Since the Web 2.0 era began, there have been an explosion of online learning tools available on the Internet. Over a decade has passed and we now have on demand streaming videos, animations, screen casts, online meeting tools, whiteboards, and tons of apps and cloud-based services that can be used to create learning materials, work collaboratively, and share ideas globally. All of these tools are available for free or at an affordable price for educators. With thousands of tools at your fingertips, selecting a tool and using it effectively in your online course can be a challenge.
The Padagogy Wheel
In the past few years, educators around the world turn to The Padagogy Wheel (Pad as in iPad) as an aid for integrating technology in their teaching. The wheel combines Bloom’s taxonomy with the SAMR model and aligns iPad apps to them. The PDF poster includes active links to the educational apps and other resources.
This wheel is a learning design model that combines different components into grids expanding outwards. Intended student attributes and skills sit at the core in the center, surrounded by the puzzle of motivation, Bloom’s cognitive levels with action verbs and associated activities, technology enhancement represented here by a variety of iPad apps, and the SAMR model on the outer most rim. Let’s look at each element of the wheel.
Learner Attributes & Capabilities
Before paying attention to technology and tools, design comes first. The goals and outcomes of learning at the core is where you begin. The wheel refers to knowledge and skills students should possess by the time they graduate. This is easily adaptable to learning goals at the course level, and learning outcomes or objectives at the unit/lesson level. Give learning a direction – focus on what students need to be able to do for each lesson and for the course.
What makes us want to learn more about something? Motivation drives success and widens paths to deeper learning. Managing student motivation is an important and challenging aspect of online teaching. Almost a century of studies have been done on learner motivation. Remember carrots and sticks? While we are the same human race as our great grandfathers, our cultures have evolved thanks to rapid development in Internet and mobile technology. Sharing is the norm and anyone can contribute. Engagement, interaction and socialization can be as motivating as an individual’s curiosity and autonomy in the digital age.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a multi-tiered model of classifying learner’s thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity. Originally created by Benjamin Bloom in the 1950’s and revised in 2001 by Anderson & Krathwohl, the taxonomy is hierarchical in a way that a student who is capable of higher order levels tasks has also mastered the material at the lower order levels. The three lower order cognitive levels, from bottom, are remembering, understanding, and applying. Moving up the hierarchy are three higher order cognitive levels: analyzing, evaluating, and creating at the top.
Bloom’s taxonomy is one of the most well-known taxonomies used in creating student learning outcomes. Visit the interactive Bloom’s taxonomy model at Iowa State University for more details.
The SAMR model was designed to help educators infuse technology into their teaching with the goal to transform learning experiences so that students achieve higher level outcomes. The lowest level of technology use is Substitution, where a tool is used as a substitution of an old tool with no functional change. The next level is Augmentation, where a tool is used as a substitution of an old tool but with functional improvement. Higher up is Modification, where a tool is used with significant task redesign. The highest level is Redefinition, where a tool is used for new tasks that are previously inconceivable.
Check out this 2-minute YouTube video for a quick introduction of SAMR – SAMR in 120 seconds.
Making Sense of the Padagogy Wheel
Bloom’s and SAMR levels start in the green area on the upper right where you will find lowest levels of Bloom’s Remember & understand and SAMR’s Substitution. Moving clockwise through red, yellow, and blue areas, the wheel reaches the highest levels in the purple area where you will find Bloom’s Create and SAMR’s Redefinition. The wheel resonates the message its creator is trying to get across:
We need to have transformation at the core of what we do as teachers, if it is all about the students. Don’t jump into learning outcomes, activity design and choosing technology without first reflecting on graduate attributes and capabilities then how to improve motivation and engagement.
The iPad apps shown on the wheel are merely suggestions of tools that are available. How you use these tools will depend on what learning objectives you are trying to accomplish. Many apps are also available on the computers. Try a few of them if you are interested. You should use technology in your course when it makes your course more interesting to students and helps them achieve intended learning outcomes. Begin with a goal in mind. Then, use the wheel to help with weighing your options.
The Padagogy Wheel fits within the learner-centered paradigm in online learning. You can transform teaching & learning in your course. The technology is here. Just add your imagination, and don’t be afraid to experiment.