Friday, May 7, 2010

The "Digigogical" Upgrade

In Chapter 2 of Heidi Hayes Jacobs' Curriculum 21, she advocates for having an awareness of a district's available technology.

I was working with a district this week, and discussing this in terms of upgrading their curriculum maps. We talked initially about creating a list of the in-district available technology and ranking the list in terms of how those technologies will have an impact on student learning and achievement.

As I began to articulate this, I quickly realized that the representation of what this would look like was too "tool-specific" and needed to be more "task-specific." See the posting on the Drill and Hole--it explains what I mean.

So, rather than create an example of the hierarchy of a complete list of a district's resources, I thought it would be more valid to create an example of how a particular tool that a district might have could be represented in several ways, based on student engagement and student impact on learning and achievement.

This graph represents one tool, Power Point. It also represents where a teacher might situate the pedagogical usage of this tool. On its lowest level, a teacher might use Power Point to help make visual connections to content, using text in tandem with an image to help students make connections. This is a research based instructional strategy more popularly known as "nonlinguistic representation" a la Robert Marzano.

A mid-level, higher order "digigogical" frame might be for the student to contribute a slide to a collaborative presentation, where the student is responsible for making the connection between content and the visual.

The highest level framework would come as a replacement assessment or project where the student is in charge of the whole kit and kaboodle, from design to creation to presentation to reflection on why they did what they did.

This blog is about the intersection of pedagogy and technology, hence the name "Digigogy." What I've done here is outline a process for upgrading curricula based on the pedagogical framework for a particular tool.

Yes, it would take some time and conversation to do this for all available technologies in a district, but how valuable would it be to have this articulated? I believe it would be a great road map to help teachers find "New Forms" of assessment, teaching and learning in terms of 21st Century skills, which include technology, but also include thinking skills and collaboration skills. The point is to create strong pedagogical frames for using a tool, versus just inserting into a lesson plan in a surface level way.


  1. This is a powerful idea, Mike. There are implications for technology based staff development as well. I am thinking that when introducing a new technology, we should show teachers some examples of using the technology within the framework to help them visualize effective uses of the technology. May I share your matrix with the other tech facilitators in my building?

  2. This is a powerful tool. I can see myself using this tool with teachers in inservices to help them visualize the effect of specific uses of the technologies. It may encourage them to move more quickly toward student use of the technology.