6 Quick Questions to Determine Technology’s Value


Reposted from MindShift:

“Author, speaker and former teacher Alan November agrees with Graber that SAMR doesn’t provide enough concrete guidance. Many of his graduate students present technology projects that they define as a redefinition of learning — the highest level in the SAMR model — but November sees them as merely substitution. For example, one of his students presented on Leafsnap, an electronic field guide app that allows students to take a photo of a plant leaf and quickly learn about its biological traits.

“What did they just learn?” November asked a crowd of educators at ISTE 2014 in Atlanta. “How to take a picture. That’s what they learned.” While the Leafsnap app is cool, it doesn’t meet November’s criteria for using technology. “I think it’s really important to start with a framework of: Does technology add any value?” he said. He uses six questions to determine value, arguing that if the answer is “no” to any of the questions, the use of technology should be considered suspect.

1. Did the assignment create capacity for critical thinking on the Web?

2. Did the assignment reach new areas of teaching students to develop new lines of inquiry?

3. Are there opportunities to broaden the perspective of the conversation with authentic audiences from around the world?

4. Is there an opportunity for students to publish (across various media) with an opportunity for continuous feedback?

5. Is there an option for students to create a contribution (purposeful work)?

6. Were students introduced to the best example in the world of the content or skill?

“I think these six elements separate what’s transformational from what I would call the $1,000 pencil,” November said. Instead of using Leafsnap, November would like to see teachers challenge students to think critically with a question like, “Which plants will die first when the effects of climate change begin to be felt?”

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