Enhancing nurse education through technological advances is a growing trend of nursing programs today. As the complexity and amount of information that nurses are required to comprehend, support has grown for integrated curriculum approaches that include instruction with the innovative use of technology. A new litany of teaching and learning methods has arrived to include internet clinical instruction, online discussion boards, and research opportunities for both students and faculty. Programs that incorporate technology into learning requirements are also aiding students in developing the cognitive processes to use information technology effectively, thereby developing and acquiring a higher order of thinking skills (Chaffin & Maddux, 2004). This paper will discuss how the use of electronic technology is a critical element in the role of a certified nurse educator through the steps of assessment, cultural dimension, relevance to the nurse educator, and relevance to the learner.
The role of a nurse educator is a shifting paradigm due to the growing use of technology-based learning to meet the needs of today. This shift of a nurse educator from the traditional classroom setting to a setting that utilizes technology to replace or augment traditional nursing education in a classroom must, consequently, result in a shift in the methods of assessing teaching effectiveness. Students in general are attracted to learning via technology according to Chaffin and Maddux (2004), but assessments of both instructor and student are necessary to evaluate both technological competence and skills before a course proceeds. The assessments should be followed by opportunities to improve and enhance the incorporation of technology into an optimal learning/teaching experience.
As technology progresses, academic nurse educators must keep up with its advancement. This could require a nurse educator to utilize resources outside the typical nurse educator field. There are several resources to aid the nurse educator in teaching technology such as the National Education Association (NEA), Society for Applied Learning Technologies (SALT), Innovate, among others (Wittman-Price & Godshall, 2009, p. 189). These resources offer instruction on the use of technology in learning, such as web-enhanced courses, social networking (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.), video podcasting, and blogs (Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006). Students and educators could also benefit from education through mobile devices such as smart phones where step-by-step clinical procedures could be given and illustrated through video interaction. Educators provide clinical skill-development through the use of existing and emerging simulation modules such as SIMMAN (Wittman-Price & Godshall, 2009, p. 191). Using this type of simulation is the opportunity to integrate new technologies into instruction which, in turn, provides secondary benefit of becoming adept in the use of technology likely to be utilized as a clinician. With this plethora of technological opportunities available to the nurse educator, it is imperative that the nurse educator be willing and able to learn and expose themselves to new information through professional development at conferences, educator literature, and short courses related to education technology (Bakken et al., 2004). However, it is of equal importance that the nurse educator develops a systematic process of evaluating and assessing the success of any new technologies implemented in their educational approach. As an example, the nurse educator institutes a pre and post course evaluation strategy. This could include a questionnaire given to the student at the beginning of the course to provide the educator with a measure of a student’s technology-competency level which could guide the educator in his/her technology-selection process (Krautscheid & Burton, 2003). As a post-course assessment of the technology used, an...
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