Monday, July 23, 2007

Faculty Development (2.0?) in the Age of Creation

Moving Faculty Development out of the Information Age and into the Age of Creativity

Daniel Pink writes (wired, 2005):
...the curtain is rising on a new era, the Conceptual Age. If the Industrial Age was built on people's backs, and the Information Age on people's left hemispheres, the Conceptual Age is being built on people's right hemispheres. We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
Ok, so may be we're beating the "2.0" suffix into the ground, but that aside, this
quote nicely adresses the change in education (and necessarily faculty development) that I've blogged about in numerous other posts on Edusign.

FacDev 2.0
There's a great post on professional development 2.0 that surfaced on my radar from a couple different venues. (this may indicate that I'm either consistant in my interests, or not casting my net broadly enough.)
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach describes in nice detail a recent 3-day PD2.0 workshop she put on in NY for educators. What I found inspiring about her post was the range of experiences she engineered for the workshop participants: wikis, blogs, commenting, creative commons, VOIP, virtual speed dating (read her post for more on that), Elluminate, Twitter.

I got fatigue just thinking about the planning and coordination that must have gone in to it, but was simultaneously envigorated with great ideas. This is the kind of thing that I too want to do with my faculty devlopment work at the university level. Her workshop looks like it was a great success, and importantly, didn't simply look like a series of "look-what-you-can-do-on-the-internet" product demos. Check out her original post.

Sustaining Faculty Development
Faculty Development efforts need to look more like Sheryl's workshop, but learners must then be sustained and supported as they implement--possibly months later. An on-going virtual learning community is critical for faculty as they practice and gain the new literacies and skills for the age of creativity (create, connect, communicate, evaluate)--or in Pink's words, we become "empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers".

While only one piece of the facdev puzzle, I'm still kicking around the technologies that best support a more participatory and sustained faculty community (and I don't think the technological issues are trivial here!). I've joined groups in the past using technology that was simply too cumbersome to use-despite my desire to stay involved. I've also seen sites with bucket-loads of teaching/learning resources (which seems very "information age"), lacking the connections of a healthy community.
Drupal or Ning may be the answer (some have even suggested Facebook which may already carry too much "baggage" for many faculty). I'm also impressed with the Pedestal project which brings up people, resources and blogs related to one's search.

I'd love to get comments on great faculty devlopment sites (experiences) you've encountered that reflect the move from the information age to the age of creativity.
-Joel G.

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