2d. Coach in technology-enhanced learning for creativity and higher-order thinking


Substandard 2D is well-suited to meeting the higher levels of the SAMR framework. This substandard deals with the ways in which technology can be used in learning experiences to promote creativity, teach higher-order thinking skills, and necessary habits of mind like critical thinking. 

In my first piece of evidence, I summarize a blog post I wrote on a creative way to introduce computational thinking with a backpack redesign challenge. Computational thinking supports higher-order thinking skills and processes.

My other piece of evidence for this substandard focuses on the inquiry method for individualized student learning which I feel is ideal for meeting this substandard. Through inquiry, students have agency over their learning so there is increased engagement. As students work to solve essential questions, they must demonstrate critical thinking skills, metacognition, and self-reflection. The creativity component comes in when students choose how to share their learning with others.

Evidence: Intro to Computational Thinking

Computational thinking is a structured problem-solving framework used in the field of computer applications. In the simplest of terms, it involves considering a problem and solving it in a formulaic way using computer technology. Educators like Jeanette Wing have argued for the value of computational thinking beyond computer science class. Computational thinking can support problem-solving in a variety of subjects. We use elements of computational thinking on a daily basis without even thinking about it.

Computational Thinking

In my 2018 blog post, I explain the components of computational thinking, provide real-life and academic examples for each aspect, and finally present a project which teachers of any subject can use to introduce the basics of computational thinking. The project is the Backpack Redesign Challenge first developed by the Institute of Design at Standard. I have adapted the project based on my own experience implementing the project. Additionally, I outline an extension activity which can be used to incorporate ISTE student standards for data collection and digital communication. To read more, please see my post using the link below.

Evidence: The Inquiry Method for Student Voice and Choice

As a teacher, I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration. Aside from blogs and social media, the main way in which I practice continual learning is through professional development books. At last count, I had over 50 books on teaching–many focused on my content area (Language Arts) and technology. Of those many books, one I go to time and time again is Dive Into Inquiry by Trevor MacKenzie. 

Inquiry is one of the most powerful tools for incorporating student voice and choice in the classroom while teaching a host of content skills, technology skills, and soft skills (like communication and time management).

"Inquiry-based learning is a process where students are involved in their learning, create essential questions, investigate widely, and then build new understandings, meanings and knowledge. That knowledge is new to students and may be used to answer their essential question, to develop a solution, or to support a position or point of view. The knowledge is usually presented to others in some sort of public manner and may result in some sort of action."
Alberta Learning
as quoted in Trevor MacKenzie's Dive Into Inquiry

One of the most helpful tips presented in Dive Into Inquiry is the idea of scaffolding the inquiry process. For many students, inquiry (and the independence it affords) is a brand new concept. Teachers wanting to ease students into the process may find MacKenzie’s gradual-release approach to be ideal.

Image credit: Trevor MacKenzie, Twitter - @trev_mackenzie

Once students understand the basics of the inquiry method, they can enjoy the freedom of a “Free Inquiry.” Below is an infographic I made which outlines the seven key components of MacKenzie’s Free Inquiry process.