Return on Investment (ROI) is a business term that can help us better understand the learning process. The term asks if the investment of time, resources, and people is worth the return. The higher the ROI, the better. In education, our return is student learning. So the question becomes how we as educators use time, resources and people to get the best learning return.
We can ask ourselves what is the ROI for students learning in a certain manner. A critical question is what technology best promotes the particular learning goal in an efficient manner?
When a class spends five days on doing a podcast about a battle in the US Civil War, they may not be focusing effectively on the learning goal of using DBQ (document based questions) to explain the results of the Civil War. They could do a quick 20 minute Inspiration comparison chart about the war as told in letters from two soldiers and learn just as much. Although podcasts are a powerful learning technology, they may not be the best tool for a particular learning goal. In addition, when a class has a blog in which students discuss a story they have read, they may be missing the individual analysis that can be done just as easily through word processing. When students word process their own individual analysis they more closely duplicate what they will do on their state ELA assessment.
Our students can use technology to improve their learning when we select an appropriate and efficient technology for the learning goal.
What technology do you select for your learning goals? What is its ROI?
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