TL;DR version: This blog post is to document the start and first month of opening our Instructional Technology & Digital Media Literacy program. In subsequent blog posts we'll document individual class syllabi and programatic design choices.
This past month our Instructional Technology & Digital Media Literacy (IT&DML) program at UNH finally started up. It’s been a long process as the development and scaling up of the program took about three years to get to where we are now. The program is designed for educators that want to be experts in the authentic and effective use of technology in (and out) of the classroom. The purpose of this blog post is to provide an overview of the objectives, themes, and design elements we’ve included in the development of the program. In future blog posts I’ll continue to document the thinking process and iterations along the way. I’ll also document each individual course as it opens up in the sequence. The purpose of these blog posts is to provide guidance for others that are considering developing programs like this.
The IT&DML program tries to maintain a strong focus on not only the theories that inform use of these technologies and literacies in the classroom, but also the “nuts & bolts” of the hands-on use of these texts and tools. Put simply, we view technology as a literacy, and need to be able to advocate for, and empower others in the use of these new, digital, and/or web literacies. That being said…we still need to know how to make it all happen. Our students need to be able to design, develop, and troubleshoot their own educational technology tools. They also need to be able to prescribe a digital text and/or tool for their colleagues that are looking for support.
Our program also focuses on three tenets to inform all instruction in the program.
- First, we’re big believers in new, digital, and web literacies research. We shamelessly “cherrypick” from the best minds studying new literacies, digital literacies, web literacies, multiliteracies, 21st Century Literacies, etc. Most of this work is synthesized in the ORMS model and work that I’ve documented here.
- Second, we’re also advocates for the power of critical literacy in the classroom. Personally I think there are numerous challenges, inefficiencies, and “problems” that exist in education…and in the world. I think through the thoughtful use of technology, we have the opportunity to address, re-structure, or try to “solve” these inequalities.
- Third, we’re believers in open. Our students conduct a lot of work openly online. Our faculty teach using open materials and share these online. We also try to all openly share and reflect online…as I am doing here. The rationale for the open nature of the program is that this work, and these materials are of value to individuals outside of our program. If one teacher, one classroom, or one student can be helped by some of our work…then we’ve done our job. As a result, instructors will post the syllabus and some materials for class. Students will post their best work online to our Digital Texts and Tools site…and reflect on the process on their individual blogs.
There is a lot of nuance behind the scenes in terms of the infrastructure we use to “run” the program. This takes shape in our decision to fully embrace Google Apps for Educators, and run the program on Chromebooks. This also includes use of free Web 2.0 tools to build our own learning management system. I’ll detail these elements in future blog posts. For now…we’re excited to be up and running with a great initial group of educators.
Image CC by worldbank