The Friday Five – Using Technology to Enhance Student Learning
Jone Tiffany, DNP, RN, CNE, CHSE, ANEF, Professor of Nursing at Bethel University and a Healthcare Education Consultant, and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach
“There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” This is a popular phrase among teachers, but if pressed, most will likely say there is one question that annoys them— “Is this going to be on the test?”
Sometimes we are connected with our students, but we don’t always succeed in helping students make connections between the knowledge we present and practical application in a clinical setting. Nursing is an active hands-on discipline, full of technology and change, so the use of technology in the classroom may hold the key to helping students become more engaged in their learning.
An increasing body of literature shows that people born after 1994 process information differently because they have been exposed to technology their whole lives (Carr, 2010), so how can we best enhance their learning, using what they know best? This week’s Friday Five looks to Jone Tiffany for five recommendations:
Teach through Audio and Visual Versus Text.
Today’s younger students respond better to audio and visuals rather than text. That’s not to say you should throw away your textbooks. Instead, incorporating images, infographics and/or videos related to a lesson helps students absorb the information more easily and supports long-term recall. Like it or not, nursing education continues to move quickly toward a world of thinking and learning that is digital, interactive and fast-paced. Thus, we should no longer think of ourselves as the keepers of knowledge – imparting it to our pupils. Knowing that the knowledge they need is at their fingertips, we instead need to teach students how to think critically as they navigate and process digital content.
Embrace Educational Technology.
According to Stanford University professor Larry Cuban, education technology is “any device available to teachers for use in instructing students in a more efficient and stimulating manner than the sole use of a teacher’s voice.” Technology has become a way of life in our ever-changing world, yet nursing educators still cling to antiquated teaching methods, lecturing for hours on end. The more we abandon traditional ideas and embrace technology, though, the more we will help change that educational landscape for the benefit of our students and their future patients.
Investigate Digital Tools.
Look for digital tools that can fill gaps in nursing education resources, such as virtual simulation. For example Lippincott Clinical Experiences: Community, Public, and Population Health Nursing, from Wolters Kluwer Health leverages virtual and hands-on, real-world clinical experiences to prepare nursing students for practice in the increasingly important field of population health and helps education programs overcome clinical site shortages, among other challenges, to graduate practice-ready nurses with hands-on clinical experiences. Another is vSim for Nursing, an online virtual simulation tool co-developed by Larerdal Medical and Wolters Kluwer and Laerdal Medical based on evidence-based patient scenarios created by the National League for Nursing.
You can also seek out digital tools that students use in their everyday lives, identify the ones that can meet your teaching objectives and become acquainted with the skills and competencies for each task. Beginning the integration process with tools that students are already familiar with reduces the possibility of resistance to change and the use of more disruptive technology later. Two examples are Screencasting (Screencast-o-matic.com), which allows you to record your computer screen and share it on the web, and PlayPosit, an online learning environment that lets educators create and share interactive video lessons, and lets you enhance videos and screencasts. Lastly, nurse educators may want to explore the use of podcasting to enhance student learning.
For example, Lippincott produces podcasts as part of its Lippincott CoursePoint product (exclusively for issues and trends courses – currently offered with Hood: Leddy & Peppers’s Professional Nursing, 9th Edition). The podcasts feature entertaining narratives and news-making content readily applicable to real-life situations, engaging students with anytime, anywhere learning. Podcasts engage students in the way they want to learn and ensure they are prepared for the issues they will encounter during patient care and in their careers.
Utilize the SAMR Model.
The SAMR model reimagines how to design, develop and infuse technology into learning experiences. Designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura in 2012, this model provides educators with a framework for successful integration of technology into their curricula. The four points of SAMR – substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition – are intended to guide students to higher levels of thinking.
Implement Google Drive and Google Groups.
For educators just beginning to use technology in the classroom, Google Drive offers a free and easy platform to get started. Google Drive comes with any Gmail account, which teachers and students at universities that have moved to Gmail and Google Classroom already have access to. The platform facilitates the real-time sharing and editing of documents from multiple accounts, making it an excellent tool for collaboration. Users create and store documents in the cloud, which allows them to access and edit anywhere, from any computer or mobile device. Some possible uses in the classroom include Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Forms. Google Groups can be used multiple ways, including forums, chat rooms and announcement boards.
The explosion in the availability of high-speed Internet and use of mobile devices has made it easier than ever to integrate technology into the classroom. Teachers no longer need to wait for administrations to allocate funds to adopt entire systems. Through a simple web search, they can access some of the most innovative classroom tools on the market, many of which are either free or very inexpensive. The opportunities to enhance student learning and maximize engagement extend as far as your creativity will allow.
- Carr, N. G. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton.