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Abstract

With emerging innovations, the use of technology tools to make learning process effective is foreseeable. Hence, appropriate incorporation of technology can make a valuable contribution to the learning and undoubtedly reflection is core to learning. With today's twenty-first century learners, it is important that educators advocate integrating twenty-first century skills into their reflection activities. In Ray and Coulter's study (2008) on the use of blogs by teachers for reflective purposes, the authors conclude that "Teachers would benefit from combining the skills of technology and reflection," and that "these kinds of public technologies provide a way for teachers not only to analyze their own practice, but also to share their reflections with others" (p. 20). Teachers and students can now avail themselves of various online and computer-based applications in order to reflect on their learning. As technology integration process takes time and efforts, a systemic plan is required. This paper examines reflective teaching through concerted technology integration.
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2016040102
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Volume 12 • Issue 2 • April-June 2016


Neeta Baporikar, HP-GSB, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia

With emerging innovations, the use of technology tools to make learning process effective is
foreseeable. Hence, appropriate incorporation of technology can make a valuable contribution to the
learning and undoubtedly reflection is core to learning. With today’s twenty-first century learners,
it is important that educators advocate integrating twenty-first century skills into their reflection
activities. In Ray and Coulter’s study (2008) on the use of blogs by teachers for reflective purposes,
the authors conclude that “Teachers would benefit from combining the skills of technology and
reflection,” and that “these kinds of public technologies provide a way for teachers not only to analyze
their own practice, but also to share their reflections with others” (p. 20). Teachers and students can
now avail themselves of various online and computer-based applications in order to reflect on their
learning. As technology integration process takes time and efforts, a systemic plan is required. This
paper examines reflective teaching through concerted technology integration.

Class, Educators, Learners, Practices, Reflection, Technology, Tools, University

“Reflection is central to all learning” (Bruner, 1960, p. 13) and the skills required of the reflective
teacher and the individual attempting to become an independent learner are similar. Reflective teaching
and learning practices have been leading meaningful educational change for many years (Dewey,
1933; Schöen, 1983; Loughran, 1996; Mezirow, 1990; Bartlett, 1990; Ross, 1989; Langer, 1997). In
Experience and Education, Dewey (1998) stated that: “To reflect is to look back over what has been
done so as to extract the net meanings which are the capital stock for intelligent dealing with further
experiences. It is the heart of intellectual organization and of the disciplined mind” (p. 110). In the
act of looking back, the individual examines what “has been experienced, and recreates the events,
emotions, and happenings of the situation” (Lowery, 2003, p.23) in order to deal effectively with
future experiences. Reed and Bergenann (2001) state, “Reflective people continue the introspective
process while they are actively pursuing information and clarification. Reflection is not difficult.
Often it merely requires answering simple questions: What did I do? How do I feel? Why do I feel
that way? What was the best thing that happened? Were there any things I could have done better?
What would I do differently if I could do it again?” (p. 9).
Reflection then connects new learning experiences to previous learning and, ideally, results in
the transformation of information into meaningful knowledge. “Reflection is seen as a process of
reconstructing classroom enactments, including both cognitive and affective dimensions” and “to
learn from reflection on experience” (Lowery, 2003, p. 23). This is reflection-on-action (Schon,
1983) or guided reflection and it leads to “greater student achievement and success in the classroom.
14
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Volume 12 • Issue 2 • April-June 2016
15
Benefits from reflective teaching include increases in confidence, autonomy, and self-efficacy for
teachers…students benefit by reflecting on their own learning to make sense” (Lowery, 2003, p. 29)
of their discipline.
Teachers have assisted learners to reflect through the use of student journals, individual and
group feedback sessions, case analyses, and other activities (Sparks-Langer and Colton, 1991). They
have also provided opportunities for students to actively construct new learning through insights that
they otherwise might not have made. One example of this is the use of question prompts and teacher
affirmations such as “Why do you think that happens?” and “You can learn from what doesn’t work
for you.” (Canning, 1991, p. 19).
Students today, however, are not yesterday’s learners. “Today’s youth are frequently creative,
interactive, and media oriented; use Web 2.0 technologies in their everyday lives; and believe that
more use of such technologies in school would lead to increased preparation and engagement”
(Greenhow, Robelia & Hughes, 2009, p. 247). “Web 2.0 is linking people…people sharing, trading,
and collaborating…” Wesch (2007) notes in his popular video, Web 2.0…The Machine is Us/ing Us,
viewed by more than eleven million individuals on YouTube. “We’ll need to rethink a few things”,
and among others, he lists “ourselves”. Similarly, “Engage me! Engage me! We are digital learners”
plead twenty-first century learners in a short, four-minute video also on YouTube titled, A Vision of
K-12 Students Today. These students, digital natives who “expect to be able to create” (Nesbitt, 2007),
demand the use of technologies that at times challenge the knowledge and skills of their teachers,
digital immigrants (Prensky, 2001). Researchers are investigating the use of online technologies for
reflective purposes. For example, Ray and Coulter (2008) examined teacher blogs for amount and
depth of reflective content and concluded that blogs that delved deeper than descriptive accounts of
experiences “could lead to changes in practice” (p. 6). Teachers and students can now avail themselves
of various online and computer-based applications in order to reflect on their learning. This enables
to hone further the education process, which is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general
knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or
others intellectually for mature life (Baporikar, 2015).

Russell Rogers (2001) notes that implied in the various definitions of reflection are the notion of active
engagement in the reflection process. Traditionally, reflective methods, such as journaling, questioning,
portfolios, presentations, and role playing have been dominated by the spoken or written word and
have not used technology. With today’s twenty-first century learners, however, it is important that
educators advocate integrating twenty-first century skills into their reflection activities. The Partnership
for 21st Century Skills (2009) envisions a future in which students are prepared for work and life.
Two key skill areas in this framework are then: learning and innovation and information, media, and
technology skills. Learning and innovation skills consist of creativity, innovative abilities, critical
thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. Information, media, and technology
skills include information, media and technology literacy. These sets of skills include higher order
thinking, personal abilities, and technology literacy which are fundamental to meeting the challenges
of a knowledge-based economy. According to Alexandra Overby (2009), unless educators begin
infusing technology into the curriculum, the gap between the needs of this generation of tech-comfy
learners and the ability of educators to create meaningful learning opportunities will steadily increase.
While Overby used weblogs for reflecting on art production, Lisa Bucciarelli’s students used The
MyEport ePortfolio system (www.myeport.com) to document their learning with digital portfolios
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