A Place for Tech in the Classroom

Like all technology in the classroom, if not utilized correctly, it can become a distraction for students. This makes sense when you think about how our students regularly use technology anyway – as a distraction! We need to implement the tech we use in a valuable way and think strategically about how to do so.

In order to do this, all technology we use needs to be vetted. Using the Rigor/Relevance Framework, we can assess the tech we plan to use and how to best implement it. The Rigor Relevance Framework addresses both Knowledge Taxonomy and the Application Model. The Knowledge Taxonomy evaluates complex thinking and the Application Model is used to evaluate how the knowledge can be put to use.

How it all works

Using four areas below, you can assess all aspects of a lesson and its effective use of technology. When vetting your lessons, ask yourself if each of the following items can be checked off when using technology. If you are unable to do so, it is entirely possible the technology you have planned will not work as effectively as you would hope. If this is the case, do not fret! Simply, reevaluate the technology or software and how it can be used more effectively – or find a different tech to do the job.

The following four key areas of the Rigor/Relevance Framework are your guide through the vetting process. Closely look to see if each portion of the lesson can complete the following:

Assimilation – “Students extend and refine acquired knowledge to automatically and routinely analyze information, solve problems and create unique solutions.”

Adaptation – “Students think with complexity and apply knowledge and skills to unpredictable situations.”

Acquisition – “Student tasks require simple recall and a basic understanding of knowledge.”

Application – “Students use acquired knowledge to solve problems, design solutions, and complete work.”

The most important reason for using this process when planning lessons is to make sure we are not just throwing tech into lessons because we have to or have it available. The technology should complement the lesson just as much as the lessons should complement the technology. Students will take more away with them if they are learning to take real world tech and use it in ways that make things easier and more engaging.

The overarching goal of including tech within the classroom is establishing a real world application. By doing this, students will be more engaged because the thought, “when will I ever actually use this,” will never enter their mind.

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