While pursuing teaching degrees, educators are introduced to various learning theorists and their insights into how people learn best. Some familiar names include Piaget, Bandura, Vygotsky, and Gardner.
While understanding these theories of learning is still important, aspiring educators also need to familiarize themselves with theories, models, and approaches that provide insight into how technology, social media, and the Internet influence learning. Digital learning theories and approaches, such as RAT (opens in new tab), SAMR (opens in new tab), TPACK (opens in new tab), Digital blooms (opens in new tab), Connectivism (opens in new tab), Design thinking (opens in new tab) and Peeragogy (opens in new tab) help teachers develop curricula that engage students to use technology to research, curate, annotate, create, innovate, problem-solve, collaborate, campaign, reform, and think critically. These are skills described in Shelly Terrell’s Hacking Digital Learning Strategies with EdTech Missions (opens in new tab).
Digital learning approaches take into account what students are currently doing online and allow teachers to design curricula to help students acquire the digital skills they need to thrive in a digitally connected world.
Below are some useful links to learn more about these approaches.
1. The RAT model
The RAT model is a way of looking at technology and how it has or has not changed instruction. The “R” stands for replacement and in this learning mode the technology simply replaces a previous learning tool but in no way changes the learning practices or the learning that occurs. “A” is amplification, which refers to when classroom instructional practices remain the same, but the use of technology increases the efficiency and effectiveness or scope of the lesson. “T” stands for transformation and is when technology is used to reinvent certain aspects of learning in new and innovative ways.
2. SAMR (opens in new tab)
The SAMR model stands for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition and considers four levels of technology implementation. Educators often tend to focus on the first two levels, essentially converting previous teaching practices into a technological format: for example, recording a lecture and posting it online or posting PDF files of pre-printed materials. The second two levels involve using technology to more fundamentally change instruction.
3. The TPACK framework
TPACK stands for technological, pedagogical and content knowledge. The framework examines the interaction of three clustered domains of content knowledge (CK), pedagogy (PK), and technology (TK) and explores the ways in which these domains intersect. Although often compared to SAMR, these are quite different models, with TPACK being a less linear way of thinking about incorporating technology into teaching.
4. Digital blooms (opens in new tab)
Bloom’s Taxonomy was created by Benjamin Bloom and his associates in the 1950s as a framework for categorizing educational goals, often depicted as a pyramid, with each level requiring higher levels of thinking to achieve mastery . Over time, the original nouns used by Bloom and his colleagues were replaced by active verbs. Now at the base of the pyramid is the word remember and it is built to apply, analyze, evaluate and create. The new framework has also been updated to include technology.
Introduced in 2005 by George Siemens and Stephen Downes, this learning theory argues that students need to learn how to combine thoughts, theories and other information in a useful way. The theory is based on the idea that technology has increased the speed of our access to information and our constant connectivity should be used to help students make choices about learning, collaborating, and learning from a variety of sources, including social media sources.
6. Design thinking
Popularized by technology companies, design thinking takes engineering and artistic processes and applies them to other fields, such as education. Using this framework, educators and students can identify challenges, gather information, generate potential solutions, refine ideas, and test solutions. This framework can be useful for departmental, school, or team planning as well as class planning or individual lessons.
As any educator can tell you, there’s nothing like peer learning. Peeragogy, also known as paragogy, is a collection of best practices for peer learning that seeks to help educators overcome some of the barriers to effective peer learning, such as peers not providing helpful and/or supportive feedback .
Challenge: Check out one of these digital learning theories to see how you can make at least one change to improve the way you integrate technology.
The original version of this story was published at teacherrebootcamp.com (opens in new tab)
Shelley Terrell is an educational consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com (opens in new tab)