[My Leadership Day post this year introduces a new tool, trudacot, that we have been using to facilitate productive conversations with educators about technology-infused learning and teaching…]
[UPDATE 1: trudacot was featured on the MindShift blog. Awesome!]
[UPDATE 2: see my trudacot resources page]
We’ve got a lot of technology floating around our schools and classrooms these days. And while that can and should be a good thing given the digital age in which we now live, we often find that our technology-related efforts aren’t paying off for us as we had hoped. There are many reasons why this is true, but a main one is that we don’t have great ways to think about what’s occurring when we see students and teachers using technology for learning and teaching purposes.
TPACK and SAMR are the two main technology integration frameworks being used right now. While conceptually useful, both of them have their limitations. Neither are very specific when it comes to helping teachers think about what to change to make their technology integration better. The SAMR levels have the additional challenge of apparently meaning very different things to different people (I have witnessed on numerous occasions a particular usage of technology placed in all four SAMR levels by educator audiences). Resources like the TPACK activity types help with some of this, but my colleague, Julie Graber, and I were looking for something different. Failing to find what we wanted, we decided to make our own…
Starting with purpose
Technology integration should be purposeful. That very simple statement is at the heart of the trudacot template. When we use digital technologies for learning and teaching, those uses should be intentional and targeted and not simply ‘tech for tech’s sake.’ My team continually asks the question, ‘Technology for the purpose of what?’ With that in mind, Julie and I set out to create a template of questions that would allow educators to think critically – and purposefully – about their technology integration.
For example, if a class activity was using learning technologies for the purpose(s) of enhancing personalization or enabling greater student agency and choice, the types of questions that we would ask to see if those purposes were being accomplished might include:
- Learning Goals. Who selected what is being learned?
- Learning Activity. Who selected how it is being learned?
- Assessment of Learning. Who selected how students demonstrate their knowledge and skills and how that will be assessed?
- Work Time. During the lesson/unit, who is the primary driver of the work time?
- Technology Usage. Who is the primary user of the technology?
In contrast, if a lesson pulled in digital tools for the purpose(s) of enhancing student communication / connection, and perhaps even facilitating collaboration across locations, we would ask very different questions. The types of questions that we would ask to see if those purposes were being accomplished might include:
- Audience. How are students communicating? If with others, with whom? [students in this school / students in another school / adults in this school / adults outside of this school]
- Communication Technologies. Are digital technologies being used to facilitate the communication processes? [writing / photos and images / charts and graphs / infographics / audio / video / multimedia / transmedia]
- Collaborators. How are students working? If with others, who is managing collaborative processes (planning, management, monitoring, etc.)
- Collaborative Technologies. Are digital technologies being used to facilitate collaborative processes? If yes, in which ways? [online office suites, email, texting, wikis, blogs, videoconferencing, mindmapping, curation tools, project planning tools, other]
Similarly, if teachers wanted students to use technology for the purpose(s) of enabling them to do more authentic, real world work, the types of questions that we would ask to see if those purposes were being accomplished would be different from those previous and might include:
- Real or Fake. Is student work authentic and reflective of that done by real people outside of school?
- Domain Knowledge. Are students learning discipline-specific and -appropriate content and procedural knowledge? If yes, is student work focused around big, important concepts central to the discipline? [not just minutiae]
- Domain Practices. Are students utilizing discipline-specific and -appropriate practices and processes?
- Domain Technologies. Are students utilizing discipline-specific and -appropriate tools and technologies?
And if a lesson or unit integrated learning technologies for the purpose(s) of facilitating students’ deeper thinking, creativity, or metacognition, the types of questions that we would ask to see if those purposes were being accomplished might include:
- Deeper Thinking. Do student learning activities and assessments go beyond facts, procedures, and/or previously-provided ways of thinking? [e.g., ‘syntheses’ or ‘analyses’ that actually are just regurgitations]
- Creativity. Do students have the opportunity to design, create, make, or otherwise add value that is unique to them?
- Initiative. Do students have the opportunity to initiate, be entrepreneurial, be self-directed, and/or go beyond given parameters of the learning task or environment?
- Metacognition. Do students have the opportunity to reflect on their planning, thinking, work, and/or progress? If yes, can students identify what they’re learning, not just what they’re doing?
This is a good list of considerations for unit design and for classroom observations, and your list will mesh nicely into the Understanding by Design Unit Template version 2.0 that we use http://jaymctighe.com/resources/downloads/
Thanks so much for sharing, Seth!
Great post, the need to make frameworks like TPACK and SAMR more tangible/practical has been something I’ve been wrestling with as well. You might be interested in a framework I’m developing called SAMMS – it’s about showing teachers what they need to be doing with tech if it’s going to be transformational, by doing the things that make tech transformational, if that makes any sense?
These are the elements that should be present in any use of tech that is intended to be transformational:
Situated practice (work any… where/place/space/time)
Accessibility (access to information)
Multi-modality (screen centred creations)
Social networking (syncronous/asyncronous people power)
Thanks for developing Trudacot. I love the way it integrates technology with the wider curriculum, and its focus on making technology integration purposeful. Looking at the overall big picture, would you consider the purpose of using technology in schools to be to support collaborative development and sharing of thought and creativity?
I find it interesting that there are two sections in Trudacot that don’t have a technology specific question:
E: Authenticity/ Relevancy – which includes the idea of student work making a contribution to an audience beyond the classroom walls
G: Critical Thinking/ Creativity / Initiative / Entrepreneurship, which asks questions relating to Deeper Thinking, Creativity, Initiative and Metacognition.
Maybe these two areas reflect where we’re going.
Section E could be considered to reflect the original purpose of the internet as a means for sharing knowledge and information. The internet provides students with one avenue for making authentic contributions.
Section G could be considered to fall in the creation section of Bloom’s taxonomy, which is considered the pinnacle of thinking.
Maybe we could view the technology questions in Trudacot as scaffolding to help us attain the learning described in Sections E and G.
Here are the references for the above comment:
Blooms Taxonomy: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rV_MVEspCw4/TSyxrSyu8oI/AAAAAAAABYI/TCh6_ExssxI/s1600/blooms+taxonomy+and+technology.png
How the web lost its way: