My Action Plan Pitch: Forming Artisans in Untethered Teaching

Learning Environment

On Sunday I shared an overview of my digital learning environment action plan. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I encourage you to read that post. A quick reminder, I am in EDTC 6104 and we are discussing digital learning environments. This post will be a quick pitch of my learning environment incorporating this week’s course readings. We only have a so many seconds for an elevator pitch so please read fast! While this is in no way as important as a pitch that Gimlet Media had to give Chris Sacca for venture capital funding, it is important to be clear, concise, and ultimately make you excited about what I am doing!

Forming Artisans in Untethered Teaching

Faculty are busy: the endless onslaught of faculty governance meetings, coffee with students, department meetings, papers to grade, and–lets not forget–the requirement to “publish or perish” expunging “free time” from a professor’s lexicon. One more thing…faculty still have to teach classes and hold office hours! There isn’t time for yet another professional development session disguised as a quick meeting with free lunch.

Faculty don’t want another session about how to use technology, but they do need more sessions about why to teach in digital environments (Stewart, 2013).

It is time for a creative experiment. No more set of tools paired with help sheets packaged like take-and-bake pizza. The future of course development is about taking a step back and rethinking what is important and working together to create such an environment where inquiry thrives. To do that correctly you must sand down the surface to expose the rust for mitigation and then add new layers of paint. Last year when the City of Seattle stripped the Fremont Bridge to repair rust damage and then repaint, they created a stronger and longer lasting bridge. In the same way, we must remove destructive and unsound remnants, as Morris warns, “A climate of non-inquiry can create a robust online learning program. But it corrupts that program from the bottom, up.”

Photo by: Seattle Department of Transportation, 2015
Photo by: Seattle Department of Transportation, 2015

Therefore, we are developing the second iteration of untethered teaching to train faculty as craftspeople in dynamic teaching. As elegant uses of an iPad, faculty will implement active learning strategies affording better interaction with students in the classroom in ways that foster relationships, learning, and flexibility. Our untethered teaching community of practice 2.0 is structured in two parts. First, a weekly course where we learn our tools: what they are,  when to use them, how to use them well. Second, a twice per month inquiry-based problem solving community of practice where each faculty member, as suggested by Morris and Stommel (2013), works through problems in a community that “incites new ideas, elicits fiery discussion, and excites teachers about the possibilities inherent in digital pedagogy.”

Please apply if want to be an artisan in untethered teaching!

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