A recent Edudemic post addresses the non-use of teaching technology. The reference to teachers who are ‘not comfortable with technology’ resonated. They may be more of them than is often realised. Change is always a challenge and adoption of technology for teaching requires major shifts in practice. Support for the process is essential, either through staff development or teacher education. The Edudemic post claims the amount spent on technology for schools in the US is rising while professional development budgets are decreasing or non-existent. Here in the UK, it can sometimes seem resourcing for staff engagement with technology is not sufficiently prioritised. Competition for funds has never been greater yet digital literacy has not only become plural it’s become complicated. Keeping up to date with is hard enough when you work with the technology. For those at the far end of the digital spectrum, it can seem impossible to even know where to begin.
There is a growing need to support staff to use technology effectively. Without investing in resources to bridge the divide between teaching and technology, staff cannot develop the prerequisite confidence with virtual learning environments. Embedding OER Practice at Lincoln, now in its final weeks, showed how staff engagement with the internet for teaching and learning doesn’t happen in isolation. It happens with appropriate targeted support, customised to suit individual disciplines and personalities. It works best within small groups of shared practice and requires initial scaffolding which can be withdrawn for use elsewhere as the affordances of being online are realised and the necessary skills and competencies embedded into day to day practices. The review into the future of the institutional VLE offers an appropriate opportunity to also review the way in which digital literacies are defined and resourced across the university. The internet and all its associated tools for learning are not going away any time soon. The more we invest in their use the better that use will be.