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Teaching and Technology: Making the Invisible Explicit and Progressive Through Reflection

Hayward, Lorna M, PT, EdD, MPH; Coppola, Brian F, PhD

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: December 2005 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 30–40

Background and Purpose. The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) challenges instructors, regardless of discipline, to consider critically and explicitly how and why an instructional technology is aligned with instructional objectives and anticipated learning outcomes. Individual reflection on experience is useful for making sense of the complex environment of teaching. Interprofessional reflection and dialogue are powerful strategies for stimulating thinking about teaching and learning that extend beyond a single field. This article has 2 purposes: (1) to explore the potential commonalities and disparities existing between 2 professors of different disciplines—physical therapy and chemistry—regarding their experiences using technology in instruction, and (2) to reflect upon and share the reciprocal learning transactions that can occur through “hybrid” interprofessional (and virtual) dialogue.

Method/Model Description and Evaluation. Our method enabled 2 professors to partake in a rich dialogue about their experiences teaching with technology. First, each professor described and reflected individually on the context and rationale for their selection of and teaching experiences with educational technology. Then, a reciprocal analysis transpired where examination of common and divergent themes was identified, which pertained to the implementation, outcomes, impact on student learning, and pitfalls encountered by each professor. Through a virtual dialogue, a learning community dyad was formed that focused on a goal of mutual interest: educational technology. Through concurrent reflection, the 2 professors transcended disciplinary boundaries to learn from each other in ways that were unexpected. A model was developed that describes the SoTL experience that is comparative, divergent, and ultimately progressive.

Discussion and Conclusion. Individual reflection combined with reciprocal analysis and dialogue within a learning community fostered a perspective change for each professor. Reflection illuminated commonalities regarding teaching with technology and collective dialogue provided an opportunity for additional learning to occur. This work supports the benefits of communication about teaching between disciplines to decrease isolation and build intellectual bridges to connect respective professions.

Lorna M Haywardis associate professor of physical therapy at Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 02115 ( Please address all correspondence to Lorna Hayward.

Brian F Coppolais Arthur F Thumau Professor of chemistry and associate chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (

Copyright2005 (C) Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA
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