An easy way to measure how well technology helps scaffold the learning experience for students is to do a formative standards-based assessment after the learning experience. If you have told the students what you expected them to learn (what part of the standard) and you provided technology resources such as websites that they used to learn it, then you give them a standards-based formative assessment. If they do well on it (for example, 90% of the students can do it), then, very probably, the technology was beneficial. If they were not successful on the formative assessment (less than 90% could do it),then, very probably, the technology did not scaffold the learning for them.
I feel that the score only counts if you are measuring higher-level thinking skills. If you asked the students to use the Web to find the capitals of seven countries and they learned them, so what? However, if you asked the students to compare the two countries in terms of their future economic growth, then a formative test can assess the standard’s higher level thinking skills.
As educators we should be able to see a cause and effect in our classrooms. We did this or we had the students do this and therefore, the students learned this part of the standard.
So how effective is the technology use in your classroom? How do you know through formative assessments?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007