How a T-L Might Help Classroom Teachers Choose Technology
T-Ls can also help classroom teachers decide on the best technology to fit a learning outcome (rather than floundering about a list of “Top 100 Web Tools for Teachers” or some such thing), and help educators navigate the valid questions and concerns regarding its implementation in learning. Ideally, curriculum is backward-planned (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) or backward mapped (Hayes-Jacobs, 2010), which makes determining the best tool easier when starting with the end in mind. Instead of form leading function and trying to twist an educational activity into the shape of a cool new tool, function should determine the form of the tools used instead (Hayes-Jacobs, 2010).
A fun example would be choosing a digital technology to fit a level in Bloom’s taxonomy:
Heidi Hayes-Jacobs (2010), however, does not just want the technology to fit the activity. She wants to “modernize our work is…. [by replacing] existing practices” (p. 18), which might help educators see connections between technology and learning (p. 19).
Note that there is no quick technological fix:
There is no one technology that will facilitate easier transfer of knowledge for all students, or make difficult concepts clear for all students. Furthermore, each technological tool brings with it cultural implications about expectations for learners interacting with that tool. (Strobel & Tillberg-Webb, 2009, p. 83)
There are numerous variables that will affect the implementation and use of a technology that need to be considered, such as students, teachers, technology infrastructure, other school/class variables and administrative/school culture (Clarke & Dede, 2009): T-Ls should have the benefit of a big-picture view of a school and curriculum, and can therefore help assess the best ways to approach these variables, especially when using backwards mapping/planning techniques.
More information on choosing technology:
Strobel and Tillberg-Webb (2009) emphasize that technology should not be used merely as “edutainment”, and provide key elements of what should go into meaningful technology integration, which are:
Goldman and Dong (2009) offer an example of purposeful technological choice by using a “perspectivity framework” to highlight the benefits of working with multimedia and social networking. In this case, such tools can be used to: