Professor Bob Reuter, Senior Lecturer in Educational Technology & Psychology and the University of Luxembourg, shared his sketch of a conceptual map of the Triple E Framework. We liked it so much, that we wanted to share it with our colleagues! Professor Reuter captures the essence of the Triple E with the foundation of research and effective teaching pedagogy, and the branches being the three key elements of a high quality lesson with technology (Engagement, Enhance and Extension of the learning goals). We would only add a large circle around all of it that says "learning goals/outcomes", which is ultimately why we are using technology in learning; to help students reach the learning goals.
Photo credit: http://techteamhub.weebly.com/
It is not unusual for schools to have a "tech team" to support the technology use inside the school building. However, Larry Baker, Associate Principal of Farmington Mercy High School took the tech team one step further. He made it international! He used Skype and website technology to create a collaborative PLN network amongst his tech team students and tech teams from all over the globe! The tech teams work together to solve problems and come up with innovative ways to do their jobs in their schools. The website has a link for each tech team and a "members only" section where the teams can collaborate. This is a project that meets all three levels of the Triple E Framework:
The students are co-engaging with other teams in the learning goals via Skype and the Weebly website. The technology also helps keep them focused on their task and allows them to share ideas.
The technology allows the student tech teams to share in "real time" and collaborate across oceans!
The technology helps to make their learning authentic and connects them to other students doing similar work.
Expanding Student's Understanding of Sea Turtle's Impact on Environment With a Virtual Trip to National Aquarium
A Michigan First grade teacher, Jenna Sperling, wanted her students to understand the impact that sea turtles had on their environment. She also wanted her students to understand why it is important to protect sea turtles (and other endangered animals). She also wanted to meet the ISTE-NETS student learning goal of an "Empowered Learner". Jenna decided that in order to meet her goal, and make it as authentic as possible, she would do a virtual field trip with the National Aquarium in North Carolina. She learned that that National Aquarium does free virtual field trips through Microsoft's Skype in the Classroom program. To begin the unit, she had the students read books and study about sea turtles. Before the virtual field trip Jenna made very careful instructional moves to make sure her students took an active and collaborative role in the virtual trip. First they brainstormed questions for the experts at the aquarium and deciding on their roles in the virtual field trip. Below is how Jenna (in her own words) scored the lesson on the Triple E Framework:
How does the technology engage students in learning?
The virtual field trip engaged students in learning by keeping them focused and interested in the learning goal. Using Skype to learn about a topic was new for all the students and was, therefore, exciting, engaging, and motivating. In addition, the virtual field trip allowed for joint engagement (social co-use), as the whole class participated all together, both in brainstorming questions beforehand as well as in the Skype call itself.
How does the technology enhance student learning?
Virtual field trips definitely add value to student learning, as they do something that traditional tools cannot. The technology allowed us to connect to an aquarium employee in North Carolina and to even see a live sea turtle. In addition, the learning was personalized to my first graders, and they had a lot of choice in the questions they asked and the information they gathered.
How does the technology extend student learning?
This virtual field trip did connect the learning to student’s everyday lives, because we talked about what we (as humans) do to potentially harm sea turtles and what we can do to stop that. We also connected with an authentic expert on our learning topic (sea turtles), which is an instructional strategy to elicit extension.
The pre-assessment for this lesson was a class discussion about prior knowledge about sea turtles. This way, I was able to get an idea of what they already knew before diving into our virtual field trip. As a post-assessment, students wrote down one new thing they learned about sea turtles after the virtual field trip. It was interesting to see their major takeaways. It was clear to me that they all learned something they did not already know, based on my comparison of the pre and post assessments.
Jenna's reflection: "I would definitely do another virtual field trip if given the chance. The students seemed to really enjoy it, and they definitely learned new things (as I saw in the post-assessments). I am glad that we brainstormed questions ahead of time and also talked about how I would call on students to ask questions. Overall, I would call it a success!"
Click here to watch the ISTE STEM Webinar on Learning First, Technology Second. Liz Kolb shares how research informed the development of the Triple E Framework and how we can put learning first and make sure that technology is enhancing the learning.
5th grade teacher, Sarah Godek, decided that she wanted to simulate the revolutionary time period through discussion. She chose to use Twiducate, a tool that is a kid-friendly microblogging tool like Twitter. This lesson is situated within the larger context of a unit on the events leading up to and the play out of the American Revolutionary War, with a focus on the various different perspectives of people living in and around the British colonies. In Twiducate, students each took on a different perspective during the American revolution, so that they would better understand why some colonists decided to become loyalists, patriots or indifferent to the revolutionary cause. Prior to this lesson, students have learned about the unfavorable acts passed by the British Parliament, retaliatory events such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, and about the factions of colonists that developed as a result (loyalists and patriots). Following this lesson, students will study how the American Revolution began, progressed, and ended. This lesson is intended to allow students to see the greater arc of the American Revolution in the context of the various perspectives that it affected, and how not every perspective experienced the arc of the Revolution in the same “patriotic” way. Below Sarah describes how technology helped to engage, enhance and extend her learning goals.
Simple Spreadsheet Technology Truly Enhances Social Studies Learning About Creating Sustainable Government Systems
This simulation is a great reminder that "older" technology can be extremely effective for learning when structured and used to leverage the learning goals. Just because a school doesn't have the latest technology, doesn't mean that students can't use the technology they do have to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. This guest post was written by Noah Weber, a critical thinking teacher at Washtenaw Technical Middle College in Michigan. He shares about a simulation he developed using Google Sheets and the equations editor.
The Sustainable Societies Simulation is a semester-long Social Science experience in which students develop and lead their own society through a fictional world they share with their classmates. As students learn about different aspects of social science throughout the course, they use their newfound understanding to make important decisions about their simulated societies.
For example, after learning about systems of government, students must choose the system of government they wish to adopt in their own society. These choices affect various indicators, which differentiate them from their neighbors. Adopting a presidential republic may boost their “Freedom” indicator, but it is also likely to hinder their “Security” score. A military junta, on the other hand, will likely enjoy loads of Security, but at a dire cost to the Freedom of the people.
As students go on to make decisions and respond to scenarios, their various indicator values are tracked in a shared Google spreadsheet. Each student has a tab for their own society, and there is also a “Global Rankings” tab that shows the overall values for each indicator in every society in the simulation. This spreadsheet is the primary means through which students experience the benefits of the Triple-E framework…
Does the technology allow students to focus on the assignment or activity with less distraction?
The spreadsheet narrows the students’ focus to the specific indicators they are concerned with at any given time. While conversations in class may be far-reaching, and students may lose sight of the curricular objectives at any given time, the spreadsheet ensures that students come back to one simple question: how will this action change what I see on the spreadsheet?
Does the technology motivate students to start the learning process?
As the simulation goes on, students become very motivated to influence the values that are represented on the spreadsheet. The “Global Rankings” page helps students measure their societies against their classmates in different categories. The desire to become the class leader in any given indicator inspires students to develop proposals that will boost those values. Very few development proposals are assigned by the teacher; students tend to submit them on their own.
Does the technology cause a shift in the behavior of the students, where they move from passive to active learners?
As the leaders of their societies, students must take action to ensure their societies turn out the way they want them to. There are no “default” choices. Every choice matters, and students understand the consequences of those choices through how they affect the data in the spreadsheet. Even students who may be resistant to the activity are quick to realize that their society’s indicators are a reflection of their leadership. This inspires students to want to create the best society they can, and to make sure their success is reflected in the spreadsheet for all to see.
Does the technology tool aid students in developing a more sophisticated understanding of the content?
The spreadsheet presents information that quantifies what are often somewhat abstract social science concepts. It can be hard to articulate the effective difference between different systems of government, for example, but the spreadsheet helps students see how those different systems may lead to different outcomes (as indicated by the point values). All of the choices they make are quantified in this fashion, and as the simulation goes on the students can observe through the spreadsheet how different their societies have become. This creates opportunities to reflect on the cause and effect of their decisions, and why certain societies may have indicators that are higher or lower than those of their classmates.
Does the technology create scaffolds to make it easier to understand concepts or ideas?
The spreadsheet boils many complex ideas down to basic indicators, but it also allows for more complex indicators to be added as the simulation goes along. Students can even recalculate existing data to create new composite indicators that are not already included. For some, the understanding may be as basic as “this system of government creates less freedom than that system,” but the spreadsheet leaves room for the understanding to go much deeper than that.
Does the technology allow students to demonstrate their understanding of content that they could not do traditionally?
One of the main ways that students interact with the simulation is through “Development Proposals.” These are descriptions of projects that students want to carry out to enact changes in their societies. In addition to describing the project, students must articulate how the project will affect the indicators on the spreadsheet. This forces them to think carefully about the consequences of their proposed actions, and to understand those consequences in terms of how they will reflect in the spreadsheet.
Does the technology create opportunities for students to learn outside of their typical school day?
Students can access the spreadsheet at any time, and often do so outside of the normal class period and school day.
Does the technology create a bridge between school learning and everyday life experiences?
All of the choices and scenarios in the simulation are derived from real-world social science concepts. The indicators that are affected by their choices include ideas like freedom, security, and equality, which students can relate to as they consider what influences these values in their own lives.
Does the technology allow students to build grit skills, that they can use in their everyday lives?
The simulation requires problem-solving, as students figure out how to best manage their societies to balance the various indicators they see displayed. They must work together in this process, conducting trades and other types of diplomacy, which promotes the ability to collaborate with others. All of these interactions are managed directly through the spreadsheet using the comments feature.
Liz Kolb is a clinical associate professor of education technologies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She works with over 150 preservice teachers every year on integrating technology into K-12 teaching.
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