With today’s increased use in technology, educators must keep pace with students and learn how to use different devices like smartphones and tablets. Educators must also familiarize themselves with as many technological tools as possible in order to ensure that their materials are accessible, lively, engaging, and current.
Many of my students really have a dislike for group work and often to fail to see the value in working in groups. They have stated many reasons for their dislike of group work, the two main reasons being: (1), difficulty communicating with other group members and (2), concerns with group members not contributing an equal amount of work to the presentation. This often leaves students feeling frustrated as group presentations are graded and worth 15% to 20% of their final grade in the course. Students have also expressed frustration that all group members will receive the same grade and students feel this is unfair as some group members do not contribute an equal amount of work toward the presentation.
One of my group assignments is the development of a patient care plan. In healthcare practice, patient care plan are important since the care plan maps out the care which needs to be provided during the shift by the entire collaborative/multidisciplinary care team.
Students often have difficulty understanding patient care plans. Patient care plans are instrumental in planning and implementing care, as well as maintaining continuity of care. Mind mapping provides a visual diagram, which makes this concept easier to understand. I ask that the group members create a mind map together in order to learn from one another.
The directions for the assignment are to have the students create a mind map of a patient care plan based upon a chosen case study for the care of a patient with hypertension (high blood pressure). Once the mind map is created, the group must them create a plan of care.
The assignment should also engage the students’ learning across the three domains as per Bloom’s Taxonomy: cognitive, affective, and sensory. Activities using technology should transform learning at a higher level. Learning should occur across the three domains.
In order to facilitate communication among group members, as well as, monitor group members contributions, I have chosen Google Docs as a technology tool. According to SECTIONS, the following should occur:
S (students): development of transferable skills such as communication, research, analytics
E (ease of use): no major investment in time required for students or faculty
C (cost): students and faculty will not incur any additional costs
T (teaching functions, including pedagogical affordance of media): supports the learning goals identified in the course; supports peer and self-assessment as well as instructor assessment
I (interactions): supports interaction with peers and instructor; contributes to learning by engaging students with the course content and each other
N (networking): new approach to teaching and provides new learning for students
S (security and privacy): changes can be made quickly; it is tried and true technology; allows independence in course materials since the students can access documents at any time
As an educator it would be important that I evaluate this technology and its effectiveness in the classroom. A possible activity that could be used to review this technology would be a mini research activity to be done in class. This evaluation could be done prior to beginning the actual group work. In order to conduct this evaluation, I would follow the principles of SAMR.
S (substitution): using Safari to copy and paste information
A (augmentation): bookmark and share notes using Google Docs
M (modification): share documentation via Google Docs
R (redefinition): network with students in different localities and collaborate on the assignment; the assignment becomes more interactive
Introducing technology into education can be extremely rewarding. It is an opportunity for both educators and students to examine their digital capabilities. It is important to stress that educators need to be clear on why technology is being used and know how to use it themselves. If educators have not been trained to use a certain technology, it it fair and just to ask students to use this technology.
Change is good but it does not happen overnight. As students and educators become more confident and competent, their digital skills will vastly improve. With this improvement, we will see students having more control over their learning and how they represent themselves. Furthermore, we as educators should be mindful to supporting students and ensure that they see and understand the benefits of technology. Technology is a key part of teaching and embedding new tools into the classroom is an exciting part of our teaching role.