Prensky (2010) recommended partnering with students and defined partnering as the way of working together to produce and ensure student learning in the 21st century. Partnering includes the roles of the teacher as coach and guide, goal setter and questioner, learning designer, control shifter, context provider, and rigor provider. He later added to the definition by saying that the teacher’s goal of partnering is not to tell (the answer), and here is how it works.
In the partnering pedagogy, Prensky stated that it is the job of the student to use technology as the teacher coaches and models the use of technology for effective learning. For this to occur Prensky recommended teachers focus on things they already do but develop a deeper level of expertise in questioning, rigor, and feedback for students. This begs the question, what and how should I integrate technology into my teaching?
Determining how technology will allow students to arrive at learning outcomes during the design phase of the lesson should guide planning.
Fullan (2013) emphasized that technology and pedagogy should revolve around the roles of both students and teachers, while Sheninger (2016) iterated that students must always be at the center of the process when using technology for learning. Tamim, Bernard, Borokhovski, Abrami, and Schmid (2011) found that technology integration has the best effect when it is used to support student learning in the outcome rather than being used as a method for direct instruction. Determining how technology will allow students to arrive at learning outcomes during the design phase of the lesson should guide planning. Focusing on pedagogy first and technology second will ensure effective technology implementation (Sheninger, 2016) and allow your students to appropriately utilize technology to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to a local and global audience.
USING TECHNOLOGY TO DEMONSTRATE LEARNING
Tamim et al. (as cited in Lee et al., 2013) found that technology was best used for basic skills and factual learning, a necessary step for students to be able to use technology at a deeper level such as demonstrating their knowledge by creation of projects. The authors argued that the cognitive outcome identified, project-based learning, produced the highest effect in learning because it helped learners to see the part/whole relationship, and it inspired students to locate information, seek out facts, modify findings, and collaboratively work with their peers. Student cognitive outcomes can be increased by having students (a) collaborate in small or paired groups with computers, (b) develop instructional elements that are sense-making in context, and (c) and build student basic skills and help them see the interconnectedness of subject knowledge in a project-based learning (Lee et al., 2013, p. 140). For example, as the designer of instruction your practices might include:
In conclusion, technology integration should be based upon student outcomes while keeping the focus of teaching to the verb. Research suggests placing an emphasis on what students can do with their knowledge, aligning teacher pedagogies with collaborative projects that spark the interest of the students, and moving the teacher away from the role of the knowledge expert to a facilitator who partners in learning with the students as successful ways to integrate technology in the classroom.
Below are the resources mentioned from today’s post should you want to learn more about the successful integration of technology. In the meantime let us know how you are partnering in learning with your students in the comments below. If you found this post useful please join our Pedagogize It community and subscribe for free strategies for how to best use technology for learning. The Pedagogize It community revolves around what matters most, and that is you and the work that you do.
Getting started with integrating technology in the classroom can be a little overwhelming, however, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be and a good start is to know when to use it, or not. In his Classroom Q&A audio podcast, Larry Ferlazzo interviewed two instructional coaches and an elementary principal and asked for their perspectives on integrating technology into the classroom. Three great questions with a trove of knowledge is packed into this short nine minute interview, here’s the gist (responses summarized):
When asked “what is one important criteria teachers should keep in mind when deciding if they should use tech in a lesson and why?” (Ferlazzo, 2019).
Reflecting on “what is a common mistake made by teachers using tech in the classroom?” (Ferlazzo, 2019).
And finally, when asked “what is one simple thing teachers can do to add value to their lesson?” (Ferlazzo, 2019).
WHAT RESEARCH SAYS
These expert responses align with research and best practices for the effective use of technology in the classroom. Students should also have a sense of the digital tools available to them and know which tool best fits the need for the desired outcome. Wadmany and Kliachko (2014) identified technology contributions and recommended classroom practices. Findings included that technology increases flexibility in learning, demonstrates learning, allows for collaborative learning, differentiates and personalizes teaching and reduces learning gaps, and allows for learning to carry on beyond the school walls.
It is not what technology is used, but how it is used that counts for student learning.
Adding technology into the classroom does not guarantee an increase in student achievement. Using technology to supplant teachers or to make up for ineffective practices almost guarantees poorer outcomes in achievement. Teachers should heed the notion that it is not what (technology) is used, but how it is used that counts for student learning. More importantly, a review of how students and teachers benefit from using technology to develop knowledge and skills is warranted while recognizing that successful integration is aligned to changes in teacher practices, curriculum, and assessments (Mohammed, 2018; Vega, 2016).
THE LAST WORD
In summary, technology integration should be based upon student outcomes while keeping the focus of teaching on the verb. Research suggests placing an emphasis on what students can do with their knowledge, aligning teacher pedagogies with collaborative projects that spark the interest of the students, and moving the teacher away from the role of the knowledge expert to a facilitator who partners in learning with the students as successful ways to integrate technology in the classroom. Given these points, successful integration of teaching with technology is more than possible. Students learn when technology is used to enhance and support good teaching practices, and learning is hampered when technology is used with ineffective instructional strategies (Magana & Marzano, 2014).
Below are the resources mentioned from today’s post should you want to learn more about the successful integration of technology. In the meantime let us know your responses to the three Classroom Q&A questions from above in the comments below. If you found this post useful please join our Pedagogize It community and subscribe for free strategies for how to best use technology for learning. The Pedagogize It community revolves around what matters most, and that is you and the work that you do.
A fast and easy way to effectively integrate technology into your lesson or unit (after answering technology for the purpose of what) is to appropriately pair the noun with the verb. I know you are thinking that this is not English class, but stay with me. In order for successful technology integration to take place, teachers need to be well versed in what Prensky (2010) referred to as the “verbs” and “nouns” of teaching.
Prensky identified verbs as skills students need to “learn, practice, and master” (p. 45) (such as understanding and communicating) and nouns are the tools students use to learn and practice these skills. The digital tools included presentation software such as PowerPoint, e-mail, YouTube, and other digital resources that are ever changing.
Prensky urged educators to see the verbs as being the fundamental pedagogy for learning that changes little, if any, and nouns (21st-century tools) as something that will constantly change throughout our lifetimes. Prensky summarized the connection of the noun and verb by illustrating the use of PowerPoint: “PowerPoint is a tool (noun) for presenting (verb). But it will likely be replaced in our students’ lifetimes…by other, better, presentation tools” (p. 46).
The underlying assumption to successfully pairing nouns and verbs is that the teacher has a good understanding of technological knowledge (TK). This means he or she knows which noun (tool) is appropriate to pair with the verb (skill). For example, if teaching the transdisciplinary skill of creativity, the teacher probably would not use Kahoot, an assessment tool, with his or her students to demonstrate their creative ability. However, the teacher might call for Padlet to be used as a brainstorming organizer instead to help with the creative process.
Pairing the appropriate noun to verb is crucial for effective technology integration. I think of verbs as what students are supposed to be able to know and do while nouns are the conduit that helps build knowledge and skills in students. In a future post I will unpack why technological knowledge (TK) is important to successfully pairing nouns and verbs and introduce its close relatives, technological content knowledge (TCK) and technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) while suggesting how this TPACK domain is crucial to effectively integrating technology into teaching.
If you enjoyed this short lesson in effectively integrating technology into your teaching please be sure to join the Pedagogize It community. Subscribe for free strategies for how to best use technology for learning. Below are the resources mentioned from this post if you want to learn more about successful integration of technology into your teaching. In the meantime, leave your thoughts in the comments about your favorite paired nouns and verbs.
WHAT EXACTLY IS TECHNOLOGY ANYWAY?
Examples of technology throughout the history of education include wooden paddles with printed lessons during the Colonial years; the Magic Lantern, an archaic form of a slide projector; and the chalkboard (which arrived around 1890), followed by the pencil (in 1900). Audio in the form of radio started in the 1920s; the overhead projector was introduced in 1930, the ballpoint pen in 1940, and headphones in 1950. Videotapes were first used during the early 1950s, and Skinner’s all-inclusive teaching machine came thereafter.
Skinner's teaching machine had Popular Mechanics asking if "robots will teach your children" ... in 1961.
The late 1950s and early 1970s produced the photocopier and handheld calculator, and Sokolski’s Scantron system began scoring assessments in 1972. Everyday use computers arrived in the 1980s, the Internet was born in the early 1990s, and Apple released the first personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 1993. In a word, technology has incrementally crept into classrooms over the years as a means to have a positive impact on student achievement and relieve teachers of repetitious work (Cuban, 1986; Martin, 2016; Purdue University, n.d.).
TECHNOLOGY AND THE WORKPLACE
Technology has changed the thinking of teachers as they must now consider how technology impacts transdisciplinary outcomes such as the 21st-century skill, collaboration. Due to technology, the context of collaborating has dramatically changed as technology allows collaboration to take place anywhere, anytime. Ubiquitous collaboration allows for the sharing of projects and increases productivity on a global scale and employers are actively seeking candidates with this workplace competency (Manpower Group, 2015).
THE BOTTOM LINE
As technology is ever changing, so will the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful collaborator, critical thinker, creator, and communicator (McGivney & Winthrop, 2016). In summary, technology is not an ends to a means nor should it be viewed as a standalone. The appropriate use of technology can be an avenue to 21st-century learning and be used to enhance learning and increase student achievement (McTighe & Curtis, 2016). As technology continues to transform the workplace we need to ensure students are complemented by technology instead of being replaced by it (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014). Teachers must instill the digital literacy knowledge, skills, and outcomes needed to leverage the available technologies for student and future employee success (Martin, 2016).
Be sure to join the Pedagogize It community if you enjoyed this quick lesson in ed tech history. We will be looking at strategies for how to best use technology for learning in future posts and you will not want to miss out. Below are the resources mentioned from this post if you want to learn more about the history of ed tech and ideas for successful integration. In the meantime, leave your thoughts in the comments about how technology has or has not changed teaching and learning in your opinion throughout the history of education.
Sheninger, 2016, posted an interesting thought on his blog regarding technology and return on instruction. He said it like this: “When integrating technology there needs to be a Return on Instruction (ROI) that results in evidence of improved student learning outcomes.” I can almost hear you thinking... "how exactly am I supposed to do that?"
I am glad you asked. One way I am doing this is through the active monitoring of how technology is being used to help in improving student learning outcomes. Specifically, teacher and student use of communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills, in addition to other formative and summative measures. I have two ROI questions that I like to pose to teachers and administrators when teachers are getting digi with their pedi(agogy):
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
In my role I analyze large amounts of instructional and infrastructural data from teachers and students throughout seven grade-level buildings. I enjoy being able to build a context of learning for each building through the lens of digital learning. Ultimately, I try to identify if teachers and students are getting a return on instruction. In a recent analysis I unpacked four conclusions, implications, and recommendations for increasing the digital ROI in an elementary building. This included goal setting, lead and lag measures, effective antecedents, and aligned tools for learning based upon unique survey responses and prior trends.
Benjamin Franklin said, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Here is the bottom line. When it comes to calculating your ROI, know your investors (students), your investment timeline (curricular aim), and how big of a return you seek (assessment). This investment formula will be sure to increase your return on instruction and pay the best dividends in learning. How are you calculating your ROI in the classroom? Here are a couple of helpful resources for getting your best digital return on instruction: