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Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart

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Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart

Abstract

This article explores what a pedagogy first model in learning and teaching in higher education looks like. It suggests that it is the pedagogy (the way we are going to teach) that we need to consider before we decide on the technology that we are going to use to enact our teaching. This paper first explains the different pedagogical approaches that are typically enacted within higher education today and then looks to see how, through that lens, we can choose different forms of technology to support our chosen teaching approaches. There is a strong emphasis placed on providing, active, collaborative and authentic learning experiences, particularly with the aid of technology, to afford those students studying at a distance, or through blended modes with comparable, if not better opportunities for engagement. The paper provides some great examples of what this can look like in practice, in the hope that others will find encouragement and inspiration from this.
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
1
Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the
technology cart
Michael Sankey, Learning Futures, Griffith University
Abstract
This article explores what a pedagogy first model in learning and teaching in higher
education looks like. It suggests that it is the pedagogy (the way we are going to teach)
that we need to consider before we decide on the technology that we are going to use
to enact our teaching. This paper first explains the different pedagogical approaches
that are typically enacted within higher education today and then looks to see how,
through that lens, we can choose different forms of technology to support our chosen
teaching approaches. There is a strong emphasis placed on providing, active,
collaborative and authentic learning experiences, particularly with the aid of
technology, to afford those students studying at a distance, or through blended modes
with comparable, if not better opportunities for engagement. The paper provides some
great examples of what this can look like in practice, in the hope that others will find
encouragement and inspiration from this.
Key words: Pedagogy, technology enhanced learning, higher education, pedagogy first model
Active Learning; Collaborative Learning, Authentic Learning.
Introduction
I am (allegorically) a lecturer in visual arts, I went to arts college and did well, so well that I was
asked to be a tutor, then became a lecturer and now I’m a senior lecturer. Typically, I teach the way I
was taught, and all seems fine to me, and most of my students seem to be doing OK. I have typically
used a bit of a mastery model (stand and deliver) as my teaching approach, based in the studio. But
I’m being asked to move more of my teaching online and I keep hearing from others in my faculty
that we need to be considering things like ‘constructive alignment’ (whatever that means). Then, if I
want to apply for promotion, at some point in the future, I need to be conscious and explicit about
my teaching/pedagogical approach (whatever that means) particularly as I move to a more blended
mode of delivery.
It is the opinion of the author, that this is not uncommon for university academics, who are teaching
in more traditional ways, to feel puzzled when faced with the above scenario. Therefore, if we are
going to ask our teachers to take a pedagogy first position, we need to first help them understand
what pedagogy is, and particularly in the light of their disciplinary context; to help them start to see
where they see themselves fitting within the plethora of different teaching approaches, theories and
methodologies. This is largely because many of our teachers, at least in the higher education
(university) sector, have not undertaken any formal teacher training, rather they have become
discipline experts in a particular field due to the depth of research they have undertaken, and thus
been deemed to be suitable to teach on those grounds (Cervini , 2014).
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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Because we are thinkers and love reason in Higher Education (HE) and like to pay honour to what
has gone before, we actually have to be very clear about the ontological and epistemological
positions we assume in relation to our pedagogy. In other words, understanding what the
relationships (to the world) that we are forming between the concepts, categories, subject and the
domain of knowledge that we teach are; otherwise known as ontology (Sugumaran, 2016). But in
doing this, it is also important to bear in-mind that this positioning of our understanding is largely
formed by us assuming a posture in relation to our theories of knowledge, especially as they relate
to the teaching methods we knowingly (or not) choose to adopt. It therefore behoves us to
understand the distinction between justified belief and opinion; of which this is otherwise known as
epistemology (Steup, 2018). In simpler terms, we are looking to establish a meta cognitive
understanding of what we want to achieve in our teaching, how we will achieve it and why we want
to (choose to) do it in a particular way.
We have simplified this over recent times to simply call this ‘Pedagogy, and in very general terms,
refers to the interactions between teachers, students, and the learning environment and the
learning tasks in and around that environment (Beutel, 2010). And broadly it’s how teachers and
students relate to each other, as well as the instructional approaches we implement.
What is pedagogy?
So, if I were to say, ‘our curriculum shall use a pedagogical approach’, really, nowadays, are we still
largely talking about ‘Constructivism, which became popularised in higher education from the late
1960’s (Amineh & Asl, 2015)? Yes and No. As it is my contention that pedagogy, today, is utilising a
much broader range of different teaching and learning approaches / theories / methodologies that
we can draw on when the needs arise. In reality, we have developed out of necessity a far more
eclectic approach to pedagogy (though some purists remain), not dissimilar to the end of
postmodern as a formal philosophical construct (though some purists remain). Where, in place of
these former (more traditional) theories there exists now new paradigms of authority and
knowledge formed by the pressure imposed on us by both new technologies and contemporary
social forces (Kirby, 2006).
I kind of liken it to having a full set of golf clubs. I know if the hole/pin is 260 meters down the
fairway, that I will start with using my 2 wood, then depending on how that goes I will either have to
use my 5 or 6 iron to get onto the green, then if I’m lucky enough (more luck than good technique) I
get to use my putter and get my par 4. The next hole is only 180 meters so I will use a different
combination of clubs, but I will always get to use my putter. At the end of the day I have a full set of
clubs at my disposal, so all my contingencies are covered. This analogy could be likened to different
techniques within one methodology, but that would limit me far too much. So, there may be a few
things we need to consider.
Pedagogic strategies (the ones instructional designers like to talk about) are based on general
learning theoretical concepts: Behaviorism, Instructivism, Cognitivism, Constructionism,
Constructivism, Socio-Constructivism, Situated Learning, Connectivism, etc. There is often an
overlap between these theories that explain how people learn and how one could bring (help)
people to learn. But I have seen over the years, we often put this under the one catch-all category,
or the banner of Constructivism, but it’s much more than that. It’s kind of like saying ‘Pedagogy’
when it’s so much more than that.
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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On top of this, we also have theories about how we teach different cohorts of students. Generally
speaking, Pedagogy is used when we talk about school teaching, in the classroom, and we talk about
Andragogy when we talk about teaching adults in the classroom. But more recently, as teaching has
become more blended and online, we have had to find new terms to represent the teaching
strategies we need to employ in these new environments. So new words (concepts) have started to
emerge like Heutagogy and Paragogy.
Table 1 and Table 2 below provide a brief summary of, what are light heartedly referred to as, the
…ism’s and …ogy’s of modern-day education. That is, the theories of learning behaviours (or ism’s)
and the popular learning strategies (or …ogy’s) that have very broadly defined learning and teaching
over the last century.
Table 1. Definitions of some general learning theories or learning behaviours (or …ism’s)
Theoretical concepts
Definition
Behaviorism
A psychology-grounded pedagogical model proposing that learning is
influenced solely by physical variables such as environmental or material
underpinning. It suggests that free will is an artifice and that responses
can be determined and conditioned. (Reimann, 2018)
Instructivism
Proposes that there is an external reality that, we as learners, need to
comprehend. This is based in two dynamics, 1) that the teacher is the
primary agent of learning and that their knowledge forms the foundation
of instruction; 2) the act of teaching is about changing students' behaviour
(learning) towards a new, agreed better state. (Crosslin, 2016)
Cognitivism
Learning comes about by forming mental processes or making
associations that influence the way we think. Meaningful learning occurs
through organisation and elaboration of information, where teachers will
ask prompting questions to help students refine their thinking or
recognise where they may be wrong. (Ertmer & Newby, 2013)
Constructionism
A student-centered model where you construct mental models to
understand the world around us, by using information we know to acquire
more. It is usually hands-on, through project-based work where you are
active in making real world objects. The teacher acts as a facilitator or
coach rather than taking a posture as a lecturer. (Alesandrini & Larson,
2002)
Constructivism
We construct knowledge and meaning from our experiences, where
learning is active. In other words, we actively construct or create our own
subjective representations of our objective reality. New information is
linked and added to prior knowledge, so that mental representations are
individualised and owned by the learner. (Crosslin, 2016)
Socio-constructivism
The emphasis is on the collaborative nature of learning in a cultural and
social context, where cognition, or sence makeing originates in and
around social interaction. So, it is more than an assimilation of new
knowledge, it requires learners to integrate into a knowledge community
and thereby co-create knowledge. (Amineh & Asl, 2015)
Situated learning
A focus on how we acquire professional skills, somewhat like an
apprenticeship model, where sincere tangential participation leads to an
affiliation with a community of practice. It takes as its focus the
relationship between learning and the condition in which it occurs. (Lave
& Wenger, 1991)
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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Connectivism
A learning theory explaining how Internet-based technologies have
created new opportunities for us to learn and share information. It
suggests that learning happens across online peer networks, where the
teacher guide us to information to help us share and learn on our own.
(Crosslin, 2016)
Design of learning and teaching strategies draws a lot from general pedagogical theory, but also
from specialized research, such as understanding Heutagogy, Paragogy, Andragogy, etc. And these
additional ways of considering different cohorts of learners help us to understand how we will
implement different technologies to meet our learning goals.
Table 2 Definitions of three of the more popular learning and teaching strategies
Theory
Definition
Andragogy
A theory of adult learning that describes some ways in which we, as adults
learn differently from children. For instance, we tend to be more self-directed,
internally driven, and more ready to learn. Teachers can draw on ideas of
andragogy to increase the success of their adult learning programs. (Blondy,
2007)
Heutagogy
A theory of self-determined learning with its roots in andragogy, and where
learners are highly autonomous. It emphasises the development of one’s
capacity to prepare for the complexities of today’s workplace. Particularly
applicable for instruction using newer technologies such as social
media. (Blaschke, 2012)
Paragogy
A theory addressing the challenge of peer-production in the context for self-
directed learning. It is based on connection between peers in the digital era
and focuses on analysing and co-creating the educational setting with one’s
peers, sharing their learning situations and experiences. (Herlo, 2014).
Towards a pedagogy first model
Educational technology has been a driving force to develop new strategies, informed by many of the
above learning theories, with the basic assumption that educational technologies can facilitate
pedagogical scenarios. However, often we have tried to fit the pedagogical intent for what we are
trying to teach, in after having chosen a tool to teach it with (because we like the tool), instead of
using the pedagogy as the reason for adopting a particular tool (as this tool helps me apply my
pedagogy). It’s been kind of like putting the cart before the horse (please excuse my Photoshop
skills).
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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Figure 1. The technology cart before the pedagogic horse (metaphor)
For example, if we are talking about creating Active Learning opportunities in the online space, first
we look at what we mean by Active Learning, what we hope to achieve through implementing an
active learning strategy and then how do we do this, and with what tools. We don’t start with the
tool, though to some degree the tool itself may suggest it would be a good fit, if an active learning
strategy were adopted. So, if engaging students in the process of learning and getting them to
reflect on this in their context is what we are aiming for as an ‘active learning’ strategy, then this
leads us to think that things like active discussions, live debates, problem solving and case-based
learning, simulations and role playing, peer teaching and team projects, may all be strategies to
adopt. If that is our starting point, then we look at the tools that could help make this happen. The
following is a simplified version of what this then leads us to consider.
Table 3. Active Learning approaches and tools
Active learning
Active discussions
O365 Teams, discussion and voice boards, Zoom sessions, Chat
(e.g. yammer), Instant messaging (e.g. WhatsApp), etc
Live debates
Video conferencing; Zoom, Bb Collaborate, Skype, (or the like),
etc.
Problem solving
Mind mapping tools, O365 Teams, Wikis, Padlet, Answer Garden,
etc.
Case-based learning
O365 Teams, video sharing, social bookmarking, Video
conferencing (or the like), Evernote, etc.
Simulations
360 Video, AR/VR/MR/XR, Smart Sparrow, H5P, etc
Role playing
ePortfolio, Voice Thread, video sharing, etc.
Peer teaching
O365 Teams, LMS, Video conferencing (or the like), Wiki, etc
Team projects
O365 Teams, Google Docs, Voice Thread, ePortfolio, etc
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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In the online space, in practice, if we are wanting to foster more active, authentic and collaborative
approaches to help our students learn more effectively in preparation for the future of work, we
must first ask what we want to achieve, then look for the right tools to help us do this.
Let us tease this out in a bit more detail, to see what this might look like in practice. The following
three examples will look at three approaches that focus first on the teaching strategy, then on which
tools may best fit this strategy. The three strategies we will focus on here are, Active Learning,
Collaborative Learning and Authentic Learning and draw on example of practice from Griffith
University, in Australia, found in the Explore Learning and Teaching database (ExLNT) found at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/ ExLNT is a catalogue of over 330 online entries maintained
by the Learning Futures Department at Griffith University in Australia. The content is designed to be
used by academic staff to provide stimulus to enhance their learning and teaching practice and is
freely open to the public.
Active learning
Active Learning is where you engage students on an analytical level. It seeks to facilitate students to
assimilate material and information rather than passively absorbing it through traditional lectures.
Although there are many definitions of Active Learning, the definition used by the University of
Michigan (2016) is very helpful. They suggest that, Active Learning is the process of learning whereby
students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that in turn
promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. When students are actively learning they are using
higher order thinking skills. By designing tasks that require students to be active, they are also being
encouraged to take a deep approach to learning which can impact on their learning in a positive
way.
For example, Active Learning could be facilitated in a variety of ways, such as your students being
able to:
Create, share, and comment on images, PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio files,
documents, PDFs, etc.
Co-facilitate meaningful discussions, thereby co-constructing knowledge.
Providing opportunities for student self-reflection and reflection on others work
Empowered to conduct group discussion, or together, through engaging with each other
(not with the teacher) come to a common understanding of some of the key elements of
knowledge required to meet their course outcomes.
These activities can typically be enhanced by the use of technology. Some examples of this include:
Using a tool such as VoiceThread for virtual question and answer based scenarios.
Information about this can be found at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/5186/view
Using PebblePad (or ePortfolio tool) to support reflection for active learning, to help learning
become more personal and give students more ownership over their learning. Information
about this may be found at: https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/4305/view
Using polling type tools such as Echo360 (ALP) to help with identifying points of confusion,
or on reflection. It enables lecturers to meet students’ immediate needs and produce
opportunities for deeper learning. Information about this may be found at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/5207/view
Using H5P to create interactive activities, to get students engageged with the content and
practice formative learning events. These types of activities help students to think critically
within the contextual frame of the learning space itself. Not dissimilar to what you would
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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expect to see on a dynamic web-page, but surfaced within the LMS. There are some great
examples for using H5P found at: https://learningandteaching-navitas.com/using-h5p-
active-learning-opportunity-content/
Example:
Now, briefly reassuming my (allegorical) position as a lecturer in visual arts, I am wanting my
students to make considered and helpful peer commentary on other students work and to engage in
this in an asynchronous way, so as not to put people on the spot. So, I need to look for a tool that
allows the student to display their work and provide some words (aural and/or written) in support of
that work. The tool then needs to allow other students from that cohort to provide a commentary
on that work (aural and/or written) and to actively engage in the commentary others are making.
Once the students have had a good chance to comment on each others work, and the original
student has potentially modified their work, I then want them to reflect on that experience in some
kind of journal entry, that the other students can also see, and importantly, be able to submit for
assessment. In this case I may choose to use two tools; VoiceThread and the Journal Tool in
PebblePad as I can then link from the reflective piece back to the VoiceThread and vice versa. This
combination of tools has allowed my students to actively participate in the co-creation of new
knowledge through engagement at multiple levels.
Collaborative
Collaborative Learning generally relies on engaging group structures to support students working
together while maximising Individual learning. It is an educational approach that involves two or
more people learning or attempting to learn something together, allowing them to capitalise on one
another's resources and skills (Chiu, 2000). For example, some of the following strategies could be
integrated into your teaching program to encourage students to become involved, which can in-turn
provide a valuable source of motivation for your students. They include, but are not limited to:
Peer modelling and getting students to roleplay
A physical or online Scavenger Hunt for information related to the topic of the week
Formal or informal debates on a given topic
Pass the Problem, where students partly answer and pass the problem onto to the next
student to add more details.
Forming Groups Creatively, where students brainstorm solutions to particular problems
Similarly, many of these activities can be easily facilitated in the online space, both synchronously
and asynchronously, such as:
Using Collaborate Ultra (or another online virtual classroom tool) to form Breakout Groups.
It allows staff and students to: share files, to annotate across the group, raise your hand to
ask a question, send notifications either to everybody or among students, use video, have
chat, and to provide polling opportunities. In this tool students can roleplay and the teacher
can model practice. Information about this may be found at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/847/view
In the topic for the week, you ask your students to find 5-10 websites that contain
information related to that topic. Students get to share these links with each other and
comment on the relevance to their course of study. This could be done on a wiki page in the
LMS or in a tool like Office 365 Teams and OneNote. Ideas about this may be found at:
https://education.microsoft.com/Story/Lesson?token=ZXwlI
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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Formal or informal debates can be hosted through a range of systems and run
synchronously though Zoom or Collaborate, or asynchronously through a tool such as Voice
Thread. The most important thing is, that learning occurs when students are encouraged to
explore their assumptions and beliefs (epistemologies) about current knowledge and being
able to articulate this to others, then be encouraged to consider other’s views. An example
of this using Voice Thread is found at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/8548/view
Pass the problem is where you form your online groups and give each group a case or a
problem and ask them to identify the first step in solving the problem. You then rotate this
to the next group and have them identify the next step, and so on until the problem is
addressed fully. This can be done in discussion forums in the LMS or in any tool that you can
set up teams. See: https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/4565/view
Padlet is a tool that can allow Groups Creatively, where students brainstorm solutions to
particular problems. It is a web application featuring a virtual wall where students can
collaborate and post media. This can be useful for teaching and learning to encourage
collaboration and sharing. See: https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/5306/view
Example
Again, briefly reassuming my (allegorical) position as a lecturer in visual arts, I am wanting my
students to debate the virtues of one of the old masters. In this case I have students on two
campuses but wanting them to collaborate with each other in two teams, as you would in a normal
debate. So, I need a tool that students can collaborate separately in their groups, in the first instance
to plan their strategy, and then come together in the formal timed debate in a synchronous online
environment. It would also be good if I could record this so that students could re-watch it and
reflect on the pros and cons of the arguments. This means it would be good if the tool I choose has
some breakout rooms to allow for the planning, that it had some form of timer and allowed me to
record. There are a number of tools on the market that will do this. I could do this with Blackboard
Collaborate (or the like), I could also do this in Microsoft Teams using both text and synchronous
video. Both would do the job well, but the Teams scenario may also allow for the follow-up
reflection activity. The group work is obviously collaborative, but this would be enhanced by the
opportunity to critically analyses the debate after the fact, by reviewing the video, which has the
added benefit of reinforcing the key points of the debate for the students.
Authentic
Authentic Learning is learning best done through gaining experience - learning by doing rather than
learning by listening or observing (Pearce, 2016). It is an approach that allows students to discuss
and explore concepts as well as construct concepts and discover relationships that involve the real
world that are relevant to the student. So generally speaking, they are learning activities that relate
to the real world; Ones where students are able and encouraged to critically think and evaluate
information and data. The benefits of this include enhancing learning within their context by
allowing students to gain knowledge while building a professional identity and also participating in
meaningful activities. It is important to expose students to various settings and activities as well as
perspectives. By allowing students the opportunity to collaborate, and practice skills in their various
environments will also enhance learning and build capacity.
Authentic learning experiences include activities that have:
Relevance to real life
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
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A problem that is ill-defined and not easily solvable
Tasks that allow for a sustained investigation
Allow for multiple sources and perspectives
Collaboration (addressed above)
Reflection
Perspectives from various disciplines
Assessment that is integrated
Creation of products
Problems that have many possible solutions and outcomes.
These are example experiences that you may be able to use in your context:
It’s important to provide relevance and give students experience in techniques that are
often quite challenging and require an experienced hand to ensure success. For example, to
help student engagement in laboratory classes, a series of videos can be used to increase
the level of awareness needed before entering that domain. See for example how providing
this content 24/7 can do this at: https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/7528/view
An ePortfolio that consists of a learning journal or lab journal can help students share
authentic reflections. Students would make weekly entries to reflect on and reinforce the
concepts from the lectures and labs. The ePortfolio entries can be graded and feedback
provided from the teaching team. For example:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/7148/view
Wikipedia entries are often authored by multiple authors. In tools such as O365 OneNote or
a Wiki within an LMS students can design to develop research, written communication, and
referencing skills. Importantly, the piece must be evidence-based and the information must
be defensible. The activity can be used to scaffold longer and more significant scholarly
tasks. It can also be used as a piece of assessment. An example of this may be found at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/8268/view
Using a combination of tools in concert such as Collaborate Ultra (video conferencing) to
allow students at a distance meet synchronously in groups, linked with the use of Social
Media tools such as O365 Yammer to participate asynchronously to build a sense of
community. This is where hashtags can be used for each week’s topic so that students can
easily refer to specific topics throughout the course. For example:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/6345/view and
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/7169/view
Aviation students’ reflecting in PebblePad (ePortfolio) through scaffolded learning
experiences while using Microsoft Flight Simulator X Steam Edition. This is discussed at:
https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/7128/view
Example
And now for the last time, reassuming my (allegorical) position as a lecturer in visual arts, I am
wanting my students to understand how they should approach a gallery owner who potentially will
take them under their wing and sell their work for them in the future. To do this I want each student
to go out and interview one gallery owner using a set of pre-determined questions that the class and
lecturer have agreed on. The student then needs to be able to share this video with other members
of the class, along with a short summary of what they themselves learned about the gallery and the
process, providing hints for others who may do a similar thing in the future. They also need to have a
portfolio of their work ready to show the gallery owner and leave with them (preferably in an
electronic form). One tool that would allow this to happen would be an ePortfolio tool such as
PebblePad, but others would do it too. It would allow students to upload or feed a video to their
Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006
page so that the other students can view it. It would also allow them to provide a commentary about
the experience. Of course, the ePortfolio tool is the perfect tool to also allow the student to create
their online collection of their work that allows the gallery owner to access at any time, via a discreet
link (so that it doesn’t have to be open to the public). This real life experience is then reflected on
and an artefact remains for future reference.
These are just some examples of how a pedagogical problem has been resolved by using technology
to engage students studying at a distance or through blended modes of delivery.
Conclusion
This article has explored a range of scenarios that would provide some clues as to how to consider
the importance of a pedagogy first model to support learning and teaching in higher education. It
has demonstrated that it is important to consider the pedagogy (the way we are going to teach)
before we decide on the technology that we are going to use to enact our teaching. The theoretical
models that inform, or underpin a range of pedagogical approaches were briefly investigated; some
of which, when enacted in different teaching paradigms provide a lens through which we can choose
different forms of technology to support our chosen teaching model. There is a strong emphasis
placed on providing, active, collaborative and authentic learning experiences in this paper,
particularly when aided by a range of technology solutions, to provide those students studying at a
distance, or through blended modes with comparable opportunities for engagement. The
temptation to put the technology cart before the pedagogic horse is quite understandable, as some
technologies can offer some great solutions for staff and students to engage and collaborate. So
much so, that sometime the reason for why we are using a particular tool can be overlooked or not
considered. To help place a practical focus on this paper, it has provided a range of examples of
what this can look like in practice and links to many online resources, in the hope that others will
find encouragement and inspiration from this.
So now, as the allegoric teacher in visual arts, I can now see that there may just be some other ways
that I can approach this act of teaching, that may be more helpful to my students who are studying
online or in a blended mode. It has helped me to consider that there may be more ways to think
about my approach to what was, in my lexicon, ‘pedagogy’, and that really, now, I need to be
considering other approaches that may better fit with today’s cohorts of students. This new
consciousness can help me be more explicit about my teaching/pedagogical approach (as I now
know what that means) particularly as I move to use more technology in my online and blended
modes of delivery.
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Please cite: Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the
technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53.
DOI:10.13541/j.cnki.chinade.2020.05.006

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