22 SES 09 B, University Teaching & Supervision
This presentation builds on an assumption that digital tools impact the premises for learning and education (Aagaard, 2014), and that information and communication technology potentially can be used to support learning (OECD, 2005). Norwegian Agency for Digital Learning in Higher Education (2015) expect that the Norwegian government, in a planned white paper on educational quality, will push higher educational institutions to take better advantage of digital tools to promote educational quality and make educational programs more available to students.
Based on a national survey, the Norwegian Agency for Digital Learning in Higher Education (2015) has found what characterizes the 10% most digital educators and students: they are particularly keen to use technology to increase motivation and student activity to promote learning. For similar reasons, an increased number of educational institutions have set educational use of technology on the agenda of strategies and action plans. However, the usual situation is that individuals and enthusiasts, instead of the institution as a whole, decide whether to develop pedagogical practices or not. 4 of 10 teachers in Norwegian higher education believes that the use of digital tools can promote learning, but among the Norwegian academic leaders, 79% state that educators must decide themselves whether they want to use digital tools or not.
Weick (1976) has described educational institutions as loosely coupled systems, leaving them stable, but difficult to change. The authors of this article work in different higher educational institutions and find that Weick’s description still is highly relevant. In a recent study about characteristics of Norwegian upper-secondary schools Helstad (2011) confirms that this also is the case in other educational levels: teachers are subject-specialists and carriers of subject specific cultures who operate as individuals in schools that lack structures for collective learning. Such cultural characteristics might explain why educational leaders struggle to push the collective to explore how digital tools can be used (or not used) to enhance certain educational qualities. It seems appropriate to quote Drucker who, in a meeting, should have said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
In Norway, we have extended experience with coursing educators in use of digitgal tools, and offering programs with lectures about pedagogy for higher education. We, the authors, have all been holding such courses and lectures, and claim that, in line with a survey on including technologies to upper-secodary schools, neither the courses nor the programs seems to trigger collective development of institutional practices in satisfactory ways. During technical courses, we miss the discussions and critical perspectives on educational reasons for using the tools. In theoretical lectures, attendants are often most interested in “to does” and less in pedagogical thinking and reflection on action (Schön, 1983). However, the educational enthusiasts are both eager to explore the pedagogical potentials of technologies and reflect on their pedagogical reasons for didactical choices. We experience that such attendants can engage colleagues in pedagogical critical thinking. Due to Engeström, such individuals may represent institutional “germ cells” that potentially can trigger broader institutional development. Based on this backdrop we want to explore:
- To what extent are educators interested in digital narratives about higher education in a digital age told by enthusiastic colleagues?
- What characterizes the discussions that follows from watching such stories?
Over the last two years, the authors have produced such digital narratives, thinking that for example Petter telling about his use of Facebook as space for supervision or Sylfest sharing his worries about the developments in technology-rich classrooms can engage colleagues to discuss didactical traditions in subjects and pedagogical reasons for developing or maintaining them. Our findings will show to what extent the resources work in line with this intention.
Drucker, P. F. (2004). The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done. New York, HarperCollins Publisher. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding. An activity-theoretical approach to development research. Helsinki, Orienta Konsultit Oy. Fairclough, Norman, & Wodak, Ruth. (1997). Critical discourse analysis. In T. A. Van Djik (Ed.), Discourse as social interaction (pp. 258-284). London: SAGE Publications. Gee, James Paul. (2011). An introduction to discourse analysis. New York: Routledge. Gee, J. P., G. Hull, et al. (1996). The New Work Order: Behind the Language of the New Capitalism. Sydney, Allen & Unwin. Norgesuniversitetet (2015). Digital Tilstand 2014. Tromsø: Lundblad Media AS. Scön, D.(1983) The reflective practitioner. How professionals think in action. Basic Books. Weick, C. (1976). "Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems." Administrative Science Quarterly 21: 1-9.
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