Amplifying Learning in Higher Education through Interventional Tools of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Technology-Centric Learning

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Brief Abstract

Higher education is a exponentially diversifying, both, intrinsically and extrinsically, through the delivery of content and the dynamic learning audience. The uniqueness of culturally responsive and technology centric education will increase interactivity, keep the students engaged, and enhance learning skills.

Presenters

Dr. Harika Rao is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business and Management, at Lynn University. Harika has been teaching for six years and specializes in Management and Leadership, Innovation, Information Systems Management, and E-commerce. Harika firmly believes that a teacher can make positive changes in the lives of hundreds of people by helping them realize their potential to become productive members of the society. My teaching philosophy has been that igniting ‘passionate curiosity’ in the minds of students is the key to sustained learning and putting learning on autopilot. She takes the students from ‘spoon-feeding’ to a higher level of ‘independent learning’ by making full use of ICT. As the adage goes: a good teacher explains the complexity and a great teacher reveals the simplicity. With her diverse background – both culturally (Asia, the Pacific and now the USA) and academically (Computer Science, Business Administration, and Educational Leadership), she fine-tunes her instructional methods to meet the diverse individual learning styles of students. Harika also serves as the faculty club advisor for Enactus, Alpha Phi Delta, and Hacking student club. Harika has published two multi-touch books, that are currently being used as textbooks for undergraduate courses and the third book is underway. She has presented in several conferences with research interests in acculturation, social impact, technology based education, and disruption. Awards: • Academic and Creative Excellence Award, 2019 • Best Paper Award, Academy of Business Research, 2018, 2017 • Apple certified teacher 2016, 2017 • FATE, Best Graduate Award, 2015

Extended Abstract

Globalization and resultant international mobility, especially in higher education sector, have created a situation where interaction between teachers and students from diverse cultural backgrounds might adversely, albeit unintentionally, impacting the effective learning outcomes.  Culture can simply be understood as a product of nature and nurture. With the varying understanding and intricacies of cultural textures, inclusivity becomes a challenge.

The situation has amplified in the wake of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as students and educators adapt to the new normal of remote learning and teaching. The new normal has shaped a first-hand notion for all, adding a new layer to culture. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s publication titled “New Schools of thought: Innovative models in delivering higher education”, the ripple effects of the pandemic are likely to compel the educators to future-proof higher education by largely resorting to online education with the help of technology.

The research proposes to use two tools, namely, culturally responsive pedagogy and technology-centric learning to ensure that the learning outcome is optimal. students. Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings,1994). 

For the purpose of this study, culturally responsive pedagogy will be based on eight competencies of culturally responsive framework by Jenny Muniz. An educator must understand the student population and then individual cultural backgrounds, needs, interests, preferences and experiences through personal interviews and questionnaires. Technology-centric education is based competency based education (CBE). CBE rigor is unconventional, in a way, where students focus on understanding and grasping the concept.

An exploratory qualitative case study design is proposed for the research. A representative sample of higher education students at a university will be selected with at least one third of them diverse international backgrounds. Direct interviews and questionnaires with 7-point Likert scale are the research instruments.

The expected outcome of the research results will show the extent to which the cultural influences are filtered via culturally responsive education and the impact of CBE to learning outcomes of students in person-centered environment.

Level of Participation:

The session is structure as a discussion to share the best practices of using technology tools in higher education. Following the introduction, all attendees will get a brief introduction on the advantages of culturally responsive pedagogy and technology-centric education. Towards the end of the session, attendees will be able to create a sample framework for their classes.  

Session learning goals:

All participants will be able to identify the value of inclusive teaching and learning, for a positive and holistic impact on student learning outcomes. This will also give them a platform to be creative in engaging students in a blended environment.