The DNA of learning – as educators create media

As our reliance on educational technology increases, the role of the teacher begins to evolve with the technology itself.  In order for the teacher to be effective, there must be a symbiotic relationship between the teacher, student, and technology.  One analogy might be to consider the teacher and the student as the two strands of opposing DNA with the teacher’s creations connecting the two.  And as this article suggests, it’s not magic – it’s both an art and a science. 

What criteria should the teacher consider as they select their technology?

  • Does it align with their pedagogical approach?
  • Do they have the training they need to implement the technology effectively?
  • Does the technology enable the teacher to create the learning environment they want to provide to their students?
  • Will their students embrace technology?  Do they understand how technology will enhance their learning experience?
  • Will the students achieve the desired outcomes?
  • Can the students engage with the technology to become co-creators themselves?

What are some of the challenges that teachers face as they explore using more technology in their classrooms?

  • Certainly, beyond cost to obtain, time to learn, and resources to maintain, the teacher needs to consider the challenges associated with digital citizenship and privacy form the foundation of using technology. 
  • Will the technology simply become a distraction – a means of entertainment – or can it be shown to impact real learning?  Does the course create the market for more students and is that in alignment with previous academic values?  Will students be drawn to courses that are more entertaining when the content is equal and how will that impact institutions’ abilities to continue to grow and invest in their infrastructure?
  • Are there hidden costs to using technology of which we are not yet aware?
  • As discussed in an earlier post, emerging technology creates special challenges in that the technology may be in the early stages of development – another example of cocreation as the technology evolves with the uses identified.  

The challenge is that the teacher, the students, and the technology form a Venn diagram that is not perfectly overlapping.  The challenge will be to find the sweet spot where the technology supports the teacher’s desire to create a viable lesson plan and students find the lesson plan to be a viable way in which to take in the learning.  If A is the teacher and B is the students and C is the technology, then how does one actually achieve the sweet spot of z?

Venn diagram of three circles

This is where Garrison et al (2019) suggest that the role of teaching has evolved such that in creating student-centered learning,  the students become inquiry learners and are therefore being guided, not taught, in the traditional sense of the word.  

Students can also become co-creators as Cloonan (2020) suggests.  This was a fascinating exploration of how teachers, in becoming aware of how their students were using technology, became more aware of the pedagogical approaches that would help individual students learn best.  Cloonan suggests that teachers become researchers as they evaluate these interactions, adding yet another facet of their wide-ranging toolbox. 

Ultimately, the ability of teachers and students to create a student-centered learning experience can be enhanced through the use of technology in an extremely symbiotic manner.  It is as if the DNA of learning is evolving at an ever more exponential rate and the real challenge will be if all three entities can continue to evolve together since none can exist without the other. 


Cloonan, A. (2020). Enabling student co-curation of digital media through teachers’ pedagogical research. Australian Journal of Language & Literacy, 43(3), 214–223.

Garrison, K. L., FitzGerald, L., & Sheerman, A. (2019). “They Should be Called Guiders”: Teachers and Teacher Librarians Developing Inquiry Learners. School Libraries Worldwide, 25(2), 34–47.

Hengtao Tang. (2020). A Qualitative Inquiry of K-12 Teachers’ Experience with Open Educational Practices: Perceived Benefits and Barriers of Implementing Open Educational Resources. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 21(3), 211–229.

Marcus, J. A. (2019). Online Educator Entrepreneurship With Facilitator-Created, Subject-Specific Targeted Videos. Distance Learning, 16(1), 21–25.

Wong, B., & Chiu, Y.-L. T. (2019). Let me entertain you: the ambivalent role of university lecturers as educators and performers. Educational Review, 71(2), 218–233.

2 thoughts on “The DNA of learning – as educators create media

  1. Catherine, your approach to this thinking and the Venn diagram you shared are very reminiscent of the T-PACK model of technology in education (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge). This is a good framework to think about the skills that teachers need to have to teach effectively, and how there are really two or more areas of skill that need to be cultivated.

    Touching on curation of digital media is also appreciated. It is a skill that is not widely recognized as such.

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