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RAT

The RAT Technology Integration Model
The Replacement, Amplification, Transformation (RAT) assessment framework is a technology integration model that can be used by instructors to understand how their integration of technology in teaching and learning serves their students and themselves. This understanding leads to increased reflection and critical thinking regarding technology use in the classroom. Originally developed by Dr. Joan Hughes in 1998, the RAT model aims to understand the “nature of the technology-supported practices teachers developed and implemented in their teaching” (Hughes, 2022). Hughes, Thomas, & Scharber (2006) further developed and described the model as a framework for self-assessing technology integration. The authors define “technology use as a means to some pedagogical and curricular end” (Hughes et al., 2006). There are three primary purposes for technology integration outlined within the framework for use in teaching and learning: to replace existing, often non-digital, practices; to amplify existing practices; and to transform teaching and/or learning through digital practices.
Keywords: Higher Ed, Inservice Teachers, K12, Post-secondary Education, Preservice Teachers, Teacher Education, Technology Integration, Technology Integration Model, Transformation

Technology use in the classroom for teaching and learning usually impacts instructional methods, student learning, and/or curriculum goals in one of three ways: replacement, amplification, and/or transformation (Hughes, et al., 2006). Figure 1 explains the possible roles of the technology as used in teaching and learning. Examples of the three purposes of classroom technology integration are provided in Table 1.

Figure 1

Artwork Depicting the RAT Framework

RAT as replacement, amplification, transformation
Based on CC BY artwork by Paleo-Beast-Emperor; Techedges.org by J. Hughes, 2022.

Table 1

RAT Framework Breakdown

Purpose Examples
Replacement Students use highlighters in different colors to mark parts of speech on a worksheet printed from the teacher’s computer files. This is replaced by having students use the built-in highlighter tool in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or some other related app to identify different parts of speech (Hughes, et al., 2006).
Amplification Allow students to use built-in tools in Google Docs to help define unknown words and their parts of speech in use. Further, have them create their own sentences and use the tools to make sure they are writing complete sentences using all the desired parts of speech.
Transformative After learning about the parts of speech, have students demonstrate their knowledge by creating a game in PowerPoint or a printable worksheet in Google Docs. For example, they could create a sentence builder activity using images or a Jeopardy round, using PowerPoint templates. They must include an answer key. Students play each other’s game and evaluate the game for accuracy. (This could be done individually or in pairs/small groups).

The RAT assessment framework is organized around three themes and dimensions outlined in the RAT Question Guide (Hughes, 2022). These themes include instructional methods, student learning, and curriculum goals (Hughes, et al., 2006). Each of the themes are further broken down into dimensions (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Technology Use Impact Themes and Dimensions of the RAT Framework

RAT impacts instructional methods, student learning, and curriculum goals
Based on CC BY artwork by Dr. Michelle Read

Using the examples from Table 1, as a replacement, technology moves the non-digital instructional methods, objectives, and ungraded or graded activities to a digital format. The use of a digital document as replacement for a printed document, which still asks students to highlight the parts of speech in different colors, does not change how the educator teaches or how/what the students learn.

As amplification, technology enhances or makes more efficient the instructional methods, the student learning processes, and/or the curriculum goals. For example, Hughes et al. (2006) describe a teacher who created tests, handouts, and other documents in a word processing application in the early days of technology use in the classroom as opposed to using handwritten or typewritten documents. This act served as amplification according to the teacher’s self-assessment because it created an archive that she could later modify without having to recreate the whole document. In the early days of migration from workbooks and mimeo copies to digital files stored on computers, this would have been revolutionary. Although it did not enhance student learning or curriculum goals, this act significantly enhanced her instructional preparation, making this use of technology an example of amplification. In the Table 1 example, students are still identifying parts of speech, but this time they are using technology to help identify words that may not be part of their reading level and the tools allow the students to create their own sentences ensuring it contains all the proper parts of speech. This enhances the learning process for students by making it more student-centered and relevant. It also changes curriculum goals by moving beyond parts of speech identification into application and evaluation of that knowledge.

Finally, as a transformative use of technology, the technology must significantly change any of the identified dimensions within the educator’s instructional methods, the students’ learning processes, and/or curriculum goals. In Table 1, an example of transformative technology was described as, “After learning about the parts of speech, have students demonstrate their knowledge by creating a game in PowerPoint or a printable worksheet in Google Docs. For example, they could create a sentence builder activity using images or a Jeopardy round, using PowerPoint templates. They must include an answer key. Have students play each other’s game and evaluate the game for accuracy.” This changes all three themes of teaching and learning and various dimensions within those themes in the following ways:

Instructional methods. Primarily, the instructor’s method of assessing the students’ knowledge has changed. Rather than a multiple choice test or grading highlighted parts of speech, the instructor is now assessing a product students have created to apply their knowledge of parts of speech.

Student learning. The learning process for students has been transformed and made more rigorous. They have moved beyond identifying parts of speech and are now creating artifacts that rely on their knowledge for success. Students are more motivated and their cognitive load is increased. If working with others, they are also increasing their collaboration skills.

Curriculum goals. Creating a game or activity that relies on knowledge of the parts of speech requires students to use higher-level cognitive skills rather than simply being able to identify parts of speech. This means that students can identify the parts of speech, define their purpose, apply them appropriately, and evaluate their use and application by others.

Although transformative technology use often elevates the learning experiences of students and helps to engage higher level cognitive thinking skills, the RAT framework does not suggest that all classroom technology use must be transformative, nor that it is a level of technological use to be achieved as part of a sequential technological improvement plan.

The RAT framework was created to help educators develop technology-integrated lessons and to assess the worthwhile use of technology (Hughes et al., 2006), as opposed to using technology just for the sake of using technology. Originally developed for K12 preservice and inservice teachers, the RAT model has been implemented at the post-secondary levels as well (Billingsley et al., 2019; Hughes, 2022). For example, Billingsley et al. (2019) discuss use cases for replacement, amplification, and transformation using Google Earth at the app’s various levels of functionality with pre-service teachers. Technology integration should be a purposeful, planned event with the benefits and cons of its use fully realized and understood.

References

Billingsley, G., Smith, S., Smith, S., & Meritt, J. (2019). A systematic literature review of using immersive virtual reality technology in teacher education. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 30(1), 65-90. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/-BWTV.

Hughes, J. E. (2000). Teaching English with technology: Exploring teacher learning and practice. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/-MzF.

Hughes, J., Thomas, R., & Scharber, C. (2006, March). Assessing technology integration: The RAT–replacement, amplification, and transformation-framework. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1616-1620). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/-JXrh.

Hughes, J. E. (n.d.). Replacement, Amplification, and Transformation: The R.A.T. Model. Techedges. ​​https://edtechbooks.org/-tkk.

Community Artifacts

Hughes, J. E. (2022). R.A.T. Question Guide. Techedges.org. Retrieved 6/6/22 from: https://edtechbooks.org/-MJei.

The RAT Technology Integration Model

Suggested Citation

(2022). RAT: The RAT Technology Integration Model. EdTechnica: The Open Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. https://edtechbooks.org/encyclopedia/rat

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