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Tech Tips

Integrating Technology with Kagan Structures

Dr. Michael Winters
Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction, Madison Elementary School District

Note: Scan QR codes with a QR reader to view videos.

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in the world of education, the need to integrate technology resources with Kagan Structures has become apparent. When paired with effective and engaging instructional practices that hold students accountable for learning, technology can be a useful tool. Combining technology and Kagan Structures builds a cooperative classroom and holds students accountable while appealing to the learning styles of 21st century learners. This article presents practical examples of integrating technology with Kagan Structures plus a new structure that is completely dependent on the use of technology.

Presenting Information

For the purposes of this article, I am going to reference a presentation I did for our administrative team on the topic of Growth Mindset. Instead of me talking and going on and on about Growth Mindset, and the administrators growing more and more bored, I combined a Kagan Structure, Trading Cards, with technology to present information on Growth Mindset. Each person received a card, in this case the cards had QR codes on them. Each QR code was linked to a piece of media, an article, a video, a song, or a website about Growth Mindset. Once music started, in this case "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson, Trading Cards began.

Administrators trade QR codes, linking to videos and articles on Growth Mindset.

The administrators mixed around the room trading cards (QR codes) with as many people as they could until the music stopped. Once the music stopped, each person scanned their QR code using either their cell phone, iPad, or even a Chromebook. Each person brought a set of head phones to listen to media if necessary. They were given four minutes to review their media. After four minutes, music started, and they did Trading Cards again. They had another four minutes to review the media linked to their new QR code. This process was repeated two more times. Each person was able to learn about Growth Mindset through four different sources. Getting up, moving around, and the integration of technology was much more engaging than me lecturing, was more efficient, and held the group accountable. After the fourth round of Trading Cards, they returned to their seats to summarize the information they learned.

Summarizing Newly Learned Information

Once each team returned to their tables, they used Timed RoundRobin to summarize and present the new information they learned about Growth Mindset. Each person in the team received one minute to summarize their new learning. After Timed RoundRobin was complete, the four people at each team were exposed to up to 16 different sources of information regarding Growth Mindset. They viewed their four QR codes and then received a summary of 12 more sources. Each member of the administrative team now had enough information about Growth Mindset to know what it is and to begin thinking about how they could model it for their staff and students.

Administrators review the media and prepare to share what they learned.

Sharing Information

After Timed RoundRobin, each administrator was asked to think about how he/she could model Growth Mindset for his/her staff and students. They were given one minute of think time to formulate their thoughts. Then they used their device, cell phone, iPad, or Chromebook, to create a 30-second video of themselves explaining how they intend to model a Growth Mindset on their campus. Each administrator went to a separate location in the room to create their video. After explaining how they intended to model a Growth Mindset, the administrators shared their visions with their teams.

New Structure – Simultaneous RoundRobin

Those of you familiar with Kagan Structures just read the heading for this section and a confused looked appeared on your face. You are thinking, “How can everybody in a team talk at one time? Who is going to listen?” Technology is how. Each administrator rotated their device one person clockwise. The administrator plugged his/her headphones into the new device and pressed play. Each member of a team was sharing his/her vision of modeling Growth Mindset at the same time, therefore the name, Simultaneous RoundRobin. The devices were rotated one person clockwise until each person in the team was able to listen to each teammate’s video.

Feedback Regarding Structures and Technology

At the completion of this training, many administrators said this was one of the best trainings they have ever had. Many of the administrators asked for the materials to be able to duplicate the training with their staffs. When visiting these school sites, the prevalence of the Growth Mindset is seen in hallways and classrooms. The combination of highly engaging cooperative learning structures and technology led to powerful learning experiences for the audience.