How might the use of Electronic Learning Notebooks impact your pedagogy, the method and practice of your teaching? We approach it here through the lens of the RAT model of technology integration (discussed briefly in the introduction and found here and here, and discussed here). RAT suggests there are three ways, or levels, that teachers integrate technology:
- Replacement - wherein the tool simply replaces something you were doing before;
- Amplification - wherein the tool adds onto what you were doing before by increasing efficiency and productivity but falls short of meaningful change;
- Transformation - wherein the tool actually transforms your teaching and the students' learning by doing what was not doable before. We might say that technology use is transformative when it makes full use of the affordances of the technology
In most cases, the goal of technology integration is to achieve transformation, i.e. to make full and meaningful use of the technology. We know from observation that technology integration rarely reaches this level. According to Michael Fullan, writing in The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (2007), transformation requires changes in materials and resources, in behaviors and teaching practices, and in beliefs. From this perspective, such change is substantial and is likely to occur over time. In some cases, replacement is all the technology affords (and that's enough); in others, the technology allows for amplification (again, enough).
I would argue that even if we come up short of transformation - it is difficult to go from nothing to everything overnight - replacement and then amplification are still meaningful places to start if they enhance the teaching and learning and help us achieve our educational aims.
In the case of integrating Electronic Learning Notebooks into your teaching, it might look something like this:
Replacement (wherein the tool simply replaces something you were doing before)
Students use the ELN as their notebook, typing up notes there they would otherwise put into a paper notebook.
Amplification (wherein the tool adds onto what you were doing before by increasing efficiency and productivity but falls short of meaningful change)
An ELN makes students more effective learners when they share their content with other students, and even with the teacher, allowing for feedback.
Transformation (wherein the tool actually transforms your teaching and the students' learning by doing what was not doable before)
The creation and ongoing use of an electronic learning notebook becomes transformative when students use it to not only record their notes, but also share with other students and create their own course resource. By including links and images and various resources, they ensure a meaningful resource that they can continue to use as reference and draw upon whenever needed, both during and after the actual course.