The Role of Technologies in Deeper Learning
Author(s): Dede, Chris.
Organizational Author(s): Jobs for the Future
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Resource Availability: Publicly available
Provides rationale and recommendations for adopting technology as an educational tool to create a more integrated learning system.
This paper is based upon an extensive literature review conducted by the author around the topics of technology and teaching.
“In this paper, [the author argues] that what’s needed today are teaching strategies very different from the familiar, lecture-based forms of instruction characteristic of industrial-era schooling, with its emphasis on rote memorization, simple comprehension, and the study of a prescribed, one-size-fits-all curriculum. Rather, the balance must shift toward certain kinds of instructional approaches that, while far from new, have rarely been put into practice in more than a small subset of the nation’s classrooms and schools.… [The author argues], moreover, that if schools are to provide such forms of instruction effectively and at scale, they will require a new technology infrastructure” (p.2).
“…two approaches stand out as particularly powerful, illustrating how teachers can use a combination of technologies to create opportunities for students to master a wide range of high-level skills and content.…digital teaching platforms and immersive authentic simulations” (p.6).
“Digital teaching platforms (DTPs) are a new kind of classroom learning infrastructure enabled by advances in theory, research, and one-to-one computing initiatives…. This system is designed to operate in a teacher-led classroom as the major carrier of the curriculum content and to function as the primary instructional environment” (p.6).
“The concept of immersion has to do with “being there,” the subjective sense of having a comprehensive, realistic experience in a place where one is not physically located…. For example, a well-crafted movie draws viewers into the world portrayed on the screen such that they feel caught up in that virtual environment. Without actually putting anybody at risk, flight simulators allow pilots to practice flying in dangerous conditions. Likewise, many of today’s electronic games insert people into environments that are so richly defined that players tune out their real-world surroundings” (p.12).(Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“For those local, state, and federal policymakers who do see the great potential in technology-enhanced teaching and learning, [the author conclude] by recommending three main priorities for the coming years:
1. Stay focused on reducing achievement gaps” (p.20). In an effort to mitigate the effect of the “digital divide” between affluent and impoverished children, the author highlighted the Universal Design for Learning’s recommendations to
• “Provide multiple and flexible methods of presenting information” (p.20).
• “Provide multiple and flexible means of expression” (p.20).
• “Provide multiple and flexible means of engagement” (p.20).
2. “Build professional capacity to use digital tools effectively. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any technology-enhanced resource will depend on the capacities of the educators involved.…[L]earning to use programs like SimCalc and EcoMUVE may require not just intellectual and technical support but also efforts to rethink one’s basic ideas about teaching, a process that can be emotionally difficult” (p.21).
3. “Invest in research and development. To date, researchers have found that digital technologies—particularly digital teaching platforms and immersive authentic simulations—have great potential to promote deeper learning across the curriculum. However, much work remains to be done before those technologies will be truly practical, affordable, and scalable. And that will require much greater and more targeted support for research and development than the piecemeal funding that exists today, offered mainly through a handful of relatively small federal programs” (p.21).