Bundling Rigor, Relevance, Relationships in Technology: The Package Deal
Focusing on rigor and relevance should never come at the expense of relationships. We (myself included) often become bedazzled by the latest gadgets and software and fail to really reflect on how these enhance sound pedagogy; instead we (possibly unknowingly) expect them to replace sound pedagogy.
This four-point checklist will help keep your priorities in check when evaluating the alignment of your proposed technology with “the three R’s” (rigor, relevance, and relationships).
1. How does this build on the principles of successful learning?
… or is it trying to replace it? Intensity, repetition, primacy-recency, readiness, motivation, and the freedom to explore are a “package deal” that should be facilitated through the use of technology. Exclusion of any of these principles diminishes learning opportunities.
No matter how cool that math game is, if it doesn’t target these core principles, you might reevaluate the allocation of your time and budget.
2. How does this help students apply knowledge to new situations?
My students may be able to solve “2x+5=12,” but if they can’t apply this beyond the math classroom, what purpose has it really served?
Technology that focuses on “drill-and-kill” routines may help in the repetition phase of learning, but there must be an outlet for expressing newly-attained knowledge in unpredictable, real-life situations.
3. Is community participation possible?
In all facets of life, relationships are critical for success. In essence, this is “group-work.” In the technology realm, this may be facilitated by Twitter, Facebook, Google Docs, wikis, edmodo, or other similar services.
Knowing how to collaborate is integral, for we all learn from each other.
4. Does this spark creativity or squash it?
Without naming the website, there is one company that offers a multitude of content for math students. Upon further inspection, it was (in a students’ words) “extremely boring and just taught us how to do the problem.” I guess it really didn’t do the latter because that student didn’t so well on his next exam!
On the other hand, there are other services that allow the learner to engage with the content. Google Sketchup is one example that comes to mind. One area the state of Texas struggles in is geometric properties. This is an outstanding way for students to utilize their creative forces to conjure up something entirely new. Some students have really grown fond of converting their creation to an AR manipulative (augmented reality manipulative). I invite you to explore this section of the website to see some of the AR manipulatives converted from the Google Sketchup community.
Undoubtedly, there are other specific factors related to rigor, relevance, and relationships that may influence your decision to adopt technology devices; however, I believe these four umbrella most of them.
Is there something you’d like to specifically highlight on? Feel free to comment below.