Flashback Friday: What Matters?

In this month’s flashback, one of the posts I wrote in August 2004 is What Matters? The two questions I posed regarding if using technology in a lesson are appropriate were:

  1. Does the technology allow for new and unique learning experiences that are not possible without it?
  2. Does the technology allow for increased, more efficient learning that is not be possible without it?

Those questions are still applicable, but as I think about how technology fits into the learning process, I believe the better questions are:

  1. What is the learning goal?
  2. How will you know when students achieve the goal?
  3. How will you foster progress toward the goal?
  4. How will you help students practice, review and apply the learning?

These questions look amazingly similar to the planning questions for instruction (courtesy of Robert Marzano), because that is where they come from. What is most important about these questions? The word technology is not used at all. From these goals, specific strategies for instruction are formulated, and from those strategies, technology tools can be selected to match the strategy (or not selected if appropriate). If a technology supports the strategy, then it is an appropriate use. Technology use because it is slick, new, or a substitute for real learning is not appropriate.

What Matters? Learning. Technology does not (a hard thing for a technology integrator to say…).

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