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Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever

Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever
(Source: A.W. Chickering and S. C. Ehrmann, AAHE Bulletin, 1996, 49(2), 3-7)

Principle 1: Encourage Contacts Between Students and Faculty
Communication technologies can increase students' access to faculty members, help them share useful resources, and pave the way for joint problem solving and shared learning. These contacts can augment face-to-face contact in and outside of class meetings.

Principle 2: Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students
One of the early surprises about computer-based tools was the extent to which they encouraged spontaneous student collaborations. A clear advantage of email (and texting and tweeting) for today's busy, commuting students is that it opens up communication among classmates even when they are not physically together.

Principle 3: Use Active Learning Techniques
There is a staggering range of technologies that encourage active learning. Many fall into one of three categories: tools and resources for learning by doing, time-delayed exchange, and real-time conversation. Today, all three usually are supported by the software available on our laptops and desktop systems.

Principle 4: Give Prompt Feedback
Technologies provide feedback in many obvious and subtle ways. Computers play a growing role in recording and analyzing personal and professional performances. Teachers can use technology to provide critical observations for an apprentice. E-portfolio evaluation strategies provide rich storage and easy access to students' products and performances.

Principle 5: Emphasize Time on Task
New technologies can dramatically improve time on task for students and faculty members. Some years ago a faculty member told one of us that he used technology to "steal students' beer time," attracting them to work on course projects instead of goofing off. Technology also can increase time on task by making studying more efficient. Teaching strategies that help students learn at home or work can save hours that may have been spent commuting and parking!

Principle 6: Communicate High Expectations
New technologies can communicate high expectations explicitly and efficiently. Significant real-life problems, conflicting perspectives, or paradoxical data sets can set powerful learning challenges that drive students to not only acquire information, but sharpen their cognitive skills of analysis, synthesis, application, and evaluation. Faculty members are reporting that students are stimulated when they realize their finished work will be "published" on the World Wide Web.

Principle 7: Respect Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
Technological resources can ask for different methods of learning through powerful visuals and well-organized print; through direct, vicarious, and virtual experiences; and through tasks requiring analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, with applications to real-life situations. They can encourage self-reflection and self-evaluation. They can drive collaboration and group problem solving. Technologies can help students learn in ways they find most effective and broaden their repertoires for learning.