by Dr Sandra Bassendowski
The Technology in Education column is written by one of our CNA Centennial 100 Award Winners, Dr. Sandra Bassendowski, who is a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Sandra recognized a need, and offered to write this important feature for the CJNI – this column is focused on how technology can be used in nursing education and by nurses in general. Sandra has been recognized by the Canadian Nurses’ Association, as well as the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the University of Saskatchewan for her inspiring, dedicated work in her educational practice.
I attended the NLN Education Summit in September, 2014 and heard Dr. Beverly Malone, Chief Executive Officer of NLN, discuss the differences between change (four quarters for one dollar) and transformation (I give you a dollar and you give me back five). Through her keynote address, she conveyed the depth and breadth of transformation required for nursing education in today’s complex health care environment, both globally and at home. As educators, we talk a lot about change- changing our syllabi, changing our instructional strategies, and changing our assessment tools. But according to Dr. Malone – do these steps change or transform our teaching? When I reflect on my teaching, I believe that I make many changes from semester to semester BUT I transformed my teaching about seven years ago when I moved to a paperless teaching and learning environment. I completely and entirely revamped my courses, strategies, assessments, required resources, and syllabi! I remember the angst I felt that summer before classes started; I remember the extensive work I had to do to get myself up to speed with the tools of technology that I was going to use for the first time; and I remember the need for encouragement from my peers and my sons (who were university students) that this was a great idea. It was a ‘breakthrough” moment in time for me!
Mootee (2014) suggests that in his experience “99% of good ideas get stuck because of a lack of implementation know-how” (p. 5). He goes on to suggest that breaking through requires effort but the magic can occur if you are equipped with the tools and the know-how. Interestingly, another session that I attended at the NLN Education Summit focused on “You Can Create Disney Magic Too” (Mr. Lee Cockerell). So- what about this combination of magic and transformation? I think we need to use magical thinking and our imagination on a daily basis. “Imagination is a major part of how we frame and solve problems. Much like yoga, tai chi, or voice training, imagining requires practice to expand our ability” (Mootee, p. 59). How do you use your imagination on a regular basis to transform your teaching spaces to engage students and ultimately transform the health care system for patients and their families? What examples of a breakthrough do you have from your teaching experience? Where do you get your new and creative ideas? One of my favorite literary characters is Don Quixote, the primary character from the Spanish novel, “The Man of La Mancha.” In his quest to become a knight, he read about quarrels, enchantments, battles, challenges, wounds, and exploits and throughout his quest for knowledge, Don Quixote asked fundamental questions about learning. How do we know what we know? What is the limit of knowledge? How can we best continue to learn? What is the validity of our knowledge? For Don Quixote, as it should be for all of us, all is possible, nothing is in doubt!
Mootee, I. (2014, Summer). Breakthrough ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. MISC, pp. 4-5.
Mootee, I. (2014, Summer). Five disciplines for successful breakthrough. MISC, pp. 58-59.
Photo: From personal files