Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

21.2: Technology integration is driven by good teaching practices

  • Page ID
    87598
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    . . .  and not fancy tools.

    There’s almost this assumption that the technology magically creates these amazing learning gains in the classrooms and new cognition. That does not happen. Instead, often we will see classrooms where students are all over the classroom when they have their laptop or their tablet. They look like they’re engaged because they’re excited about having it. But, we have to be careful that they’re actually learning through the technology.

    We tend to make the mistake of giving children a one-to-one device thinking one-to-one is the ultimate solution for learning and then step away and assume that the technology, the app or the software’s going to do the rest of the work for us.

    We need to bring in those good, effective teaching methods and strategies. When we look at effective literacy learning strategies, none of them say, just give a child a book and they will learn to read. So, we shouldn’t assume, just give a child a tablet or a mobile device and suddenly, they’re going to learn through it. We need to integrate the effective practices.

    Added Value

    Technology should be the last piece of the instructional sequence. It should be something that is going to be adding value to those good literacy or good mathematical instructional practices rather than just something that’s exciting and fun.

    It’s important to make sure that math is connecting to students’ everyday understanding and their world. That doesn’t mean a story problem where it talks about apples or bicycles, which are relevant to the children. It means connecting their everyday life, what they see and do around them, to mathematical strategies and understanding. Notice a lot of these effective strategies have to do with collaboration, authenticity, collaboration, and inquiry. Using some of those higher-order thinking skills or higher-cognitive thinking skills are important in learning. These are the things we want to bring into technology learning.

    When we look at the research over the last couple of decades, the research does not say we should be isolating students. They should not be using a bunch of what we call drill and practice software which is where they do a lot of multiple choice type questions. Instead, we need to do what we do in mathematics. We need to ask students to inquire, to analyze, to synthesize, to hypothesize.

    It’s not so important that they’re just consuming content and answering questions really quickly or swiping to get to the game, which sometimes has negative learning gains. Instead, it’s important that we are adding value to the learning.

    Key Takeaways

    Research on Effective Tech Use in Learning

    • Elicit higher-order thinking around content over consumption of content. (Wenglinsky, 2006)
    • Quality over quantity (Wenglinsky, 2006)
    • Avoid “drill and practice” in isolation. (Wenglinsky, 1998)
    • “Value-added” element to the learning (Means et al. 2009)

    We’ve learned that we need to avoid drill and practice software despite the hundreds of thousands of pieces of educational software that are drill and practice. Because those rarely have learning gains, and often, they are negative learning gains. In addition to that, it’s quality over quantity.

    What we’ve learned is that children who use technology every day have no better, and sometimes worse, learning outcomes as far as their standardized test scores and other assessments, than children who use technology less frequently but with higher quality applications, that reach those higher order thinking skills. These are important things that we need to consider.

    We need to focus on the time-on-task, and learning goals must come first. We need to make sure that the software is meeting those needs and not distracting from those needs.

    Key Takeaways

    Research on Effective Tech Use in Learning

    • Focus on learning goals (Linnenbrink & Printrich, 2003)
    • Time-on-task active engagement (Wartella, 2015)
    • Co-use or joint media engagement (Darling-Hammond, et al, Hirsh-Pasek et al. 2015, Guernsey, 2012)
    • Connect learning to authentic experiences (Vaala et al., 2015, Guernsey, 2012), Wartella, 2015)

    Technology should bridge school experience with everyday life and the world around the student.

    The technology should bridge students’ school experiences with their everyday lives, the world around them, and the things that their hearing in the news. The technology should connect students and teachers to experts and the real world through the technology in meaningful ways.

    When we’re using the technology, it’s important for the teacher to say, this is why we’re using this app or software. It is also important with asking children to work collaboratively.

    We know learning is social. When using technology for learning in any content area, students should be co-using the device. They should be working together. They should be co-constructing, rather than isolated. Read alouds and think alouds are a great way to show that students are understanding.

    To make their thinking a little more visible, students using technology devices can participate in what we call share-alouds, where they share what they’re doing at different moments with other students, with teachers in a written format.

    Children need to have their learning monitored. Monitored comprehension means the teachers should be checking in and monitoring with the devices. They should be sitting down with the children periodically if they’re in a one-to-one classroom, rather than assuming that the software is doing the work and is doing it correctly.

    Children need to be reflecting, questioning, retelling, predicting, and these are things that students can be doing through the software. Again, eliciting some of these higher-order thinking skills, making sure the software isn’t drill and practice, but it’s actually software that allows this creativity in unique and innovative ways.


    21.2: Technology integration is driven by good teaching practices is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?