At the eLearn Africa fail faire, I learned about the idea of need versus demand. The idea is, that although something may be needed, there also needs to be demand for something to be successful. In the case of computers for schools in Africa, a lot of places will express a need, but the development projects that bring in the computers are usually not successful unless there is also a demand. The demand equates to a willingness of those directly affected to champion the project and support its success. There has to be more than just a need, there has to be an added commitment to the success – which is called the demand.
I'm wondering if I've run into the same problem with my research. My discussions with mLearning academics has clearly indicated a need for teacher training / professional development programs that support the adoption of tablet computer use within education. I've identified a clear gap in the literature. I have conceptualized a design-based research project that would involve a complete needs analysis at three locations, followed by the development and evaluation of an ongoing sustainable professional development program.
My problem now is finding the demand. Based upon my discussions at conferences and my literature reviews, I thought there would be demand, but I'm not sure where to find it. I had narrowed my scope to higher education and iPads – that is “
How can educational interventions be designed to enhance and support the use of iPads by university professors who teach undergraduate education?” I had thought to narrow the scope to medical education, but I'm wondering again if that makes sense. I need to find three locations where there is demand, and preferably where professors are issued/given iPads. It is even better if the students have ready access to iPads. The organizations also need to be large enough (at least 15 participants) to warrent a professional development program, rather than just one-on-one tutoring. The professors involved (and their administrations) must also want to and be willing to champion the research.
I had hoped to find three universities in Eastern Canada / Eastern USA to avoid excessive travel expenses. But I'm afraid that my searches in Eastern Canada haven't been as successful as I'd hoped. I'm open to going almost anywhere in the world where there is demand for my research. So, if any of my loyal readers out there have any suggestions (and contacts) at schools (universities or colleges) where there might be a demand for my research, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd contact me.
If I can't find the demand, I'm going to have to consider a different project 🙁