Have you ever agreed to do something only to wonder later, why did they ask me? Recently I was asked to co-present on technology resources for a group of curriculum leaders. My co-presenter had great technology skills. What would I add to the mix? I decided to start with John Hattie’s work on visible learning. My goal would be to share some technology resources that could be paired with influences that recorded a high effect. Here’s what I found and included in my part of the presentation.
As stated in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, research on strategies for struggling students shows computer- assisted instruction contributes to the learning of at-risk students because it is nonjudgmental and motivational, provides frequent and immediate feedback, and can individualize learning to meet students’ needs. Technology can help teachers develop assessment-capable learners. Technology provides teachers with access to resources that can help them to identify and refine standards and objectives. It also helps students to organize, clarify, and communicate learning objectives. Educators can create Google Forms for students to assess their learning on a checklist. Student ePortfolios created with tools such as Evernote, LiveBinder, Weebly, or Seesaw can also engage students in self-assessment.
Feedback includes feedback to students as well as from students in terms of what students know, what they understand, and when they have misconceptions. Technology is especially effective when it comes to providing this kind of feedback. Games and simulations, for example, allow teachers and students to get near-instantaneous feedback during the learning process. That allows for immediate redirection. Socrative, Kahoot, Educreation and Explain Everything are just a few of the tech tools that can provide effective feedback.
Another of Hattie’s influences that has a great effect size is reciprocal teaching. This type of teaching operates around the principles of predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing. Technology tools can be used here as well. One example is EdPuzzle; you load a video from the web, add your voice and questions within the video and enable self-paced learning. Another resource is Actively Learn where teachers are allowed to use pre-loaded texts or import their own texts and embedded questions or reflections in the texts.
Though the three topics covered have a positive effect size, educators must remember that not every website or app is appropriate for students at all grade levels. Teachers need to have researched the app well enough to know if it will be appropriate for their particular students. Learning outcomes should always be the first thing addressed when deciding to include technology in instruction. Remember the assignment, not the tool or device decides the level of rigor.
The classroom’s climate and the motivation that the students have for using technology play a big part in use of different technologies in the classroom. If a teacher is comfortable with the technology, then the classroom will be more technology savvy and students will be more open to try new things.