Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics

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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 ñ 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 Nursesí Association, as well as the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the University of Saskatchewan for her inspiring, dedicated work in her educational practice.


Encylopedia collectionDoes anyone remember the sets of encyclopedias that you could buy from an individual who travelled to your house so that you could purchase the volumes from A-Z (often with added gifts or an additional volume of recent events)?  We always had a set in our home and when a question came up that the family could not answer – the usual response was check the encyclopedia!  I still have a complete set that was purchased by my grandparents in the 1920s and I find it fascinating to see what information is available in the various volumes and what seems to be completely absent in terms of today’s common knowledge. If we think about information, teaching, and educators in 2016, content knowledge is still crucial, but a “walking encyclopedia” is of declining value when everyone can find out everything all the time with the ubiquitous mobile device (Slavin, n.d.). Slavin, in his blog suggests that the “task ahead of us in evidence-based education, I believe, is to use evidence of what works in pedagogy to help teachers grow as motivating, engaging, self-aware learning guides, capable of using general and subject-specific pedagogies effectively to help students become eager and capable learners. My encyclopedia walks with me in my pocket wherever I go. That’s true of students, too. They don’t need another at the front of their class. What they do need is someone who can make them care about, comprehend, organize, synthesize, and communicate the megabytes of information they carry.”

I teach a class on critical thinking and use an article on Wisdom: A Goal of Nursing Education (D’Antonio, 2014). I like a couple of exercises that she describes as helpful in creating wise thinkers. She has students imagine that they are viewing different people and places around the globe from a cloud. They are then presented with life dilemma scenarios and evaluated for wise responses. Psychological distancing encourages participants to view an issue with the larger picture in mind and think less from an egocentric issue. Case studies can be explored from the perspective of this question, “What would a wise nurse do in this situation?”

So what do you do to motivate students to engage in learning the content that is vital to your courses?  How do you manage the “encyclopedia in the pocket” environment?


Sandra Bassendowski


D’Antonio, J. (2014). Wisdom: A goal of nursing education. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(2), 105-107.

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