Learning with technology

New technologies are transforming every aspect of work. Today reading and interacting with the web using a range of technologies—such as emails, spread sheets, word processing, presentations and digital videos—are routine, everyday tasks in modern workplaces (Collins & Halverson, 2010).

The failure to embrace emerging technologies in higher education courses can lead to pedagogies that risk alienating a generation of learners, some of whom demand basic instruction in new technologies, and others who are technologically literate but increasingly see a disconnect between the tools they use to learn and the tools they use to live and operate in modern life (Herrington & Parker, 2013, p.608).

Learning With Technology

When learners use technologies as cognitive tools for accessing and analysing information, interpreting and organising knowledge, and representing what they know to others, they are required to think more deeply about the subject-matter or task (Jonassen & Reeves, 2001).

Cognitive tools refer to technologies, tangible or intangible, that enhance the cognitive powers of human beings during thinking, problem solving, and learning. Written language, mathematical notation, and, most recently, the universal computer are examples of cognitive tools (Jonassen & Reeves, 2001, p.693).

Some useful (& free) online technologies

  • bit.ly – URL shortener. Change long hard to read URLs into short easy to read URLs
  • Diigo – An online social bookmarking tool for sharing and commenting on resources
  • Dropbox – An easy way for students to share files
  • Dropitto.me – An easy way for students to send you large files (up to 2gb)
  • iGoogle – Your personal Google homepage
  • Google Drive – A great collaboration and communication tool
  • Moodle – A content/learning management system (CMS, LMS)
  • Showmewhatswrong – An easy way for students to record what they are doing on their computer and send you a video so you can help them troubleshoot issues
  • voicethread – Record voice messges, video messages,and text messages
  • Wordle – A word cloud generator
  • YouTube – Video storage and sharing


Recommended readings

  • Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2010). The second educational revolution: Rethinking education in the age of digital technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 18-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00339.x
  • Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 607-615.
  • Jonassen, D., & Reeves, T. C. (2001). Learning with technology: Using computers as cognitive tools. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), The handbook of research for educational communications and technology. NJ, USA: Lawrence Earlbaum
  • Lombardi, M. M. (2007). Authentic learning for the 21st Century: An overview. ELI White Papers, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3009.pdf.