Texas Tech University

New Technology Notes

Pedagogy vs. Technology

by Ron Nail

When trying to decide which technology to use for an online or hybrid course, too many instructors ask the wrong question, focusing on asking "what" instead of "how." There are many lists and articles concerned with "The Top Tools for Learning" where the question asked is: "What tools can I use to teach my class?"

The better question to ask would be, "How can I use some of these tools to teach my class?" First, consider your own teaching style and philosophy. What is the product and practice of your class? Then consider what you want the students to learn. What is the product of the learning? Finally, which tools can best help achieve that learning product?

A good analysis tool is the TPACK framework (Technology, Pedagogy, Content, Knowledge) in which the instructor finds links between tools used (technology), how it is taught (pedagogy), and what is being learned (content). Using this framework to analyze your course and the technology available, you will be much more successful in integrating technology into your course. Keep in mind that technology should not be used to replicate existing classroom practices, but should provide what is not possible in a classroom setting. Think in terms of not what the technology provides, but what your pedagogy requires.