & Instruction, 26(9), 1-8.

Keller, J. M. (2006).  Retrieved on November 7, 2011. Retrieved from

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