Category Archives: LRNT 523

The Great Screen Time Debate

As digital items become more and more the norm, the amount of screen time increases for most people, which brings forward the debate regarding the amount of screen time and the effects on society.  Etchells, P., et al.’s article Screen Time Guidelines should be built on evidence, not hype addresses the conversation surrounding screen time and the evidence backing up the amount that is right or wrong (if there is such a thing).  The authors state that Socrates was concerned about students writing information down rather than relying on their memories to retain the information.  As I read this, I realized that he was apprehensive about the new norm that was approaching, much as scholars of today are voicing concerns about screen time.

The authors argue that there needs to be better evidence to support the claims behind screen time before a policy can be created, suggesting that not all screen time is bad (Etchells, 2017, para. 2).  This idea got me thinking about a screen time policy and its effectiveness in the fight regarding screen time.  Would a policy make people stop using their phones, tables, or laptops for periods in their days?  Would a policy convince kids to listen to their parents when they say to put the screen away and go outside?

My opinion in regard to screen time is similar to that of other non-essential items in life, everything in moderation.  I would like to say that I live this philosophy, but like most people, I falter with many things.  Reading this article made me think about whether what is on the screen impacts the allotted time and how that affects other activities.  I do not think it is right to paint all screen time with the it is bad brush.  Over the last six months, my screen time has increased substantially due to working on my master’s degree online; one could argue that this is good screen time.  If a policy were to come into effect, it would have to account for the different reasons behind screen time.

This article connects with my beliefs that screen time is not an adversary, but a part of a tool that should be used appropriately for the needs of the situation and the individual.


Etchells, P., et al. (January 6, 2017). Screen Time Guidelines should be built on evidence, not hype. The Guardian.

The Printing Press and Education

The printing press is a substantial piece of technology that continues as part of conversations today, almost 570 years after its invention.  While the original style of press was succeeded by faster, more efficient equipment, all printed works (e.g., textbooks, manuals, religious texts, etc.) involve large printers derived, over many technological generations, from the original press in order for information to reach the masses.  The printing press has affected education through providing the layperson access to material; therefore, information became a common, rather than rare, commodity.  This paper studies five articles relating to the history of the printing press, its impact on education, and other innovations, by addressing commonalities in the literature along with acknowledging unique ideas on the topic.

It is widely accepted in the literature that Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in approximately 1450 in Mainz, Germany.  Until this time, the only way to share information and knowledge, in non-verbal and non-pictorial form, was for, typically religious, men to copy documents by hand.  These documents took considerable time to produce, severely limiting material available to disseminate to the masses.  Dittmar (2009, p. 7) and Rubin (2014, p. 274) agree that the introduction of the printing press encouraged growth, initially within its city of creation and subsequently in cities across Europe, then to the western world, as individuals were trained in the trade and established printing shops.  However, Eisenstein (1970, p. 729) argues that the history of the printing press is intertwined with that of other innovations, the repercussion being that there is limited data specifically about the press’ effect on growth.  These authors each acknowledge that the success and impact of the printing press is evident today; nevertheless, they disagree on how the data became known regarding that impact.  While, as Eisenstein points out, there is little independent history documented on the printing press, history does credit the invention with progress in many fields.  The printing press played a role in areas such as the spread of literacy (Dittmar, 2009, p, 8; Mellen, 2015. p. 24; Rubin, 2014, p. 270), urban expansion (Dittmar, 2009, p, 39; Rubin, 2014, p. 274), and record keeping (Dittmar, 2009, p, 39; Eisenstein, 1970, p. 734).  As literacy developed, it contributed to an environment in which formal education for the common-person could flourish (Dittmar, 2009, p. 11).  Each of these fields have their own history, but they all contribute to education in some way, while connecting to the printing press.  Without advances in areas such as these, education would not have progressed the same way.  The pure history of the printing press would be an invaluable contribution to the history of technology and education; however, given that absence, the available data still shows the impact of the invention.  In order for education to thrive, information must be made available to the public, not limited to a select few.

Information becomes education when it is shared.  Until the printing press’ invention, monks transcribed writings that were predominantly controlled by the Church.  Scriptoriums are locations where monks would work to create transcripts of, primarily, religious texts (“Scriptorium”, 2019, para. 1) that were only to be seen by those holding high-standing positions within the Church.  Since the scribes were religious men, the documents remained in the control of the Church as owners of the information as well as the finished products (Mellen, 2015, p. 26; Rubin, 2014, p. 272).  Due to the nature and effort required to create these documents, they were precious and virtually irreplaceable, making them sacred; therefore, the public was not generally able to have access.  Dittmar (2009, p. 22) and Rubin (2014, p. 272) indicate that the Church was, in fact, an early adopter of the printing press, utilizing it to get information out to the pubic regarding issues of the time (i.e., the anti-Turkish crusade), while acknowledging the reduction in control over publications due to the lack of standards in the discipline.  The first examination of these concepts may look contradictory; however, they work together to form a strong position for the Church.  Mellen (2015, p. 26) and Rubin (2014, p. 272) maintain that by accepting the new technology, which was immeasurably different from the norm, the Church saw the benefit of using the printing press to share documents with their target audiences.  It saw that the benefits of doing so exceeded the detriments.  While the history books predominantly agree with Mellen and Rubin, Eisenstein (1970, p. 731) points out that history relies on the printed word to share the stories of the past; thereby, not permitting the scribal stories the same emphasis.  This puts into question how full an overview is accessible on the history of information dispersal, its influence on events, and innovations since the majority of the available documentation is printed, not written.

As information moved from being held by those in power to the hands of the layperson, knowledge began to spread across society.  Dittmar (2009, p. 6) and Mellen (2015, p. 25) argue that with information being available for the masses, education, and knowledge creation, was a natural outcome.  The Protestant Reformation (Rubin, 2014, p. 274) was one of the results of having material easily accessed by the common people.  Rubin’s point connects to what Dittmar and Mellen say regarding education since, without the printing press, the Protestant beliefs would not have been published on easily held documents (e.g., brochures and posters), written in a style and language that was easily read by those who had limited literacy and shared verbally with those who were illiterate (Rubin, 2014, p. 274).  Theses authors all acknowledge the printing press’ involvement in the Reformation; however, Rubin also posits that cities that accepted the printed press and the Reformation may have been pre-disposed to the idea of advancements and change (Rubin, 2014, p. 270).  This idea introduces an interesting suggestion into the history.  If advancement and accepting new technology already intrigued the culture of a city, it would have been easier for the new technology to gain a foothold from which it could grow, leading to having more information available, which in turn may have helped the Reformation.  Smith (2017, p. 57) similarly postulates that the printing press contributes to learning and technological advances throughout history by connecting the invention from 1450 to artificial intelligence in 2017.  While this idea creates a contrast to the others sources discussed in this paper, it does work in conjunction by bringing forward the advancements in technology to current times.  Without the invention of the printing press, books would not have been widely introduced to the general population; therefore, education would not have been available to the masses, potentially depriving society of future innovations (i.e., artificial intelligence), making Smith’s work relate to that of Dittmar, Eisenstein, Mellen, and Rubin.

The five articles reviewed in the paper offer a variety of insights to the history of the printing press and its impact on society as a whole.  While there is limited data on the connection between the printing press and education, it is clear that the impact is present.  The printing press introduced the printed word, readily allowing material to move to shared ownership.  Having the ability to share information allowed the development of many industries, growth in others, and a continued and more rapid societal progress.  Had this technical contribution not come to fruition, education would not be what it is today.  The authors discussed in this paper emphasized the role of the printing press in history, either directly or indirectly indicating its contribution to various fields, including education.




Dittmar, J. (2009, September). Ideas, Technology, and Economic Change: The Impact of the Printing Press. American University, Department of Economics. Retrieved from http://economics. yale. edu/sites/default/files/files/Workshops-Seminars/EconomicHistory/dittmar-090928. pdf (дата обращения: 13.08. 2017).

Eisenstein, E. (1970). The advent of printing in current historical literature: Notes and comments on an elusive transformation. The American Historical Review, 75(3), 727-743.

Mellen, R. (2015). The press, paper shortages, and revolution in early america. Media History, 21(1), 23-41. doi:10.1080/13688804.2014.983058

Rubin, J. (2014). Printing and protestants: An empirical test of the role of printing in the reformation. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 96(2), 270-286.

Scriptorium. (2019). In Merriam-Webster dictionary. Retrieved from

Smith, R. (2017). The 21st-century printing press. Research Technology Management, 60(1), 57-59. doi:10.1080/08956308.2017.1255061

How Media Affects Learning

Shared post between Laren Helfer, Sandra Kuipers, Kathy Moore, Mark Regan

Clark (1994) and Kozma (1994) see opposite sides of the issue regarding if and how media influences learning.  As a team, we were tasked with looking at what is happening in the field to see if or how media affects learning.  Here are four articles we found with our thoughts on the great debate between Clark and Kozma.


3 Ways Big Data is Changing Education Forever  

Big data refers to large volumes of data bytes, which can be mined for information to provide a company with valuable, and otherwise inaccessible pieces of information about their customers. In 3 Ways Big Data is Changing Education Forever, Das (2019) describes how the affordances of big data can be applied to, and are impacting education. The nature of bytes existing as digital pieces of information, renders the impacts discussed by Das as relevant to education which has been delivered across a digital platform. Instruction delivered via traditional means would not generate bytes of information to analyze. If the digital platform (perhaps an LMS or a website) is understood to be the media of the instructional delivery, it would mean that it is the media itself, or the way by which the instruction is delivered and not the design of the instruction delivered by the media that is impacting education. That is, if the media was changed to a non-digital mode of delivery, any potential impacts of big data could not be realized. This is contrary to the Clark’s (1994) position that media does not influence learning; that it is merely a vehicle for delivering content, and that it is the design of the content that impacts learning.

Das (2019) points out that assessment and feedback are integral components of the learning process. When content is delivered via a digital media platform, big data can be used to illuminate elements about how a learner interacts with the content (e.g., how many times they return to certain pages, how long they view pages, how long it takes to answer questions, etc.). The analysis of this data can be applied to instructional design. The instructor can either provide the analysis as feedback to the student, modify subsequent instruction to better address learning needs, or even design automatic modifications into the software so that the digital course itself can modify the instruction to suit the individual learning needs it identifies. The bytes of data analyzed which enable these insights and interventions could not be obtained if the content was not delivered digitally. Therefore, digital media would be necessary to influence learning in exactly this way.

Clark (1994) challenges would-be critics of his arguments to consider; when media is being used instructionally, if there are any attributes of that “media that are not replaceable by a different set of media and attributes to achieve similar learning results for any given student and learning task” (p. 22). The potential of big data to afford enhanced assessment and feedback opportunities, relies on the attribute of digital media that it has the capacity to generate bytes of data. While this does not require only one specific type of software or platform be used to deliver content, it does implicate the choice of media as being an integral component as to whether or not the learning opportunities afforded by big data could be realized.


The Influences of Technology and Media on Learning Process

In this article, the author seeks to explain the general concepts behind the pros and cons of media usages on learning. The article begins through reflection by explaining that technology is omni-present in many facets of learning and that the modern technology we see today, including computers and tablets, are changing the roles of both teachers and learners (Mufarroahah, 2016, para. 1). The article does justice to the dichotomy presented by Clark and Kozma. Kozma (1994) has made the case that media and learning are in a positive relationship, giving more opportunities for not only the learning environment itself, but the teaching process as well. Clark (1994) has taken a position that “there are no learning advantages from using technology and media in the learning process” (Mufarrohah, 2016, para. 3). The article in its conclusion is telling, in terms of what side the author leans in the great media debate. The author has sought to show the positive learning effects media in general can give the education community. Examples were presented such as Reeves’ (1998) cognitive tools reflection and beyond traditional teaching norms reflection, both of which point to the positive effects to which Kozma makes a case in his arguments. The author overall has presented both sides in an appropriate and fair manner, but leans to the side of Kozma  that media enhances the learning process and that there exists a positive relationship between them.


Make personalized learning a reality for your students

In this article, Microsoft presents a vision of personalized learning through collaboration tools, artificial intelligence, and immersive mixed reality. Images of touch-screen devices and colourful overlays of educational content embellish this message. Microsoft suggests that, for students to learn and thrive, they need the latest technologies: that these technologies “can transform a classroom” (Microsoft, 2019, para. 12) and “stimulate learning” (para. 10). The message conveyed is that personalization requires technology. Microsoft suggests that personalization “can be challenging for a teacher” (para. 8): why not solve these problems with artificial intelligence and machine learning? The article’s argument is backed with a glossy PDF of research by Microsoft and McKinsey, presenting data and infographics about the importance of social-emotional skills and critical thinking in future workplaces. Yet, this argument breaks down when critiqued against Clark’s (1994) argument of media vs. method. Do social-emotional skills and critical thinking require OneNote and Microsoft PowerPoint? Clark cautions that “we continue to invest heavily in expensive media in the hope that they will produce gains in learning” (para. 18). However, at the heart of learning is the method of instruction, and the method should not be confounded with the medium. Clark (1994) argues that “all methods required for learning can be delivered by a variety of media and media attributes” (para. 16). With Clark’s argument in mind, one shouldn’t discount educational technology either, yet it should be approached with a critical eye. McLuhan (1964) famously suggested that “the medium is the message,” which Kozma (1994) maintains and Clark disputes. As educators and technologists decide where they align in The Great Media Debate, it’s also important to ask: When does the message itself become lost behind the shiny touch-screen wifi-enabled augmented-reality medium?


Université de Montréal Opens Quebec’s First Virtual Reality Optometry Lab in Partnership with FYidoctors | Visique

This article introduces a new technology that the University of Montreal and FYidoctors | Visique are using to better the education of optometrists.  The media behind the technology is a simulation lab that provides students with experience in a virtual reality environment. The media allows students to work with real patient scenarios, but in the security of a simulated environment, where there is no risk to patient care.  Working in the lab provides students with the learning opportunity to experience everything from common to rare pathologies, allowing them to gain enough experience to be prepared to work on live patients.

The concept behind the lab goes against Clark’s (1994) position that media does not enhance learning.   Clark states “…computer simulation was used to teach students some skills required to fly a plane…people learned to fly planes before computers were developed and therefore the media attributes required to learn were obviously neither exclusive to computers nor necessary for learning to fly” (Clark, 1994, p. 11); however, just because learning once occurred without media does not mean that it cannot occur.  The media discussed in this article provides students with a learning experience that was not otherwise available, meaning that without this media their education would be missing a vital practical component. While optometrists did always receive the required education for the job, this media advances their learning, resulting in better optometrists. If the use of media enhances learning, then there is a strong relationship between the two.  As Kozma states, “[media will] advance the development of our field and contribute to the restructuring of schools and the improvement of education and training” (Kozma, 1994, p. 23), this concept makes media more than a learning tool, but a method critical to learning, which is applied by the simulation lab by the University of Montreal and FYidoctors | Visique.


Clark, R. E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29.

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19.

Microsoft. (2019, May 2). Make personalized learning a reality for your students. Retrieved from

Mufarrohah, St. (2016, December 09). The influences of technology and media on learning processes [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Reeves, T.C. (1998). The impact of media and technology in schools. The Journal of Art and Design Education, 4, 58-63. Retrieved from

Université de Montréal Opens Quebec’s First Virtual Reality Optometry Lab in Partnership with FYidoctors | Visique. (2019, October 3). Cision. Retrieved from

Stop Using Paper Towels, Use Unpaper Towels Instead!

Shared post by Kathy Moore and Sherry Ruth.


We investigated how to make paperless paper towels after learning about them from a coworker who had received a roll as a gift.  Since the idea was new to both of us, we wanted to see what was available for instructions and if there was a community around the concept.  Before starting the research, we discussed the ease of the project, the reason behind it, and the uses of the final product.

As with many new ideas, we started with a Google search using phrases we thought would yield the best results.  Little did we know that “how to make fabric paper towels” would generate 76,800,000 results with 181,000 videos, and “DIY unpaper towels” would generate over 136,000 results, including 1,670 videos.  Multiple variations of different keywords, such as reusable, unpaper, fabric, alternative, washable, and paperless, all provided thousands of results showing the abundant possibilities to learn about this topic online.

We found great diversity among the various sources.  Blogs, websites, news articles, and videos offered multiple options including different styles, materials, methods, and uses.  That diversity even extended to the individuals providing the content which included sewers, quilters, crafters, money-savers, homesteaders, DIYers, fabric stores, chefs, minimalists, naturalists, and environmentalists. Videos and step-by-step photos with accompanying instructions provided detailed information, varying from non-sewing options to beginner sewer and expert-level lessons. The comments sections of many of these sources created strong networks as conversations often emerged amongst readers, offering suggestions, alternatives, encouragement, and personal stories.

We are confident that there is abundant content available on this topic and we could successfully learn how to make our own paperless towels using our preferred medium, method, and material.  Weller (2011) posits that any pedagogy based on the abundance of knowledge currently available should be socially based with free, abundant, and varied content that is easily generated and shared among users (p. 228).  The thousands of results from the internet search on our topic certainly met this criteria.  Though the amount of content could overwhelm some learners, further Google searches could narrow down the topic, for example, a search of “fabric unpaper towels ‘no sew’ flannel” results in 37 videos.

Extrapolating from Weller’s postulation, we believe that abundant content, including one’s own active participation in producing content and connecting with other participants, may be enough for some learners to learn some content successfully.  However, abundant content alone is not enough for all learners and all subjects.  There appear to be several determining factors which require consideration.  First, it depends on the learner’s prior knowledge of the subject and the subject itself (i.e., how much cognitive processing is required, such as learning how to play a scale on the piano versus Mozart’s Requiem).  Second, we believe it also depends greatly on the learner’s ability to navigate the abundant content.  The learner must know where and how to search, then how to sift through the abundant content to determine what is valid and appropriate for his/her situation.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, abundant content alone may not be enough if the learner does not have the skills and motivation to successfully absorb the content as knowledge.  While Anderson believes “a goal of connectivist learning is to create new connections, regardless of formal education systems, to expand upon and build learning networks” (Anderson, 2016, p. 43), it may be insufficient as a sole source for learning such skills as being more empathetic, doing backflips or flying a fighter jet.  Given our skills and knowledge, however, we feel that we could complete this project based on the available content online and perhaps we will one day!



Anderson, T. (2016). Chapter 3: Theories for Learning with Emerging Technologies. In Veletsianos, G. (Ed). Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.

Weller, M. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance. Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, 249, 223–236.

Who knew I used a Learning Theory?!

“Learning is an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience” (Shuell as cited in Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 45).

This quote stood out for me as I read Ertmer & Newby’s article about learning theories as it provides a solid definition of learning in a world where many definitions are available.  It got me thinking about how there are just as many learning theories as there are definitions of learning.  While I am not currently teaching, I do find that I am often working one-on-one with a co-worker to show him or her how to do something in specific software or helping with an issue that has appear in a project.  When I am coaching these individuals, I connect the new information with the knowledge they already possess allowing it to build on their foundation.  Before I started in this program, I did not realize that I was using the constructivist theory.  It makes sense to me to build on previous knowledge, providing a means to anchor the new information.  Given that I am not in the role of an instructor, and that I am often helping those who are, I find that I have to be careful not to teach in a systematic fashion, but to guide tactfully.  I find that if I approach the situation in such a way that builds on what they already know, they are more receptive to the new knowledge.  The benefit for those I work with is that they get to construct new knowledge by working in a live context meaning there is an increased probability of remembering the process, rather than me simply announcing how to go about completing the goal.  Jonassen (1991a), as cited in Ertmer & Newby maintain that constructivism theory is best applied when teaching advanced knowledge; in my circumstance, this is accurate.  Most of the instructors have basic to intermediate knowledge of the software and come to me when they are working with more advanced features.  The more knowledge they build, the more they will be able to problem-solve as issues arise, just as they would do with their students!

Jonassesn’s (1999) Constructivist Learning Environments, as showcased by Merrill (2002), focuses on problem solving by building on the knowledge the learner already possesses.  If learners do not come with the prior knowledge required as a foundation, they would benefit from demonstrations in order quickly construct the base on which to build the new knowledge (Jonassesn as cited in Merrill, 2002, p. 55).  When I demonstration a skill, I ensure that I explain what I am doing as I am doing it so the learner can have that information and add it to their knowledge base.  If I only demonstrate then they will not be able to absorb what I have done, which will not allow them to recreate the steps.  Since I do not teach over a long-term (yet), I use the interactions I do have to help individuals help themselves and after readings these articles I believe that constructivism is the best way to make that happen.


Ertmer, P., & Newby, T. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43-71.

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 43-59.

Technology Will Change Everything…or Will it?

The advancements in technology have brought many new tools that we can use in the classroom, but it seems that none of them fully replaces existing tools.  Reiser points out that in 1913 Thomas Edison claimed that books would soon be obsolete when he was introduced to the motion picture, but the change did not happen as quickly as Edison had declared (Reiser as cited in Saettle, 1968, p. 98).  Here we are, 106 years later, and we still use books; granted, we now have the option of paper or digital, but they are still a valued tool which did not vanish due to the next invention.  Although Reiser’s article was published in 2001, the history it presents provided me with the lesson that as new technologies are introduced it is important not to lose sight of the goal (i.e. what is the purpose of the new technology), and that just because something is new does not mean it will solve everything.  This applies to my current role by teaching me that the tool and problem need to fit in order for a solution to succeed completely.  When new systems are available and co-workers want to use it because it is new, I will now ask the question if this works to create the best solution or if it is purely a desire to use the new technology, where in the past of I have stayed quiet.  I am in favour of looking at new tools, but based on what I have read, I realise that is it important to understand their features.  Reiser states, “of the many lessons we can learn by reviewing the history of instructional media, perhaps one of the most important involves a comparison between the anticipated and actual effects of media on instructional practices” (Reiser, 2001, p. 61); this, when combined with Edison’s 1913 pronouncement, has caused me to learn never to make a statement that a piece of technology will wipe out the current tool; it is best to wait, with an open mind, and see what comes.

Weller’s article Twenty Years of EdTech provided a clear timeline of when educational technology became popular.  It made me think about the technology I use at work to support applicants and students, and I realized that we are not where we should be given the timeline in the article.  We use digital forms (or scanned paper forms) to gather information from applicants and students, when, according to Weller, Learning Management Systems (LMS) became popular in 2004.  Reading this article reminded me that a LMS can handle the data we collect by providing applicants and students one location to submit everything, but we are still using a number of tools and locations to gather and store information during the application process, continuing to when the students begin classes.  Using the amalgamation of processes makes it cumbersome for students and staff to know what information is held where.  Having a system that could manage all of the required information, filing it appropriately with the right people, being notified, and not using it to its potential increases workload and likelihood of error.  If we could connect the business and educational needs to the tool we have available (LMS) then the process would be clear to the applicants, students, and staff.  In the current system, we move data from one location to another in order to have it all in one location from multiple sources.  If we are living the future of technology, why are we not able to move forward and stop using methods of the past?  Is it a problem with the software, or an issue with training staff who may not have sufficient experience with the operation and application of the new tools or is it a problem with faculty, staff and, to some degree, students resisting or not understanding the positive implications of the sometimes rather drastic changes?

Weller states, “patience is required:  educational transformation is a slow burn”, my general lesson from these articles is that change takes time.  The right tool needs be based on the issue requiring a solution, if it will be successful, otherwise the risk is that further harm will occur.


Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53-64.

Weller, M. (2018). Twenty years of EdTech. EDUCAUSE Review, 53(4).

Introducing Dr. Elizabeth Charles

Dr. Elizabeth Charles has worked in the field of educational technology for 32 years.  In that time she was a member of the faculty in the photography department, researched pedagogy, and holds the position of Manager, Learning Community at Dawson College in Montreal, QC.  She is the co-director of Supporting Active Learning & Technological Innovation in Science Education (SALTISE), an association committed to stimulating learning by understanding, and potentially altering, the pedagogy surrounding technology in education (About Us, 2019. Para. 1).  Dr. Charles has received the PAREA grant five consecutive times, enabling her to continue studying the pedagogical effects on educational technology for learners.

Dr. Charles’ work intrigues me because of her focus on the impact technology has on students’ learning, rather than on promoting the latest technology or teaching paradigm.  In my experience, educators can become blinded by the shine of new tools losing sight of the impact of the application.  Dr. Charles looks past that shine to see how the tool may improve learners’ experience.  According to her LinkedIn profile, she completed her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees while working at Dawson College, meaning that she has experienced both sides of education at the same time, allowing her to test concepts and tools as she learned them.

While Dr. Charles’ research encompasses diverse topics and areas such as science education and pedagogy of changes in the classroom, she stays true to her focus on the why behind the technology or learning style.  Dr. Charles believes strongly in the strength of community and working with communities of practice to introduce change (2012 Recipients. n.d. para. 4).  In addition to her research, she led collaboration between colleges and universities to promote conversations surrounding social constructivist pedagogies and technology.  By working with both educators and learners, Dr. Charles continues to contribute to the field of educational technologies.  I am looking forward to following her work.

Dr. Elizabeth S. Charles (Loop. n.d. para. 1)


Conference Proceedings. (2019). Changing classroom designs: Easy; Changing instructors’ pedagogies: Not so easy… . Retrieved from

ISLS Repository. (2013). Taking DALITE to the Next Level: What Have We Learned from a Web-Based Peer Instruction Application?. Retrieved from

Linkedin. (2019). Elizabeth S. Charles. Retrieved from

Loop. (n.d.). Elizabeth S. Charles [Photograph]. Retrieved from

SALTISE. (2019). About Us. Retrieved from

STLHE SAPES. (n.d.). 2012 Recipients. Retrieved from

A Brief History of Technology in Education

When I think about history of technology in education, I find myself thinking about the early 1900s.  I think this is because so much has changed since that time and there are still people alive today who remember using a slate in school and now can use computers.

Educational Technology came into play during World War II, as the US military utilized films and media to train soldiers, which lead the ground work for the presentation software we have now (Educational Technology, 2019, para. 66).  As time progressed, computers became more commonly used and in the 1980s, they became affordable bringing them into the home (TED, 2016, 0.13).  In the 1980s and 1990s, education saw the arrival of Computer-based learning (CBL), introducing micro-worlds, and simulations (Educational Technology, 2019, para. 68).  These new atmospheres increased the methods, which students could learn, allowing those who struggled with reading and writing to learn in ways that worked for them.

Today there are computers everywhere from our pockets to our cars, including in our classrooms.  In his TedX Talk, Brown said “technology means that student of today have access to information that student of the past simply did not have” (Brown, 2016, 4:43); since he did that presentation technology has only advanced and more information is available.  Educators can now welcome technology into the classroom to have having guest speakers from all over the world connect over the internet allowing students to hear from people living the situation rather than read about it in a report.

Slate boards where used in classrooms as early as the fourteenth century until the mid-twentieth century (Slate (Writing), 2019, para. 7), meaning that educational technology remained consistent over 500 years; over the last 100 years we have gone from using slates in the classroom to tablets.  What will the history books say about the next 100 years?


Educational technology. (n.d.). In Edutechwiki. Retrieved September 8, 2019, from

TED. (2016, March 28). Redefining Learning & Teaching using Technology. | Jason Brown | TEDxNorwichED [Video file]. Retrieved from

Slate (writing). (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 8, 2019, from