How NGL can inform my role as a teacher

How NGL can inform my role as a teacher

My role as “a teacher,” is a librarian at a higher education institute, where I assist academic staff with copyright, educational design and digital literacy. NGL can inform my role as a teacher by creating an equalised relationship between technology and pedagogy, and by ensuring a student centred learning design through the employment of NGL principles.

Technology & Pedagogy

Selwyn (2014) states that even if teachers use technology in their classrooms, it does not mean they are “harnessing the power of technology.” NGL has shown me that despite the advancement of technology, digital technologies cannot stand alone in supporting student success. This is supported by Toyama (2011) who believes that attempts to use technology as a replacement for instruction are bound to fail. Additionally, Eamon (1999) states that transformative teaching involves more than the conveyance of information. It involves socialisation, interaction and group activities, which…cannot be replaced with technology (Eamon, 1999). As a teacher, I find there is a pedagogy vs. technology debate within higher education. This is because when technologies are introduced, teachers often focus on the technical features without drawing links to the context of the actual teaching practice (Kligyte, 2009). I explored this issue in my post “Pedagogy vs. Technology: It’s time to stop the debate.” Through NGL, it has become clear that the “digital” needs to be de-emphasised in higher education discourse (Jones and Bennett, 2014). This will result in the reimagining of educational technologies and allow for the reassertion of pedagogy-led design, where digital technologies are seen as equivalent, not superior, to effective non-digital alternatives (Jones & Bennett, 2014). NGL supports this equality by permitting teachers to take the role of the facilitator in which students can construct their own knowledge, ideally connected to real-world scenarios in which technology plays a fundamental part of 21st century life. The Toolbelt Theory supports this sentiment by encouraging students to select the technology that fits their TEST (Task, Environment, Skills and Tools) framework (Socol, 2008). As a teacher, NGL has informed me that students should be in control of their “toolbelt” in order to cater for personal differences.

In addition, the SAMR and RAT models show that despite technological evolutions, the importance of pedagogy still thrives in a teacher’s emphasis on teaching skills, rather than the conveyance of content (Downes, 2011; Siemens, 2006). In my teaching context, this includes teaching digital literacy. This is important because digital literacy must accompany technology to ensure students will be able to understand the information and tools provided (Campbell, 2004). However, as discussed in my post ‘It’s crucial to be critical’ there are limitations to NGL technologies. In fact, equitability and accessibility to technology is problematic for incarcerated students, indigenous communities, and students who live in rural or low socioeconomic areas. Technology may emphasise wealthy disparity, and the digital divide does hinder NGL’s inclusiveness. Despite connectivity limitations, NGL has the capacity to bridge the digital divide through the development of technologies that do not require internet. However, getting students to engage with technologies and a course requires more than just access – it requires the employment of appropriate pedagogies, the fostering of social capital and a unification with educational technologies (Farley et al. 2015). As a result, NGL has informed my role as a teacher by encouraging me to grasp pedagogy in one hand, technology in the other, and to bring them together in order to create transformative learning experiences for my students.

Student-centred learning design

Additionally, NGL has informed my role as a teacher by changing my perception of a teacher to  “facilitators,” and “designers of learning experience,” where NGL principles are used to enhance student experience (Lavoie et al. 2011). Traditionally, teachers were seen as subject experts. However, through connectivism and social constructivism the role of a teacher has transformed into that of a facilitator, where students are able to construct their own knowledge (Le Cornu & Peters, 2005). Teachers need to cater for a diversity of students, all of whom have differing needs and skills. Therefore, universal design and the Toolbelt Theory need to be considered in order to ensure the unique needs of each student is met. This is supported by Laurillard (2012) who advocates the concept of “design science,” which focuses on educational theories to attain student learning. As a teacher, I would like to foster student individuality by allowing my students to be in control of their learning journey. This includes the exploration of technologies that suit their context, as well as a promotion on peer-learning and industry collaboration. Up until now, I feel my teaching experience has been governed by the organsiational structures that I work within. Learning Management Systems, synchronous Zoom sessions with chosen times and compulsory readings are familiar features within higher education. However, NGL has informed my role as a teacher by encouraging me to think outside the box, especially in relation to learning design and student experience.

As a copyright librarian I am currently thinking of events for Open Access Week, which runs in October. My current ideas include the creation of a blog where students can discuss their experience and challenges with openness, and the idea of what “open” means to them. In addition, I am thinking of running a “replace your copyrighted material with open access ones,” workshop where my students will be able to bring along an existing activity (i.e. textbook, course) and I will facilitate the development of open approaches. The importance of this workshop resides in the fact my students get to pick an activity that is of value of them, and they get to choose the tools they wish to use to accomplish the task. I believe these ideas have stemmed from NGL, which shows it has definitely informed my role as a teacher.


Campbell, S. (2004). Defining Information in the 21st Century. Paper presented at World Library and Information Congress: 70th IFLA General Conference and Council, Bueno Aires, Argentina. Retrieved from

Downes, S. (2011). ‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved 8 September, 2017, from,

Eamon, D. (1999). Distance Education: Has technology become a threat to the academy? Behavior Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 31(2), 197-207. doi: 10.3758/BF03207711

Farley, H., Dove, S., Seymour, S., Macdonald, J., Abraham, C., Lee, C., Hopkins, S., Cox, J., & Patching, L. (2015). Making the Connection: Allowing access to digital higher education in a correctional environment. Paper presented at ASCILITE 2015, Perth, WA. Retrieved from

Jones, A & Bennett, R. (2014). Dissolving the online-offline divide: Re-conceptualizing space in higher education course design. Paper presented at proceedings of the 23rd annual Teaching Learning Forum, Perth, WA. Retrieved from

Kligyte, G. (2009). Threshold concept: A lens for examining networked learning. Paper presented at ASCILITE 2009, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from

Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a design science: Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. New York, NY: Routledge.

Lavoie, D., Rosman, A., & Sharma, S. (2011). Information Literacy by Design: Recalibrating Graduate Professional Online Programs. In T. Mackey & T. Jacobson (Eds.). Teaching Information Literacy Online (pp. 133-152). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Le Cornu, R & Peters, J. (2005). Towards constructivist classrooms: the role of the reflective teacher. Journal of Educational Enquiry, 6(1).

Selwyn, N. Technology and education: why it’s crucial to be critical. Retrieved 8 September from,

Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved 8 September, from,

Socol, I.D. (2008). The Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education for everyone. Retrieved 8 September, from,

Toyama, K. (2011). There Are No Technology Shortcuts In Good Education. Retrieved 8 September, 2017, from


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