Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics


This article was written on 20 Jun 2010, and is filled under Volume 5 2010, Volume 5 No 2.

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Question of the Year

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Technology in Education Column

Here is our current installment of our most recent feature, written by one of our CNA Centennial 100 Award Winners, Dr. Sandra Bassendowski, Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Sandra recognized a need, and offered to write this important column 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 Regina for her inspiring, dedicated work in her educational practice.

Question of the Year

Edge, a high tech website, recently asked dozens of philosophers, scientists, and scholars a simple but fundamental question for the year 2010: “How is the internet changing the way you think?” Most respondents agreed that the internet has profoundly affected the way individuals gather their thoughts, if not the way they use that information (Anonymous, 2010).

As educators, we are acutely aware of the diversity of ideas about the challenges and opportunities provided by technology for the ways that we think in both our professional and personal lives. “Are we becoming Pancake People — spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button?” (Foreman, 2010, 1) or are we “… in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember?” (Schirrmacher, 2010, 6). The literature explores in depth our thinking in relation to the use of e-learning and m-learning; recently, more articles are appearing about another concept referred to as u-learning (ubiquitous learning). Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal states its purpose as follows:

Ubiquitous Learning is a counterpart to the concept ‘ubiquitous computing’, but one which seeks to put the needs and dynamics of learning ahead of the technologies that may support learning. The arrival of new technologies does not mean that learning has to change. Learning should only change for learning’s sake. (2010)

We have a diversity of tools available to support our thinking and learning. For example, there are many, many hand-held devices along with hundreds of “apps” for these devices such as the iPhone and now the iPad that keep us online, informed, and at times- overwhelmed! Universities are increasingly moving to applications that mesh university information (location of buildings, news, announcements, etc.) with individual student requirements such as course registrations, syllabi, and marks.

Take a few minutes to identify ways that your thinking about professional issues and content has changed over the past few months or years. How do you use the internet to think about your area of expertise, your style of teaching, and your own way of keeping up-to-date in your specific research and teaching areas? Is the internet changing how, why, and where you think?

What about students that you encounter in both traditional and online courses- has their way of thinking changed? Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, argues that “Reading a few sentences in Wikipedia about some theories on the causes of the Great Depression does not mean that one thereby knows or understands this topic. Being able to read (or view) anything quickly on a topic can provide one with information, but actually having a knowledge of our understanding about the topic will always require critical study. The Internet will never change that” (2010, Unnecessary Memorization, 6). Regardless of the courses that we teach, we are committed to working with students to enhance their understanding of information, make evidence informed decisions, analyze issues from a variety of contexts, and research problems with rigorous and relevant approaches. Carter and Rukholm (2008) suggest that nurses must be competent critical thinkers to deal with the “…changes happening in health care related to information technology, fiscal cutbacks, human resource limitations, and the acuity of many patient care situations” (Critical Thinking in Nursing, 1). Nursing students require learning opportunities that support their growth as thinkers (Ironside, 2004).

How is the internet changing the way you think? What is the effect of the internet on your thoughts?


Anonymous. (2010). World Question Center, Edge. [Online]. Retrieved from

Carter, L., & Rukholm, E. (2008). A Study of Critical Thinking, Teacher-Student Interaction, and Discipline-Specific Writing in an Online Educational Setting for Registered Nurses. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 39(3). [Online]. Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Foreman, R. (2010). World Question Center, Edge. [Online]. Retrieved from

Ironside, P. (2005). Teaching Thinking and Reaching the Limits of Memorization: Enacting New Pedagogies. Journal of Nursing Education, 44 (10). [Online]. Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Sanger, L. (2010). Individual Knowledge in the Internet Age. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(2), 14-24. [Online]. Retrieved from

Schirrmacher, F. (2010). World Question Center, Edge. [Online]. Retrieved from

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