Educational Technology And Authentic Learning
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Educational Technology And Authentic Learning: The Significant Role Of EdTech In Authentic Learning Development

Hopefully you have read Designing Instruction For Authentic Learning and Developing Content For Authentic Learning as I will refer to these articles below. This article is meant to open conversations regarding models for effective technology integration.

We have discussed Authentic Learning which is a strategy found under Deeper Learning, its goal is to provide students with critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and collaboration skills. Research shows that through Deeper Learning Approaches students raise test scores, have higher graduation rates, and are more likely to enroll in post-secondary schooling - including trade schools (American Institute of Research, 2016). The data proves that Authentic Learning works and through my previous two articles you should have gained an excellent foundation for designing and developing your course using Authentic Learning – plus check out New Media Horizon Reports for K12 and Higher Ed; you’ll notice Deeper Learning is listed in both. Now it is time to focus on the role of Educational Technology.

The Role Of Educational Technology

Educational Technology should be used to provide students with an experience they otherwise wouldn’t have. Chris Dede, a Harvard University Learning Technologies Professor, argues that “technology as a catalyst is effective only when used to enable learning with richer content, more powerful pedagogy, more valid assessments, and links between in- and out-of-classroom learning” (2014, p. 6). Additionally, we must acknowledge that there is an achievement gap which looks something like a bell curve and that the digital divide is a real thing – consider the digital divide when providing experiences.

We also should acknowledge that educational technology complements our design and development and technology alone cannot create learning experiences. Teaching as a human craft is what makes learning effective, not the technology. We certainly do not want something called digital drill and kill by digitizing teacher-centered instruction (Murray, 2017). On the contrary, we want students to apply the knowledge gained by using technology to do better things rather than do things better (Dede, 2017).

Tips For Integrating Technology And Personalizing Learning

We first need to correlate the technology with our unit and course objectives. If we have our students analyzing literature, then the objective should read the same; analyze literature. We could look at the SAMR Model of technology integration, but I think the model alone limits our objective in providing students with Authentic Learning experiences; however, it is a step in the right direction. Remember, we don’t simply want to digitize business! Again, it is providing students with an experience they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Second, look at Gartner’s Hype Cycle and New Media Horizon Reports to determine what technologies are becoming of age, reaching their plateau, or are on the rise because these technologies are going to be embedded in the real world (note there are a few different industries for the Horizon Report and an education version of the Hype Cycle).

Third, remember that instruction is guided and we control rigor based on guidance of each student, therefore, instruction is personalized as each student needs different guidance. Look at the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) designed by Lev Vygotsky for more information on guidance and personalized learning. Lastly, use technology in every facet of instruction, it can certainly make the delivery of instruction and feedback more efficient with Learning Management Systems and video production. Take this example in public education, I hate taking attendance and writing it down on paper, it wastes time. Instead, use Kipin Attendance through Canvas (LMS) where students have five minutes into the class to record their attendance, this way I didn’t have to call out names or mark each student’s attendance digitally. It knocked off three minutes of wasted time per class – 180 days X 3 equates to 540 minutes or roughly 2.5 weeks of instruction devoted to attendance!

Nonetheless, we say we want students to do better things through their summative assessment. That doesn’t mean we can’t make other facets of instruction more efficient. Remember the questionable rule that if you feel you need to directly instruct, then create a video. It is still direct instruction but hopefully students complete it at home.

There Really Isn’t An Effective Model – That’s The Problem

The SAMR Model certainly gets educators going in the right direction and creates good conversations. It is even better when utilized with the Bloom’s Taxonomy as we attempt to match assessments with objectives. TPACK makes great arguments that this article coincides. Integrating these 3 models is another great start towards an effective model. What we do know is every facet of teaching should integrate technology, but the assessments should require collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration through Authentic Learning.

Do you know a model for effective technology integration? If so, share with us your model or how you integrate technology.

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