PIC-RAT Technology Integration Evaluation
PIC-RAT is a recently developed technology integration model whose framework assumes that there are two foundational questions that a teacher must ask about any technology use in their classrooms. These include:
- What is the students’ relationship to the technology? (PIC: Passive, Interactive, Creative)
- How is the teacher’s use of technology influencing traditional practice? (RAT: Replace, Amplify, Transform; cf. Hughes, Thomas, & Scharber, 2006)
This framework considers the intersection of these two questions, and is intended to foster discussions around what is the most effective use of technology for a particular lesson to maximize student engagement and achievement. While the argument can be made that having students be Creative is often more beneficial than having them be Passive, and that using technology that Transforms a lesson is a more useful integration of technology than one that simply Replaces traditional practice, teachers should be cautioned from assuming that the upper right square is where all lessons should strive for. The students' relationship and the teacher's use of technology should be carefully examined through a lens of the learning goals - start with what you want the students to do or achieve, and then make the technology assist with that.
Students' Relationship to Technology
- Passive - Students are relatively inactive receivers of information.
- Interactive - Students receive information and have some means of responding to it. Through manipulation of information, they can begin to scaffold the information into existing knowledge.
- Creative - Students are creating learning products that represent a significant synthesis of new information.
Teacher's Use of Technology
- Replaces - The lesson technology simply serves as a layer of convenience or cosmetic improvement, but does not fundamentally change the nature of the lesson.
- Amplifies - Technology adds elements to the lesson not easily achieved with traditional classroom methods.
- Transforms - In the absence of the technology, the lesson would be impossible to present to students. It is intimately integrated into the experience of the lesson.
In a blended context, school teachers and leaders are constantly trying to move the use of technology to the Amplify and Transform side of the matrix, using technology in ways that benefit teachers and students. As part of data-driven personalization efforts integrated in a blended program, the use of personalized learning software, such as Lexia Reading, Khan Academy, iRead, iReady, or any number of software types, have the potential to Amplify and Transform traditional practice if used effectively by teachers.
Another way that K-12 schools can use technology effectively in blended programs is by ensuring students use technology in Interactive and Creative ways. One example is by teaching computational thinking skills, or more specifically, how to code to young kids. Scratch is one technology that does this, and in the coming years there will likely be more options out there that help students think in ways that prepare them to build technology tools of the future.
If you notice that a student’s experience with technology is mostly Passive, or an activity is mostly Replacing traditional practice, think of tools or ways that might move you higher and further on the scale. For example, instead of having students just watch a video at home about a particular topic for homework (passive), you might consider using EdPuzzle, which inserts questions for comprehension in the middle of the video and makes the experience Interactive; it also Transforms the experience when you as the teacher view student scores before the next class period and prepare to teach with that data in mind.
|A summary of the PIC-RAT Framework||Examples of lessons on the PIC-RAT Framework|