Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

Dear technology tool, you’ve changed. Frankly, you don’t do what you promised you would. My friends say I try someone with more features and a more attractive design. I’m sorry, but we’re done. Mrs. TeacherDo you find yourself perpetually breaking up with your educational technology tools or not even sure that they are worth the investment? Let me share a perspective that may help you determine which tools are worth your time, money and energy.

The Triple E Framework, developed out of University of Michigan by Dr. Liz Kolb, is a simple to use framework that may help you quickly identify what a technology tool can bring to your lessons. Dr. Kolb synthesized current technology and learning research into three E’s: Engage, Enhance and Extend. If I could sum up Dr. Kolb’s work into one statement, it would be this:

In order to promote student achievement, technology should be used to

  • Engage students in the learning goals,
  • Enhance the learning environment and
  • Extend learning into real life.

You can use the Triple E Framework by asking a few simple questions about how technology is being used in your lessons.


  • Does the use of technology limit distraction so students can focus on the learning goals?
  • Does the use of technology motivate students to start the learning process?
  • Does the use of technology encourage students to engage in active social learning?


  • Does the use of technology help students develop or demonstrate deeper learning of the content?
  • Does the use of technology make it easier for students to understand the content?
  • Does the use of technology allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that they couldn’t without technology?


  • Does the use of technology create opportunities for students to learn outside of the school day?
  • Does the use of technology tie school learning to real-life experiences?
  • Does the use of technology help students build skills that they can use in their everyday lives?

Triple E Framework Rubric

You may find it helpful to use the Triple E Framework Rubric to quantify technology’s role in a lesson. The rubric can help you with lesson planning by identifying strengths and weaknesses of the tool. You can then utilize instructional strategies to improve areas of weakness or even consider whether technology is even appropriate for your lesson.

In short, the Triple E Framework can provide a lens to look through when considering using technology in your lessons that could save you from getting into a lengthy and costly relationship with a sub-par tool. If you’d like to dig deeper into the Triple E Framework, you can check out tripleeframework.com or Dr. Kolb’s book Learning First, Technology Second.

Interested in learning more? I’d love the opportunity to work with you to support the thoughtful use of technology to engage, enhance and extend learning goals in your district. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Click Here to Email Keith.

This blog post was written by Kent ISD's NEW Education Technolgy Consultant, Keith Tramper! Keith is passionate about empowering students and educators to impact their world through the use of technology. He has experience training, providing support, coaching and consulting to build capacity for educational innovation within K-12 schools and ISDs.

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