While school leaders are not directly involved in the delivery of instruction, it’s important for them to realize that all technology use does not result in the same levels of learning. For example, if a class activity was using technology to enhance personalization or enable greater student agency, the types of questions that we would ask to see if those purposes were being accomplished might include:

  • Learning Goals. Who selected what is being learned?
  • Learning Activity. Who selected how it is being learned?
  • Assessment of Learning. Who selected how students demonstrate their knowledge and skills and how that will be assessed?
  • Work Time. During the lesson/unit, who is the primary driver of the work time?
  • Technology Usage. Who is the primary user of the technology?

In contrast, if teachers wanted students to use technology to enable them to do more authentic, real world work, the types of questions that we would ask to see if those purposes were being accomplished would differ:

  • Real or Fake. Is student work authentic and reflective of that done by real people outside of school?
  • Domain Knowledge. Are students learning discipline-specific and -appropriate content and procedural knowledge? If yes, is student work focused around big, important concepts central to the discipline (not just minutiae)?
  • Domain Practices. Are students utilizing discipline-specific and appropriate practices and processes?
  • Domain Technologies. Are students utilizing discipline-specific and appropriate tools and technologies?

Similarly, if a lesson or unit integrated learning technologies to facilitate students’ deeper thinking, creativity, or metacognition, we would ask yet a different set of questions:

  • Deeper Thinking. Do student learning activities and assessments go beyond facts, procedures, and/or previously-provided ways of thinking (e.g., syntheses or analyses that actually are just regurgitations)?
  • Creativity. Do students have the opportunity to design, create, make, or otherwise add value that is unique to them?
  • Initiative. Do students have the opportunity to initiate, be entrepreneurial, be self-directed, and/or go beyond given parameters of the learning task or environment?
  • Metacognition. Do students have the opportunity to reflect on their planning, thinking, work, and/or progress? If yes, can students identify what they’re learning, not just what they’re doing?

Trudacot offers a way to think about the goals for technology use by providing some specific, concrete “look-fors” that can help educators reflect on what they might change. Trudacot can be used by a school leader in a conversation about a lesson or unit—preferably in small groups, not just individually—to ask: If we wanted the answer(s) to the question(s) to be different, how could we redesign this to make that desired answer happen instead?’ This is where the powerful conversations occur; this is the work we should be doing with educators.

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