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?


Teadira said...

It was very interesting to read that this survey has been replicated recently. I have read the first study conducted by these two authors and I have found categories to identify staff’s reluctance very useful. I consider that the same situation is common worldwide depending on a number of factors such as IT skills and facilities. More pragmatists are willing to try to use technology and the advent of Web 2.0 is accelerating this process: teachers can now create their own blogs or wikis and integrate them into the language classroom.

Many thanks for showing the results of this 2008 survey.


Leena Kuure said...

Very interesting! Here is an observation that perhaps shows a similar tendency of perception change as the one reported in this talk. Our first virtual university projects started 7-8 years ago. In those times we had to use a lot of energy to convince our colleagues to see the benefits of technology use, VLEs etc. as sensible. I've read some of the documents from those times - course advertisements and project applications, for example, and I can see our "talk" through these texts to the surrounding community as advertising talk, trying to show that what we did was as worthy as face-to-face teaching. Nowadays I don't need to give any reasons for why I might want to use technology for learning projects :D

Leena Kuure