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Bugeja, Cuban, and Pedagogy

Posted By: Jim Julius on March 4, 2008
I appreciate the occasional TCR article on instructional technology in higher ed. I thus can't help but notice that this article seems to be trying to make the exact opposite point of Larry Cuban's 1:1 Laptops Transforming Classrooms: Yeah, Sure (10/31/2006):

"Even with abundant access and slowly increasing use among professors, few marked changes in pedagogy have occurred. Champions of laptops see these machines overhauling the dominant lecture-based form of instruction. Yet, as faculty surveys have shown repeatedly, in classroom instruction they use computers to reinforce existing ways of teaching (e.g., PowerPoint as illustrated lectures) producing few changes in how they teach and how their students learn."

Bugeja, after dwelling far too long on his credentials, finally gives some useful criteria at the end of the article for helping educators to think critically about the potential benefits and challenges of incorporating more technologies in teaching and learning. What is missing, though, is substantive discussion of his contention that "in every case, pedagogy changed to accommodate the technology" in his 30 years of observation of higher education, and his recommendation that faculty consider "How will my pedagogy change, if at all, if I adapt the technology into my lesson plans?"

The more important questions here ought to be about whether current higher education pedagogies (the ones Cuban refers to as generally continuing along merrily despite the introduction of technology - the ones which are based on an information-transfer, fill 'em up and test 'em model) are effective. If they are not, as various observers have been contending for the last 15+ years, then how might technologies, thoughtfully used, enhance other pedagogies which foster greater interaction between students, faculty, and content? And further - how do we engage faculty in the development necessary to help them rethink both pedagogy and the place of technology?
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 Bugeja, Cuban, and Pedagogy by Jim Julius on March 4, 2008
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