Learning theory and classroom technology

Teachers need to consider learning theory when integrating technologies into the classroom because behaviourist, constructivist and connectivist pedagogies can all benefit from a SAMR redefinition of activities that students complete to demonstrate achievement of curriculum outcomes using Web 2.0 tools and their affordances. Approaches to the epistemology of classroom learning theories (See Image One) have undergone increasing change recently because education institutions are seeking to utilise a more collaborative pedagogical approach that has been made available with the use of digital Web 2.0 technologies. Siemens (cited in Paikin, 2013) says that an Outcomes based curriculum focusing on student readiness for a positive participation in their society has been a significant continuity in the development of behaviourist, constructivist and more recently connectivist approaches to learning theory in the classroom. Starkey (2012) argues that as our society moves from the industrial to the digital age, learners need to be catered for with a more flexible curriculum so that they are able to understand and participate fully in the world that they live in. Starkey (2012) highlights that connectivist approaches to curriculum pedagogies are resulting in the “presentation of information […] becoming less linear (as seen in an essay) and increasingly three dimensional, with hyperlinks or navigation within and across key ideas or concepts” (See Image Two). Starkey (2014) also says that teaching and learning in the digital age with a connectivist approach is consistent with innovative pedagogical approaches suggested in the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2010) that helps to create content and use technology to engage and assess learners’ higher order thinking skills.

Innovating classroom pedagogy to keep up with students’ learning requires teachers to provide active, engaging and collaborative tasks utilising the affordances of Web 2.0 technologies toward a connectivist learning theory approach. HSIE teachers like myself need to do more than just substitute old learning resources like textbooks, overheads and word documents with new Web 2.0 applications like MOODLE courses. We need to consider the student’s needs as active meaning makers who learn through playing and experimenting with their social networks. Bigum (2012) argues that schools have instead, consistently failed to address the social needs of students by obsessing with the latest technologies as a focus for ‘practice’ rather than ‘practising’ their use. He further suggests that these short sighted approaches have resulted in a ‘merry go round’ of consumer driven curriculum and policy design that has failed to engage learners in the objectives of even the most socially aware constructivist approaches toward pedagogy.

Connectivist learning theory can help HSIE teachers implement a more democratic, user centred approach to learners’ needs by encouraging collaboration with other students in the classroom using class Wikis. Collaborative Wikis have been identified by Stanton (2013) as meeting the criteria for the redefinition of classroom pedagogy according to Puentedura’s (2010) SAMR model. After assessing my TechPACK using Roblyer and Doering’s (2013) TIP model I am not confident in expanding the boundaries of collaborative Wikis outside the classroom yet because of the child protection policies guiding internet and social media use in the school. I would also consider the use of collaborative wikis after assessing students skills with more structured and directed learning activities about finding information on the internet. Roblyer and Doering’s (2013) TIP model suggests that directed technology integration strategies such as online multiple choice quizzes are recommended when students need to acquire skills quickly and efficiently. A more holistic attitude toward a consideration of the social environment that students are participating in is a priority for the professional development of my TPACK.




Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and Computers: Tales of a Digital Romance. Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms. L. Rowan and C. Bigum, Springer Netherlands: 15-28.


Harasim, L. (2012). Introduction to learning theory and technology. In Learning theory and online technology (pp. 1 – 14). New York, NY : Routledge


Paikin, S. (2013). George Siemens: Changing Schools, Changing Knowledge, The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR_ziHA_8LY&feature=youtu.be


Puentedura, R. (2010). SAMR and TPCK: Intro to advanced practice. Retrieved February, 12, 2013. Retrieved from: http://hippasus.com/resources/sweden2010/SAMR_TPCK_IntroToAdvancedPractice.pdf


Roblyer, M. and Doering, A. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: Pearson New International Edition. Pearson Education Limited. Kindle Edition.


Starkey, L., (2012). Teaching and learning in the digtial age. Oxon: Routledge.


Stanton, B. (2013) TPACK and SAMR. Adobe connect meeting. Retrieved from: https://connect.schools.nsw.edu.au/p7dhxvtdzgv/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

2 thoughts on “Learning theory and classroom technology

  1. Hi Iain,

    I enjoyed reading this post and the reference to Puentedura’s (2010) SAMR Model. This framework is utilised in my school to support teachers in assessing the level of technology use and the value of ICT in the classroom. Collaborative learning experiences with technology such as the Wiki example you mentioned is a great example of the redefinition of pedagogy and student learning. I also believe that creating a class/student blog with students or setting a challenge where students create a movie, would also fit into this category of the SAMR Model.

  2. Hi Iain,
    It is an interesting point you’ve made around Bigum (2012) “that schools consistently failed to address social need of students by obsessing with the latest technologies as a focus on practise rather than practising the use”. The focus and the need to possess the latest gadget or technology is the pitfall that many ‘early adopters’ in education, be it K-12 or VET, and sometime sound pedagogy implementation in a classroom context falls by the wayside so the teacher can adopt the latest technology.
    Interesting thought-provoking post about the link between learning theories, technology and your context.

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