Presentation given at the Teaching with Technology seminar on 2 September 2009 giving some random thoughts on the influence of using technology in teaching on the way we teach and the way students learn.
Dr JP Bosman
Centre for Teaching and Learning, Stellenbosch University | 2 September 2009
Some thoughts on Technology and teaching: Is technology really
changing our brains?
Teaching: The art of changing the brain
James Zull (2002)
“Teaching is the art of changing the brain. I don’t mean controlling the brain,
or rearranging it according to some ‘brain manual.’ I mean, creating
conditions that lead to change in a learner’s brain. We can’t get inside and
rewire a brain, but we can arrange things so that it gets rewired. If we are
skilled, we can set up conditions that favor this rewiring, and we can create an
environment that nurtures it.”
Not technology but new literacies
Leu et al (2009:264) – New Literacies Conversation
“The most profound influence on life in the 21st century may turn out to be the Internet. The Internet
links us to the greatest repository of information in the history of civilization … It also provides multiple
modes of communication … Finally, it is the most efficient system in our history for delivering new
technologies to read, write, and communicate … Together these elements permit individuals to
construct new information, new knowledge, and even newer technologies. As a result, the Internet is in
a continuous state of becoming, regularly transforming each one of us as we, in turn transform it.”
• Framing the Internet as a literacy issue
• “… the Internet is not a technology but rather a context in which to read, write and communicate”
• “New Literacies include new skills, strategies, dispositions, and social practices that are required by
new technologies for information and communication”
• Example: Online vs offline reading!
Mohammed Ally – Foundations for Education Theory for online learning
“The field of computer systems is altering the learning process. The
intelligent agents that are being built into devices and appliances will affect
how students learn and where they obtain their learning materials. For
example, devices and appliances will have built-in learning materials. When
learners interact with the equipment, the training will be provided to them.
Or, if the learner makes a mistake while using the equipment, the system will
detect the mistake and provide the correct information…”
• Our brains are re-wired
• Technology does influence learning theory
• Are we ready to learn connected and networked?
Is technology neutral?
• Technology is non-neutral, embodying philosophies and ideology
Within educational technology, the affordances (action potential) of
particular tools suggest the latter perspective is more accurate. The
choice to use a particular technology also reflects an accompanying
world view or existing mindset. Using an open system (such as blogs
and wikis) in comparison to a closed tool (LMS) is a reflection of values.
(From Siemens 2009 “ Handbook of Emerging Technologies for
• Learning is not rocket science – it is more complex
• Technology should serve pedagogy
• Conversational framework
• Teaching with technology does somehow influence the way we teach and
how students learn.
• Educational technology has been around for some time.
• Technology is not neutral.
• A broader view of educational technology is needed.
• We need more precise/ relevant instructional design theories.
• We need to research the impact of our use of technologies on learning.
• Does using technology change the way we teach?
• Does using technology change the way students learn?
• Do Stellenbosch students (Generation Y) learn differently because they are digital natives?
• What are the implications for academic literacies if technology is used?
• Are there specific teaching and learning principles with regards to the use of technology?
• How do we reflect on and research the impact our use of technology has on teaching and
• Are the new digital technologies somehow different from the “older” ones?
The way forward Research projects
• Action research
• Conference paper
• Read around
• “Informal” research
• Ingroup presentations
Special interest group
• Guest speakers
Seminar/ Talk shop
• Who is out there?
• Doing what?
• Anyone interested?