Delivering edtech training in HE

Should edtech training be a standard part of teacher training at university? Anna Dutton explains all

Digital literacy is becoming a required competency for teachers and lecturers. As a result, best practice edtech training needs to form part of every teacher-training course at university.  Studies showing that universities, for example, will be fully online in just a few years, make it critical that the sector jumps ahead.

Should teachers be required to undertake edtech training refreshes regularly?

The more digitally mature the educational institution, the more focus there should be on regular edtech refreshes for teachers/lecturers to ensure they remain up to date with the latest tools.

Should teachers be required to train in teams doing video presentations on salient edtech topics? 

Many universities are investing in video production teams and providing guidance and best practices for their instructors.  The sentiment I hear in the field is that this is contingent on university resources, but that many feel that teachers should consider this as part of their professional training.   Many teaching colleges are incorporating this type of training into their curriculum so it looks as though this is becoming a necessary competency. 

Any thoughts on how schools and universities move the use of edtech by teachers beyond the evangelists? 

Edtech is a tool to enhance learning outcomes, not a replacement for instructors and for educational entities.   Institutions that encourage their teaching staff to adopt education technology initiatives, and provide training and support for the adoption of these technologies BEFORE they are launched, seem to have better adoption rates.   Where usage is mandated without this, I see limited adoption and resistance to change.

What about teachers being trained on soft skills vs hard skills with regard to edtech tools?

It is a combination of both. For example, soft skills are important in helping teaching staff to improve their video presentation skills: how to speak, how to move, how to highlight a point etc. And hard skills are important for them to feel competent in the use of software such as editing and lecture capture tools 

Ease of use and tight integration of these new technologies into the LMS are also critical to successful adoption by teachers/lecturers.

It is also important that teaching staff understand the governance issues relating to digital assets and how to apply these assets to their course work appropriately. For example, it is great to have the skills necessary to develop and build content using video, but it is also important to understand how best to apply it pedagogically.

Anna Dutton is Head of Education, EMEA, at Kaltura.