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Seeding, planting, nurturing

Posted on: April 22, 2014

After almost four years of leading the efforts of CeL, I have learnt that there are at least three ways of influencing faculty to integrate technology into instruction.

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The first is seeding. I do not mean sowing or planting seeds (that is the second way). I am referring to providing a nucleus akin to the process of chemical seeding. This is like seeding crystals or rain.

Seeding happens when an instructor needs is an idea, resource, or process that sparks the rest of the reaction. The conditions for seeding this technology integration might have been created by you or more likely already be present.

The second method of influencing technology integration is planting. This could be the planting of seeds or seedlings into soil that may support growth. There is a greater effort in preparing the soil and knowing what kinds of plants are more likely to grow in which soils.

This method manifests itself in professional development sessions, establishing policies, and managing initiatives.

The third main method of integrating technology is nurturing. This could mean some hand-holding (guidance) or it could also mean pruning. I think most folk would focus on the former; I tend to emphasize the latter.

By pruning I mean removing bad habits, dissuading undesirable practices, and removing redundant tools or resources. It is a painful and long term process not unlike the shaping of a bonsai tree.

It is important to recognize which strategies to use in different contexts. For example, it is better to seed innovators than to prune them. It is also better to plant and manage initiatives among faculty who have little idea or motivation than to attempt to seed or prune first.

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