Week 12 – Activity 21: The chicken and egg conundrum – technology and pedagogy inter-relate

Timing: 3 hours

  • Use the forum to discuss the relationship between technology and pedagogic theory and practice, drawing on your own context and experience.
    1. What is your own experience and view?
    2. Do you regard either pedagogy or technology as more significant than the other?
    3. How do technology and pedagogy influence each other?
    4. Do you have experience where either technology or pedagogy has been given more weight than the other?

Answers:

1. What is your own experience and view?

I have looked for my pedagogy to guide what technologies, if any, are applicable to the aim. I feel that we shouldn’t design learning around a technology, as ultimately then we are condoning ourselves to that technologies function.

If we look at MOOCs as an example, they were built on the internet, but the tools (forums, blogs, interactive assignments, videos, etc.) that are incorporated in achieving the ultimate pedagogical aim of the course are widespread and differ depending on course aim/pedagogy.

In a nutshell, whilst looking to design a course with a particular aim I will consider the technology that could support this. This is not limited to recent technology, but rather accumulated on top of whiteboards, projectors, and other means.

2. Do you regard either pedagogy or technology as more significant than the other?

I believe that pedagogy is more slightly more significant, though I am not ultimately too sure. As mentioned above, you can get trapped in a technology, and ignore other options. As appose to using various technologies to meet your pedagogical goal.

However, in practice, when technologies get developed/used as a response to inefficiencies  in teaching practices. These can then be considered separately when designing the new set of lessons/courses. In this case, notably the technology has led the way for this transition/cycle.

3. How do technology and pedagogy influence each other?

If I were to be considering a particular angle or pedagogy to a course, and there was a technology that could vastly improve said course, it would be worthwhile to consider it. Therefore, it such a technology does not yet exist, it would be worthwhile considering the plausibility of its creation.

The role of technologies, inversely, is to note what these gaps are, and see fi they can be filled in a more efficient manner. Noting however that sometimes technologies, such as Twitter, can be used for education without initially being intended for such. This would be an instance of teaching/instructional design noting the use of a technology and adopting/adapting it to fit.

4. Do you have experience where either technology or pedagogy has been given more weight than the other?

When I was newer in my line of work I found myself fascinated by the possibilities of iPads in the classroom. As such, I over emphasised their usage, and looked to apps to substitute what I was doing. This led to fundamental changes in my lesson plans.

In retrospect I find these lesson plans to be insufficient in their goals and lacking in other pedagogical practices such as contextualisation, group work, and even repetition.

Had I used the iPad as tool within a decided upon pedagogy or lesson plan, it would likely have fit in to a bigger picture and contributed rather than taken over the direction of the lesson.

 

Additional:

It should also be noted that using technologies, such as Twitter, requires an understanding beforehand of the pedagogical effects, both positive and negative. This knowledge is not only unknown by some teachers, but sometimes altogether un-researched. Issues around the safety of children online, distractions in class, and actual depth of learning aligned with sound pedagogical research need to be considered.

Forum posting

In response to Andi’s initial points.

Does it matter which comes first: I would suspect it would be of concern if we are talking about students who might not have access to a particular technology (have and have nots scenario), or in the case of managing accessibility concerns for those with disabilities. In such a case I would think it is better for pedagogy to lead the way, or at least for some careful consideration to be given before decisions are made regarding technology adoption.

My personal thoughts are that from my work experience I tend to to be stuck somewhat in the middle of the argument. Possibly slightly to the pedagogical side :/

If we consider technology to include whiteboards, smart boards, projectors, etc., we seldom would design a lesson/course around such tools. In doing so would likely result in a very one-dimensional or linear approach, as you pointed out with Udemy.

From experience, I previously designed some lessons with too much emphasise placed on the use of iPads (when they were really beginning to boom with regards to education apps). I found the lessons to lack the depth of learning that might have been achieved had I began with a broader view and used the iPads as one of many resources.

If we consider this course, we are using multiple tools in the assignments (viewing through videos, reading texts, commending on blogs, and so on) and generally coming together on the forums. As such it would appear that the pedagogical led to the selection of the different technologies to achieve its aims.

However, if a particular technology, intended for education use of not (i.e. YouTube) provides a better way to deliver material, it could lead to affecting the popularity of particular pedagogical approaches (possibly constructivism in this sense).

I see the role of intentional educational technologies therefore as ‘plugging the gaps,’ or looking for ways to improve what is being done currently. This creates a cycle of educational and technological development as the pedagogies respond (catch up) to the technologies and the technologies in turn continue to attempt to improve the pedagogies.

I have responded more fully to the questions on my blog here.

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