Disruptive Classroom Technologies

Picture of  Sonny Magana
Sonny Magana

Foreword by Robert J. Marzano
Published by Corwin, a SAGE Company, 2017

Written by Vlatka Butković

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Who is this book for?

This may not be a book for a teacher who is new to technology use in the classroom, but it is definitely a book for any teacher who is an educational enthusiast who believes educational system needs to change drastically in order to adjust to a new world. Sonny Magana is presenting a concept, not a step-by-step guide for particular tech tools, that opens new possibilities or, rather, embraces the possibilities the use of tech provides.

What is T3 Framework?

Two models are predominantly used in education to frame the use of technology: TPACK Model (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) created in 1998, and SAMR Model from 2013 (substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition). Both have its strengths and weaknesses.

Magana designs T3 Framework with three general levels of skills / stages of use (T3): translational technology use, Transformational technology and transcendent technology use. His goal is for this framework to do three things: explain that tech integration in schools is a necessity, help us decide for the use of technology within the context of the learning environment and offer a set of criteria to help teachers self-assess their technology use, while guiding the process of developing meaningful goals and receiving feedback on the way towards these goals. (p.24)

T1: Translational

Simply put, translational use of technology enables us to do tasks we can do in an analog way to be done digitally. The simplest example is using Google Form instead of a paper survey. Old ways are done in new ways, translated in a new, tech language. We are all aware of its advantages, and chances are this is (still) the most common use of technology in the classroom. This is a necessary stage to go through, and while they add value to the traditional teaching, the value they add is relatively low. Translational technology does not change the task, nor the person doing the task.

T2: Transformational
Transformational uses of technology involve changes in either nature of the task itself, the role of the individual engaged in the task, or the impact of the task on those who perceive the object of the task. (p.21)
Magana makes it easy for us to understand the transformational stage – he illustrates it with historical moments in human history like the invention of Guttenberg press, or the invention of the wheel. Compared to the translational stage, transformational stage can be viewed as doing new things in new ways.

“Transformational technology is intentional application of digital technologies to unleash students’ learning expertise, in ways not possible without technology, to achieve ever higher levels of knowledge and mastery.”

Students, therefore, not only consume technology but go through new thought processes, create new content and contribute to own knowledge as well as to the knowledge of others. This is the stage where a shift from the role of a student to the one of a teacher takes place.
Magana provides guidance for transformational technology use, as well as lists of numerous tools and their potential practical use.

T3: Transcendent

“Digital technologies now have the potential to take the story of humanity to new and unforeseen heights… In the world of teaching and learning, digital technologies provide an opportunity for entirely new processes, not just in translating and transforming tasks but transcending what is currently known about teaching and learning with new and emerging technologies that allow us to reach previously unobtainable heights.”

Transcendent technology use is the highest form of added value by educational technologies. Once reached, it encourages students to find their own pathways in the learning process and in solving their own wicked problems, and, in the end, initiate change that could not be possible without technology and without the freedom they are given in this process. Magana advises, “When students use technology in transcendent ways, they become their own curriculum mapmakers.”

What makes T3 Framework revolutionary

A good way to explain the importance of Sonny Magana’s 3Ts is to look at the very first table he uses in his book. In it, he compares the TPACK, SAMR and T3 Models, clearly showing that T3 Framework provides more precise, timely and actionable feedback to guide educational technology use (Preface XXV).

Attribute                                                                                                                                                                                                                TPACK            SAMR                T3

Research-based framework








Contextualised in teaching and learning








Unambiguous stages



Unambiguous transitions



Design questions






Highly reliable instructional strategies



Clear indicators of progress



Can be used to set clear professional growth goals



Can be used to measure progress on growth goals



Can be used to track progress on growth goals



Disruptive, because it requires change

Life and work in the 21st century demand new learning outcomes for students. The title od this book may seem misleading at first, until you understand the levels of change that is necessary to happen in education, as well as in teachers’ habits in order to use technology in education in such a way that we use its full potential. The tools are right here.

“Educational technologies can be either a disruptive innovation or distractive innovation; the dependent variable seems to be the manner in which the technology is used.”

Additional resources

Visit Sonny Magana’s website for the resources he generously shares, and check his Blog.

Subscribe to Sonny Magana’s YouTube Channel.

Follow Sonny Magana on Twitter.

#T3Framework #MetaLearning #CEESAbookclub #CEESAconnects

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