Involvement in supporting the deployment of learning technology

Providing technical and pedagogic support to teachers and learners

These are two of the key areas that I have developed within my role as an academic advisor over the past 12 years. Conceptually I understand my role as a ‘technology steward’ operating within a range of communities of practice (Wenger, White & Smith, 2009) across specific departmental and curriculum contexts. The role of a technology steward within a COP is that of a peer guiding the COP in choosing and implementing technology appropriate for the purposes of the COP. In developing the concept of a technology steward, Wenger (Wenger et al., 2002; 2005) began to see the application of technology (and in particular social media) in supporting and nurturing COPs, particularly COPs with geographically dispersed members, and in disseminating the activities and outcomes of COPs to wider contexts. I began to see the parallels between the concept of a technology steward and my own role as I explored the application of COPs to professional development (Cochrane, 2007; Cochrane & Kligyte, 2007). Providing technical and pedagogic support are two of the ‘critical success factors’ that I have identified in supporting innovation in teaching and learning via technology (Cochrane, 2014). Thus I work in partnership with lecturers to develop an appropriate strategy for technology integration within their curriculum context. This community of practice (COP) model is then extended as a model for lecturers to reconceptualise their classes with their students as a COP – and I will often work alongside lecturers and their students as they establish this COP framework. This approach often involves participating in weekly classes as an invited participant, and providing invited presentations or workshops with the students and their lecturers as they explore the application of technology to their specific discipline context. A selection of example participant feedback from several COPs is embedded below:

Advising and re-designing for technical and usability issues

Every curriculum context is different and unique, thus every educational technology implementation project involves a cycle of: design, implement, evaluate, and redesign. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach. One specific example of my involvement in the design of educational technology for deployment and usability is the design and redesign of MOAs – Mobile Airplay screens – a custom designed mobile screen-mirroring solution for mobile devices (Cochrane & Munn, 2016; Cochrane, Munn, & Antonczak, 2013; Cochrane & Withell, 2013).

Developing strategies

The goal of any project is to provide proof-of-concept or a model for wider change and innovation across a department, school, faculty, or across the entire institution. For example:

  • I developed the first elearning strategy for MAINZ (Cochrane, 2003)
  • I managed several pilot mobile learning projects ate Unitec in 2008 and 2009, involving the use of 16 iPod Touch’s, 200 Dell Mini Netbooks, 16 iPhone 3GS, 200 Nokia XM5800 smartphones, and 25 Nokia N95 smartphones – the WMDProjectReport2009 led to the further funding of 100 iPads for a second round of projects in 2010 (Cochrane, 2009).

These projects involved a great deal of planning, management of resources, and a team approach to imaging and maintaining the mobile equipment. The following two videos highlight aspects of these projects:


Configuring 140 netbooks for mlearning projects at Unitec semester2 2009. First iPhone3GS video recording and direct upload to YouTube – great integration!


Film and TV third year students receive netbooks and smartphones for mlearning project at Unitec. Video and images recorded on an N97, video edited on N97, uploaded directly from N97 via Shareonline/Pixelpipe

  • I was a member of the Unitec eLearning Strategy development team (Cochrane, 2010; Cochrane et al., 2012)
  • I was the co-primary researcher and community development coordinator for the #NPF14LMD two-year, six-institution funded project 2014-2015 (Frielick et al., 2014; Cochrane & Narayan, 2015). This included the organising of a series of global guest webinars, as curated in the YouTube Playlist below:
  • I was coopted onto the AUT Journalism curriculum redesign team as an outcome of facilitating a journalism COP that grew to encompass the entire department (Cochrane et al., 2016).

Managing change

I was the leader of the Unitec elearning team that managed the transition from the use of Blackboard as the institutional LMS for Unitec to the implementation and use of Moodle (Cochrane et al., 2012). This involved a strategic two-year change process an development of new support strategies and frameworks. A key element of the support strategy was the development of a network of elearning coordinators nurturing departmental COPs across the institution. The concept was brokered through hosting a week-long workshop facilitated by Wenger and Trayner in 2010.



Providing training or other forms of professional development

My role as an academic advisor involves the development and implementation of professional development opportunities. This ranges from facilitating one-off workshops, facilitating formal courses, through to the nurturing of long-term communities of practice. For example:

  • I co-design and facilitated week-long and day-long MARMW (Mobile Augmented Reality) Workshops (Cochrane, Narayan, Antonczak, Keegan, 2013)
  • I collaborated on redesigning a graduate professional development course (Cochrane & Narayan, 2013)
  • I have organised and coordinated over 60 communities of practice (Cochrane & Narayan, 2016)

Securing and deploying dedicated funding

I have been involved in several funded educational technology projects, for example:

  • 2007-2008: The Elearning Guidelines: Innovation in elearning $29000 (Cochrane, 2008) – this project provided the funding for the first mobile learning project trials at Unitec, involving Nokia N95 and SonyEricsson P1i smartphones.
  • 2012: 4 Learning and Teaching Development Fellowships ($20000 each)(Cochrane, Antonczak, Gordon, Sissons, & Withell, 2012)
  • 2012-2015: 16 Learning and Teaching Development Fund projects (between $3000 to $15000 each), for example:(Mulrennan, Sissons, Rive, McMeekin, & Cochrane, 2015)
  • 2014-2015: AKO Aotearoa National Project Fund: Learners and Mobile Devices $300000 (Frielick et al., 2014)
  • 2016: Digital Mobility Research Fund $3000


My role within the deployment of educational technologies has always been a mix of design, implementation, deployment, evaluation and redesign – critically informed and driven by learning theory. Wenger’s concept of communities of practice and the role of a technology steward within COPs resonated with my own experiences as an academic advisor and provided me with a theoretical framework to build upon in supporting the deployment and implementation of educational technology. Working in small groups of creative and committed peers towards a goal of pedagogical transformation within a specific context is a powerful catalyst for exploring. supporting, and implementing new pedagogies for better student outcomes. Another powerful aspect of educational technology integration is getting feedback from the end-users – both lecturers and students in my case. An example project reflection is included as an example below. These reflections are recorded in my YouTube channel, now with almost 21000 views.




Cochrane, Thomas. (2014). Critical success factors for transforming pedagogy with mobile web 2.0. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 65-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01384.x

Cochrane, Thomas. (2010). Beyond the yellow brick road: Mobile web 2.0 informing a new institutional elearning strategy. Special Issue ‘The Transformational Impact of Learning technology’ of ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 18(3), 221–231. doi: doi:10.1080/09687769.2010.529110

Cochrane, T. (2009, 26-30 October). Mobile Web 2.0: from Pilots to the Mainstream. Paper presented at the MLearn 2009: The 8th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, University of Central Florida, Institute for Simulation and Training, Orlando, Florida.

Cochrane, Thomas. (2008). The educational potential of wireless mobile devices and web2. from

Cochrane, Thomas. (2007). Moving mobile mainstream: Using communities of practice to develop educational technology literacy in tertiary academics. In A. Norman & J. Pearce (Eds.), Mlearn 2007 – making the connections 6th international conference on mobile learning (pp. 37-45). Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Melbourne: University of Melbourne, Parkville Victoria 3010, Australia.

Cochrane, Thomas. (2003). Creating an e-learning environment for a polytechnic course. Paper presented at the eFest 2003, CPIT Christchurch.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Narayan, Vickel. (2016). Principles of modeling cops for pedagogical change: Lessons learnt from practice 2006 to 2014. In J. McDonald & A. Cater-Steel (Eds.), Communities of practice: Facilitating social learning in higher education (Vol. In print): Springer.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Kligyte, Giedre. (2007, 11-14 June). Dummies2delight: Using communities of practice to develop educational technology literacy in tertiary academics. Paper presented at the JISC online conference: Innovating eLearning, JISC online conference.

Cochrane, Thomas, Sissons, Helen, Mulrennan, Danni, & Rive, Vernon. (2016). Journalism 2.0: Collaborative curriculum redesign. In D. Parsons (Ed.), Mobile and blended learning innovations for improved learning outcomes (pp. 187-206). Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global.

Cochrane, Thomas, Black, Becca, Lee, Michelle, Narayan, Vickel, & Verswijvelen, Miranda. (2012). Rethinking e-learning support strategies. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(3), 276-293. doi: 10.1080/1360144x.2012.733884

Cochrane, T., & Munn, J. (2016, 27-30 June, 2016). EDR and Design Thinking: Enabling Creative Pedagogies. Paper presented at the EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2016, Vancouver, Canada.

Cochrane, T., Munn, J., & Antonczak, L. (2013, 20-22 November). Design thinking for mlearning: Herding a flock of MOAs. Paper presented at the 3rd Mobile Creativity and Innovation Symposium, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Narayan, Vickel. (2013). Redesigning professional development: Reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies. Research in Learning Technology, 21, 1-19. doi:

Cochrane, Thomas, Narayan, Vickel, Antonczak, Laurent, & Keegan, Helen. (2013, 1-4 December). Augmenting mobile movie production. Paper presented at the Electric Dreams: 30th ascilite Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Cochrane, T., & Withell, A. (2013, 1-4 December). Do 21st Century students dream of electric sheep? A mobile social media framework for creative pedagogies. Paper presented at the Electric Dreams: Proceedings 30th ascilite Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Cochrane, T., Antonczak, L., Gordon, A., Sissons, H., & Withell, A. (2012, 25-28 November). Heutagogy and mobile social media: post web 2.0 pedagogy. Paper presented at the ascilite 2012: Future challenges, sustainable futures, Wellington, New Zealand.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Narayan, Vickel. (2015). Chapter 2: Mobile social media for a collaborative network of practice. In S. Frielick & A. D. Sciasscia (Eds.), #NPF14LMD Final Report: Learners and mobile devices – Enhanced learning and institutional change. Auckland University of Technology: Centre for Learning And Teaching. Retrieved from

Frielick, Stanley, Cochrane, Thomas, Aguayo, Claudio, Narayan, Vickel, O’Carrol, Dee, Smith, Nell, . . . Wyse, Pam. (2014, 12 April 2015). Learners and mobile devices (#npf14lmd): A framework for enhanced learning and institutional change. from

Mulrennan, D., Sissons, H., Rive, V., McMeekin, S., & Cochrane, T. (2015). MoJoMLaw: Mobile Social Media Integration in Journalism and Law. In S. Frielick (Ed.), LTDF 2014 ebook (pp. 70-72). Auckland University of Technology: Centre for Learning And Teaching.

Wenger, Etienne, White, Nancy, & Smith, John. (2009). Digital habitats: Stewarding technology for communities. Portland, Oregon: CPsquare.

Wenger, Etienne, McDermott, Richard, & Snyder, William. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Wenger, Etienne, White, Nancy, Smith, John, & Rowe, Kim. (2005). Technology for communities. In L. Langelier (Ed.), Working, learning and collaborating in a network: Guide to the implementation and leadership of intentional communities of practice (pp. 71-94). Quebec City: CEFIRO.