Planning to develop teaching technologies before learning technologies become irrelevant

Dilawar Grewal
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, USA

The ideal roles of technology in teaching and learning may be very similar in nature, but planning for technology in the two areas presents challenges that are vastly different. For any approach to be effective, it must produces convergent solutions that generate pathways incorporating anticipation and accommodation of needs and trends in both domains-- thus arriving at technology roles that are similar.

Defining a life cycle for any technology in terms of adoption, implementation and replacement is a complex matter in the worlds of both K-16 and higher education. Quite often the expectations of users in the learning environments are based on the product lifecycle associated with a particular technology, rather than on the technology lifecycle engaged by the constituents of the teaching environments. Higher education institutions carry the burden of identifying technologies, incorporating them into pedagogical practices, and then training their future teachers (faculty staff in higher education who teach the teachers, as well as the brave teachers who step in front of the savvy K-16 technologists) in the art of utilizing these tools and practices -- all before the technologies themselves become irrelevant or move out of the 'wow' zone for the current and future learners. Further confounding the issue is the fact that technologies are ever evolving and there is no temporal magic that enables higher education institutions to have the time to develop teaching techniques and tools, and train teachers on technologies at their peak while the demands for such technologies by the learners are at their peak as well.

This paper attempts to describe a process-based approach to dealing with issues faced by academic administrators and educators related to planning for technology adoption, implementation and replacement. The approach correlates the culture and practices of the academic market place, analysis of administrative decision-making protocols, technology and product life cycles, and business and technology best practices as a continuum rather than as an ad-hoc or after-the-fact response to market events.