Technology-Enhanced Pedagogical Models to Learn Critical Citizenship at a South African University

Technology-Enhanced Pedagogical Models to Learn Critical Citizenship at a South African University

Patient Rambe (Central University of Technology, South Africa) and Edem Agbobli (Central University of Technology, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8363-1.ch006
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Abstract

Although knowledge-centred approaches anchored in students' knowledge production abilities, heterogeneous learning styles and diverse learning needs are widely celebrated, perplexing questions persist on how these learning capabilities and enablements can be sufficiently harnessed to support technology-enhanced pedagogical designs. This chapter contributes to this discourse by proposing knowledge-centred models that integrate sound pedagogical strategy, ubiquitous technologies and situated learning to address student learning priorities and challenges in a Global Citizenship course at a South African university. Laurillard's (2001) Conversational Framework rendered a theoretical lens for interpreting the learning priorities, challenges experienced and the appropriateness of the proposed technology-mediated pedagogical interventions. Findings suggest that although collective engagement and peer-based networking were salient in the course, challenges of fostering deep learning, scaling the course, enhancing sustainable course delivery and accommodating diverse learning needs of students were reported. Technology-mediated pedagogical models that drew on emerging Web based technologies were designed to resolve these challenges.
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Introduction

Technology integration (TI) is a heavily contested term in higher education. Its operational definition ranges from: the adoption of computers and networks as integral components of diverse curriculum aspects (Panel on Educational Technology, 1997), the appropriation of technology in ways that shift pedagogical styles and learning experiences (Sheingold & Hadley, 1990), to supporting teaching effectiveness and learning outcomes through the use of technology (Dexter, 2002; Redmann, Kotrlik & Douglas, 2003). However, contemporary literature on technology integration has focused more on how the inclusion of learning technologies in academic settings has affected learning environments and classroom cultures (Orlando, 2005), and the effects of technology adoption on qualitative changes of the curriculum like the accomplishment of more authentic and complex goals (Ertmer, 2005). Other TI studies have emphasised using technology to support active learning and participation in classrooms (Weathersbee, 2008) and to target higher level thinking, procedural and technical skills in the curricula (Dexter, 2002). Therefore, an overarching theme in TI definitions is the deployment of specific combinations of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and learning platforms to ensure effective delivery of pedagogical goals.

TI into the course enhances student on-task behaviors, allows their deep engagement with content, supports knowledge application and analysis of information and trains them to sift authentic information in an information driven world (Dockstader, 1999). Despite the good intentions of TI into curricula components, many technology-enhanced pedagogical approaches are still predominantly transmission-based because technology is merely harnessed as a supplement rather than an integral component of the learning process. As such, the availability of technology equipment does not in itself guarantee its effective and successful adoption in the classroom (Vrasidas & Kyriakou, 2008). Unsurprisingly, students continue to find technology-enhanced lectures less captivating and uninspiring. To further compound the challenge of insufficiently transformed pedagogical designs, the increasing cultural diversity and cosmopolitan nature of South African universities coupled with students’ varying access to emerging technologies in-class and out of classrooms means that the pedagogical challenge at these universities lies in designing technology-enhanced pedagogical designs that harness the learning capabilities of heterogeneous students with diverse learning needs, complex learning priorities, and learning styles.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Collective Engagement: Participatory learning processes that allow multiple interactions among participants, mutual exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Student Centred Approaches: Perspectives on learning that emphasise student learning styles, learning priorities and learning needs and goals including their prior learning experiences and prior knowledge to ensure their meaningful, productive construction of knowledge.

Deep Learning: knowledge generation processes that trigger deep reflection, critical inquiry and collaborative generation of information by students and for students.

Emerging Technologies: Technologies that may, depending on context, be new or not so new but whose application leads to qualitatively different educational results for the stakeholders concerned. Depending on context of application and regions, these may include social media technologies, cloud based technologies, virtual worlds and mobile technologies.

Technology Integration: When curricula design, pedagogical processes and activities are seamlessly aligned with, informed by and draw on technology as a (cognitive, transactive, informative) lever and mediator of these processes.

Global Citizenship Course: Extracurricular University programme that bridged critical citizenship, academic inquiry and service learning by diverse cohorts of learners, and was mediated by various experiential learning events, seminars and activities and emerging technologies.

Peer-Based Networking: Affinity based connections often mediated by emerging technologies that render possible collaborative knowledge generation and social exchange of ideas, social artifacts and social practices.

Conversational Framework: A pedagogical approach that draws on multiple media forms, teaching activities and events and stakeholders (educators, tutors, students) to support various learning processes (practice, reflection, dialogue, acquisition, discovery) by stakeholders.

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