The Purposeful Integration of ‘Technology’ into Teaching and Learning Best Practices
The intentional design of digital products and constant rate of change requires education to expand the definition of technology.
By Doris Wells-Papanek, MEd
Director, Design Learning Network
John Hattie’s insightful research (2012) informs us that computers can indeed increase the probability of learning. That said there is no relationship between having and using computers that guarantees positive outcomes. Learning occurs when there is an explicit and transparent goal identified, challenges are appropriately assigned, as well as teachers and students alike seek to ascertain whether the challenging goal has been attained at the desired degree. Simply put, there is no point in requiring students to engage in digital activities unless the tools serve as purposeful vehicles of learning and are effectively integrated into a plan.
Hattie, John. VisibleLearning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. London: Routledge, 2012.
From a student’s perspective, what
level of impact might a broad range of ‘technology’
Design Learning Challenge, Step 3) Explain, March 1 KCAI-Hosted Culminating
An Overview of Hattie’s Research on Digital Technology Integration
The following has been adapted from Hattie’s (2012) effective use of digital technologies findings on impact on learning:
Digital Technology is Used Most Effectively When…
diverse set of teaching strategies are used.
When technology is used as a supplement to direct instruction there is a positive effect (0.45), however when technology serves as substitute/replacement the effect is reduced (0.30).
is time for pre-training in the use of technology as a teaching and learning
There are multiple forms of learning opportunities in place for students to engage with technology such as deliberate practice, increasing time on task, and optimization strategies:
1) Motivating the learner
2) Learner control
3) Presentation of information
4) Characteristics of the questions
5) Characteristics of replying without losing sight of the learning goal
6) Immediate announcement of correctness vs. open-ended responses to encourage thought
student, not teacher, is in “control” of learning.
When learners are in control over their learning (pacing, time allocations for mastery, sequencing and pacing of instructional materials, choice of practice items, reviewing, etc.) then the effects were greater than when the teacher was in control.
learning is optimized.
Using technology in pairs is more effective than when computers are used alone or in larger groups. Peers are involved in problem-solving, suggesting and trying new strategies, and working through possible next steps. Students can learn most effectively when working together, as it exposes them to multiple perspectives, revisions on their thinking, varied explanations for resolving dilemmas, increased sources of feedback on errors, and alternative ways to construct knowing.
There are many types of feedback that can be optimized according to the challenging task. Rather than providing the correct answer, explanation (0.66) and remediation (0.73) are far more effective than just providing the single correct answer (-0.11).
Purposeful Integration of ‘Technology’ When Used as a Vehicle to Support Learning
Educators today face a substantial gap within an ever-changing 21st century learning landscape as they integrate digital technology into their lesson plans. Assuming direct links to intended learning targets, the goal is to expand the definition of technological strategies and tools:
In other words, the technological playing field opens up considerably when digital technologies are no longer the sole option to consider.
‘Technological’ Strategies and Tools
– as defined by the Greek origin of the word,
"Technology." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 11 Oct. 2015.
With this expanded definition of ‘technology’ in hand – while taking into consideration Hattie’s findings, teachers can successful prepare to make informed and balanced instructional decisions aimed at making positive impact on student learning and outcomes.
These decision making practices require educators to compare a broad range of technological options (low-to-high fidelity) to other instructional possibilities alongside timeliness of integration, accessibility, effort required, evidence of learning, assessments, etc. In essence, purposeful uses of technology can indeed take place when framed as vehicles of support, rather than the destination.