Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics


This article was written on 15 Jun 2017, and is filled under Volume 12 2017, Volume 12 No 1 & 2.

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Disruptor Dragon

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Technology in Education Column

by Dr Sandra Bassendowski

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


In the past couple of years, I have published articles on disruptive technology and discussed the need for educators to carefully reflect on the tools of technology that they choose for teaching and learning environments in post-secondary institutions. They should consider new philosophies and practices of teaching to reflect current theory, policy, and innovation. Educators need to make disruptive choices in their teaching and learning environments by design—not by going with popular opinion but exploring the perspective of pedagogy, thinking, processes, and challenges. They need to be thoughtful about choices and proceed through the disruptive process with a clearly determined pathway and not just proceed by chance. The tools of technology should support the student learning outcomes and demonstrate a difference from both faculty and student perspectives.

Disruptive DragoHancock (2014) suggests that “We have been continually looking over our shoulder at the ‘Disruptor Dragon,’ waving its spiky tail and breathing its fire of disruption and, hopefully, transformation.” She makes a thoughtful and inspired call for collaboration between those who educate and those who benefit from an educated populace.

Hancock suggests that in reality, disruption is more likely to come from technology thinking than from the actual technology. In 2007, I made a commitment to learn and use one new tool of technology for each semester- but it had to support or enhance student learning. In the summer of 2007, I taught myself how to do a podcast and it was so difficult to get three programs to communicate electronically to each other in order to have a finished product!  Today, making a podcast or videoclip is so simple-  the process has become intuitive to a large extent. I still focus on my challenge from 2007 by looking for new and different teaching strategies that help me with my teaching or help the students meet the intents of the courses. Any time I use an innovative approach for the first time with students, I evaluate it as to its efficacy and effectiveness. The feedback reflects the students’ reactions to the approach and how the approach may need to be revised and enhanced for future use.

So, in 2017, what approaches can you take to being the process of disrupting and then constructing new content and creative teaching strategies?

What technology and online tools can you select and use to support your content and teaching practices?

What percentage of time should be committed to innovative strategies in comparison to traditional teaching strategies?

How do you challenge yourself with the new tools of technology?  

How does the disruptor dragon enhance or interfere with transformation in your classroom?

By the way- Did you know that dragons love tacos? But did you also know that dragons hate spicy salsa?

Photograph: Sandra Bassendowski

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