Disruptive technologies transform the way students learn

Incorporating new forms of technology into classrooms helps students in many ways. While the most common forms of technology that teachers use are designed to build on what they are currently teaching, the idea of using technology to transform how students learn is constantly evolving. But make no mistake, the increase in use of technology in the classroom continues to rise. According to EdTech, “About 63 percent of K–12 teachers use technology in the classroom daily.”

But simply adding computers and handheld devices into a classroom to teach content the same way it was taught in the past is missing out on a huge opportunity. In order to truly change the way students learn and achieve new outcomes teachers must take a fundamentally different approach to using technology. “The U.S. Department of Education has concluded that preparing technology-proficient educators to meet the needs of 21st-century learning is a critical educational challenge facing the nation. More than two thirds of the nation’s teachers will be replaced by new teachers over the next decade. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the next generation of future teachers emerging from the nation’s teacher education programs is prepared to meet this challenge.” CITE Journal. This means rather than asking “How can I use technology in my classroom?” the question should be “How can technology create new ideas and expand my student’s thinking to go beyond my classroom?”

In Disruptive Classroom Technologies, author Sonny Magana outlines a new framework for how educators should think about leveraging technology in the classroom. Magana is an award-winning educator, author and pioneering educational technology researcher. In his new book, Magana defines a three-tiered hierarchical structure, the T3 Framework, that is focused on how to think about using technology in the classroom:

Translational uses of technology help educators perform tasks they are already doing such as reporting, testing, grading and storing documents. Think of these tasks as ways to save time, increase accuracy and operate more efficiently or as Magana notes, moving “from an analog setting to a digital setting.”
Transformational uses of technology redefine how tasks are performed and create new opportunities centered on the idea of mastery goals. Taking a mastery approach means that teachers provide feedback and guidance to students about how they can improve and outlines ways that students can show that they have mastered a skill. This shifts the role of the teacher from that of lecturer to more of a guide and support role. As for students, Magana comments that this approach results in “a growth-mindset for students who produce, contribute to, and track their learning processes.”
Transcendent uses of technology focus on moving students from thinking their own projects and issues to more of an altruistic angle, about considering the greater good of their local and extended communities. Magana argues that this approach helps students “imagine, to dream up scenarios of applied ideas through this unique human enterprise.”

The driving force behind this three-tiered approach is the growth of globalization. As Magana comments, “As work and life in this century transform due to increasing globalization and the application of information and communication technologies, so too should modern learning environments reflect these changes.”

How Skooler ties into the T3 framework
As Skooler founder Tor Ove Henriksen said, “Skooler was designed to serve K-12 education better with a complete and fully integrated solution that reduces complexity and more deeply engages teachers, students and parents all while modernizing the processes inside and outside the classroom.”

Taking into account Magana’s T3 framework, the Skooler Learning Management System (LMS) helps teachers incorporate technology into each of the three tiers in a variety of ways including:
Translational: Using OneNote, students can take, organize and share notes with other students. Skooler LMS helps teachers to use a solid standard-based workflow to track assignments, update grades and automatically report on student progress.
Transformational: Students can use Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Sway to develop presentations, solicit feedback from other students and even poll students about their presentation. Skooler LMS is designed to unlock the power of Microsoft applications by easily sharing information between teachers, students and parents. Think of Skooler LMS as a way for teachers to facilitate, monitor and update progress that students are making and provide feedback to students in real-time using formative assessments and rubrics.
Transcendent: Using Skype in the Classroom allows students to connect with other students from around the world where they can collaborate on projects and learn from each other. Within OneNote Notebooks there is a research tab that lets students share information with teammates regardless of their location. This helps students from other communities collaborate and expand their knowledge. Standard functionality in the Skooler LMS ensures that students can reflect on their own work and the work of their peers, work in groups to fulfill common academic achievement goals and show their appreciation towards each other and to individual students.

Skooler is part of the changing paradigm in education
The ideas outlined in Magana’s book focus on how educators should be thinking about the ways they incorporate technology into the learning process. In many ways, Skooler has already been viewing education through that lens. For instance, using Skooler helps teachers organize curriculum and share plans with colleagues via Class Notebooks in OneNote which is a translational use of technology.

For a transformational approach to learning, look no further than Microsoft Office Lens. This feature is designed to automatically enhance pictures of whiteboards and documents to make the content easily readable. It’s very easy to capture notes on the whiteboard and add them to lesson materials in OneNote. Using Office Lens helps students improve their fine motor skills and visualize math problems since they can see it written on the board.

When taking a transcendent approach to teaching, a student’s eyes can be opened up to an entire world without borders. Tapping into the power of Skooler LMS means that students who are visual learners can use Microsoft Excel to track environmental data in graph or chart format. Going one step further, students in one country can collaborate on an environmental project with students from another country, share data, jointly develop a presentation and learn about issues and facts from other places in the world.

How does your school view disruptive technologies? Do your teachers incorporate disruptive technologies into their curriculum? If so, please share with our community.

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