Don't Be So Translational with Tech like @Wakelet

Last week, I must have been on a Wakelet craze, since I found myself writing blog entries about this exciting new tool. Part of the excitement came from my chat with Misbah at Wakelet, but also, the work of Kristin who shared a video on how she is setting up templates in Wakelet.

Making Connections

A part of my excitement also stems from trying to make connections between Hattie highlighted instructional strategies (that result in accelerated learning for students at d > .40). In my own work, it feels a bit like we're abandoning, as Dr. Sonny Magana might describe it, T1-Translational technology use.

But if we're abandoning tool focused uses (e.g. "This is Wakelet, here's how to use it and isn't it just peachy?") and trying for more transformational (T2) or transcendental (T3) uses, what does that look like?

Translational Tech Use?

How does Dr. Sonny Magana define translational tech use, or T1? Here's my summary of T1:
This involves using technology to improve efficiency or accuracy, and/or increase quantity or quality.  This tier focuses on Automation and Consumption. It seems equivalent to Substitution and Augmentation in the SAMR model. As you can imagine, the tools-heavy focus that characterizes the typical presentations one sees that focus on "60 tools in 60 minutes." It's all about the tools.
For example, one of my upcoming blog entries suggests that Wakelet could make a nice choice board solution. Here's the lead from my upcoming blog entry:
“How can I create an interactive choice board with a popular content curation tool?” You could use any tool to make it, but why not give Wakelet a try? Wakelet offers support for a simple grid (two items side by side, stacked as many deep as you would like). While it’s not the traditional nine by nine grid, putting your choice board on Wakelet has a few advantages. In this blog entry, we’ll discuss traditional choice boards and you will see how Wakelet can expand student learning opportunities. 
Read more about Wakelet Choice Boards when published on September 9, 2019 at
For me, using Wakelet as a choice board is simple translational use. I haven't done anything phenomenal or wonderful, simply substituted digital choice board for a paper one, augmenting it with clickable links (notice the reference to non-research-based SAMR level of substitution and augmentation...ugh).

Transformation Is But One Step on the Journey

Reflecting on Wakelet and how one can transition from T1 to T2 (Transformation), this description is apt:
...many school environments are only just transitioning from the T1 translational stage to T2 transformational stage. The T1 stage is where technology is merely used as a passive platform for the “automation” and “consumption” of digital information. The transformational stage is more interesting, where students use technology to “produce” and “contribute” to what Dr Magana refers to as “digital thought artifacts” such as videos, annotated presentations etc., that can also be archived and shared with others for learning. (Source: Students as Teachers)
Can students use Wakelet to create "digital thought artifacts" that can be archived and shared with others? Not if that means that they create their own Wakelet accounts. However, using the contributors option possible in Wakelet, a teacher who DOES have a Wakelet account can make it easy for students who have created content elsewhere to share to a class wakelet.

Still, the question remains, how do we get to use some of those more effective Hattie instructional strategies?

The Modality Effect: Wakelet Templates for Teachers

In a rather transparent attempt, I tried to up the game a bit. In this blog entry, which the lead appears below and is still pending editorial review as I write this, I discuss the modality effect. Before I discuss that as an effective instructional strategy, here's the promised lead to that upcoming blog entry sans editing:
Ready to tap into the full power of Wakelet? Don’t depend on your imagination alone. Explore these templates for innovative ways to wakelet your teaching, learning and leading. And, did you know that there is such a thing as the Wakelet modality effect? It makes non-linguistic representation easier to achieve in your classroom. In this blog entry, you will find a host of inventive ways others are using Wakelet in the classroom. Some of them are sharing their Wakelets as templates.
Read more about The Modality Effect: Wakelet Templates for Teachers if/when published at some undisclosed date at
In this blog entry, I make a connection between Wakelet and how it can enhance the Modality Effect (d=.55) in classrooms. Without going into too much detail, allow me to share an adapted quote (that is, it was an actual quote until I decided it could be written better and I modified it and now I'm telling you in this never-ending sentence):
The modality effect refers to how learner performance depends on the presentation mode. Improve learning when you present textual information in enhanced mode. That is, when text includes auditory format, and/or visual materials. Visual materials could include a graph, diagram, or animation. Source: Visible Learning Meta  X database
As you can imagine, Wakelet makes it easy to include various visual materials. Microsoft's Immersive Reader provides the auditory format for any text that appear in Wakelet, as well. That's pretty amazing!

In addition to the Modality Effect, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Representation also is possible. UDL has 3 guiding principles, which include the following:

  • Engagement – Engaging learners. This is about motivating others to learn (Source).
  • Representation – Giving learners different ways to acquire information and knowledge.
  • Action and Expression – Demonstrating what they know in many ways.

As you can imagine, Wakelet can provide learners with different ways to acquire information and knowledge, as well as express that knowledge. I'm not going to go into much more details, except to point you to UDL 2.5, UDL 3.2 and 3.3.

Don't Be So Translational with Tech like @Wakelet

As I look at technology in a fresh light, I have to wonder if schools focused on effective instructional strategies should have technology in them, except for translational use...that is, technology as a tool to make the teachers' job easier, facilitate communications, at a distance collaborations, etc. What that means is that transformational and transcendental uses might not really be worthwhile efforts...I need to do more thinking but that's the end of this blog entry, so I'll have to take this up again in the future.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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