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Role of Technology in Education

I just can't seem to get that RAT theory out of my head. Whenever someone asks me about technology in education, I see RAT! I learned about RAT ealier this year in a class with Dr. Joan Hughes. The "R" in RAT stands for Replacement, the "A" is for Amplification, and the "T" is for transformation.

In RAT, technology as replacement means we use technology merelya s a replacement for something not dealing with technology. It really has no other advantage other than being a technology tool or piece of software. An example of a replacement for students would be for them to make a sign or poster using MS Publisher rather than creating on with paper and pencil/markers. In my viewpoint, the learning is still the same, its just a different medium. An example of a teacher using technology for replacement would be using a United Streaming video clip rather than showing a whole movie, or using MS PowerPoint to display notes, rather than writing the same notes on the chalk/white board.

Amplification is when you use technology, but the use of the technology speeds up the process. The most obvious amplification that I can see for students, I know from personal experience. I remember being in Mr. Adel's 10th grade math class trying to draw those conic sections out every night for homework. I think we probably had to graph 3 at the most, of course we did them by hand. As a licensed math teacher, I see how the graphing calculator has speeded up the process and how it has changed the way in which students learn how to graph. Wow! Using the Internet to look up information and conducting surveys and tabulating results using technology are also examples of students using technololgy as amplification. An example for teachers would be when we use document cameras to showcase something rather than passing it around the classroom. Calculating grades using a computer program rather than by pencil/paper would be another example.

Transformation is when the learning would not be possible without the use of the technology. One of the ISTE sample lessons that I think fits transformation is on the Gettysburg Address. Here the class is divided into 4 groups. One group bases their research on newspapers, one on maps, one on photographs, and one on letters. Each group then posts their information to an online wiki. Once the results have been compiled on the wiki, students are to read and analyze the other groups information. They are then to imagine they are journalists being sent to cover the Battle of Gettysburg. They are to write the cover story for the next days newspaper. I just believe that class collaboration doesn't happen like this without the use of technology. Another great lesson from the ISTE website is on Presidental Elections. You might check it out! Other examples that might be used in tranformative lessons would be GIS, computer microscopes, Arcview software.

I just think that too often teachers use technology as replacement and do not get to the point of really "seeing the learning" that can take place when we move past that replacement level and on to the mindtool level.