Frameworks for effective technology use: SECTIONS

When adopting or adapting technology for effective teaching and learning, it often helps to use a framework. One such framework, produced by Dr. Tony Bates, Research Associate for Contact North, is SECTIONS, devised by the University of British Columbia, and mentioned in Planning for Effective Teaching with Technologypart two of the great series of articles Understanding the Building Blocks of Online Learning.

SECTONS stands for:-

S - Student needs

E - Ease of Use

C - Cost considerations

T - Teaching and learning (your  approach to)

I - Interaction for students (desired level of)

O - Organisational support needed

N - Novelty factor

S - Speed with which the technology or materials can be adopted/adapted

Rather than just designed to be used at a teacher or classroom level, this framework has been devised "facilitate decisions with regard to choice of technology at both the strategic and the tactical level".

How to use the framework:

1. Define what you are trying to accomplish by answering a series of questions about what you want to achieve.

  • I want the students to learn...
  • I think this I could be more effective in facilitating this learning if...
  • The learning activity I've chosen is...
  • The technology I've chosen to support this learning is...

2. Assess by using a checklist to evaluate the technology you have chosen to investigate or use.

  • Ask questions on the checklist based on what your specific requirements are
  • Answers to the questions should be in the form of Yes, No, N/A
  • Include a column for Importance (i.e. how important this feature is for you)
  • Include also another column for considerations (i.e. aspects that need to be taken into account)

3. Implement the technology (if it passes the assessment stage above) for the first time and observe and gather impressions to help in the evaluation process. Questions to ask yourself include:-
  • When observing the students using the technology, I notice...
  • The technology I chose is enabling the learning because...
  • The technology I chose is a barrier to the learning because...
  • Feedback from the students is...

4. Refine your approach based on reflection
  • What worked?
  • What didn't work and why?
  • I need to change...
  • My plan to make this change is...


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