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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Using Technology to Amplify What's Working

This post is about a resource I created for for teacher professional development sessions about tech integration. It serves at least three purposes:
  • It reinforces the idea that technology should be used for more than just saving time
  • It introduces teachers to good research-based instructional strategies.
  • It provides a common language and vision for effective use of technology.
It's based on the idea that technology amplifies. Like a lever can allow one person to lift more or a shovel can help one person dig more, technology in the classroom can increase the effectiveness of good instructional strategies.

A link to the document is below. As teachers work in pairs or a group of three to fill in the table, it requires them to go through this process:
  • Identify and describe a few good instructional strategies - I have been providing these, but teahers could start by sharing some they use or possibly researching them on their own. I like to direct them to John Hattie's work and this page is a good starting point.
  • Identify tech tools they have available that can amplify the practice - It helps to give an example here. I use lecture, since everyone is familiar with it, but it's not likely to be on the top of the list of effective practices. As an example of enhancing it with technology, we talk about how video can be used in powerful ways in flipped and blending learning models. It's important that specific tools are mentioned. For example, if the teachers use Chromebooks I'd suggest SnagIt as a great tool for recording the screen.
  • Identify (and possibly describe) the ways the technology gives an advantage - This is the heart of the activity. I call these ways "AMPs", which stands for Achieve Maximum Potential. Some example AMPs from my list that we could mention for amplifying the lecture would be:
    • Improves the access for learning - Students can watch it even if they're not in class.
    •  Personalizes the learning experience for the needs of the learner - They can play parts again or skip ahead as necessary.
I included 10 AMPs in the document, each labeled with a letter to make it easier to complete the table. A description of each, including examples, is on the second page.

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