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Tech Tools: Select the Right Stuff!

Created Oct 12 2018, 10:07 AM by LIPPINCOTT NURSING EDUCATION

Author: Kathleen Williamson, PhD, MSN, RN, Professor and Chair--Wilson School of Nursing


Coaches call the plays and monitor progress of their team. The players practice and, during games, complete plays the coach has called. Today, technology is disrupting the educational setting and it is changing the way we do things by requiring educators to be coaches to support students (the players) to gain the necessary skills to navigate and integrate technology. Technology is a tool that we can use to create ways to engage students and to enhance learning and critical thinking. As nurse educators, we play a vital role in providing the best environment for learning. We are mistaken if we think technology is a motivator with its shiny new gadgets. People are motivated by the opportunity to use the tools to expand their learning, answer questions, and see things they never thought they would see. We need to change the way we view using technology and change it to provide meaningful ways our students can learn.

       Many nursing programs have access to technology and are early adopters. However, barriers such as faculty development, access, time, expertise, and/or resources are limited. Educators need to design strategies for delivering content to millennial learners. Technology has become an integral part of life, both personal and professional. Different technological innovations are used daily for everything from preparing for the day to completing daily tasks, and this is now the norm in workplace. Educators today find designing strategies for delivering curriculum to learners to be a puzzling task. We need to find ways to creatively integrate the use of technology tools into pedagogical strategies to deliver content. Technological tools need to be considered with the interconnectedness between content, pedagogy, and technology. It is essential to determine that technology use does not add distractors or decrease the value of education. As educators, we need to explore the use of technology tools and choose the right stuff to align our course outcomes while utilizing evidence-based teaching strategies.

Choose the Right Stuff
TPACK. Effective and transformative use of technology in instruction involves faculty understanding of the interconnections between content and pedagogical and technological knowledge. The TPACK framework (, based on Lee Shulman’s work around the integration of pedagogical and content knowledge, provides a useful conceptualization for explaining the relationships between these primary domains of knowledge and for making decisions about how to achieve learning goals using pedagogical/technological approaches. Misha and Koehler (2009) built upon the model and share that the important interactions are between and among the bodies of knowledge, represented by PCK, TCK, TPK, and TPACK (p. 62). The overlap of domains, or Technological, Pedagogical, Content, Knowledge, or TPACK, is uniquely situated in a faculty’s particular instructional context. Content knowledge (CK) is the teacher's knowledge about the content or what is to be taught. Pedagogical knowledge (PK) is the teacher's knowledge about the process and practices of teaching and learning. Technology knowledge (TK) is the ability to stay current with technology and apply the technology tools and resources. Technology, Pedagogy, and Knowledge (TPK) is the ability of the teachers to understand how they teach, and how students learn when using particular technologies. TPACK then becomes the basis for effective teaching with technology. The teacher can use emerging technologies to motivate and engage students in collaborative ways to promote learning.

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

SAMR Model. One of the challenges in supporting faculty development around effective use of technology for instruction is the absence of baseline data, which describes the levels and pervasiveness of faculty implementation of various technologies in teaching, learning, and assessment. Faculty development is driven by individual faculty requests for support and available technology tools.  What is needed is a new faculty development paradigm for technology implementation that integrates pedagogy with technology at increasingly sophisticated levels to achieve corresponding levels of deeper learning.

The SAMR model ( developed by Ruben Puentedura (2006, 2009) articulates various levels of educational technology leading to transformational learning. The SAMR model consists of the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition levels. Substitution and Augmentation lead to learning enhancement, while Modification and Redefinition levels contribute to transformational learning.

  • Substitution level: Technology is a direct substitute for traditional educational practices, with no meaningful improvement.  Example: ebook for Print book
  • Augmentation level:  Technology is a direct substitute for traditional educational practices, with some improvement. Example: Google Earth vs. print map
  • Modification level: Technology involves significant redesign of task. Example: FlipBoard vs. newspaper
  • Redefinition level: Technology allows for creation of a new task or activity. Example: iMovie

Created by Dr. Williamson and Dr. Lockhart (20177). Material adopted from SAMR.

       The SAMR model helps educators create lessons using technology that are more engaging and purposeful. Using SAMR will help guide faculty in a more meaningful way to adopt technology, instead of just using technology because it is there. One can use this guide to modify lessons that are more engaging and collaborative. Do not get caught up in the differences between replacing and augmenting the lesson; focus on evolving the lesson in a beneficial way and exploring new possibilities.

       As educators we are coaches, mentors, instructors and facilitators. We inspire and motivate our students to do their best. The challenge is in supporting faculty and students in the effective use of technology. “Faculty development and student programming are necessary to promote meaningful technology implementation that integrates digital pedagogy at levels that correspond to deeper learning.” (Williamson & Muckle, 2018, p. 75). As a nurse educator, utilize one or both of the frameworks to identify and select suitable technology to achieve learning goals using pedagogical/technological approaches. Discover alternative ways to better employ and utilize technology tools to enhance the learning experience. Develop or adapt the use of technology to impact student learning and problem solving. Work to progressively reach higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy to impact critical thinking. Technology tools need to be easy to use and useful; if not, most people will not use it. Get to know the students’ comfort levels with technology. Have them practice using it. Show them how to use it, express upon them the importance of using it, and demonstrate how they will access information to make decisions. Remember, it is about the learning, the content, and the outcome. It is not about the technology. Technology is only a tool!

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Mishra, P. and Koehler, M. (2009). Too Cool for School? No Way! Learning & Leading with
Technology. International Society for Technology in Education. 36(7), 14-18.

Ruben R. Puentedura, Transformation, Technology, and Education.
(2006) Online at:

Ruben R. Puentedura, As We May Teach: Educational Technology, From Theory Into Practice.
(2009) Online at:

Williamson, K. M. & Muckle, J. (2018). Students’ Perception of Technology Use in
Nursing Education. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 36(2), 70-76. doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000396