Pedagogy vs Technology Top 10 questions answered
What is Pedagogy in Education?
Pedagogy is the academic discipline that deals with the theory and practice of teaching and how these influence student learning. Pedagogy informs teacher actions, judgments, and teaching strategies by taking into consideration theories of learning and understandings of students and their needs, and the backgrounds and interests of individual students.
Pedagogy includes how the teacher interacts with students and the social and intellectual environment the teacher seeks to establish. Source: Wikipedia
While there are no defined pedagogical practices for sustainable education, but there some broad consensus that promote active, participative, and experiential learning methods that engage the learner and make a significant difference to their Knowledge, skill and attitude. “Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator.”
Technology alone without pedagogy will not achieve the desired results. The role of teacher is becoming more specific and specialized and yet demanding. There is a new world order on account of the explosion of knowledge and expansion of skills. The future of education for a sustainable development now lies in the hands of the teachers. Without pedagogy technology in the classroom is useless.
What’s meant by the phrase: ‘pedagogy is the driver, and technology is the accelerator’?
As the word ‘pedagogy’ implies, teaching children and young people. For many teachers, this is their focus. Rather than ‘teaching a subject’, they ‘teach children’. This what teachers do.
Technology might be viewed as one teaching strategy or approach in a whole range of strategies and approaches that teachers use to teach. It comes down to what works across various learning contexts and situations. The goal would be to enable children and young people to both experience and develop 21st century skills within their learning contexts.
How does technology enable pedagogy?
Learning can have a greater or different impact because of the use of technologies. For example, learning through visualisations, interactive scenarios, creative collaborations, or experiences that would otherwise be unavailable to children and young people within a classroom. These are all aided enormously by technologies and in this way, technologies would act as accelerators.
Why do we often hear statements technology gets better and better, while instruction doesn’t?
Ever since the first laptop emerged almost 40 years ago technology has been winning the race over pedagogy: technology gets better and better, while instruction doesn’t.
There are signs that pedagogy is seeking the driver’s seat. The main policy document from the US gets it right (US Department of Education, 2010b). — the essential idea is to get the right learning embedded in the technology.
No successful country became good through using technology at the front. Without pedagogy in the lead technology may be driving us to distraction, with the child’s digital world detached from the school world.
How technology is considered the educational ‘driver’?
Technology use in learning can mean either or both to different teachers and learners, and at different times or learning situations. For technologies to act as positive drivers, there would need to be:
Access: an availability of the digital technologies in the required quantity and at flexible time (e.g. three iPads shared amongst 28 children will not drive learning).
Time and knowledge: teachers need to be given sufficient time to develop their knowledge and capacity to use the relevant technologies, school systems and practices to be able to better support integrated technology usage.
Acceptance: practices such as banning the use of mobile phones may send a message to children and young people that ‘technology isn’t used in learning’. While I understand that mobile phones can be distracting for some, for technology to be a driver in learning, it would need to be accepted as natural aspect of learning spaces, rather than something that requires children to seek permission to use or that’s banned within a school context.
Learning spaces: reconfiguring classrooms and schools so that learning spaces are better suited for integrating technologies within learning. Many schools have classrooms in old buildings where connectivity is hampered, or they have outmoded furniture that does not support digital learning. So, a greater flexibility within school learning spaces would better support technology as a driver of learning.
Is technology a driver or the accelerator of pedagogy?
We should be more inclined to see technology as both a driver and accelerator, depending on the context. If we isolate technology and think about the first time a digital skill or device is being used within a learning context, then in that case, technology might be acting more as a driver. But once a level of ‘capability’ is gained, once knowledge about the conditions or parameters of use are established within a learning environment, once procedures are known and understood, once the limitations are known and experience is gained after multiple learning opportunities, then technology becomes an accelerator”
Within the context of learning, whether a driver or an accelerator, the overuse, or an over-reliance on one thing – whether that’s digital technology or something else – is a con. But then so is a lack of usage or exposure to digitally-based learning opportunities.
Where does digital literacy fit in to the technology-pedagogy debate?
Engaging children and young people in ways that develop their digital literacies is an important part of education. Literacies have become a significant part of government education policies and large-scale testing practices tend to focus on traditional literacy components such as reading and writing. We must see digital literacies as another aspect of literacy and one that should be incorporated into the core focus of literacies.
Capabilities with digital literacies are developed when pedagogic practices support, promote and encourage the use of technologies within the learning context.
It’s often said that the focus on pedagogy ensures educators prioritise content, strategies and students, but are there examples of edtech doing the same?
The affordances of the individual edtech would likely better support the development of certain content knowledge and learning strategies. For example, some technologies would better support instructional pedagogies while others would be better suited to creative or design-based pedagogies. We should see edtech as prioritising students in terms of them being able to work individually at their own pace. In other contexts, edtech could support children in working collaboratively within groups.
Is there an argument that the relationship between tech and pedagogy should be symbiotic, rather than teachers prioritising or favouring one above the other?
There is a uniqueness about all teachers and schools which makes generalisations difficult. When it works, it’s like a jig-saw and the pieces fit together. When it doesn’t work, no amount of force will make that piece fit the puzzle.
There’s also a lot to be said for including a variety of learning experiences within pedagogic practice. If children are always doing to same thing, whether it’s with or without edtech, they are likely to get bored. So, including a variety of learning experiences supports learning engagement.
How will the relationship between technology and pedagogy will evolve in the next 10 years?
The relationship between technology and pedagogy will intensify over the next few decades. Perhaps part of the impetus for this intensification is the global pandemic. In many instances, across many nations, schooling would not have been possible if not for technology infrastructures and systems, and because of the good will of many teachers and educators in taking on additional workloads.
We are not suggesting that schooling should adopt a virtual format, but there is scope to learn from 2020. For example, we have seen that there are socio-economic based limitations that affect the learning potential of virtual teaching formats conducted outside the scope of a physical campus. Potentially, there’s also the loss of focus on the human and relational aspects of education and the many other interactions that occur in school as part of learning. These become very important considerations when thinking about the evolution of the technology/pedagogy relationship.