Pedagogy vs. Technology: It’s time to stop the debate!

Pedagogy vs. Technology: It’s time to stop the debate!

This post is not related to any of the questions on the NGL blog, but is inspired from this week’s discussion on pedagogy and technology. I have just watched the catch-up zoom recording and have been thinking about Chris’s emphasis on pedagogy and the discussions surrounding being critical on technology. As a teacher (librarian), I find there is a pedagogy vs. technology debate within higher education. When I work with academics, they seem to think they can only have one or the other (probably due the restrictions of copyright and the nature of my role). However, I find this sentiment frustrating, and a contradiction to the principles of NGL.

As a librarian, I have witnessed the transformative role technology plays in bridging the digital divide, by bringing online learning to the “offline” world. I have contributed to this through my work, where I contribute to a project that is taking technologies that do not require internet access into prisoners to enable tertiary opportunities (University of Southern Queensland, 2017). This has been achieved through the development of a LMS that is disconnected from the internet. In the online environment, this LMS works in conjunction with the university’s institutional repository. However, this is not feasible for students without internet. To address the issue, the project uses a “compiler” software which harvests objects hosted in the repository and “packages” the course for export to correctional centres, where incarcerated students can access their courses and even use them on personal devices without the need for internet (Farley et al, 2015).

The integration and use of these technologies show there are ways to bridge the access divide. Despite this success, critics like Toyama (2011) believe there are “no technological shortcuts on good education,” and that “attempts to use technology as a stand-in for capable instruction are bound to fail.” This belief is also supported by Eamon (1999) who states that teaching involves more than the conveyance of information. It involves socialisation, interaction and group activities, which require proximity and thus, cannot be replaced with technology (Eamon, 1999). Jones & Bennett (2014) agree that a course should be driven by pedagogical purpose, rather than technology. However Jones & Bennett (2014) also counteract Toyama’s argument by stating that “pedagogic principles need to fit within the practical structures and market mandates that make certain digital technologies compulsory in university courses.”

Looking at the interplay between the digital divide and social capital it becomes understandable why certain technologies become compulsory. Although Toyama (2011) argues that technology cannot replace instruction, the realisation that some students are disconnected from everything, including teachers, must be remembered. Therefore, asynchronous learning via digital technologies are often considered better than no learning at all, even if they are not quite holistic. Tobin (2000, p.12) believes this should not hinder the learning process as “all learning is self-directed.” According to Tobin (2000) “real learning” – the information that is retained and used beyond a course – can only be determined by the learner themselves. This is why pedagogy is paramount when designing courses for the offline environment. The alteration of courses to suit the technology is a controversial topic. It has sparked debate in literature with scholars agreeing with Toyama (2011) and Eamon (1999) that technology poses a threat to pedagogy, especially when teachers develop courses to suit the technology, rather than vice-versa.

In contrast, supporters of educational technology use social constructivism and a constructive learning framework to argue that teachers should take the role of a facilitator in which students can construct their own knowledge (Le Cornu & Peters, 2005), ideally connected to real-world scenarios in which technology plays a fundamental part of 21st century work life. Instead of fuelling the debate, Jones and Bennett (2014) suggest that the “digital” needs to be de-emphasised in higher education discourse. 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). The project I work on also recognises the need for an equaliser identity between technology and pedagogy. This is reinforced by Farley et al (2015) who states that 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.

This is where I stand in my role as a teacher. I believe we need to grasp pedagogy in one hand, and technology in the other, and bring them together. Rather than fuelling a debate, we need to realise that the unification between pedagogy and technology can lead to the most transformative learning experiences.

I’ve been privileged to hear about these transformative stories via the success of incarcerated students, and as an educator, these are the stories I carry with me.


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

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

Tobin, D. (2000). All Learning is Self-Directed. Alexandria, VA: ASTD.

Toyama, K. (2011). There Are No Technology Shortcuts In Good Education. Retrieved 22 August, 2017, from

University of Southern Queensland. (2017). What is Making the Connection? Retrieved 22 August, 2017, from


The SAMR Model

The SAMR Model

As a learner, technology has been integrated into many learning experiences. I’ve decided to apply the SAMR model to the activity of “researching,” which is a core skill within higher education.


When I started my undergraduate course, there was still a mandatory emphasis on borrowing and using hard copy books and journals from the library. Nowadays, printed artefacts have been substituted with the World Wide Web. This includes library databases and institutional repositories, where electronic books and journals are available 24/7.


Instead of writing down the details of every possible source, the internet allows students to bookmark or add relevant sites to their favourites. According to Kharback (2013), the augmentation aspect is similar to substitution, but contains added functionalities. This is evident in search engines such as Google Advance, which allows you to filter via format, keywords and even copyright status. The library database has similar, if not greater functionalities, which allow students to filter by author, dates and Boolean phrases.


As a student, you can download PDFs for educational purposes. You can create annotations, paraphrase words and build on ideas as part of student research and assessment.


According to Kharbach (2013) “redefinition means that students use technology to create imperceptibly new tasks.” From the act of “researching,” this could involve creating mindmaps or infographics, via tools such as the software, which I have been exposed to throughout this course. This could also involve the production of a paper or journal article from the conducted research via word processing technology and referencing tools.


Kharbach, M. (2013). SAMR Models Explain for Teachers. Retrieved 21 August 2017, from

Image: Lefflerd, 2016, The SAMR Model, used under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Licence

A Learner’s Reflection

A Learner’s Reflection

According to Jack Mezirow, “a defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience,” (cited in Costa and Kallick, 2008). Prior to starting my tertiary education (back in 2010), I often viewed experiences as “they are” in its entirety, not as opportunities for learning. According to Feuerstein et al 1980) this is referred to as “episodic grasp of reality,” and is not a beneficial habit for learners or students.

From my education, especially through courses such as this one, I am now someone who needs to connect my experiences to other experiences, in order to construct meaning, create insight and explore complex learning (Costa and Kallick, 2008).. This is done through reflection. According to Tobin (2000, p. 12) “all learning is self-directed,” and “we foster our own growth when we control our learning, so some reflection is best done alone,” (Costa and Kallick, 2008).

So far, my experience with NGL has been a little wobbly. I started off intimidated by the course design and the transparency and openness of blogging. In week one, Cousins (2006) and Kligyte (2009, p. 541) defined liminal space as a messy journey, back and forth, across conceptual terrains. I still think I am in a liminal space, but am finding that I am not shifting back and forth as often as I did at the beginning of the course.

At the moment, I am focusing more on the assessment and my requirements as a student. I have decided to learn Auslan as my learning task, and am finding it a lot harder than I anticipated. I have referred back to Jarche’s (2014) Seek, Sense and Share framework, and by comparing it with my post on Learning with CLEM, it seems I have done a lot of seeking. I have sought out groups via my learning network, I have discovered tools such as sign language apps, and have consulted literature such as Auslan dictionaries, as well as resources on YouTube. However, I am struggling with making sense of sign language, and feel like I have hit a brick wall. In my PKM post, I stated that the way I make sense of learning is mostly by journaling, writing and reflecting. However, since Auslan is a practical learning task, I am finding it difficult to reflect and make sense of it. I am yearning for more face-to-face interaction, or an Auslan buddy that I can practice and reflect with. The need to reflect with others is supported by Costa and Kallick (2008) who acknowledge that reflection is enhanced when we ponder our learning with others.

In addition, I am currently brainstorming topic ideas for Assignment 2. I am also finding this difficult, as my “role as a teacher” is rather unconventional. I am a librarian within the copyright niche. Therefore, I am thinking something along the lines on how NGL influences the practice of copyright in the digital age.


Costa, A & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning through reflection. Viewed 21 August, 2017, from,

Cousin, G. (2006). An introduction to threshold concepts. Planet No 17, December 2006, Retrieved 7 August, 2017, from

Feuerstein, R., Rand, Y., Hoffman, M., & Miller, R. (1980). Instrumental enrichment: An intervention program for cognitive modifiability. Baltimore, MD: University Park Press.

Jarche, H. (2014). What is your PKM routine? Retrieved 13 August, 2017, from

Are you digitally included or a useless digit?

Are you digitally included or a useless digit?

In this post, I will explore network technology and communities through the following questions.

What type of “networking technology” do you have access to now and into the future?

Currently, I use similar networking technology as Keturah, including learning management systems, social media, blogs, 3D printers and mobile devices. Recently, I’ve managed to connect my hearing aids to my iPhone, which means I can answer calls directly from my hearing aids without having my phone anywhere near me. I feel like a secret agent when I do this! I can also listen to music directing via my hearing aids. I’m still getting use to this sort of technology, similar to the way I’m getting use to the exposure of new tools throughout this course. As a student and a learner, the use of Diigo, Reddit and Quora are still unfamiliar to me. However, as discovered by Socol’s (2008) TEST framework, these tools will be used for the appropriate tasks and environments.

Network technology will have a significant impact on the future. I recently went to the Queensland State Library’s Digital Futures exhibition, which displayed future technologies including better assistive technology, the rise of the Internet of Things and blockchain technology. The Digital Future exhibition was a real eye-opener. I am still trying to get my head around it all and am keen on reading more about blockchain technology on Mitch’s blog. In addition, many of my colleagues went to the accompanying Digital Futures conference, which raised questions on whether you are “digitally included” or a “useless digit?” There was a particular focus on whether robots will take over our jobs in the future, because according to research from the Oxford Martin School, around 50% of U.S jobs are at risk of being automated and replaced by robots. You can check out future of your profession here:

What were the different types of community that Riel and Polin talked about? How might these apply in your context “as student” and “as teacher?” How might this conceptualisation of communities change your practice “as teacher?”

Riel and Polin (2004) discuss three types of communities: task based learning communities, practice based learning communities and knowledge based learning communities.

In the context of a student, task-based learning communities are most familiar to me, often in the form of a tertiary or VET course. According to Riel and Polin (2004) task based learning communities have short timeframes and a common goal. This has been a common experience throughout my tertiary education, where as a student, set learning outcomes need to be achieved within a semester.

According to Riel and Polin (2004), a practice-based learning community is a way of organising associations of people in a field of endeavour, a profession, an avocation or other activity system. In my role as a teacher, this resonated me (however, like Keturah mentioned in her post, I am also not a teacher, but a librarian, just like Samanthi is). Nevertheless, practice-based learning communities are pivotal to my role as a copyright librarian. I am a part of a number of university copyright networks and groups, where members virtually meet to share challenges, goals and ways of dealing with legislative changes.

Lastly, knowledge-based learning communities are part of the construction of knowledge. The clearest example of a knowledge-based community, as highlighted by Riel and Polin (2004) is a group of researchers who work towards understanding a phenomenon, concept, or relationship. This is highly relevant as a teacher (librarian), because the library and information science profession (LIS) constantly evolves with technology and librarians are required to be up-to-date on new trends, technologies and concepts. At work, I am a part of the “library quality and planning” team which explores LIS research and evidence-based practice initiatives in order to improve professionally, both as a teacher and learner.

How might your “school” (i.e. the setting where you are helping others learn) look very different due to technologies and community?

I work at the university that is a leader in distance education. Therefore technologies and online communities, both task-based and practice-based through industries, is pivotal to my university’s continuity and success. Technology and e-learning allows for greater flexibility of study, across a wider geographic terrain. At my work, technology has played a great part in creating educational opportunities for incarcerated students, via personal devices that contain an “offline” version of the LMS, which does not require internet. We are hoping to send these personal devices out to indigenous communities and students in the Asia-Pacific who also have limited connectivity. This shows the transformative power of technology.

As a teacher, I will need to adapt to new educational technologies. As a librarian, this will involve preparing students to be digitally literate for a digital future, so they can be digital included, rather than a useless digit.


Beiner, F. (2015). Jobs replaced by robots. Retrieved 19 August, 2017, from

Riel, M., & Polin, L. (2004). Online learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning (pp. 16–50). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Socol, I.D. (2008). The Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education for everyone. Retrieved 19 August, 2017, from,



Learning with CLEM

Learning with CLEM

I have decided to learn Auslan (Sign Language) as my learning task. Auslan is a language that has always fascinated me. I am hearing impaired or “hard of hearing” and have worn hearing aids for the last six years. I am constantly surprised by the number of people, young and old, who are also in the same boat. My aim is to be able to communicate with the deaf community, particularly with fellow deaf adolescents. I am also excited about the role of digital technologies in enhancing the learning experience of those with audial impairments.

I have applied CLEM (Communities, Literature, Examples and Models) to this learning task.


I am already a part of Australian Hearing. In Toowoomba, it is situated right beside the Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children, so there are a lot of professional bodies and associations within my vicinity to engage with. Similarly to Lauren and Sam, the first thing I did was Google “how to learn sign language,” and “sign language classes.” From my browse, I became aware that Auslan varies between each Australian state and territory, much like the array of dialects associated with international verbal languages. Therefore, I filtered my search to “sign language within Queensland.” Surprisingly, I found an eight week course at my public library that is run by Deaf Services Queensland. The classes are weekly and are conducted in a face-to-face environment. It is facilitated by a woman who has been deaf since birth. So far, it has been an eye-opening experience. I have never been involved in a class where you are not allowed to use your voice. Everything must be communicated by your hands, body language and facial expressions, which is a complete contrast to my formal learning experiences, which have mostly been in an online environment, and thus have been void of body language. I was pleasantly surprised by how achievable it is to communicate without words, and know I can apply what I am currently learning in my engagement with ESL students and my personal travels to non-English speaking countries.

My fellow peers are mostly teachers, who are undertaking this course to better communicate with hard-of-hearing students within their schools. They are learning Auslan to transform their role as a teacher. From my engagement with this group, I have discovered other networks including: sign language groups for kids, the “deaf Olympics” (sports club for the deaf) and even deaf travel groups with tour guides that are proficient in Auslan. The class also connected me to a learning management system that contains resources such as finger-spelling guides, how-to videos and discussion forums. In addition, I am now following many deaf organisations on Twitter and Facebook.


Like Lauren mentioned in her post, I also found academic literature to be of little use and value to my learning endeavour. Due to the visual nature of sign language, my most beneficial resources were step-by-step videos on YouTube, Auslan dictionaries (which contain complimentary pictures) and interactive apps. Here is an example of a video on common Auslan phrases.


There are plenty of examples to learn from, such as the YouTube video above (which is a part of a series). There are also a number of great apps that I have downloaded on my phone including: RIDBC Auslan Tutor and the Learn Auslan VideoApp. However, I think the most beneficial example is watching deaf people and people who are fluent in Auslan communicate with one another. As mentioned in my PKM post, I think observation is a core part of seeking knowledge.


I am applying a lesson-plan model in order to commit myself to learning Auslan. In some ways I am becoming a teacher, student and learner all at once on this learning journey. I have mapped out lesson plans for myself over the next few weeks covering a range of different topics that I need to learn how to sign on, including: greetings, colours, animals, numbers, family, transport. I have mind-mapped a range of topics, but have prioritised them by conversational relevance. I have given myself due dates for each topic in order to keep myself on track and motivated.





Are the participants of NGL a group, network or collective?

Are the participants of NGL a group, network or collective?

The participants of NGL are a group. According to Downes (2011), groups are defined by the commonality between its members, then the number of members in that group. Downes goes on to state that a group is like a school or a class. The participants of this course are a “class” – a small online class, but a class nevertheless. We are bound by common features that may vary slightly between each member, but include the following:

  • We are all enrolled in EDU8117 and have an interest in NGL;
  • We are all striving for an education/degree;
  • We are all online students studying through USQ

In contrast, a network is determined by an association that is facilitated or created by connections between entities (Downes, 2011). I view my profession as a librarian and the concept of librarianship as a network, rather than a group due to its extensive connectivity. For example, if I gathered all the librarians within Australia into a room, I am sure I would find they would not be bound by the commonalities of a group. There would be academic librarians, public librarians, school librarians, research librarians, law librarians etc. Librarianship is viewed by its nature and its connections, which is the essence of a network.

I’m not sure how agreeable or accurate my response is as I’ve notice Keturah argues the complete opposite in her post (and she makes great claims to her views too).


Downes, S. (2011). Groups vs Networks: the Class Struggle Continues. Retrieved 15 August, 2017, from

My Personal Knowledge Management (PKM)

My Personal Knowledge Management (PKM)

Here is my Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), based on Harold Jarche’s (2014) seek, sense and share framwork.

PKM Critical Thinking Process Tools and Strategies
Seek Observe, study & read

·  Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)

· Observations

·  Browsing through Google, YouTube, emails, books, blogs, news articles

· Browsing through related links

Sense Challenge, evaluate, reflect and review ·  Journaling, writing and blogging (e.g. this blog)

· Art, drawing and mapping (e.g. mapping out our learning network)

·  Reflecting with others

Share Participate ·  Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)

·  Blog posts

·  Online discussion forums

·  Dialogue


Naively, I thought my PKM routine would be similar to Sam’s, simply because we work together and have similar learning networks (take a look at her network here). However, I was wrong and found out via Jarche’s (2014) reading, that the key of PKM is personalisation. Therefore, our PKMs should be different in alignment with our needs and ways of thinking.

I found the seek, sense and share framework a clear way of highlighting the three stages of PKM: finding and filtering information (seeking); reflecting and digesting the information (sensing); and finally sharing our insights with others (sharing). Since, I am someone who learns better via analogies and metaphors, I was attracted to the way von Holzen (2015) describes the seek, sense and share framework. She states that:

  • Seeking is like fishing. Depending on the weaving of the nature or the lures we use, we make our catches more accidental or more strategic (I like this analogy as it highlights the role technology plays in information retrieval)
  • Sensing is like cooking. We combine idea, connect the dots, add new thinking, challenge old patterns and create meaning
  • Sharing is inviting guests to the table for a joint meal. Sharing is a celebration of ideas, stories and information

(von Holzen, 2015).

My own PKM routine is rather subconscious. Like Jarche (2014), I seek most information and insights via “human filters,” such as Twitter and LinkedIn. However, I have been consciously adding tools from my “toolbelt” into my PKM routine. For example, the use of the groups/skills activity initiated by Lauren on the forum, falls within into the Share aspect of Jaroche’s framework, as it was a way to participate and generate dialogue within the group. In contrast, the software (which is a new addition to my toolbelt) falls within the Sense phase, as it allowed me to explore, review and reflect on my own learning network.

Sensing is a big part of my PKM routine. I mostly do this by writing. I am a crazy writer. I write about everything…just to make sense of it, whether it be via blogs, fictional stories, poetry, journaling or articles of scholarship. Writing challenges my views and perceptions, which I believe is a core of the sensing element.

Recently, I watched Jim Carrey’s documentary “I needed colour,” in which Jim uses art to make sense of the world. Feel free to watch it below.

It really resonated me, especially when Jim states;

Something inside you is always telling a story. I believe every single thing that you see and hear is talking to you… The bottom line with all of this, whether its performance, or its art or its sculpture, is love. We want to show ourselves and have that be accepted,” (Carrey, 2017).

Although, I’ve taken a more artistic minded approach on this blog post, Jim’s words correlate with my PKM. The line: “every single thing that you see and hear is talking to you” corresponds back to the way we find and filter through information and stories by seeking; in Jim’s case art is the way he makes sense of everything (in my case it’s through writing) and then ultimately “we want to show ourselves” and our passions, insights and stories by sharing it with the world.


Carrey, J. (2017). I needed colour. Retrieved 13 August, 2017, from

Jarche, H. (2014). What is your PKM routine? Retrieved 13 August, 2017, from

Socol, I.D. (2008). The Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education for everyone. Retrieved 11 August, 2017, from,

Von Holzen, N. (2015). Twitter and Co – my personal learning habits. Retrieved 13 August, 2017, from,

Images: Sourced from Pixabay and within the Public Domain