March 25, 2009

A Shared Culture of Technology

Information Technology is intimately related to pedagogy and contributes to successful teaching and ultimately to student success.

My Role As IT Rep – Rafael Scapin
In my role as Coordinator of Educational Technology at Dawson, I act as a facilitator, showing teachers the many ways that technology can be used to facilitate or enhance the educational process. I also help to promote the effective and creative use of technology in education, by providing teachers with individual or group support in many areas such as help in mastering basic computer technology, getting started with Moodle and Léa, introduction to new technologies (like Web 2.0), pedagogical strategies involving educational technology and special project support.
To present a picture of IT Integration at Dawson College, I would like to introduce some of the players: Instructional Development’s Teacher Support Group (TSG), and the technological support available to faculty from the HELP desk. To that end I have interviewed Karina Leonard (an educational consultant and TSG team member) and Stacey Katz (a computer technician who works at Dawson’s HELP desk).
Teacher Support Group (TSG) Karina sees her mission as helping teachers to explore the range of teaching possibilities available to them both through pedagogical innovation and through the implementation of information technology. She is a part of the Teacher Support Group (TSG) alongside Rafael, Barbara Freedman (Dean of Instructional Development), new member Julie Mooney (Coordinator Professional Development and Research), Tina Romeo (Coordinator of Support & Logistics), and Taff Chitayat (Secretary to the Dean). The TSG responds to the professional needs and interests of teachers, by offering a range of personal consultation services, customized training and professional development opportunities, and help with individual and joint research activities. Last term the TSG created an Educational Technology Resource List where many of the questions that a teacher might have about using information technology in the school are answered – quickly – without necessitating a call.
One example of a TSG collaboration was recently featured in Profweb: on an exciting project that Karina worked on called Pedagogical Basics for Teachers. This on-line course enhances teachers’ skills in classroom management while familiarizing them with the Moodle learning management system. At the moment, the TSG is organizing a half day workshop on the effects that the reforms in elementary and high school education will have on college teaching. Although this workshop is yet at the conceptualization phase, the TSG hopes to showcase the new technological competencies of students who have gone through the new system.
Information Systems & Technology – Academic Computing Services & Management Information System (MIS) The Information Systems & Technology Service at Dawson encompasses the Academic Computing Services and Management Information Services. The HELP DESK is one of these services and supplies support across the college for administrative and academic needs. It also provides software support and hands-on training in Office Suit, Microsoft Exchange, Webmail and other software packages. The HELP DESK supports and repairs computer hardware issues throughout the College and is just a phone call away (call HELP or ext. 4357). Management Information System (MIS), supports the maintenance of the College’s infrastructure and servers. Finally, Information Systems & Technology provides support to Dawson’s ninety multimedia classrooms, computer labs and campus wide wireless network.
As a member of Dawson’s HELP Desk, Stacey Katz has seen enormous changes in the 11 years that he has been working at Dawson. In his opinion, things are better now, there is more technology and it’s more sophisticated. Not only are there more computers but teachers are now getting laptops for their use. In general, services are moving on-line to a more user-friendly environment.
Other Key Players – Faculty & Students
These short descriptions of our IT services do not do justice to all the work that goes into the end result: what happens in your classroom. Our message to teachers is to join our team! We are all building a new technological reality at Dawson. I firmly believe that if we build it right, our teachers will embrace it and our shared culture of technology will flourish.

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