Three Domains of Educational Technology: Part II

T2 Transformational Technology Use and Student Achievement

Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a Three-Part Series (Part 1)

by Dr. Sonny Magana

What Do We Mean By Learning Readiness?

Learning readiness is a hot topic in education discussions, blogs, and articles. It is beyond argument that developing student readiness to learn must be embraced by learning organizations. However, are we preparing students for the future with outdated conceptions from the past?

I'll take Modern Learning Systems for $1,000, Alex

The dawn of organized learning systems loosely corresponded with the advent of the industrial age. Employability and job success in the industrial epoch were marked by process memorization, task accuracy, isolation, and a near robotic focus on efficiency. Assembly line workers typically performed a single task in an often long and complicated sequence. They were also held to high standards of productivity and error mitigation in order to maximize profits, whether the context was a mill, a rug factory, or an auto plant.

The type of learning that was designed to prepare learners for the industrial workforce was marked by factual knowledge memorization and the swift and accurate recollection of those facts. Learning systems of the past privileged learning surface knowledge and the rehearsal of that surface knowledge. Teachers told students what knowledge was, and what knowledge was important to learn. Students dutifully practiced, rehearsed, and memorized that knowledge for the all-telling performance on high stakes, summative assessments.

The trouble is this: if surface level knowledge is not deeply consolidated into one's permanent memory, it degrades. Swiftly. Does this sound a lot like modern learning systems? It should. Far too many of today's learning systems resemble organized games of Jeopardy.

In fact, many of our top performing students have simply mastered the art of cramming. In other words, they won't forget what they've memorized until after they take the test.

If learners do not transfer their knowledge by applying it in some meaningful, new context, they simply will not be able to deeply consolidate it. Becoming habituated to this type of learning results in the form of learning dependency; students may become reliant on an authority figure to tell them what they know, what they don't know, and what they need to do to achieve minimum proficiency. One potential implication is that today's students will leave organized educational systems without experiencing the joy of either establishing their own mastery goals or acquiring self-appraisal strategies. This is tantamount to preparing students for a society and economy of the past rather than for the present conceptual economy, and certainly not for future economies marked by rapid innovation and iteration.

Current Learning Readiness, Deeper Learning, and Knowledge Transfer

Equipped with modern technology tools unimaginable a hundred years ago, today's classrooms are portals to a vast knowledge universe comprised of both information and misinformation. Today's learners must be able to leverage modern digital teaching and learning tools to serve their acquisition and consolidation of deeper learning, and to mindfully apply that knowledge in contexts that are different than those in which new content knowledge was taught, while developing self-regulation and appraisal strategies.

Modern school systems must first ensure that they are effectively preparing students for current learning readiness. The knowledge, skills, and habits necessary for learning success at the turn of the 20th Century are no longer sufficient for current learning success. Today's students must develop a raft of knowledge, skills, habits, and learning strategies that empower them to master current learning content.

I've been researching the impact of educational tools for four decades and have synthesized over 30 years of research findings into my recent book, Disruptive Classroom Technologies (Magana, 2017). In this book, I introduce the T3 Framework for Innovation, a hierarchic model which organizes technology use into three categories of impact: T1 Translational, T2 Transformational, and T3 Transcendent. The T3 Framework should not be conflated with other technology integration frameworks, because the focus of the T3 Framework is pedagogical innovation, not simple digitization.

My impetus for developing the T3 Framework for Innovation is based on two key premises: 1) Technology use should unleash student learning potential in ways that are not possible in the absence of technology, and, 2) Education systems would benefit from a taxonomy of value added by technology use in learning environments, which would result in more impactful teaching practices and increased student engagement and achievement (Magana, 2017 pp. xxvi). The T3 Framework for Innovation in Education, in fact, addresses a whole new domain of teaching and learning that is only possible in technology-rich classroom environments.

Transformational Technology Use and Current Learning Readiness

The elements in the T2 Transformational Technology Use domain of the T3 FrameworkT2.1 Production, and, T2.2 Contribution were synthesized from compounding longitudinal data on enhancing teaching and learning effectiveness with technology. These elements are further codified into six concrete strategies which teachers and students can implement immediately using their existing classroom technologies to a large, positive effect.

These strategies help teachers make the all-important shift from surface learning towards deeper learning by showing them how to help their students produce their own mastery goals and success criteria, and develop their own assessment literacy. This gives students the opportunity to develop more effective feedback mechanisms, so they can more effectively monitor and track their progress, effort, and affect at each stage of learning. This also prompts students to identify and compile the specific learning techniques that help them achieve success when engaged in surface learning, deeper learning and knowledge transfer. Additionally, these strategies help students become more adept at applying newly acquired deep learning by producing digital knowledge, thought products, and learning tutorials that are designed to teach others what they know, what they can do and, more importantly, how they think about what they know and are able to do.

When implemented with reasonable fidelity, these strategies will result in a very large effect on instructional quality and student achievement the equivalent of an additional three or four years of academic achievement in a single year (Haystead & Marzano, 2009; 2010; Haystead & Magana, 2013; Magana & Marzano, 2014; Magana, 2016). The strategies in the T2 Transformational Technology Use domain will not only help students become more ready for current learning, but to master such new learning content in current classroom contexts.

While that is necessary, it is simply insufficient. We must also ensure that students are ready for future learning. That means that students must actualize the requisite knowledge, skills, and habits for mastering future learning. I will delve into this concept more deeply in the next installment of this 3-part blog series.


Haystead, M., & Magana, S. (2013). Using technology to enhance the art and science of teaching framework: A descriptive case study. Centennial, CO: Marzano Research.

Haystead, M., & Marzano, R. J. (2009). Evaluation study on the effect of Promethean ActivClassroom on student achievement. Centennial, CO: Marzano Research.

Haystead, M., & Marzano, R. J. (2010). A second-year evaluation study of Promethean ActivClassroom. Centennial, CO: Marzano Research.

Hattie, J. (2017). In (Magana, 2017), Disruptive classroom technologies: A framework for innovation in education (pp. i). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Magana, S. (2016). Enhancing the art and science of teaching with technology: A model for improving learning for all students. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Seattle University, Seattle, Washington.

Magana, S. (2017). Disruptive classroom technologies: A framework for innovation in education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Magana, S., & Marzano, R. J. (2014). Enhancing the art and science of teaching with technology. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

Further Reading

This post includes mentions of a partner of MindRocket Media Group the parent company of edCircuit

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