Reframing Faculty Development as a Makerspace: The Technology Test Kitchen at Your Institution
Concurrent Session 9
The Technology Test Kitchen: professional development reframed as an engaging, participatory, interactive, immersive space for exploring and experimenting. This panel discussion with TTK creators provides a blueprint to showcase this approach at your institution and highlights some of the key ideas behind it.
Educators face a befuddling paradox - the ubiquity of technological innovation seemingly stands in stark opposition to the demand for them to meet established outcomes with dwindling support (both in the form of funding and time). The paradox is a puzzle waiting to be cracked open and solved, more an invigorating opportunity than a debilitating problem. The concept of the Technology Test Kitchen was born of the minds of educational puzzle solvers, innovators and collaborators. Breaking down the silos and separations present in much of academia, they immediately spotted an opportunity to reframe professional development as a hands-on, experiential process and a community of inquiry. In spaces where educators purportedly gathered to cogitate, experiment and play, they noticed that the deliverable was actually static, one-to-many presentations with little to no interaction. They were compelled to action to bring a more profound kind of professional development into the spotlight. And more than anything else, these innovators formulated an approach for bridging the ever-expanding gap between tried-and-true teaching methods and the unique needs of the current populations of learners.
The Technology Test Kitchen, with its rotating cast of players, is malleable, iterative and adaptive. At its best, it is messy - a feature that is inherent in all learning spaces constructed to best meet the differentiated needs of the learners present. Participants are individually empowered by the fact that they are all called to be creators of knowledge, actively contributing to the hacking of the concept of professional development as we know it. For a space with technology in the name, the commodity has never been the tools, but rather the interpersonal connections and ideation that occurs through the practice of inquiry and assessment.
The TTK provides a space, a time, and the resources for exploration, experimentation, in depth conversations, problem-solving, innovation, and connection. The TTK is not a place to sit and absorb. It is a place to connect, try new things and explore new discoveries. an incubator of all the best stuff about an educational technology conference. it is a place to practice the new and emerging ideas that ask the big “what if” questions around our largest challenges in education. It is a space to dream big and then create models on the spot of what those dreams might look like in the classrooms of tomorrow. The TTK is a place to get your hands dirty and aim for the moon. It is a place to try new things and to fail faster so that the potential learning from a conference can breathe and grow rather than get shoved into a backpack from one session to the next. It is the loud and messy place where the good ingredients of one idea get tried with the fresh ingredients of another to unveil something entirely new and innovative that hadn’t been thought of before.
This panel discussion session, moderated by Jessica Knott, will highlight ways to successfully showcase this approach at your institution, using resources developed by the Technology Test Kitchen pioneer "chefs.” We’ll share its origination, history, evolution, recipes, lessons learned, and a blueprint to help you transform professional development at your institution.