When computers were first introduced into schools, many policymakers and educational leaders were convinced this technology would fundamentally change how teachers teach and students learn. Technology was supposed to be the solution to a host of educational woes from student engagement to inequality of student outcomes. These stakeholders learned very quickly that technology in and of itself is not transformative.
While the educational landscape has changed over the last 30 years, the goal of education has remained the same: To prepare young people for their futures and to take their place in society with the skills they need to be productive, valued and engaged citizens. However, to prepare our students for an unknown future in a competitive, digital and global economy requires they have a more diversified set of skills than the traditional subject areas. As researchers continually point out, children entering elementary school this year will work in a career that does not exist today.
The striking gap between the necessary knowledge and skills of the past and those that are essential today continues to challenge educators, policymakers, parents and other stakeholders. Since the early part of the 21st Century, there has been a continual shift from a focus on reading, writing and mathematics to a mutual focus on core subjects with four critical skills (often captured within greater conversations around digital age skills) that include critical thinking and problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation.
Students need to be able to think critically and solve problems creatively. They need to ask good questions, test their ideas and carry on in the face of adversity. Students need to be able to work in teams as well as communicate their thoughts and ideas across different media. They need to know how to use technology and real-world tools to share their learning and messages with others, and they need an understanding of diverse cultures and respect for other people’s experiences. These skills and habits of mind cannot thrive in classrooms where only teachers lead while students listen. These skills and habits of mind can only be systematically developed in a learning environment that supports transformative teaching.
For anything to be systematically developed there must be an overarching framework by which we can grow and reflect. The overarching framework that Metiri has used to advance digital learning over the past twenty years includes: technology genres, the range of use, and their newly release PARCC model.
Access the Metiri Digital Learning Pathway for the Range of Use that includes the self-reflection on Range of Use and gives you some key questions to consider.
In December of 2021, the Metiri team presented on the Range of Use for Educational Technologies for the Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning. See the updated slides on the Range of Educational Technologies by Cheryl Lemke and Jody Britten.