When it comes to technology in education, there is a natural tendency to see it as just another thing that somebody must do. In other cases, it is viewed as being more work. Let me tackle the second issue first. When we try implementing anything new, there is always a learning curve. It is important to remember, though, that the time and effort put forth will reap the rewards when it comes to improving practice and, in turn, learning outcomes. I have learned from firsthand experience that figuring out how to use a new digital tool is the easy part. The more difficult mental hurdle is that using any digital tool is just another thing added to an already crazy workload.
While I firmly believe in the merits of digital learning, it comes with a caveat, which I recently shared on social media:
Technology is just a tool and is definitely not a silver bullet. On its own, it WILL NOT lead to learning or improved outcomes. The focus must be on how the LEARNER is using it to LEARN in alignment with sound strategies and pedagogy.
My statement above is meant to reassure all educators that the tenets of good teaching, sound pedagogy, and research on learning are of the utmost importance. Clarity is also essential when it comes to purposeful use. This is why the Rigor Relevance Framework is a sound option compared to SAMR, TPACK, TIMS, and other tools that emphasize tech over learning. I dive a bit deeper into the concept in this piece of #EDvice.
As you look to refine or improve digital learning in your classroom, school, or district, consider keeping the RR Framework handy. I summed up its value in a previous post:
The overall goal, both with and without technology, should be to empower students to work and think. Another critical strategy is to focus on the purposeful use of technology when appropriate. Just because it is available doesn’t mean it can or will improve every lesson or project. Thus a focus on pedagogy first, technology second, if appropriate, will help ensure success, something that I emphasize extensively in Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms. While SAMR is a solid starting point, it is not the end-all or be-all. The multi-dimensional aspects of the Rigor Relevance Framework can be used to guide you in developing better questions and tasks as part of good pedagogy.