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September 21, 2017

Low Tech Leftovers in a High Tech World

Filed under: EDDL 5101 @ 9:31 pm

In the applied technology world of education new equipment, methods, and technologies appear literally every day. Even traditionally labour intensive disciplines are increasingly adopting high-tech components. It is imperative that instructors in this area stay knowledgeable and up to date even though it is commit the time and resources to stay knowledgeable and up to date. . This does a disservice to the new generation of workers who need to constantly learn and adapt and as noted by Bates it is this area that will likely see the biggest impact of the move to more knowledge based skills.(Bates, 2015) This leads to a bit of a paradox in that while the technology used in the discipline is constantly changing, the educational technologies and methods used change very slowly.

In my first teaching assignment not that long ago in a very prominent school of technology in the lower mainland of BC there were no smart boards, no computer linked visual devices, and very little online resources. Presentations were made the same way they had been for the last twenty-five years, on transparencies with an overhead projector. The institution itself was open to change. While there I ordered a networked projector and adopted a method of using a wireless tablet to give me the freedom to move about the class. I was given space on a networked drive and uploaded supplemental resources for students to access from outside of the school. These changes were welcomed by the students.

The issue is one of time. Instructors in these disciplines have a considerably higher student contact time requirement than “academic” programs. Until it is recognized that instructor time is as important as the technology supplied change in this area will continue to happen slowly.



Bates, A. (2015). Teaching in a Digital Age. Vancouver: Tony Bates Associates LTD.



1 Comment

  1.   keith webster — September 23, 2017 @ 5:26 am    Reply

    Hi Brad,

    I think the quick change of technology vs. the slow change of technology usage in any one institution is (unless it’s due to sheer inability to adopt) a good approach. I find the best that I can do is to be current on what is possible and what is claimed to be trending, so that I can efficiently do further research when an unmet need emerges. My approach is to propose technology/process solutions when a need is identified (by instructor, students, program staff). The hardest move is when I can see a pain point but have difficulty moving an instructor or program towards a solution. An example I currently have is one where the solution is to step back to an older technology.

    My most effectively technology integrated teaching happened when I was in the Canadian Forces. We had a budget for the newest gear (though not for everything, we never got SmartBoard during my tenure there). At the same time we did a lot of old-school technology and technology-absent teaching. When I took my instructional techniques training my assigned training aid to demonstrate was the felt board. We used the opaque projector and the Gaestetner copier, but I also did a lot of teaching outside, including classroom subjects.

    All this to say that I was lucky to serve in a school with an open approach to teaching methods and the resources to support it.


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