REACHING THE LATE MAJORITY - HOW TO REMOVE TEACHERS’ DOUBTS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY WITH THE BLENDED LEARNING COURSE #TEACHING2030
University of Applied Sciences Burgenland (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Technology-based instruction is a fundamental paradigm for teachers in higher education and an asset for positioning and profiling their university. Particularly teachers, tutors and educators, aged around 40, who are still described as “digital immigrants”, may feel the need for improvement in technological skills but are often plagued with doubts and skepticism. According to Rogers’ theory on the diffusion of innovation, they are defined as the late majority, comprising 34% of total adopters. The late majority is typically older, less educated in technology and therefore sceptical. They can be motivated by group dynamics, but still slow down innovative processes or hinder technological advancement.
It is imperative that universities convince this group of people to move on. The late majority should be provided with ample assistance in technology-based instruction. Higher education institutions have to support these teachers in developing their professional e-learning skills and preparing them for the digital era. The goal of the blended-learning course “Future-proof your classroom – teaching skills 2030”, (TEACHING 2030) funded by Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships in Austria, is to provide this assistance, Eight modules, organized as a web based training (called cBook) and a face-to-face training (called iLab), demonstrate how to use technology in class in an easy way.
The course TEACHING 2030 aims to achieve its goal by focusing on four areas: easy access to the cBook, low-threshold e-exercises, exchange with colleagues in the iLab and professional support.
(1) The cBook (computerBook) is the online learning environment of the course that houses the eight modules. It is integrated in the website of the project and can be accessed with one click only, no registration or login is required. Free of charge, the cBook can be used as a stand-alone MOOC but can also be combined with the iLab.
(2) The cBook offers diverse low-threshold e-learning exercises; tools, skills and materials which aim to be self-explanatory and can easily be implemented in class. Early successful experiences due to this should lead to quicker adoption.
(3) As group-dynamics are a major factor in convincing the late majority, the course TEACHING 2030 offers a face-to-face training: The iLab (innovationLab) is an open, self-directed learning space, giving the teachers the possibility to exchange ideas and support each other. Teachers belonging to the early adopters and the early majority can assist the late majority in their technological efforts. Each module offers an iLab-manual, explaining the didactical concept of the entire course and providing further exercises.
(4) The iLab can be organized in a self-guided way or led by a professional instructional designer, like a TEACHING 2030 developer. When professionally instructed, teachers can complete an assessment of their learned skills. During this assessment, each participating teacher must conduct a 90-minute lesson, incorporating e-learning materials and innovative teaching skills. Ideally, the course TEACHING 2030 and the assessment are integrated with teacher training programs for further education at the universities. The formal recognition may also help convince the late majority that their efforts are valued.
Keywords: Technology in education, diffusion of innovation, late majority, teacher training, blended learning course.