What do the Germ Scanner app, the Clinometer app, a YouTube clip featuring Godzilla, and an interactive game called Sprinter have in common? All of them represent divergent uses of technology. A divergent application of technology means that the way the digital tool is being used is different than its initial use. Why? For the most part, divergent uses of technology can grab student’s attention, activate prior knowledge, build schema, and engage students in solving complex problems.
In the above examples, the Germ Scanner app was used in a 6th grade classroom to activate students’ prior knowledge about germs that lead to students developing a plan to reduce the spread of germs at their middle school. The clinometer app and Godzilla video clip were employed as a way for students to apply trigonometric functions to determine the height of a distance object, in this case, Godzilla. The last example featuring the interactive game, Sprinter, was used by 8th grade students to apply their understanding of slope to determine changes in track and field world records over time.
Sometimes the best uses of technology occur when we think outside the box and use our imagination to create a learning environment for students to become curious, ask questions, and seek solutions or answers to real world or fictitious events that they can relate to. The possibilities are endless.