Evaluating our Use of Technology and Assessing Student Learning


When evaluating the use of technology, we need to ask the essential question as posed by Magana (2017); "How does the use of technology add value, in terms of unleashing student learning potential, in ways that are not possible without technology?" Historically, two frameworks have been employed to answer this question: the TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) and SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition). However, Magana (2017) proposes a new theory and framework based on 30 years of research. The T3 (Translational, Transformational, and Transcendent) addresses the lack of organization and clear progress indicators in TPACK and SAMR. When educators apply the T3 framework to evaluate their use of technology in the classroom, the results are "precise, timely, and actionable Magana, 2017)." T3 frames the use of technology into three distinct stages: translational, transformational, and transcendent. The three stages provide incremental values from low to high to allow educators to self-assess and set goals for adding value to student learning potential through transformational and transcendent employment of technology.

To assess learning, Magana (2017) poses the question, "How can students use technology to represent what they know, what they are able to do, and how they are able to think, in ways that are not possible without technology?"  To be sure, the question is based in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, in which we remove the cognitive load of producing assessment tools from educators to allowing students to set mastery goals and choose the way in which they will generate representations (digital artifacts) of personal knowledge gained. This shift in assessment allows students to take ownership of their learning and is a transformational use of technology in the classroom.

Solution Suggestions:

  • Facilitator Digital Homerooms
  • Redesigned Student Canvas Orientation to include
    • How to be a Successful Independent Learner 
  • Creation of “A Student’s Guide to Technology at Excelsior” mini-course
  • Creation of “A Parent’s Guide to Technology at Excelsior” companion-course
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Educational Technology Advisory Committee