Friday, 5 September 2008
Reluctance, resistance and radicalism revisited
John Gillespie gave a very interesting paper on his research on staff reactions to the adoption of ICT in language teaching. John, along with other colleagues at the University of Ulster, is conducting a longitudinal study on staff attitudes. He explained how perceptions have changed since first conducting the research in 2001. At that stage, he established an initial taxonomy of staff that defined them as radicals, pragmatists or conservatives. That initial study found that most staff fit into the category of pragmatists. Following a number of developments at the University of Ulster to address some of the concerns voiced in 2001 for more training and investment in an effective multimedia environment, a survey was conducted in 2008 to gauge how staff attitudes have changed. The findings from that survey show a culture shift: there are fewer conservatives in the staff – those with no interest in using technology– and more staff in the category of pragmatists. In other words, more colleagues who are willing to trying using technology in their teaching when they feel it makes a difference to the learning outcome. The same categories exist but now there are more pragmatists and fewer conservatives than in 2001. Obviously, there are a range of factors that impact upon staff reaction to the adoption of ICT in language teaching and these may vary from institution to institution, country to country and even continent to continent. I wonder if that is your experience?