Ebrownorama's Blog

My Learning Journey …

Pedagogy is the Driver, Technology is the Accelerator


I saw the text that I am using to title this blog post as a tweet a few weeks ago. The tweet resonated with me and I took note of it and favourited it at that time. Little did I know that I would be delving into research based on this very topic at the outset of my doctoral studies this week! Now having learned about the framework for research and practice from reading a prescribed text “E-learning in the 21st Century” (Garrison, 2011) and research that I am working on for an assignment (Hoadley & Cox, 2009) and (Cochrane and Narayan, 2013) emphasizing that educators must first define the learning outcomes and strategies to be delivered and then choose effective and efficient technologies for the task, the tweet has come back to remind me of its importance. Research supports emphatically that educational technologies should be used in teaching and learning (Jacobsen, 2001), however because “the technology got ahead of the pedagogy” (Garrison, p. 124) many policy-makers are now reluctant to move forward in allowing technologies to be implemented in education. They have a fear of  the technologies being used for the “gee whiz factor” (Garrison, p. 131)  rather than for the purpose of improving learning. I get that point clearly, however, as a beginning researcher, and finding the evidence to support that educational technologies improve learning, I feel that I can’t move fast enough to get the word out so that all students will have the best learning opportunities. I may have to read the introduction and the conclusion for fear of not having enough time to read the in-betweens!



Cochrane, T., & Narayan, V. (2013, 12). Redesigning professional development: Reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies. Research in Learning Technology,21(0). doi: 10.3402/rlt.v21i0.19226

Garrison, D. R. (2011). ELearning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice (2nd Ed.). London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.

Hoadley, C. & Cox, C. (2009) ‘What is design knowledge and how do we teach it?’, in Educating learning technology designers: guiding and inspiring creators of innovative educational tools, eds C. DiGiano, S. Goldman & M. Chorost, Routledge, NY, pp. 19􏰀35. 

Jacobsen, D. M. (2001). Building Different Bridges: Technology Integration, Engaged Student Learning, and New Approaches to Professional Development. Paper presented at AERA 2001: What We Know and How We Know It, the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA: April 10 – 14, 2001.


Author: ebrownorama

Teacher Education Instructor/Developer - Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn Flat Classroom Certified Teacher Microsoft Innovative Teacher

4 thoughts on “Pedagogy is the Driver, Technology is the Accelerator

  1. TEchnology is somewhat still ahead of Pedagogy and in fact public policy surrounding societal impact of technology has always been behind for a while. As we work closer and closer with giant technology companies and understand their vision, creating a framework and setting out policy will be a bit easier. SK

    It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
    Albert Einstein

  2. You make such a great point that technology moves faster than pedagogy. Yesterday in class, there was a comment about being careful not to take the ‘fun out of technology’ for students by making them use all of their favorite activities on line for learning. We talked about the importance of novelty. As we were talking about this, I was also thinking of the tools we try to use that are actually losing popularity. For example, Facebook seemed to be on the decline in terms of popularity and yet we are just getting to it in the education world. So, how engaged will students be with that technology if they are already over it?

  3. Good Morning Eva
    I love the title and the reflection. I agree whole-heartedly. I like Wendy’s suggestion when we were reviewing concepts yesterday on the white board with Gail, “learning objectives before technology,” or something to that effect. I see technology as an ever-increasing toolbox (not that technologies are simply tools; I believe they are much more than that. But we have to be cognizant that there have been many instances where the innovation or “whiz’bang” factor of new technologies can end up driving the curriculum. An example are the ever evolving human patient simulators. These are sooooooo cool that everyone just has to have one. But when they get them, many end up gathering dust because educators don’t know how to use them (at lest not to their full capacity) or can’t figure out how to incorporate them into their curriculum. The other side of it is people who create curricular activities to utilize the functionality of SimMan that are interesting, but do not really address established learning objectives.

    So where does this leave us. I think we need to follow and attempt to gain understanding of new technologies, while at the same time helping our curriculum continually evolve. Not for the faint-of-heart eh?

    Cheers, Gord

  4. Eva:
    Love your driver/accelerator analogy.
    Looking at this from a macro-economic systems perspective, if technology has its foot on the accelerator, I wonder about the education system’s ability to cope with the level of disruption occurring.
    Assuming current educational institutions survive, I wonder what they’ll be doing 10-20 from now.

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