Taking the Padagogy Wheel for a Spin

The Padagogy Wheel has become a very popular technology integration tool for teachers, combining Bloom’s Taxonomy with the SAMR Model and aligning iPad and other tablet apps to those criteria (hence the name PADagogy). I can see why it has been embraced by so many educators — it’s a visual planning guide for technology-based lessons.

So, what happens when you take the app section of the wheel for a spin? What happens when you shift the apps ring in either direction, so that the apps in the Remember/Understand section fall into the Apply section, or the Create section, etc…? Is the wheel any less valid? Absolutely not! We’re not talking about Bloom’s Technology, we’re talking about Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains. Technology merely serves as a tool that can be used to facilitate learning within those domains. What level of learning depends on how the app is used. How the app is used depends on the learning goal(s) and objective(s).

For example:

  • Using Twitter to write micro-poetry transforms the app from a knowledge tool to a creative tool.
  • Using a YouTube video to learn a math facts song makes it knowledge tool rather than an evaluation tool (where it currently sits within the image above).
  • Using Explain Everything changes domains by use — lower-level learning when teachers use it as an instructional tool, higher-level learning when students use it as a creative tool.
  • Using Microsoft OneNote to take notes makes it a tool for remembering and understanding; as a collaborative tool it can be used for peer review, falling into the evaluate domain.

I think the Padagogy Wheel would be much more useful without the apps. Leaving the app ring blank can turn it into either a planning or reflective tool, or both. Concentrating on the inner circles — the center (motivation), the Bloom’s domains, and their related activities can get you thinking about how you will use technology to help students learn. In doing so, keep the following in mind:

  • Any given lesson is taught across multiple domains of learning. The end goal may be higher-level learning, but knowledge, comprehension and application are inherently important in getting there.
  • Multiple technologies will likely be used in any given lesson. For example, think about what it takes to meet the goals of a research project. You might use any one, or all of these technologies:
    • Concept mapping software for planning and analysis of topic
    • Databases and Internet browsers for gathering information
    • Note taking or flashcard apps for recording and organizing key information and citations
    • Word processing for outlines and end product
    • Alternatively, blogs or wikis for end product and peer review
  • If you focus on creating student-centered learning, you will naturally gravitate toward student-centered uses of technology (ones which require students to actively think and solve problems).

What about the outermost SAMR ring? Is it really necessary? In my opinion, no, though it might help you come up with new and exciting technologies that spark students’ interests. However, using technologies for tasks that were “previously inconceivable” may or may not help you achieve your learning goal(s) and objective(s). And while new technologies are continually invented that do help accomplish “previously inconceivable” tasks, that does not automatically translate into better learning, or even learning at all,

Technology integration (as I discussed in my previous post) is a metacognitive task, one that is part self-reflection, part self-awareness, and part strategic thinking. It takes time and effort and a certain level of willingness to experiment. But, most importantly, technology integration is about learning. While technology has the power to make learning more accessible and easier to differentiate, to truly qualify as integrated, technology should never get in the way of learning, but rather it should fit the learning process like a glove.

Recommended readingIntegrating Technology For Meaningful Learning by Mark Grabe and Cindy Grabe (Mark Grabe was one of my professors in my IDT program, this is a very useful book, free for Kindle Unlimited readers, $9.00 otherwise).



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