Resource of the Month
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A review of Blending Instruction With Technology, A Blueprint for Teachers to Create Unique, Engaging, and Effective Learning Experiences by Michael Martin
written by Kristi Burch
Technology is prevalent and pervasive in the lives of twenty-first century students. Students entering the classroom are equipped with myriad technological skills, yet crave relevance when incorporating technological tools into their learning. As teachers are striving to meet students where they are in terms of technological savviness, it is important to understand the range and nuances of low and high-tech tools and intentionally integrate the most effective tools to reach desired learning goals.
This book walks through the process of successfully blending instruction with technology by focusing on the relevant skills students are expected to gain in the classroom and the process by which carefully selected technology tools can help students gain those skills. In order for students to become creative, critically thinking, responsible adults, they need a framework in which to cultivate those skills. Teaching those skills accompanied by the right technological tools and resources will help students so much more than simply teaching them how to use the tool itself.
Martin references several frameworks that include relevant twenty-first century skills we aim for students to master. Among the various organizational frameworks presented in the book, the top four skills are (p. 34):
Martin introduces a method through which instructors can ease into technology integration and help students can meet these desired skills. Using the ART model (Assimilate, Redesign, Transfigure), instructors can introduce technology to address twenty-first century skills, cognitive consumption, and digital tools through specific lesson plans and assessments (p. 66). In each portion of the ART model, specific digital tools can help students become more effective learners by reaching desired learning goals in new ways.
The Assimilate stage helps “bridge the gap from no technology integration to a little integration,” (p.67) helping both instructor and student ease into technology by replacing a pen and paper task with a digital tool. Some examples of tools used in this stage might include Google Forms, Google Docs, or Prezi.
In the Redesign stage, the “teacher just uses technology…and students engage in ways that they can’t with pen and paper,” (p.78) such as real-time collaboration. Examples of tools in this stage might include the use of Khan Academy, Kahoot!, Nearpod, or Canva.
In the Transfigure stage, Martin states, “… teachers take a learning opportunity or task and make it something much more engaging, exciting, and beautiful than it was before the current technology became available.” Examples of technology used in this stage might include Zoom, Explain Everything, or Virtual Debate.
“The ultimate goal when blending instruction with technology is to prepare students to be successful in their world, not ours” (p. 92) If we can find a balance between low tech and high tech tools, and ensure we are integrating those tools with purposeful intent to improve learning, then we are well on our way. It is important to remember that the world in which we learned is not the world in which our students will be working and living, so preparing them with necessary skills to navigate the world is paramount; the digital tools we use to accompany that learning should bolster that instruction.
Although tailored toward K-12 educators and students, the principles and examples outlined in this book provide relevant application for higher education. The lesson plans and diagnostic assessments provide a solid framework using the ART model for integrating technology into teaching that readers may find useful.
If you would like to delve deeper into cinema and read this book, please stop by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
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