Technology Educator not Technologist

In describing the roles, I had listed the role that I shall initially fill as the “technologist”, but in reality that isn’t the role. A technologist may actually be a poor choice for that role, as technologists are not necessarily any good at teaching technology. They may be good at using technology, but teaching technology is a completely different skill set.

The most important characteristic for someone in this role is patience and empathy. You need to make the workshop participants feel comfortable learning and give them permission to play – more specifically they need to feel OK to try and it needs to be OK for them not to succeed the first time.

So, I’ve change the title of this role.

Technology Educator

The purpose of this page is to describe the requirements of the Technology Educator. The primary role of the Technology Educator is to teach the skills lab portion of the workshop.

This website contains a collection of skills lab tutorials. The Technology Educator needs to be comfortable adapting the skills lab portion of the workshop to the current level of workshop participants. In addition, the Technology Educator needs to be familiar with teaching new technologies using a hands-on skills lab approach.

Physician Facilitator (Demonstrator)

The purpose of this page is to describe the requirements for the Physician Facilitator (Demonstrator).  The primary role of this person is to provide examples of how the iPad might be used in context. This person may or may not be seen as an ‘expert’. They must be confident in describing specific examples of how the iPad is used.

This website contains a collection of Case Vignettes that outline how the iPad is used in clinical medical education. These case vignettes have been collected throughout the delivery of iPad workshops during the Educational Design Research study. They are provided as examples only. It is important that the Physician presenting the case vignettes use vignettes that they are comfortable presenting. The physician in this role should be encouraged to use their own examples. This is one area where each iPad workshop will differ – as each facilitator will present a unique perspective. Examples are expect to change over time as new applications become available and as the ways in which we use iPads changes. Because the Physician Facilitator (Demonstrator) is encourage to use their own current case vignettes, the Case Vignettes portion of the workshop becomes self-evolving.

The time allotted to the Case Vignettes presentation is 30-minutes. In a typical workshop, case vignettes would happen twice. The first group of people attending the vignettes would be more experienced iPad uses and should be encouraged to share their own vignettes. The second group are less experienced users. It is important that vignettes are demonstrated at a slow enough pace for learner comprehension and time is allowed for learners to ask questions.


Physician Facilitator (Ice Breaker)

This purpose of this page is to describe the requirements for the Physician Facilitator (Ice Breaker). The primary role of this person is to make the participants feel comfortable in the iPad workshop. It is important that this person is not seen as an ‘expert’, but rather as a novice who was able to learn the activity in a short period of time and demonstrate that anyone can do it.

This website contains a collection of Ice Breaker activities. This Physician Facilitator (Ice Breaker) can choose from any of the activities or suggest their own activity. Pedagogically, it is important to try and find an activity that involves interacting with the iPad interface – for example, something that involves the touch interface rather than simply typing on the device. Also, the app chosen for the activity should be free. Finally, participants should be made aware of which app will be used at least 1 week in advance of the workshop. This will reduce the number of participants who need to download the app during the workshop.

The time allotted to the Ice Breaker activity is 10 minutes.

The technologist or Physician Facilitator (Demonstrator) should be available to coach the Physician Facilitator (Ice Breaker) in advance of the workshop. Typically, the coaching required is about 30-minutes.

Workshop design – sharing vignettes

One aspect of my original workshop design – from my iPad Professional Development Program (iPDP) – was the desire for some form of knowledge sharing evening. Although the program I’m creating at the DFM has been scaled back a lot from the design presented in the iPDP paper, I was struggling to figure out how to incorporate the knowledge sharing component. I’m happy to report that one of my sponsors/co-facilitators came up with an idea of how to solve that program (without even knowing that I thought it was a problem).

When we deliver the workshops, after the ice breaker activity the group is divided in two. Those who feel more beginner/notice begin with a 30-minute skills lab, while those who identify as more advanced begin with a case-vignettes presentation. After 30-minutes the groups switch. By dividing the groups this way, it means that the skills labs can be little more adapted to the level of the audience. The first skills lab will necessarily be more basic than the second skills lab. However, the interesting part here, is that the first group doing the case vignettes will have an opportunity to see some vignettes but also be solicited to share some vignettes. In this way, the more advanced participants have a chance to share what they know, and the physician facilitator demonstrator (yes that is a mouth full) will also have an opportunity to learn from peers. When the second group does the case vignettes (the beginner group), they will likely not have new vignettes to contribute, but they will gain from the additional knowledge, as the case vignette facilitator now might have a couple of new vignettes to present. I may not have explained that well – but the benefit here is that the opportunity to “share” vignettes has now been incorporated into the workshop – so I don’t feel like that aspect of the original iPDP design has been lost.

The poison of “expert”

I am finding that I am continually challenged with the word “expert”. The other word I used was “early adopter”. When looking for physicians who are willing to help facilitate in the role of “Physician Facilitator (Demonstrator)”, I am constantly confronted with physicians who do not feel like they have enough to contribute. I often hear the words “I’m not an expert” – so I find myself saying, that is OK. You have something valuable to say – your peers want to hear your real stories.
I see that when I defined the workshop roles in the blog post: I was thoughtful enough to use the term demonstrator rather than “expert” or “early adopter” … I just need to get better at actually using the term when I speak – so that I am not scaring away those who would be good at presenting. I did get one more physician to agree to be a physician demonstrator (yay).

Finding: The use of technology adoption language, or the use of language that indicates expertise in technology causes issues with physician self-identification. In family medicine, the use and integration of technology is not a core competency – it is not seen as a critical skill for success in family medicine – as such, many people that use technology in interesting and innovative ways, do not see themselves as early adopters or experts. The language of technology adoption does not resonate with many family medicine physicians. To make the participation in the workshops in a leadership role, the terminology needed to be changes to be more descriptive of the role or to tone down the sense of expertise needed to fill the role. I am hoping the use of the term “demonstrator” would be more effective than “expert”.

Exploiting .. time for a new title

When one of the physicians suggested “exploiting the iPad” as a title for our workshops, it immediately resonated. Why? Because in some ways this project is all about using technology for technology sake. Although I do not believe that technology should be thrown into education without a purpose, I also believe that someone needs to play with new technologies in an educational setting in order to discover the possibilities. If limit the use of technology in education to solving problems, we will never learn new ways of teaching that are enabled by the technology. What we do will always be about the old teaching strategies, rather than looking at new ways of teaching.
However, the word exploiting has a problem – and in particular it has a problem within the context of the Faculty of Education at my university. Many of the professors study critical pedagogy – and to exploit cannot be seen in a positive light. And, so I must succumb to a much more neutral term for the title of this website. I shall add back in iPadagogy, because it is a fun play on words, but shall change “Exploiting the iPad as a Clinical Teaching Tool” to “iPadagogy: Employing the iPad as a clinical teaching tool”.