My aspirational brain vomit

Helping Teachers Choose Technology

Archived material posted in 2012


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:

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps

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:

  • Using tools to build community:
    TLs can help classroom teachers develop students’ skills with participating in social networking and personal learning networks in a safe and effective manner.
  • Sharing control:
    technology better allows T-Ls and teachers to be both role models and guides in the learning process, rather than the central fount of all knowledge in an isolated classroom setting.
  • Participatory design:
    T-Ls can help teachers and students provide more input into the process of technology integration and design, such as when as school uses a learning platform (LMS, VLE, LCMS) like Moodle, which is customizable.

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:

    • Empowers students to share each other’s viewpoints.
    • Leads to learning as reflection through sharing different viewpoints among the participants.
    • Induces a heightened sense of immediacy, social presence, and social networking.
    • Creates a community of online social network.
    • Enables students, teachers, and researchers to review and change their own perspectives in light of the views of others who may have different strategies and knowledge on the subject.
    • Creates more permeable and equitable boundaries between learning, teaching, and researching. Teachers and students are partners. They share each other’s viewpoints and acquire knowledge together. (pp. 126-127)

The Learning Commons can assist with Blended/Hybrid Learning and other forms of 21st Century Learning 

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