From Silver Bullets to First Principles: Effectively Leveraging Technology in Higher Education

Monday, February 09 | 6:00PM–7:00PM | California C, Second Floor
Session Type: Professional Development
Higher education, writ large, has a tendency to look for and accept silver bullets, uber-easy and uber-effective solutions to complex and wicked problems, without the necessary scrutiny. Unfortunately, this silver bullet search has taken our collective eyes off more sound approaches to innovative applications of technology. These sound approaches, however, need to be grounded in "first principles" of learning, those foundational and evidenced-based findings that can guide our development of effective instructional environments. What are these first principles, and how can they lead us through the sea of emerging technologies and learner attributes (MOOCs, millennials, multitasking, e-portfolios, flipping, gamification, tablets, social media) to the advancement of learning? Technology can play a pivotal role in fostering student learning. IT/IDT professionals need to take a stand for and against emerging educational approaches based on their knowledge, skills, and expertise, as well as the extant research on learning and technology. There's plenty of rhetoric and noise in today's higher education systems; it's time to move forward proactively in creating instructional environments that focus on student learning, leveraging technologies toward that end through first principles.

OUTCOMES: Learn 3 first principles of learning * Learn a cognitive strategy for applying the first principles * Apply cognitive research in the examination of current silver bullets


  • Peter Doolittle

    Professor, Virginia Tech

Resources & Downloads