News

Ask these questions before using technology in the classroom

By Scott McLeod and Julie Graber
May 26th, 2015

Trudacot is a new question-based model for using classroom technology in support of learning goals

questions-trudacotWe have a lot of technology floating around our classrooms these days. And while that can be, and is, a good thing given our digital age, we often find that our technology-related efforts aren’t paying off for us quite as we’d hoped.

We still, for example, see a lot of replicative use—doing the same things that we used to do in analog classrooms, only with more expensive tools—and we see many teachers using technology simply for technology’s sake. There are many reasons why all of this is true, but a primary one is that we don’t have great ways to think about what is occurring when we see students and teachers using technology for learning and teaching purposes.

Starting with purpose
Technology integration should be purposeful. When digital technologies are used for learning and teaching, those uses should be intentional and targeted. The innovation team at Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa, where we work, continually asks the question, “Technology for the purpose of what?” With that in mind, we set out to create a template of questions that would allow educators to think critically—and purposefully—about their technology integration.

That template is trudacot, a free protocol intended to help facilitate educator conversations about deeper learning, student agency, and technology integration. Trudacot is an acronym for Technology-Rich Unit Design And Classroom Observation Template. We joke that it’s like an apricot, only sweeter!

Next page: Questions for promoting student agency, authentic learning, and critical thinking