Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics

Smarter than an iPhone?

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Technology in Education Column

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.

COLUMN

Smarter than an iPhoneA headline from the Sydney Morning Herald a few months ago (April 1, 2016) captured my attention and I have been thinking about the implications of this article regarding post-secondary education. The education chief stated: “The reality is that technology is doing more harm than good in our schools.” Although this is not a new argument for those of us who follow the discourse about the challenges and opportunities related to use of technology in teaching and learning spaces, it still made me stop and reflect on my own values and beliefs. The statement that I focused on in the article was this one, “If we want our children to be smarter than a smartphone then we have to think harder.”

This idea of thinking harder was echoed by Steve Wheeler in his blog of March 10, 2016 where he responded about children and their use of technology: “They are not the future, I said, they are the present, and we must find ways to engage them in learning in ways that are relevant to them – and that includes embedding personal and mobile technologies into the mix. It will also require some changes in pedagogy, so that children become more involved in active learning, where doing and making situate their education” (Wheeler, 2016).

As I thought about both of these comments in terms of nursing education, I reflected on two specific tools that I use in Photoshop for my photography that are called auto-blend and auto-align. I recently started to use these tools and at first I thought that I would never learn how to create an image using all the steps of the tools. I looked at online examples that were the result of 4-6 merged photos and they were so seamless in appearance, with perfect balance, and so beautifully blended! What about in our classrooms- can we take this approach to auto-blend and auto-align the best of the traditional teaching strategies with those of the latest technology and focus on the best ways for supporting student learning? Change is difficult and, although nothing is guaranteed, chances of success to move to a higher level of expertise in teaching are increased with effort and work.  Gladwell (2008) makes this point in his book Outliers arguing that to become truly proficient in any discipline, one must invest a minimum of 10,000 hours (Johnston-Jewell, 2015).

Are we willing to invest the time that it takes to create spaces where the blend is seamless and appears effortless? Let’s talk about using evidence-based instructional strategies that engage and situate students. How can we use emerging/evolving teaching practices to support and enhance student learning? Let’s take the ‘e’ out of e-learning and focus on learning…let’s think harder!

References

Johnston-Jewell, D. (2015, winter). Shortcut to Everest.  MISC, 27.

Photograph: Purchased from 123rf Copyright: maxxyustas – 123RF Stock Photo

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