A teacher and student use an ipad and play with a robot.

Range of Use for Educational Technologies: Why It Matters to Teacher Education

Author: Ling Zhang; Samantha Goldman

Are you aligning technology use and learning goals in your classrooms? Are you thinking critically about what tools students are gaining familiarity with through learning experiences? Are you connecting technology use in teacher preparation to preK-12 classroom teaching and student learning? CIDDL invited Cheryl Lemke and Dr. Jody Britten from Metiri Group to discuss their Range of Use for Educational Technologies in our latest webinar. Since 1999, Metiri Group has served as the leader in the evaluation of educational technology projects. Their Range of Use has helped preK-20 leaders understand the depth of opportunity that technology provides and gives them a lens to thoughtfully empower and prepare all students for their futures. This webinar was facilitated by Dr. James Basham, Director of CIDDL and Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas.

Background of the Range of Use

The Range of Use connects Instruction, Authenticity, and Complexity. The three interrelated components position technology use on a continuum: implementing instructional practices from didactic, through coaching, to constructivist; situating learning within conceptual, through simulated, to real-world, authentic contexts; and supporting learners in acquiring basic skills, through application, to complex, higher-order thinking. Lemke further discussed different scenarios where technology was used on such a continuum that made student learning move up and down the scale of interactivity, authenticity, and engagement. Check out the webinar recording to hear these scenarios.

Technology Genres and Measure for Change

According to the 2021 Metiri’s Range of Use, application of educational technologies falls into six genres: 1) Consume/Use, 2) Experience/Interact, 3) Create and Produce, 4) Collect or analyze, 5) Communicate, and 6) Organize and Manage. “There are some particular genres that are more applicable to particular subject areas,” said Lemke. For instance, students may use more collecting and analyzing technologies for math, but more communicating tools for ELA. The Range of Use has become a staple in framing practice and goals in educational technology use for the past twenty years. It provides a framework for a wide array of digital learning experiences and a measure to identify goals toward empowering learners to become more self-directed and thrive in the evolving 21st-century learning environments. Stakeholders, such as educators and technology developers, could use the tool as a measure for change and think about what’s missing in practice, suggested by Britten.

From Teacher Education to PreK-12 Classroom

The panel concluded the conversation by highlighting that the promise of educational technologies starts from professional preparation programs. It is imperative that teacher educators intentionally provide learning experiences for pre-service teachers to develop skills and competencies with a range of educational technology uses.

As teacher educators, what strategies have you used to advance the use of educational technology in your teacher, related service, and leadership preparation programs? Share some examples of how you’ve used technology across the continuum in your practices? Join the CIDDL Community to further the conversation with the panelists and fellow teacher educators. Check out the following resources shared by Meitiri Group.

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