Using Google Drive to facilitate a blended approach to authentic learning

25 Jun 2013

While technology has the potential to create opportunities for transformative learning in higher education, it is often used to merely reinforce didactic teaching that aims to control access to expert knowledge. Instead, educators should consider using technology to enhance communication and provide richer, more meaningful platforms for the social construction of knowledge. By using technology to engage in shared learning experiences that extend beyond the walls of the classroom, we can create opportunities to develop the patterns of thinking that students need to participate in complex, real world situations. We used authentic learning as a framework to guide the implementation of a case-based, blended module in a South African physiotherapy department. Google Drive was used as a collaborative online authoring environment in which small groups of students used clinical cases to create their own content, guided by a team of facilitators. This paper describes an innovative approach to clinical education using authentic learning as a guiding framework, and Google Drive as an implementation platform. We believe that this approach led to the transformation of student learning practices, altered power relationships in the classroom and facilitated the development of critical attitudes towards knowledge and authority.