Technology Enhance Learning! Or does it?

Andre Francois

There are two sides to this coin!

Does technology enhance or not enhance learning, is a complicated and convoluted question.  We live in a fast paced and ever growing day and age of technology. Personally, I don’t think this will slow down anytime soon, or even ever. As adult educators, it is our responsibility to teach and that includes technology. Technology is growing at a rapid pace in the health sciences and medical world as well. As a nursing educator with the SCBScN program, I feel it is critical to continue to grow students and integrate technology into our curriculum in every shape and form to enhance nursing education.

In this week’s EC&I 830 class our debate topic was; Technology in the classroom enhances learning. I would say I would have to agreed, that technology enhances learning. Kristen, Jana, and Katie did a great job at defending their side of the debate. However, I can also identify with some of the points Wendy, Kyla, and Amy C. discussed on the disagree side of things as well. I have highlighted a couple points that stood out to me that were argued as well as what was within the readings for this week.

Cons of Technology Pros of Technology 
  1. Technology is distracting
  2. Impacts social skills

IIII COMMUNICATION: TECHNOLOGY, DISTRACTION & STUDENT PERFORMANCE

  1. Helps engage students
  2. Provides opportunities to all kinds of learners (can include everyone)

6 PROS & CONS OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM IN 2018

I think one point that stood out for me from the debate was when they said technology enhances learning by moving from teacher-centred learning to student-centred learning. I would have to agree with this. Most recently I personally took a classroom and lab based class (Pharmacology) and turned it into a blended learning style. Historically, we were hearing students say that they needed more hands on practice as well as more time to learn this content. Getting more classroom and lab time was not going to be an option. Therefore, I felt a blended learning approach would be best.

The existing course comprised of a print course manual that was disjointed from the online course. I set out to transform the course for the May 2018 offering into a coordinated lab experience whereby students would have clear expectations on how to prepare for lab, and what to do during lab and post lab to enhance their learning. I wanted the course to be engaging, fun and user-friendly while using technology to my advantage. The course manual and previous lab elements were converted to “e-Books” on Moodle. This meant students would have a streamlined navigation system to easily find what they needed. I sequenced the content into learning chunks and adapted previous exercises from print based to online interactives. I used H5P interactive, an innovative technology which creates HTML5 

exercises that are mobile-friendly and provide immediate feedback to the learner.  Every lab contains a variety of interactives, including question quiz set, interactive video, and hotspot activities.

After doing all that, how can I not agree that technology enhances learning!

 

In addition to supporting why I think technology enhances learning, Saskatchewan Polytechnic issued a article discussing “Bring surgery to life through virtual reality With the help of advanced technology, student will now be able to get a close up look into an operating room, without having to leave the classroom! AMAZING!

With every great thing there come downsides. I do support technology in the classroom but I think there needs to be perimeters. Every student (no matter the age) need rules that they have to follow. Moreover, it is critical that there is implementation of a digital citizenship across the life span. Yes, even at the university level and within the workplace. This is something that needs to start before kids begin school. Students need to understand how to use technology appropriately.  It is a must that we teach our students to be come positive digital citizens!

I liked the SAMR visual because it is a model that supports, teachers, and helps to understand the integration of technology. This idea was made known by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. It shows a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress through teaching and
learning with technology. It is a framework through which teachers can assess and evaluate the technology used in the classroom. As teachers move along the continuum, computer technology becomes more important in the classroom but at the same time becomes more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning. Below I have included a short YouTube video done by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.

 

During the discussion, I really liked a point that Amy Snider made when she stated that “pencils and sharpeners were once new technology”. Can you imagine!?! Do kids even know what that is anymore? This really put things into perspective for me.

Overall, I think that I am on the “agree” side of this debate, and would say technology enhances learning in the classroom. After this weeks debate, class discussions and the readings, I would have to say there is a lot to think about and consider in our classrooms and how we are using technology to enhance teaching and learning! Looking forward to the next debate!

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4 thoughts on “Technology Enhance Learning! Or does it?

  1. Hey Melinda,

    Thank you for the post! I enjoyed reading about your own experience in building a blended learning course. Well done. It does take some courage to try something new, especially when it will impact the well-being of others. Exactly the kind of boldness elementary school teachers need when they explore with decentralizing learning opportunities in the classroom, or using tools like social media to enhance their classrooms.

    A specific point of yours I’d like to comment on: “Every student (no matter the age) need rules that they have to follow.”

    Yes! This is a helpful way to frame technology in our classrooms, as well. it is not the tool itself that needs to be regulated. Technology is here, it’s not really a choice we have anymore. But how students use technology (teachers as well) does need deliberate consideration, or rules.

    Thanks Melinda!

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    1. Thank you for your response Joe and Dani!
      Teachers can’t act alone. Digital citizenship courses in school can not be all we do.
      If children don’t know how to socialize or communicate, or can’t spell, or is rude or bullies others, that’s on parents (not just teachers and technology) for teaching and raising them that way. Technology may play a part but parents have the ability to limit and control the use of it, and to teach their kids what they are losing (social skills, etc) with the use of technology. I think technology has the ability to make kids even better than we were, just like the use of computers bettered our lives over that of our parents. There are cons too, but I still wouldn’t say it is not enhancing learning at this point.

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  2. Hi Melinda!

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. 🙂 I loved that your referenced the idea of digital citizenship – EVERY age needs this to be a focus if we hope to have success with technology. People need to understand that the great divide between our real selves and those online is no longer so great.

    I love the idea of the virtual reality in the classroom – what a cool experience and likely much more accessible than the real thing when learning in the early stages. This is an opportunity that is transformational and not just a lower level replacement type activity according to the SAMR model.

    Thanks again.

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  3. Hello Melinda,

    I really enjoyed reading your version of both sides to the argument of tech in the classroom and whether it enhances learning. Great job incorporating technology in a blended learning approach for your students, especially in such a way that saves time and also makes learning more engaging and authentic!

    I agree that digital citizenship has to be taught across the lifespan. It makes me think of my 90 year old father-in-law that texts, googles, and posts with the best of them! Now-a-days, kids are born into technology so digital citizenship has to start early so it becomes second nature and the new ‘normal’.

    Thank-you for your post!

    Like

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