Using Technology for Your Professional Development

Becoming comfortable with instructional technology can set you apart when you find yourself in a competitive job market. Many of your competitors will have strong research presentations and publication records and most will have high  GPAs. Many will have teaching experience, too. But far fewer will be thoroughly competent with the diverse forms of instructional technology and interested in continuing to incorporate technology into their teaching. This can set you apart. As Lewandowski, wrote “With research positions so competitive these days, a candidate with a strong teaching resume definitely has an advantage over those with limited teaching backgrounds” and concludes with the following advice to anyone on the academic job market: “embrace teaching, get experience, document your performance, master teaching technology, learn to teach core courses, and find a good teaching fit” (p. 7).8

One should not become overly-focused on the use of technology as a career-furthering device. One’s primary focus should be on using technology to improve communication with one’s students. When your experience shows that you know how to communicate well with both “traditional” students and today’s media-saturated students, you will increase your appeal as a job candidate. Hiring committees often consist of people with different interests in a job candidate: some committee members emphasize the importance of the teacher-student relationship in more traditional ways, while others recognize how that relationship can play out equally well (and sometimes better) across many channels of communication. Do yourself the favor of being able to enjoy a conversation with both.

References

(1) Kennedy, G. E., Judd, T. S., Churchward, A., Gray, K. & Krause, K.-L. (2008). First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/kennedy.html

(2) Howe, N. & Strauss W. (2000). Millenials rising: The next greatest generation. New York: Vintage Books.

(3) Wenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it Compute? The Relationship Between Educational Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics. Princeton, NJ: Policy Information Center, Research Division, Educational Testing Service. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED425191) 

(4) Kulik, J., A. (1994). Meta-Analytic Studies of Findings on Computer-Based Instruction. In Eva L. Baker and Harold F. O'Neil, Jr., eds., Technology Assessment in Education and Training, pp. 9-33. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

(5) Kosakowski, J. (1998). The benefits of information technology. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED420302)

(6) Schacter, J. (2008). The Impact of Educational Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Education Technology, 2001. Retrieved from http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwche/Milken%20report.pdf

(7) McKinnon, D. H., Nolan, D. J. P., & Sinclair, K. E.  (2000).  A Longitudinal study of student attitudes toward computers:  Resolving an attitude decay paradox.  Journal of Research on Computing in education, 32(3), 325-335.

(8) Lewandowski, L.J. (2004). The successful job applicant: What Syracuse university seeks in new assistant professors. In W. Buskist, B.C. Beins, & V.W. Hevern (Eds.) Preparing the new psychology professoriate: Helping graduate students become competent teachers (pp. 127-133). Syracuse, NY: Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/Resources/Documents/ebooks/pnpp2014.pdf