What is Digital Pedagogy?

From Anaid Shaver, KJ Chew, Sam Salous, Rifat Sabbir Mansur, Zhenyu Yao

“We did not know it was different from online teaching. We are not sure what digital pedagogy is.”

These were some of the opening statements we had in the group. Our discussion revolved around interpreting what “digital pedagogy” is. 

For some of us, digital pedagogy is not a thing that you do, it is a “force” that exists that has multiple elements. For instance, when we talk about Kahoot, it is not digital pedagogy. It is deeper than that. It is its own force in itself and it invites learning in the process. It is also always evolving. The use of “hacking” as a form of manifestation of learning also supports the idea of what digital pedagogy can be. For others, some view digital pedagogy as a study and a philosophy, indicating that one needs to spend years and efforts learning it. An instructor needs some training before he/she is assigned to teach a course. Similarly, one becomes a digital pedagogue by spending years researching, participating, writing and presenting on digital pedagogies. The most important factor in teaching is that it is still a human endeavor rather than just based on the technologies. 

However, what makes it “digital”? For some of us, we think some of the authors have “digital” as a conversation starter. They do not want to restrict the conversations, mindsets and definitions of what “digital” is. They want us to break out the restrictive thinking and mindsets revolving LMS and digital teaching. This means digital pedagogy does not mean it has to be in a virtual setting. It also does not have to be using digital tools. It is a way we can facilitate learning better in creative, flexible and expansive ways.

On the issues of banning digital tools or technologies in the class, we think student agency is important, and we should be teaching students on how to use the tools, like laptops. Instead of discussing with them using laptops for social media, we can have discussions with them on how to use laptops for learning. For instance, one of our group members provides them links to look for using their laptops to learn about critical thinking. The instructors should focus on how to make their class materials more interesting. Especially, at the college level where teaching is not a form of babysitting. It might be helpful to develop more flexible teaching approaches, such as recorded lectures, where students can follow through according to their own convenience. The key aspect here is that teaching should excite students into being curious and learning more.

2 Replies to “What is Digital Pedagogy?”

  1. I appreciate your last sentence. I agree that the point of all pedagogical practices, including digital pedagogy, is to motivate student learning. Although I would not refer to K-12 education as babysitting, there is a need to adapt our pedagogical practices to fit the ages and needs of students. I like your idea that digital pedagogy is a creative teaching approach. I would include the use of technology in my definition of digital pedagogy. Thus, digital pedagogy, as you state, is more than using digital tools such as Kahoot!, Mentimeter or other live feedback websites.

  2. I enjoyed reading your group’s discussion of this emerging teaching philosophy that has become much more relevant in the current state of higher education and online learning. My group also agreed that digital pedagogy is always changing and evolving. We believe that if teachers can adapt the digital pedagogy to the needs of the students in class, it can be most effective and reflective.

    I agree that student agency is important when thinking about allowing phones and other devices in the classroom, but if you are creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable learning, how do you address the concerns of students that are distracted by Facebook browsers in front of them and the distracting nature of having people on devices in the classroom? I try to sit in the front of class to reduce distractions, but my peers computer screens are hard to avoid. Is there an effective way to set up the classroom where students on devices sit at the back to avoid distractions? If research shows written notes are better for the majority, how do we take this into account?

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