Topic 3 How to include education technology in the classroom?

It’s no longer enough to teach technology in a single computer science classroom: today’s education centres need to take a holistic approach to technology integration.

Digital Classrooms such as Google Classroom and Schoology facilitate the organization of lessons, handouts, and class work, as well as make those class materials more accessible to learners and families.

Organization and accessibility of materials are really just the beginning. Digital Classrooms serve as a central location for additional resources, links to other EdTech apps, conversations amongst learners, and more.

Technology helps teachers provide learners with targeted instruction at their level. In addition to teaching to different skill levels, technology also helps teach to different learning modalities, whether visual, auditory, and experiential.

Here we have a short list of activities which can be performed in order to initiate class-room personalization of the content:

1.When planning whole-class instruction, incorporate learning materials for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners into your lesson plans.

2.At the beginning of the course, ask learners what their favorite topics and activities could be and create a quick cheat sheet that you can have handy when reviewing your learners’ progress.

3.Group learners by how they like to learn and encourage them to work collaboratively on a project. The learners who are more advanced will help those who are struggling in a way that feels natural to them, which will more than likely align to their partner’s preferred learning style as well.

4.Provide both classic teaching tools and technology-based tools to give learners different ways to interact, experiment, and challenge themselves when learning new concepts.

Selecting digital technology for classroom use

Selecting the right digital solution to meet the learning needs of the learners can be a daunting task, often involving a large number of diverse stakeholders with what appear to be competing needs and interests. One can reframe those difficulties as opportunities, highlighting a path to nimbleness and inclusivity that positions learners and educators as partners, each uniquely suited to explore ways technology can support and advance learning. In selecting the right digital tools in order to ensure both personalization of the class-room as well as inclusion of all learners in order to facilitate the empowerment process of all learners in the classroom, one can guide himself after a set of five principles. 

  1. Alignment with student learning goals and standards

The first question needed to be asked is: “What do our learners need to know and be able to do?”

The best way to guide the learner’s learning pathways is by beginning with a clear destination in mind. Once you’ve established these goals, you can identify how to reach them through a system of formative and summative assessments. Only after considering learner needs and goals, learning pathways and taking stock of what is currently available does it make sense to start asking what the marketplace has to offer.

When educators apply the above-mentioned steps, they ensure that they will design technology selection,

integration and application solutions based on pedagogical best practices and guide the adoption of digital resources based on global technology learning standards to ensure a thorough learner empowerment.

A viable digital technology solution has the following characteristics:

⮚Takes advantage of digital resources for instruction.

⮚Uses technology effectively and appropriately.

⮚Promotes digital age learning skills.

⮚Prepares learners for digital age work and life.

⮚Encourages technology-powered pedagogy.

  1. Importance of research and evidence

How do we know what works and what doesn’t, and in what context? The first questions asked when adopting new classroom technologies tend to focus on usability, dependability and affordability. But there are three other essential questions that go beyond functionality and price: Does it work? For whom? How do we know?

We can include the evidence in the following criteria:

Tier 4. Preliminary. Demonstrates a rationale based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that such activity, strategy or intervention is likely to improve student outcomes or relevant outcomes; and includes ongoing efforts to examine the effects of such activity, strategy or intervention.

Tier 3. Promising. Evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias.

Tier 2. Moderate. Evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study.

Tier 1. Strong. Evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study.

Types of Evidence to Consider

When you come across evidence that supports a solution’s effectiveness, first ask how reliable the evidence is. Then consider whether the context in which the evidence was collected is similar enough to your own context that you are likely to see similar results. It is important to read any research with a critical eye. Ask yourself:

⮚When was the research done? Is it out of date?

⮚Who conducted the research and who funded it? Did the researcher or funder have a vested interest in a particular outcome?

⮚What is the sample size and who does it represent? How similar are the participants to those you plan to work with?

⮚What is the methodology? What type of evidence is provided?

⮚Are there outliers in the data, and are they addressed in the interpretation?

To move beyond the limitations of peer referrals and solution-specific outcomes data, schools and districts need to take on new responsibilities to conduct rigorous, systematic self-evaluations. Some partner with researchers at local institutions, while others use digital tools to conduct their own research.

  1. Data interoperability and student privacy

How do solutions collect, share and secure student learning data? The term interoperability refers to the seamless, secure and controlled exchange of data between systems and applications. Without interoperability, learning centres bear the financial burden of manually performing tasks that applications should do automatically. This builds hidden costs into every solution that lacks interoperability support.

The importance of data Integration

Without the seamless integration and sharing of data across solutions, educators may be forced to:

⮚Manually enter student roster and other information into each tool separately.

⮚Keep track of multiple usernames and passwords, and log in to multiple dashboards to retrieve reports and access student learning data.

⮚Manually export and synthesize data across solutions to get a big picture view of student learning.

⮚Put learners at risk because of insufficient privacy and security protections for student data.

Improving Privacy and Security

It’s essential that educators keep student data private. This is a requirement of european and state laws governing schools and data sharing for minors. Even while protecting the privacy of student data, schools can still allow controlled, secure access by trusted individuals when doing so helps learners learn and helps educators do their jobs better.

  1. Challenges of Implementation, Use and Ongoing Support

Do we have the right people, policies and resources in place?

Sustainable, systemic and effective procurement partnerships between learning centres and educators require their own type of small-scale infrastructure for support. Assessing your system’s essential conditions for success and building educator capacity for understanding learner needs can help ensure successful procurement, rollout, implementation and evaluation.

Educator responsibilities include:

⮚Contributing to the development of a shared edtech vision in their learning centre.

⮚Advocating and requesting ongoing professional learning opportunities to ensure that they are effectively leveraging available solutions.

⮚Making sure digital curriculum resources align with and support digital age learning and complement standards and student learning goals.

⮚Getting support both in learning how to use a solution and in knowing how to apply it to their classrooms in order to effectively empower learners to own their learning process.

⮚Making sure they know how to get technical help without significant lags.

⮚Providing ongoing feedback to support the continual assessment and evaluation of digital solutions.

⮚Maintaining an open relationship and ongoing communication with learners about the learning process.

  1. Educators as purchasing responsibles

What questions should we be asking, and how do we bring everyone to the table?

By reimagining procurement and bringing all stakeholders into partnership, learning centres administrators, educators and adult learners will be better positioned to ensure that classroom technology meets learners’ needs. You have the ability to change learning.

Guiding Questions

The questions provided here are catalysts to help learning centres reimagine and refine digial education technologies procurement processes. A no or uncertain answer to any of these key questions should give your team pause and lead to follow-up conversations before other, less imperative questions are considered.

  1. When evaluating current procurement practices

1.How do we ensure our procurement practices include educator voice?

2.What are our guidelines regarding the acquisition of digital technology solutions outside of the learning centre? Can we co-design formal or informal protocols to offer clarity and guidance?

3.How might we systematize the evaluation of solutions and apps and share lists of approved resources?

  1. Before the Purchase

1.What problem are we trying to solve?

2.Who should be included in the purchasing process?

3.What will success look like?

4.Are these needs already being met by existing resources?

5.What are our standards for data interoperability, safety and security?

  1. When Talking to Vendors

1.What data and interoperability standards does this solution adhere to?

2.How does the solution ensure privacy and security?

3.Which student learning goals is the tool designed to meet? What documentation or research do we have to verify that the solution will help us meet these goals?

4.Does the solution address an identified need and complement the curriculum?

  1. When Making a Purchasing Decision

1.Does the solution meet the definition of success?

2.Is the solution automating a classroom function or facilitating something impossible without technology?

3.Does the solution augment the teaching and learning process, or replicate it in a digital environment?

4.Does the solution put users (educators and learners) first?

  1. When Piloting

1.Does the solution actually adhere to promised standards and pledges of data privacy and security?

2.What is required to implement a solution in the classroom and at scale?

3.What featuresof the solution make it easy to learn and use for both learners and educators?

4.What featuresensure that learners of all abilities have access to it?

5.What happens if the solution is not feasible to implement?

6.How will we support educators in their use/implementation?

7.How will we manage the solution? Will the learning centre manage it remotely, or do educators manage it in the classroom?

8.What barriers will need to be addressed before a more expansive implementation?

  1. After Implementation

1.Is the solution moving us toward our definition of success?

2.What learning are we gaining from implementation at scale?

3.How might we improve communication between users and learning centre?

4.What are unexpected educator and system needs, and how might we meet them?

5.What ongoing professional learning is necessary to improve success?

6.What is the roadmap for improving or extending/enhancing it over the next two-three years?

Supporting Best Practices with SAMR

The SAMR Model provides guidance and a technique for moving through four degrees of technology adoption: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (SAMR).

Supporting Best Practices with SAMR

The SAMR Model provides guidance and a technique for moving through four degrees of technology adoption: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (SAMR). It is made up of four steps —Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Substitution and Augmentation are considered “Enhancement” steps, while Modification and Redefinition are termed “Transformation” steps.

The 4 steps explained

Substitution

At this stage, technology is directly substituted for a more traditional one. It is a simple, direct replacement. For example, if you are teaching a lesson on the Constitution, you might use an electronic or web-based version of the document instead of a hard copy. Learners might also answer questions about the Constitution using a Microsoft Word instead of filling out a worksheet. Substitution might also include a student using Keynote, PowerPoint, Prezi, Slides, or a similar program to present information about an article or amendment to the class.

In this step, you ask yourself what we stand to gain by replacing traditional tools with technology. Invariably, some situations will be better served with pen and paper.

Augmentation

The technology is again directly substituted for a traditional one, but with significant enhancements to the student experience. The technology increases or augments a learner’s productivity and potential in some way. For example, a learner might augment a presentation on, say, the DigiComp with a video clip on how the digital technology affects our everyday lives. It could also include interactive links to relevant websites.

Modification

In this stage, you are beginning to move from enhancement to transformation on the model. Instead of replacement or enhancement, this is an actual change to the design of the lesson and its learning outcome. The key question here—does the technology significantly alter the task?

A student presenting a research on the DigiComp, to continue our example, might create his or her own unique graphic organizer for the class that not only includes the usual multimedia resources but represents a new product or synthesis of existing material. As another example, a group of learners might collaborate in a cloud-based workspace to propose a modern definition of equal protection under the law and solicit feedback on their proposals from classmates.

Redefinition

The last stage of the SAMR model is Redefinition and represents the pinnacle of how technology can transform a student’s experience. In this case, you ask yourself if the technology tools allow educators to redefine a traditional task in a way that would not be possible without the tech, creating a novel experience.

For example, after completing their group work and soliciting feedback from classmates (both tasks that could be completed “offline” although arguably not with the same experience as in the modified format), learners could utilize technology to network with learners in other countries to see how national differences impact how others think about DigiComp Framework.Taking it a step further, learners could even interact in real time with citizens in another country to examine key differences in country applicability. 

SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy

Many educators use the SAMR model and Bloom’s Taxonomy in tandem to make their technology integration more purposeful. It’s a common mistake, however, to conflate the two models and think that deeper technology integration (the M and R in SAMR) lead to higher order thinking skills defined by Bloom. This is simply not the case. So while it may be useful to use SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy to better flesh out your instructional strategy, keep in mind that they were designed for very different purposes.

Topic 3 was one of the most complex topics of this chapter due to the multitude of variables needed to be considered.

The two main items of discussion here were:

⮚The criteria for selecting the appropriate digital technology for the classroom;

⮚The description of the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model for technology use in the classroom