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Abstract

Given challenges of covering course content, ensuring skills acquisition, and assessing student’s work, higher education faculty often experience difficulties in practicing student-centered learning. The education literature has shown that one way of addressing these concerns is through the use of educational technologies. In this action research, ten faculty members from a Philippine university participated in a coaching programme on using technology for student-centered learning. From interviews and classroom observations, the study finds that when introduced to appropriate tools, higher education faculty use technologies for interactive learning, timely feedback, and better engagement with students. The present research elaborates how faculty from different departments have used these technologies and how the students have responded to their use. The study contributes to the discussion of how technologies can enhance student learning and complement classroom instruction.
International Journal of Action Research 2019_1 81-94 https://doi.org/10.3224/ijar.v15i1.06
Technology’s roles in student-centred learning in
higher education
Jose Eos Trinidad and Galvin Radley Ngo
Abstract
Given challenges of covering course content, ensuring skills acquisition, and assessing student’s work,
higher education faculty often experience difficulties in practicing student-centered learning. The educa-
tion literature has shown that one way of addressing these concerns is through the use of educational
technologies. In this action research, ten faculty members from a Philippine university participated in a
coaching programme on using technology for student-centered learning. From interviews and classroom
observations, the study finds that when introduced to appropriate tools, higher education faculty use
technologies for interactive learning, timely feedback, and better engagement with students. The present
research elaborates how faculty from different departments have used these technologies and how the
students have responded to their use. The study contributes to the discussion of how technologies can
enhance student learning and complement classroom instruction.
Keywords: student-centered learning; educational technology; student engagement; interactive learn-
ing; Philippine higher education
Los roles de la tecnología en el aprendizaje centrado en el estudiante de educación superior
Resumen
Dados los desafíos de cubrir el contenido del curso, garantizando la adquisición de habilidades y
evaluando el trabajo de los estudiantes, los profesores de educación superior a menudo experimentan
dificultades para practicar el aprendizaje centrado en el estudiante. La literatura educativa ha demostrado
que una forma de abordar estas preocupaciones es a través del uso de tecnologías educativas. En esta
investigación-acción, diez miembros del cuerpo docente de una universidad filipina participaron en un
programa de capacitación sobre el uso de la tecnología para el aprendizaje centrado en el estudiante. A
partir de entrevistas y observaciones en las clases, el estudio descubrió que cuando se introducen las
herramientas apropiadas, los profesores de educación superior utilizan tecnologías para el aprendizaje
interactivo, realizan devoluciones oportunas y tienen un mejor compromiso con los estudiantes. La
presente investigación aborda cómo los docentes de diferentes departamentos han utilizado estas
tecnologías y cómo los estudiantes han respondido a su uso. El estudio contribuye a la discusión de
cómo las tecnologías pueden mejorar el aprendizaje de los estudiantes y complementar la instrucción en
el aula.
Below is the pre-print manuscript version of the research. I provide this in order for other
researchers who do not have access to journal articles and databases to have access to this
present research.
If you wish to receive the print version, you may email me at jtrinidad@ateneo.edu or
jtrinidad@uchicago.edu
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Technology’s roles in student-centered learning in higher education
Jose Eos Trinidad, and Galvin Radley Ngo
Abstract
Given challenges of covering course content, ensuring skills acquisition, and
assessing student’s work, higher education faculty often experience difficulties in
practicing student-centered learning. The education literature has shown that one
way of addressing these concerns is through the use of educational technologies.
In this action research, ten faculty members from a Philippine university
participated in a coaching program on using technology for student-centered
learning. From interviews and classrooms observations, the study finds that when
introduced to appropriate tools, higher education faculty use technologies for
interactive learning, timely feedback, and better engagement with students. The
present research elaborates how faculty from different departments have used these
technologies and how the students have responded to their use. The study
contributes to the discussion of how technologies can enhance student learning and
complement classroom instruction.
Keywords: student-centered learning; educational technology; student
engagement; interactive learning; Philippine higher education
1. Introduction
Stemming from constructivist theories where knowledge is actively created by learners
(Dewey, 2011; Vygotsky, 1978), student-centered learning (SCL) has gained credence as
an effective educational approach. In this approach, students are actively engaged in their
understanding of topics, and the teacher’s role is about facilitating and scaffolding the
learning process (Hoidn, 2017). Although many teachers subscribe to SCL in principle,
there are challenges in fully implementing this method, particularly in higher education.
First, there are competing visions of what student-centered means and subscribing to this
method can be a steep learning curve. Second, teachers need to cover the course content
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and SCL may take more time than the usual lecture format. Third, putting so much
responsibility on students’ motivation may lead to uneven acquisition of skills. Lastly,
assessments are more difficult to prepare or correct, given the openness of questions and
differences in answers (Hannafin & Land, 2000).
Although the challenges are valid and understandable, there are ways that teachers
have addressed these concerns. Teachers who actually started using SCL reported higher
satisfaction and improved student academic outcomes (Dear, 2017; Veldman, Admiraal,
van Tartwijk, Mainhard, & Wubbels, 2016). They also used creative ways like problem-
based learning and small group discussions to cover more course content (Loyens, Rikers,
& Schmidt, 2006; Wijnia, Loyens, & Derous, 2011). Another prominent way to address
the challenges is to employ technology in practising SCL (Kang, Hahn, & Chung, 2015;
Lowry & Flohr, 2004). Thus, different technologies could be harnessed for classes and
courses to be more focused on the learning of the students.
In this action research, we ask how university faculty understand student-centered
learning and how they use educational technologies in instructing and teaching their
classes. This present research shows that technology plays different roles for different
teachers, particularly in relation to their disciplines and contexts. However, technology
use can be categorized in terms of its different functions: increasing interactive learning,
providing feedback on student learning, and fostering closer engagement with students.
In this study of ten faculty members from a Philippine university, we highlight the current
literature in student-centered learning, the process of training and coaching teachers in
the use of technology, the results of the coaching, and the key insights from these results.
2. Student-centered learning and technologies
This literature review is divided in two parts. The first discusses the basics of SCL—its
effects, assumptions, and challenges to implementation. It then shifts to how technology
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addresses these challenges and what framework is used for this present research.
Student-centered learning (SCL) is an educational approach where students direct
their own learning, are supported in scaffolding their knowledge, and have a more active
role in the learning process (Brush & Saye, 2000). In principle, the role of the teacher
shifts from being “sage on the stage” to being “guide on the side,” where teachers are no
longer the sole knowledge source in the classroom and where students learn alongside the
teacher (Weimer, 2013). The shift is often seen from the lecture- or teacher-centered mode
of learning to one where students engage and co-construct knowledge through
experiential education, creative outputs, problem-based learning, and collaborative
discussions (Abe, 2011; Passehl-Stoddart & Monge, 2014; Tom, 2015). Although
applicable to any grade level, SCL approaches are very appropriate in higher education
because students already have advanced cognitive skills suitable for deeper learning, and
social emotional skills for motivating and directing their education (Wright, 2011).
Many studies have shown positive effects when using SCL, particularly with
student motivation and achievement. Umbach and Wawrynzski (2005) use two United
States datasets and find that students report higher levels of engagement when teachers
use active and collaborative strategies. In addition to engagement, SCL contributes to
better understanding and higher academic scores (Granger et al., 2012; Nurjannah,
Husniyah, & Harjanto, 2017; Wijnia et al., 2011). However, there have also been studies
showing negative effects. This is particularly true in developing countries where SCL’s
efficacy is reduced because of implementation problems, lack of resources, and cultural
differences (Abbasi & Hadadi, 2014; Schweisfurth, 2011).
It is possible that SCL works in some situations and not in others because of the
strong assumptions that underlie this practice. For students, they are assumed to be
motivated, self-managing, and collaborative (Brush & Saye, 2000; Harju & Åkerblom,
2017) while for teachers, they must prepare class activities in addition to lectures, offer
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assessments that test skills rather than memory, and create accountability measures so
that all students are on task (de la Sablonnière, Taylor, & Sadykova, 2009; Krahenbuhl,
2016). Although helpful in principle, SCL does entail important shifts and significant
challenges for instructors who use a more teacher-directed approach.
Challenges to the implementation of SCL are often the main concern of teachers
who are resistant to this learning approach. First, teachers will have to shift teaching
styles—from one where they direct the instruction to one where they facilitate discovery
and knowledge construction with students (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006). This leads
to a second concern in terms of time, where teachers may have less time to cover course
materials and need more time to prepare student-centered activities (Cooper, MacGregor,
Smith, & Robinson, 2000; Patrick, Howell, & Wischusen, 2016). A third concern from
the students’ perspective is their responsibility and motivation for learning. The strong
assumption of self-directedness can prevent less motivated students from attaining the
skills their more motivated peers are able to reach (Kozanitis & Desbiens, 2016; Lee &
Hannafin, 2016). A fourth challenge is the difficulty in assessment, particularly for large
classes since teachers will have to correct papers and clarify rubrics for more open-ended
questions (Borda et al., 2017). It must be emphasized that not all lessons necessarily need
to shift towards student-centered activities since there are still circumstances when
teacher-directed instruction is necessary.
Although the challenges can dissuade teachers from incorporating strategies in
this approach, educational technologies address some of the implementation challenges
(Polly & Hannafin, 2010). Researchers have shown various ways for technology to
improve, rather than substitute, teacher instruction (Dondlinger, McLeod, & Vasinda,
2016; Kalathingal & Buchanan, 2017). Technology can help in instruction, particularly
when engaging students in active learning (Ralph & Ralph, 2013), and contrary to the
usual concern, there are opportunities for technology to help in terms of time because of
4
activities outside the usual class meeting (Damewood, 2016; Thoma, Hutchison, Johnson,
Johnson, & Stromer, 2017). It can also help in student motivation, and assist in providing
timely assessments and feedback (Connor, 2017; Nation-Grainger, 2017).
Those critical of technology use in classrooms often have low expectations for
technology to improve learning, and focus on technology fostering technical skills rather
than realizing course content (Fu, 2013; Lim, 2007). In this evaluation, technology is seen
as an add-on to the teaching process, and does not enhance student learning (Kay,
Benzimra, & Li, 2017; McCabe & Meuter, 2011). Mindlessly using technology for its
novelty has also led to negative effects with detrimental off-task activities (Aagaard,
2015; Kuznekoff, Munz, & Titsworth, 2015). Thus, there is a caveat that technology
should serve as means rather than as ends in the learning process.
Since technology should be used so that students learn better, this present research
uses a framework that integrates technology knowledge with both content and
pedagogical knowledge. Koehler and Mishra (2009) propose the TPACK (technological
pedagogical content knowledge) framework. They argue that teachers have knowledge
on three realms (technology, pedagogy and content), and that the three’s interaction form
the basis of effective teaching. Using this framework, teachers learn and integrate content
knowledge (what to teach), pedagogical knowledge (how to teach) and technological
knowledge (what technologies to use), all within the context of the learner (Archambault
& Barnett, 2010). In the realm of higher education where teachers have significant
training in content knowledge, there are opportunities for teachers to clarify their
pedagogy and see how technology could aid their instruction. Thus, this action research
looks into technology’s roles during the teaching of disciplinal content.
3. Context and methods
In 2017, Marian University, a pseudonym for a Catholic university in the Philippines,
5
established its Institute of Education as a consortium of schools and departments that
offer education programs and advance the school’s education agenda. One of its main
thrusts is research on student-centered learning in higher education, and the core team of
the institute gave a workshop on SCL and technology’s possible role in assisting and
advancing learning. Ten university faculty from different departments and schools
attended the workshop and tried to incorporate SCL and education technology to their
classroom instruction and assessment.
3.1 Participants
At the end of the first semester of school year 2017-2018, the Education Institute opened
registration in the Learning with Technology program, and there were twelve college
faculty members who signed up, although only ten participated in the first workshop.
Thus, this action research is limited to these ten members: five from the School of
Humanities, two from Management, two from the School of Science and Engineering,
and one from the Social Sciences.
The ten members were informed of the action research component of the study
and have given their informed consent to participating. In the study, the only identifier
used is the department they belong so that the use of technology is contextualized. The
participants ranged from second-year instructors to associate professors who have been
in the university for more than ten years.
3.2 Implementation of SCL action research
Action research is the strategy used to better understand SCL in higher education. Similar
to the action research cycle (Coghlan & Brannick, 2014; Kemmis, McTaggart, & Nixon,
2014), the researchers planned with the teachers through workshops and coaching
sessions, the teachers then implemented SCL with educational technologies, and the
researchers were there to observe the execution and reflect with the teacher after the class
6
or semester.
Before the start of the second semester, participants attended a whole-day
workshop on SCL and education technology use. As the participants registered, they
received informed consent forms that detail their voluntary participation in the program
and research. After a round of introductions, the first session concentrated on teachers
writing about their own teaching practices, learning objectives, student activities, and
missed opportunities. The second session focused on technologies that can be integrated
and used in the classroom. The last session applied insights from the first two sessions as
the teachers individually designed a lesson or modified their course syllabus to have a
more student-centered perspective.
During the first three weeks of the semester, the researchers worked individually
with the teachers to plan their classes in terms of creating SCL environments and using
appropriate technologies for instruction and assessment. The planning sessions are
directed by the teachers and their lesson objectives, and the researchers provided ideas
and technical support. The planning session often ended with a summary of the steps for
a particular lesson and the researchers being invited to the implementation.
After this, the researchers observed the execution of some lessons, particularly
noting how teachers apply SCL practices and use technology with these practices. After
some time, the researchers asked the teachers about their experience: what transpired,
what they learned, what they wanted to change, or what they wanted to improve. If
needed, the teachers and researchers set another date to do planning and observation for
another application of SCL in their classrooms.
3.3 Data collection
The Learning with Technology action research is interested to know how college faculty
members understand student-centered learning and technology’s roles in creating a SCL
7
environment. Thus, data mainly derive from teachers, either through interviews during
the planning and reflection phase, or through classroom observations.
In the planning phase, teachers are asked about their insights from the workshop,
their ideas of student-centered instruction, the changes they have made in their classes,
and how they plan to use technology in a lesson or their classes. In the reflection phase
after the execution, the teachers talk about their classroom practice, their assessment of
SCL practice and technology’s role, their students’ reactions to the changes, and the
possible improvements arising from the reflection. These interviews were recorded with
the participant’s permission and transcribed afterwards.
3.4 Data analysis
After the interviews were recorded and transcribed and the observations were typed on
Word documents, the researchers looked at the digital transcripts and notes, and analysed
these for themes in terms of SCL, technology use, and the interaction between the two.
The main means for analysing themes was abductive reasoning (Timmermans & Tavory,
2012), where surprising findings interact with anticipated ones from prior SCL and
technology research.
To identify the themes, both researchers read the transcripts independently and
discussed the codes to be used and identified three general themes that relate with the
present research. In order to show new findings that expand current literature, the
researchers have been sensitive to themes that are unanticipated but common to at least
two teachers. They have also taken note of themes that are common to previous literature
on the use of technology for SCL. All interviews and observations were analysed, and
particularly recurring words were highlighted.
For this research, we find three major categories for the teachers’ answers on how
they understand SCL and where they use technology: ‘interactive instruction’,
8
‘feedback’, and ‘student engagement.’ These themes come from both verbal answers
during interviews and independent observations during in-class implementation. To
protect the privacy of the respondents, they were given pseudonyms in this research and
the identifiers are general but give some sense of the person’s teaching background.
4. Student-centered learning and technology use
Since higher education faculty members teach diverse disciplines and are given a lot of
instructional freedom, there are differences in how they understand SCL and how this is
implemented with technologies. In this present research, we found teachers using
technology to have more interactive work, more intentional feedback mechanisms, and
more students engaged in course tasks. Although there were significant advances in the
teachers’ intentional use of technology, there were also some limitations and challenges
that teachers encountered.
4.1 Technology for Interactive Learning
A number of teachers have used technology so that students can interact and collaborate
with each other. There were instructors who used Kahoot and Plickers for group quizzes
where students had to deliberate their group’s answer. Although both are online platforms
where teachers can set-up quiz games, Kahoot needs both the teachers and the students
to have access to internet-connected devices while Plickers only require wireless
connection for the teacher who scans the students’ printed plicker cards. The printed cards
can be positioned to show a particular response (a, b, c or d), and the responses are
captured through a mobile device’s camera, tallied in real time and displayed on screen.
Anthony, a chemistry instructor, said that Kahoot “was a refreshing way to ask
questions and get the class and workshop excited.” For Plickers, he mentions that this
technology is an effective way to track students’ learning and a good avenue for students
to work as groups. Karina, a physics professor, used Plickers and talked about how “it
9
helped in making the otherwise boring question and answer activity more lively.” Both
of these science faculty members show how these applications help in creating interactive
learning environments where students feel engaged and excited.
Other faculty members also highlight the use of this technology so that students
can interact with each other. In his classes on theology, Howard uses Kahoot to test the
students’ understanding of the lesson and also incorporates Padlet in his interactive tool
kit. This program allows a teacher to setup a virtual wall where students can post virtual
sticky notes containing texts, links, images, and videos. After this, the teacher projects
the image on the screen and discusses people’s “sticky notes.” He does these at the
beginning of class to facilitate interaction among students and adds that it streamlined
collection of discussion items and created a space for people to share ideas.
Providing space for interaction did not only affect the students’ engagement with
course materials, it also affected the teachers’ understanding of their own pedagogies.
Nina, a professor at the School of Management, said, “I realized that my classes have
been lecture-intensive; I often see bored faces. By incorporating [interactions in class]
they become more engaged, and they seem excited to participate in class.” Thus,
technology’s use in fostering interactions not only affects students but also teachers. It is
important to show that one of the ways technology can help in instruction is through the
interaction it facilitates between students, and between teacher and students.
4.2 Technology for Feedback on Student Learning
A second theme on teachers’ use of technology is them receiving feedback on students’
learning. In this sense, technology is used so that teachers can gauge how deeply the
contents are learned or how intently the skills are practiced. One of the tools used is
Today’s Meet, an online platform for teachers to setup a chat room where students can
enter questions or insights being discussed in class. It allows teachers to respond directly
10
to questions or clarifications, and it provides teachers quick feedback if there are students
who are struggling with the course content.
In her many years of teaching, one of the difficulties experienced by Michelle, a
finance professor, is that some students are not comfortable raising their hands and asking
questions. Because of this, she tried using Today’s Meet to create a chat room where
students can post their questions anonymously, and she found out that people actually
asked thought-provoking questions and she was able to respond to these before the end
of class. Howard agrees and says, “The anonymity associated with these tools made
students really willing to participate and share their thoughts.” Both teachers show the
technology’s potential in getting immediate feedback so that students can clarify their
understanding.
Another way to get feedback from the students is by having online objective
quizzes and short essay homework. A member of the philosophy department, Daniel gives
online quizzes and short essay assignments to his students so that he can get immediate
feedback and see gaps in students’ understanding of ethics concepts. He also sees these
activities as students’ “preparation for class discussions.” From this, teachers do not just
get feedback on the students’ performance; the students also try to be accountable for
their own learning. Having quizzes helped Daniel see which philosophy topics to focus
on because of the quick feedback on student’s initial understanding.
In terms of time, online quizzes can also save teachers a lot of time because the
checking happens automatically. This can free teachers up for more thoughtful evaluation
of students’ essays and creative work. As Sara, a faculty of the humanities, said prior to
the coaching, “Assessments might be overly focused on comprehension and recall of
other authors’ critique [that there is] not enough opportunity for students’ own critique.”
By having technology assist in feedback mechanisms, teachers can actually have more
time for more thoughtful activities.
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4.3 Technology for Teacher-Student Engagement
A third theme for how instructors use technology is the teacher’s engagement and open
communication with the students. Anna is a sociology professor who has been in the
university for more than a decade, and she thinks of technology as “an addition—it’s an
enhancement, a magnifier of human intent,” especially as she uses technology to be more
connected with her students and to meet them “where they are.” This is why she set up
her own Schoology class where students can enrol in, get their resources, take online
quizzes, and submit assignments. It also tracks students’ attendance and provides the
students’ running grades at any point in the semester. For Anna, Schoology was a more
convenient “space” for readings, announcements, and submissions.
Other teachers agree about their use of technology to facilitate teacher-student
engagement outside the classroom. Seven out of the ten participants used a learning
management system where the teachers setup online classes and students enrol in them;
Schoology and Google Classroom are the two most common examples. Lance, a
philosophy faculty member, uses Schoology for sharing reading materials and sending
out grades. Anthony from the chemistry department uses Google Classroom for class
assignments while Susan of the theology department uses Schoology for students to reach
her and schedule consultations, aside from the functions already mentioned by the first
two professors. From the examples, we see how college instructors use technology to
reach out to their students and facilitate communication outside the classroom.
In class, there are examples of teachers using technology to engage students for
their insights and stories. One philosophy instructor, Lance, shares how he is a “lecture-
type of instructor—but of course, facilitative.” Since he wants to get ideas and insights
from his students, he tried using Mentimeter, an online platform that allows students to
answer open-ended questions or vote on poll questions. Students submit, and answers are
presented visually in real time. By using this, he privileges students’ answers and finds
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that “most students… felt involved without feeling coerced or put on the spot.” Having
these technologies helped teachers connect more to students and create learning
opportunities inside and outside the classroom.
4.4 Limitations of Technology
Although there were important successes in the action research on technology’s use in
higher education classes, there were also some limitations to the implementation. For
example, Nina from the management school was unable to incorporate technology in her
classes although she has been very deliberate in providing a student-centered learning
environment. She reflected about how the lecture format has been her comfort zone and
how she now shifts to engaging students and giving them opportunities to report and do
case studies. This shift to SCL, however, did not translate to technology’s being employed
because of factors such as her health condition and her perceived inadequacy in
technologies.
Other limitations with the use of technology are online glitches that can happen
when class activities require all students to have devices connected to the Internet or weird
questions when students are anonymous in online polls. Additionally, two professors said
that there were some activities that were still better on paper like quizzes and mindmaps.
These limitations are important to consider, especially since teachers want to be
intentional and strategic in their use of technologies.
It is also important to consider that teachers thought of technologies not as ends
but as means to greater learning. A physics professor said that even if she already has an
online learner management system, she still finds online participation and discussion
lacking. Rather than think of this as a failure of technology, it can be considered a good
sign that teachers want to maximize how technologies can enhance students’ learning and
engagement of the subject matter.
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5. Discussion and Conclusions
Shifting to student-centered learning entails important shifts and specific challenges for
instructors in higher education. There are difficulties with time limitations, unmotivated
students, and quick assessments (Borda et al., 2017; Lee & Hannafin, 2016; Patrick et al.,
2016). Because of these, the research asks how university faculty can use technology to
address some of these concerns, and through this action research, we find that there are
significant avenues where technology can actually help the instructor in the students’
learning process.
The action research involved ten university faculty learning about SCL and the
different technologies that can help in facilitating this type of environment. The
framework used was the TPACK framework where teachers integrate technological
knowledge with their pedagogical and content knowledge since this interaction forms the
basis of effective instruction (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). This action research’s focus is
on the use of technological knowledge to promote SCL practice, and there were four
important insights that can contribute to the literature.
Firstly, similar to previous literature there are salient differences in instructor’s
understanding of student-centered practices. There are some teachers who privilege group
activities and interactions between students while some teachers think of SCL as
providing quality teacher-student feedback and engagement. Different teachers focused
on different activities, and these activities did not always need technology use. These
differences may also come from differences in disciplines and from the necessity to be
flexible about content and pedagogical style (Mancuso, 2001). This emphasizes that
teachers can provide a wide variety of engaging activities and that the effort to put
students at the center of the learning process can have significant positive effects
(Umbach & Wawrzynski, 2005). Teachers have mentioned that they found students to be
more engaged when there were activities that involved the students in the learning of a
14
concept. Our action research shows how this effort at more student-centered practices can
help both teachers and students.
Secondly, when given a venue to learn about technological tools that can help
with learning, higher education faculty are actually open to changing their strategies in
teaching their students. By having a whole-day workshop and subsequent coaching
sessions, the teachers learned more about student-centered learning and the possible
technologies that can be integrated. Literature has shown that teachers can be resistant to
using technology since this produces feelings of inadequacy and teachers perceive a lack
of benefit from its use (Hicks, 2011). However, a program that assists teachers to learn
more about technology’s use in the classroom actually helped teachers try out different
tools. Except for one teacher, all the program participants were able to integrate
technologies in the way they taught their students. For the one teacher who struggled, she
nonetheless was able to use SCL principles, which she admits was already a huge shift.
In this regard, teachers should know the appropriate uses and actual value added of using
technology in the teaching process (Howard, 2013), and the action research suggests that
this can be most effectively achieved when teachers are shown and coached with the
possible tools.
Thirdly, university faculty members actually use technology for student-centered
learning in at least three broad ways: to increase student-to-student interaction, for
teachers to have quick feedback on students’ learning, and for teachers to be able to
communicate efficiently with their students. Teachers actually use technologies that
promote collaborative and active learning; these can come in the form of group activities
or games that try to engage the whole class in the lesson. More importantly, the teachers
are able to use technologies in order for them to get quick feedback on the students’
quality of learning or their remaining questions. Online assessments and query platforms
help teachers get a sense of where the students are at and continually clarify lessons so
15
that students can learn more. Another way technology is used in a student-centered
classroom is as a means of communication and engagement from the teacher to the
student. Learning management systems help teachers cascade information to their
students, and these tools also help students know their current grades, access class
materials, and identify forthcoming activities. These three “categories” of interaction,
feedback and engagement form the base of what the researchers discovered of how
technologies can function in SCL classrooms.
Lastly, the research finds that even if teachers are coached, there are still
limitations in the use of these educational technologies, particularly as some teachers are
not confident in using them or how glitches in the execution can discourage them. Future
programs that promote the use of technologies in higher education must work around
these constraints of motivating teachers to try them out and not be discouraged by the
initial hiccups. Inasmuch as some teachers experience limitations in the use of
technologies, it must be noted that teachers still agree on the importance of using
technology to reach out to students, to promote their learning, and to create a secure
learning environment. Thus, this means that the limitations are not signs for abandoning
the use of technology but are rather helpful cautions of the ways technology can be
received and perceived.
In summary, the action research finds that although higher education faculty
members have differences in their understanding and practice of SCL, the provision of a
coaching program has been helpful in motivating teachers to use technology for better
student interaction, faster feedback on student learning, and more engaged ways of
communicating outside class time. The findings suggest that proper understanding of
technology’s roles in education and timely coaching help encourage teachers to try out
different strategies that engage their students further. They also suggest that there are
different strategies in promoting student’s learning and growth, and that technologies can
16
help enhance these strategies. Thus, technology is not an end where the teacher is forced
to use technology, but a means for promoting collaboration, getting feedback, and
engaging communication—all in an effort to put the students at the front and center of
their learning.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jose Eos Trinidad is instructor at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and coordinator for
research of the Ateneo SALT Institute. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he has
focused his research on sociology of education, interdisciplinary studies, and non-cognitive
factors affecting student outcomes.
Galvin Radley Ngo is the coordinator for education technology of the Ateneo SALT Institute. He
is concurrently CEO of the Woohoo Learning Lab and was formerly the education technology
director of Xavier School.
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Authors’ address:
Jose Eos Trinidad and Galvin Radley Ngo
Ateneo SALT Institute, 4th floor, Learning Innovation Wing, Areté,
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
jtrinidad@ateneo.edu, gngo@ateneo.edu
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