In the recently published NMC Horizon Project Regional Analysis, Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education 2013-18, it stated (p.3) that (shock, horror) there is a need for more faculty training to improve digital media literacy ‘before being asked to teach, and for more professional development opportunities once in the profession’. More significantly, though, the report points out that:
While a lack of adequate training opportunities is a part of the challenge, ultimately a change in the mind sets of disciplines and individual faculty will be required, along with cultural shifts within institutions, before emerging tools and technologies are routinely adopted and implemented as a matter of course.
One way of changing mindsets is for academics to to find some intrinsic motivation to leverage these emerging technologies. As Belshaw argues (slide 28), the trick is to identify an area where important issues overlap with personal interest. In other words, academics will upskill because they want to rather than because they have to. In these circumstances, the efficacy of preservice training/ professional development is likely to be enhanced.
Only after faculty have become au fait with the digital literacies (slides 24-27) and what they bring to their own personal learning environment (PLE), will they be able to respond to the increasing demand for personalised learning from their students. As the Horizon report notes (p.4):
More than ever, students are using ICT and new always-connected mobiles outside of the classroom to explore subjects that personally interest them. Institutions need to leverage and promote these informal learning experiences while integrating them with on-campus learning.
This is why it is important for institutional learning management systems (LMSs) to become more open and accommodate the PLEs of learners (slide 61).