High Leverage Strategies and Technology

In addition to feedback and formative assessment described in the previous page, Hattie (2009) outlined several additional high-leverage school-based strategies that have a high effect on student learning. We describe some of those strategies below and discuss some possible ways in which technology will enable their use.

Teacher Student Relationships

With the reality of serving over a hundred students, teachers struggle to build relationships in the 60 or so minutes per day that they have with the students. Even the most basic of technologies, email, can help facilitate relationships by allowing asynchronous communication and connections between and among teachers and students. This is also made easier with more advanced technologies such as wiki spaces, google sites and docs, Moodle and even social networking sites such as Edmodo. (For more about social networking and education see this article from the Huffington Post).

Professional Development

See page on high quality professional development and learning.

Teacher Clarity and Clear Learning Goals

Students learn when they interact with the same information in a variety of different ways over long periods of time. Multimedia tools allow teachers to present the same information in a variety of ways to reach all learners. Some example tools are:
  • Animoto - Create and re-show multimedia presentations that engage students more than the traditional PowerPoint.
  • Prezi - An interesting blend of concept map and presentation tools, Prezi allows the presenter to organize information in a variety of ways, and to use tools for zooming and showing links among the various pieces of information.


Click for source.

Similar to the Japanese Lesson Study, microteaching involves groups of teachers co-planning lessons, and using video tapes of those lessons to work together toward improving teaching - and then re-teach the lesson. The feedback loop continues as teachers hone their skills.

Microteaching is made possible through the use of video which is greatly facilitated with technology. First, videos are easy to make with flip cameras (if schools still have them around), or even with a smart phone. Next, videos are easy to share through wikis, websites, and video sharing sites such as YouTube, Teacher Tube or Vimeo. These sites also allow for synchronous and asynchronous collaboration on the video, allowing individuals to contribute to the collective learning at their convenience. Teachers don't have to take a whole day off work to be physically together to discuss the video.

Creativity Programs

Digital media allow students to be creators and to use their creativity in meaningful ways. In the recent history of education focused on rote learning, creativity has been removed from the classroom as teachers struggle to "cover" the content required from mandated tests.
Digital media allow for creativity in the context of learning content. Digital Youth Network was an after school program created to
teach kids the digital media skills they need for the 21st century, given that classroom teachers often didn't have the skills. As students learned how to be creative and to use creativity to show learning, the program expanded and is now in a school of itself. Using the digital media tools described in this wiki, students can easily create multimedia of all types to meet various learning goals. At left is a video of a panel convened by the MacArthur Foundation to discuss ways in which digital media enhance learning.

Formative Assessment and Feedback

See page on assessment and feedback.

Mastery Learning

Mastery learning has been relevant for numerous years. Back in 1979, James Block published an article entitled, "Mastery Learning: The Current State of the Craft". Even though this article may seem outdated to many skeptics, it truly provides a detailed framework for how mastery learning supports the classroom teacher. Block labels five teaching behaviors as:
  1. Diagnosis: the accurate predictions of each student's future performance based on his/her present and past history;
  2. Prescription: the provision of appropriate learning tasks for each student based on the teacher's diagnosis;
  3. Orientation: the clarification of each learning task for each student in terms of what is to be learned and how it is to be learned;
  4. Feedback: the provision of constant information to each student regarding learning progress;
  5. Correction: the provision of timely supplementary instruction for each student whose learning progress is insufficient

These teaching behaviors are still relevant today and are easily enhanced by technology. In Block and Burns (1977) published the article, "Mastery Learning: Does it Work?, they provided researched evidence of how mastery learning was more effective than conventional methods. They scored mastery learning strategies based on cognitive achievement, retention, and affective achievement and it still remained that they questioned two underlying issues:
  1. Do mastery strategies work equally well for different kinds of learning?
  2. Do mastery strategies work equally well for different types of students?

When mastery learning is effectively implemented, teachers use criterion-referenced tests to see if the students learned the concepts instead of norm-reference tests which provide comparison data for students. The process of mastering the content is critical and was proved in Benjamin Bloom's Mastery for Learning model, which was refined by Block. The implementation of mastery learning has various forms such as teacher-paced group instruction, one-to-one tutoring, or self-paced learning. The learning strategies may include teacher instruction, cooperative learning, or independent learning. In order for it to be successful, learning objectives much be clearly defined and organized into smaller units. Another key element of mastery learning includes teacher support and interaction for students who need assistance.

Colin Rose and Malcolm Nicholl's book, Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century: The Six-Step Plan to Unlock Your Master-Mind was published in 1997 and it shared the following steps:

The Six-Step MASTER Plan - steps to mastery learning:
How to make learning enjoyable and successful:
- Create a low-stress environment - set high expectations but ensure that students now mistakes will happen.
- Ensure the subject is relevant - learning takes place when the relevance is seen.
- Ensure the learning is emotionally positive - always provide humor and encouragement along with enthusiastic support.
- Involve all the senses along with left-brain and right-brain thinking.
- Challenge your brain to think through and explore what is being learned via multiple intelligences.
- Consolidate what is learned - review during the times of relaxation and alertness.

For further details, Jayne Nicholl, author of Open Sesame created a mnemonic for Accelerated Learning methods, MASTER:
1. Motivating Your Mind: be in a resourceful state of mind - being relaxed, confident, and motivated. Having the right attitude towards learning - What's In It For Me? WII-FM.
The most important factors in learning are: Motivation, motivation, motivation.
2. Acquiring the Information: absorb the basic facts in the best way that suits your sensory learning preferences.
3. Searching Out the Meaning: long-term memory requires that you search out implications and significance - the full meaning - understanding as oppose to knowing - for example, you may know the date of the US Independence, but understand why Independence was important to America is searching for meaning.
4. Trigger the Memory: Learning Strategies for Memory - develop techniques to help improve your memory - e.g. visual learning maps
5. Exhibiting What You Know: Rehearse to self and others - teach / tutor - if you can teach it, you're really showing that you fully comprehend material- You don't just know it - you own it.
6. Reflecting on How You've Learned: Not upon what you learned, but how you learned it. What lessons can you draw for the next time? - Becoming a self-managed learner.

Yahoo images

Jonathan Bergmann & Aaron Sams describe how they re-created their classrooms to ensure student mastery of content utilizing video podcasts (vodcasts), 21st Century Learning Elements, and Web 2.0.

Below is an Edutopia video describing some basic strategies for integrating technology for more engaged instruction.

Next: Learning Spaces