Hosted by SISP student committee, McGill University

Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

May 25th - May 28th

​Education during the digital shift: Key principles, practices, and policies

Adam Dubé, Ph.D

​McGill Summer Institute for School Psychology

Adam Kenneth Dubé is an Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director for the Learning Sciences Program in the Department  of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University, the McGill Faculty of Education Distinguished Teacher award recipient, the head of the Technology, Learning, & Cognition Lab (, and a joint Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the Society of Research in Child Development in middle childhood education and development. He investigates how educational technology augments the learning process and teaches courses on the use of emerging educational technologies. His work on the use of tablet computers in education is published in the book “Understanding tablets from early childhood to adulthood: Encounters with touch technology.” His current research asks whether educational tablet games are able to simultaneously entertain and educate and it is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada as well as the Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Société et Culture. This work on the use and design of effective educational games informs his contribution to the UNESCO-MGIEP “Industry guidelines on digital learning."

                                                          Brief Synopsis

Education and technology have always been intertwined and have become one and the same in a post-pandemic world. Prior to the pandemic, developed nations were increasingly looking towards the technology sector to drive their economy and this required a highly skilled labour force with strong STEM skills. In response, Digital Learning Technologies (DLTs) were being rapidly deployed across Canada by school boards (e.g., Ontario earmarked $150 million to purchase iPads specifically, Reiti, 2014), teachers, and parents in the hopes of improving students’ experience and comfort with technology as well as providing much needed STEM skills (An, 2014; Barack, 2011; Campigotto et al., 2013; Ludwig & Mayrberger, 2012).
In our pandemic world, parents and teachers are turning to DLTs; not just to create a leg-up for students but to provide some form of continuity to children’s education. However, research supporting the efficacy of DLTs is mixed and suggests they were not living up to their potential (Girard, 2013). This occurs because there are few resources available that help teachers identify quality DLTs (Dubé et al., 2020) and there is too little formal training on how DLTs should be used in the classroom (Hirsh Pasek, 2015).
This session will address the gap in training through discussions on three topics. First, a brief coverage of the history of EdTech will demonstrate the shifting role of technology in education and how its use in classrooms has been simultaneously driven by advancements in both pedagogy and technology. This discussion will culminate in a framing of educational technology as more than just ‘stuff’ (i.e., tablets); but rather a broader practice that includes devices, processes, and ethics. Second, we will look at the recent trends in educational technology from the 2000s to the present, including which DLTs and teaching practices have become popular, which ones are effective, and which ones are just believed to be effective (e.g., gamification). This discussion will give insights into what is driving current practice and how we have more recently moved from the use of ICT for information search to ICT to facilitate creativity and collaboration. Third, we will look at the future of EdTech by covering how the remote instruction experience caused by the pandemic will likely shape education, identifying both promising and problematic practices. The session will complete by generating practical policies to guide the evaluation of educational technologies informed by the preceding discussion. 

                                         Learning Objectives

Three 1-hour blocks. Each block will include small group breakout room activities/discussions. 
Block 1 - EdTech-More than just stuff

  • Brief history of EdTech
  • Conceptualizing EdTech
  • Purpose: Efficiency vs. Efficacy 
  • Parts: Devices & Processes
  • Ethics: Digital divide vs. democratization 

Block 2 - Current landscape of EdTech: Where we were and where were going

  • EdTech trends from the 2000s to 2021
  • Drivers of EdTech: Industry, Society, or Learning
  • Changing Role of EdTech in the classroom: Information search to collaboration 

Block 3-Future of EdTech

  • COVID and the digital shift in education
  • Problematic and promising practices 
  • Evaluating EdTech: Policy suggestions and practice

Wednesday, May 26th: 1pm - 4pm