Adopting and Promoting New Ideas
As he pondered, he became aware of a heated discussion among a group of people as they walked down the hallway. He recognized the voices of students who he had just left in his class. He didn't pay much attention to what they were saying until, as they passed his door, one of them was heard to exclaimed: ~~I can hardly wait to start my new job so I can forget all of this theoretical nonsense."
Professor Billings was jarred into dismay and disappointment!
The AECT Code of Ethics—Section 1, Principle 7
A frequent misconception among graduate students and many professionals is that educational theory is "bunk" and not relevant to the job of an instructional technologist. A related misconception is that one's schooling ends with earning a degree. Although one's academic role as a student ends with graduation, at that stage real professional growth only begins and must be an ongoing process in order to avoid stagnation and remain effective. Applying the right mixture of theory, practice, experience, and creativity in the design of instruction can be difficult and demanding but it is what distinguishes a professional from a technician.
We all expect other professionals who serve the public to be current in their fields. So, too, should we expect members of our profession, in order to be of maximum service to our clients, to be not only conversant with new ideas and issues, but also prompt in applying them to our jobs. As an example, it is useful to compare changes in the education of dental professions over the last hundred years. One shudders to think what a visit to the dentist's office would be like if as many real changes had taken place there as have occurred in the classroom. Try to imagine many of the current ideas in educational technology as being like Novocain or high-speed drills and then hearing the dentist boast about having them on the shelf, but unwilling to restructure his or her practice to include these innovations.
Real potential for change in a profession rests with the commitment to growth within each professional. Each professional, to responsibly serve his or her clients, must be willing to consistently don the cap of a student and accept and apply new theories and information as they become available—being "open systems" as it were. Not only is it the professional thing to do; it's a matter of ethics.
Lloyd P. Rieber
Paul W. Welliver