A learner’s needs are at the forefront of an educators’ planning and experimentation, especially with tech. Luckily, there is a lot of good research that says that effective tech adoption improves student outcomes.

Current research shows that introducing apps and social media into classroom activities helps learners

  • engage in active, social learning (Weiling & Qian, 2018);
  • attain and retain concepts more effectively (Dahlstrohm et al, 2013);
  • personalize their learning, and make it authentic and collaborative (Kearney, Burden & Abussen 2012);
  • tackle learning anywhere, anytime, thanks to mobile devices (Hwang & Chang, 2011).

Education is also benefitting significantly from collaboration tools built into cloud based apps, which are becoming more the norm (Schwendemann et al, 2018).

It’s quite likely that we may not even be leveraging most technology to its fullest potential, and there is more benefit to be had from making our implementation of it as student centered as possible.

(Arenas, 2015)

Effective new tech tools, then should:

  • complement active learning approaches;
  • leverage mobile devices;
  • be cloud based;
  • facilitate learning anytime, anywhere.

Empathy Mapping

Let’s get a clear picture of the learners in your class in our minds.

emaphty map as described
Empathy map by Jess Wilkinson, 2019.
  • What do you know about your students?
  • What might students be thinking?
  • What might they be feeling?
  • What might they be seeing, hearing or saying?

Using an empathy map can be a great way to visualize and empathize with another’s perspective. Use this template, or draw or create your own empathy map.

Consider how all of this affects their experience of learning.

Share your empathy map in this collaborative folder. Explain any observations or conclusions you arrived at.

Take a look through some of the others, and offer your comments and feedback.


Arenas, Edilson (2015). Affordances of Learning Technologies in Higher Education Multicultural Environments. Electronic Journal of E-Learning (13) 4, 217-227.

Barton, E and Dexter, S. (2019). “Sources of teachers self-efficacy for technology integration from formal, informal and independent professional learning.” Educational Technology Research and Development, pp. 1-20. Retrieved from: https://doi-org.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/10.1007/s11423-019-09671-6.

Dahlstrom, E., Walker, J. D., & Dziuban, C. (2013). ECAR study of undergraduate students and technology, 2013 ( 1st ed.). Louisville, CO: Educause Centre for Applied Research.

Hwang, G. J., & Chang, H. F. (2011). A formative assessment‐based mobile learning approach to improving the learning attitudes and achievements of students. Computers & Education, 56, 1023–1031

Kearney, M., Schuck, S., Burden, K., & Aubusson, P. (2012). Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective. Research in Learning Technology, 20(1). 14406. doi: 10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14406

Schwendemann, B., De Wever, B., Hämäläinen, R., Cattaneo, A.(2018) The State-of-the-Art of Collaborative Technologies for Initial Vocational Education: A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training. 2018;5(1) DOI 10.13152/IJRVET.5.1.2

Weiling Zhuang & Qian Xiao. (2018). Facilitate active learning: The role of perceived benefits of using technology, Journal of Education for Business, 93:3, 88-96, DOI: 10.1080/08832323.2018.1425281