Teaching and Learning Best Practises: Technology and Pedagogy

Technology and pedagogy are two key concepts that relate to education. Technology refers to the tools and resources that can support teaching and learning. These include computers, software, the internet, multimedia, etc. Pedagogy relates to teachers\’ methods and strategies to facilitate learning, such as instruction, assessment, feedback, etc.

Both technology and pedagogy are essential for education. This is because they enhance the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning outcomes. For example, technology can access diverse and rich information sources, foster collaboration and communication among learners and teachers, and support individualized and differentiated instruction. Pedagogy can help teachers design meaningful and engaging learning activities, align curriculum goals with learners\’ needs and interests, promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills, etc. 

This post will explore how technology and pedagogy can be integrated coherently to create optimal learning environments for students.

Enhanced collaboration

One way to improve teaching and learning is to use technologies that facilitate teamwork, communication, and feedback among students and instructors. Collaboration technologies can include tools such as Google Apps for Education, Kahoot, FlipGrid, MindMeister, Google Hangouts, and wireless screen mirroring. These tools can help students work together on projects, share ideas, give and receive feedback, and interact with peers from different cultures and backgrounds. Collaboration can foster critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills by exposing students to diverse perspectives, challenging them to justify their opinions, and encouraging them to co-construct knowledge. Collaboration can also enhance student engagement and motivation by making learning fun, interactive, and meaningful.

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Plan your asynchronous-synchronous mix

One of the challenges of online learning is planning your asynchronous-synchronous mix. This refers to how much of your course will be delivered through live video sessions and how much will be delivered through self-paced activities and resources. Different delivery modes can engage learners with other preferences and needs. Therefore, balancing them according to your content, pedagogy, and assessment goals is essential.

For example, suppose your content requires a lot of interaction and discussion among students and with the instructor. In that case, you may want to use more synchronous video sessions where you can facilitate live conversations, polls, quizzes, and breakout rooms. However, suppose your content requires more individual reflection and practice. In that case, you may want to use asynchronous activities where students can access videos, readings, interactive online activities, and feedback at their own pace. You may also want to consider peer learning activities that can be done asynchronously or synchronously, such as peer review, group projects, or online forums.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for planning your asynchronous-synchronous mix. Your learning outcomes, student characteristics, available technology, and teaching style must be considered. Practice communicating clearly with your students about the expectations and benefits of each mode of delivery. Follow up by providing them with opportunities for feedback and support throughout the course. This will enhance teaching and learning.

Align technology with learning outcomes

Technology can be a powerful tool to enhance learning, but it should not be used for its own sake. Instead, it should be aligned with your course\’s specific learning outcomes and pedagogical approach. For example, suppose your learning outcome is to develop critical thinking skills. In that case, you might use technology to facilitate online discussions, simulations, or case studies. This will challenge learners to analyze and evaluate different perspectives. 

If your learning outcome is to foster creativity and collaboration, you might use technology to enable learners to create multimedia projects, share feedback, or co-create content. Technology can also help learners demonstrate their learning in various ways, such as through portfolios, e-assessments, or digital badges. By aligning technology with learning outcomes, you can ensure that technology supports and enhances your teaching and learning goals.

Provide clear instructions and expectations

Technology can be a powerful tool for learning, but it also requires some guidance and preparation. As a teacher, you should provide clear instructions and expectations to your learners on using technology effectively and appropriately. For example, you should explain how to access and navigate the online platform or software you use, what kind of activities and assignments they will do with technology, and how they will communicate and collaborate with you and your peers.

You should also explain what you expect from them regarding participation, engagement, and performance. For example, you should specify how often and for how long they should log in, what kinds of interactions and contributions they should make, and how they will be assessed and graded. Finally, you should provide feedback and support to help them overcome any challenges or difficulties they may encounter with technology. You can use various methods, such as email, chat, video call, or online forums. This helps to monitor their progress, answer their questions, clarify their doubts, praise their efforts, and motivate their learning.

Model effective technology use

You can use technology to enhance your teaching and learning experiences as a teacher and a learner. Technology provides access to various resources, communicates with different audiences, creates engaging and interactive content, and monitors progress and feedback. Some examples of how to use technology include:

  • Use online platforms like Google Classroom or Moodle to organize courses, share materials, assign tasks, and grade submissions.
  • Use video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype to conduct live sessions with students or colleagues, where we can interact through audio, video, chat, polls, and breakout rooms.
  • Use digital tools like Padlet or Jamboard to create collaborative spaces where students can brainstorm ideas, share their work, and give each other feedback.
  • Use online quizzes like Kahoot or Quizizz to assess students\’ understanding and engagement in a fun and gamified way.
  • Use podcasts or YouTube videos to learn new topics or skills from experts in different fields.

Challenges

Of course, using technology also comes with some challenges and strategies. For example:

  • Sometimes, you can face technical issues like a slow internet connection or software glitches that disrupt the teaching or learning process. Always have a backup plan to overcome this challenge if something goes wrong. For example, download the materials beforehand or have an alternative activity ready.
  • Sometimes, you can feel overwhelmed by online information or options. Set clear goals and criteria for what you want to achieve or learn to overcome this challenge. For example, limit the number of sources you consult or the time you spend on each task.
  • Sometimes, you can struggle to balance screen time and offline activities. To overcome this challenge, you should schedule regular breaks and practice self-care. For example, you can walk outside or do stretching exercises.

Evaluate technology impact 

Technology can have a significant impact on teaching and learning processes and outcomes. However, it is crucial to evaluate this impact in a systematic and evidence-based way. One way to do this is to collect data and feedback from learners on their experiences, perceptions, and achievements using technology. For example, you can use surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, or learning analytics to gather information about how learners interact with technology, what benefits or challenges they encounter, how technology supports their learning goals and needs, and what outcomes they achieve. By analyzing this data and feedback, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your technology integration and the opportunities and threats for improvement. You can use this information to inform your practice and make decisions that enhance teaching effectiveness and learner satisfaction.

Keep up-to-date with new technologies

Keeping up-to-date with new technologies is important for educators who want to explore new tools and platforms to support their learning objectives and enhance their pedagogical strategies. However, not all technologies are equally effective or suitable for different contexts and purposes. Therefore, educators must evaluate new technologies before adopting them in their classrooms. Some of the criteria that can help educators assess new technologies are:

  • Alignment with learning outcomes: The technology should help students achieve the intended learning outcomes and provide evidence of their learning progress.
  • Affordance for learning: Technology should offer new opportunities for teaching and learning that go beyond traditional methods and engage students in meaningful ways.
  • Integration with classroom practice: The technology should be easy to use, compatible with existing resources and infrastructure, and adaptable to different teaching styles and scenarios.
  • Professional development support: The technology should provide adequate training and guidance for administrators, teachers, and support staff to ensure successful implementation.

Using these criteria, educators can make informed decisions about which new technologies to adopt and how to use them effectively in their teaching practice.

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 Conclusion

Technology and pedagogy are potent ways to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. It can offer new ways of engaging students, fostering collaboration, providing feedback, and personalizing instruction. Technology can help teachers save time, manage their workload, and access professional development opportunities. However, technology integration requires careful planning, preparation, and evaluation to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with the curriculum goals and standards. Remember, technology integration is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that requires constant reflection and improvement. By following these tips, you can make the most of technology in your classroom.

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