Pedagogy before technology

I have been participating in Twitter chats like #formativechat and #whatischool for a little over a year now and one surprisingly strong undercurrent keeps on emerging now and then. Every so often someone will tweet this:

It is usually received with a general consensus of likes and retweets without too much of attention of what this kind of statement ultimately means. IMHO there are two problems with this kind of statement that needs attention. Firstly this type of statement completely ignores our students’ tech infused environment where they would need more tools and strategies to empower them to become creators of content and take control of the content that is directed towards them. Instead, this type of sentiment exposes the divide between generations, it exposes a divide where we hide behind what used to be without understanding how to help the current generation.

Although he does not directly state it, the mantra that you will hear often is “pedagogy before technology, not the other way around”.  I feel though that in a world where constantly new technologies are so prevalent, simply adopting an “either/or” ideology could be limiting. 1

This brings me to my second point of how the Cognitive Process Dimension is intertwined with the Knowledge Dimension.2 An educator wishing to be an innovator by facilitating students to design and create must break through to the procedural skill level and push beyond. Most of the times we can model, simulate, and substitute the authentic experience with sound pedagogical decisions and indeed a great teacher can be very effective. However, learning a specific procedural skill is reliant on authentic content.3 This means that sometimes the use of technology dictates the pedagogical decisions and content.

In my opinion, the paradigm shift has always been about:
Pedagogy is always interdependent upon its context, sometimes innovation drives it, sometimes it drives innovation.

Couros G. Pedagogy Before Technology? The Principal of Change. Published 2016. Accessed 2017.
Heer R. Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. Iowa State University, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Published 2012. Accessed 2017.
Wiliam D. Principled curriculum and assessment design: Tools for schools. Assessment for Learning.…/2013-11-21%20BCSSA.pptx. Published 2013. Accessed 2017.

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