First off, let me clear up the obvious question here; what is andragogy and pedagogy? According to Malcolm Knowles, andragogy is, "the art and science of helping adults learn" and pedagogy is, "the art and science of teaching children." However, this is not where the distinction between andragogy and pedagogy stops; the differences are much more complex. For example, andargogy encourages self directed learning based on the passions of the learner, where as pedagogy is directed learning based on standards (The Modern Practice of Adult Education). For a more detailed description of the differences between andragogy and pedagogy, here is a video that I created comparing the two.
Now that the differences of andragogy and pedagogy are clear, how does technology play a role? To me, the biggest role that technology plays in branching the gap between pedagogy and andragogy is in building 21 Century Skills. These skills are inherent when it comes to andragogy, but before learners can get to this point, they need to be directly taught these skills through pedagogy. In the article 21 Century Skills: Not New, but a Worthy Challenge, Rotherham and Willingham say that advocates of 21 century learning favor student centered models like problem based learning. This is closely linked with the theory of andragogy and where technology becomes a tool in branching the gap. When students work on a problem based learning project, they are going to be learning from the teacher how to use those 21st century skills.
I will give an example for each on of the 4Cs that is included in the 21st century skills; starting with collaboration. It is one thing to have students talking with each other in the classroom to collaborate on an idea, but with technology, teachers can model to their students how to be collaborative online. Teachers can demonstrate how to set up a google slide show, and how members can work and comment on the slide show even if they are not in the same room together. During this time, the teacher can also model how to give constructive comments that help to benefit the progression of the project. Once completed, the students can have time to practice this new collaborative skill using the tech, and the teacher can circulate, or send comments through their computer. These skills can then be translated into other sites such as google docs. As the students start to transfer this knowledge, they are moving from pedagogy to andragogy with the help of the technology.
Another C of the 21 century skills is communication. This skill ties in well with the previous skill of collaboration. Teachers can model to their students how to communicate with different audiences. The teacher can show different types of articles and blogs and talk about who the intended audience is and how the class knows that. Then students can put this new communicative knowledge to work and try blogging for themselves. This teaches the students how to talk to people other than their peers and they can also get collaboration back on their blogs.
Next there is creativity. When I hear of creativity, I think of art and that I am not good at it. Students need to be shown that there are different types of creativity. By modeling different sites that allow for creative outputs, and then letting the students be able to use them, teachers are showing students that there is more than one way to be creative. Once they know this, they are more likely to go back to these sites and use them in future projects to demonstrate their knowledge on a topic.
The last C is critical thinking. Out of all of the 21st century skills, this one needs to have the most time to model, build, and explore for students. On a basic level, think of the typical research question. If given to a student with no research skills, they are going to be lost on what to do with it. However, if teachers start to model how to do research online and walk through their own thought process, students are going to start picking up on that critical thinking skill. Talking about why those keywords were typed into the search bar, why we search under scholarly articles instead of just the web, why we organize the information gathered the way we do; that is going to help the students bridge that gap and get them critically thinking on their own. Next time they have a question, they might do the research instead of asking, or putting it to the backs of their minds. To me, that is how we move from pedagogy to andragogy with the help of technology; by using the technology as a bridge to gain and master the 21st century skills. Using it to model and then reinforce the students learning. If they don't have those skills, it will be very hard to make the jump from teacher directed learning, to self directed learning.
Knowles, M. S. (1970). The modern practice of adult education; andragogy versus pedagogy. New York: Association Press.
Rotherham, A. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2010). 21 Century Skill: Not New, but a Worthy Challenge. American Educator, 17-20. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/RotherhamWillingham.pdf
My name is Jessica Meservey and I am a 6th grade teacher. There is no level that I would rather be teaching and learning with. I currently teach in rural Maine. I love to integrate technology into my classroom as we are 1:1. Find me on Twitter at @MsMeservey.