After you have noted what kind of technology is available to you then consider your curriculum. Look through the objectives and determine which lessons would benefit from the technology you have available. Remember to consider the age, grade, and tech know how of your students. You may have to scaffold lessons leading up to the instructional technology enhanced lesson. As stated in the previous lesson, technology should never be a last minute add in or be used as a fill in to kill time.
So how do you know if what you have planned is simply a time killer? A few questions that may assist you in deciding this are:
• Does it support learning ideas or increase understanding of a topic?
• Will it be used to explore, connect, or compare something?
• Will it be used by students to construct an assignment or complete a project?
• Is the technology resource being used effectively?
• What is the instructional objective of the lesson or assignment?
• Can it be identified by using Digital Blooms Taxonomy?
If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions then perhaps you should examine the lesson again and rewrite it with these questions in mind. This will not only ensure you are using technology as an effective means to present a lesson, it will also prevent you from wasting valuable time and energy on something that has no real instructional purpose.
Another valuable tool is something called the SAMR model. It was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura as a way to help teachers with the integration of technology into their classrooms. The acronym stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition. If you look at each part separately it will assist you in building an educationally sound, technology enhanced environment for your students.
Substitution indicates that no real change in the assignment or task it done. For example, classroom notetaking is changed to using a word processor to take notes during class.
Augmentation is basically the same as substitution but another element has been added such as sharing notes on a google drive or using Powerpoint to create a presentation rather than having students create a poster using posterboard.
Modification is when the teacher uses technology in a way to make it original and taps into higher order thinking skills. Examples would include a student produced video that includes storyboarding, video creation/editing and publication. It would also include blogs and podcasts completed by students.
Redefinition takes place when things are redesigned. The teacher finds new ways to use technology. Examples would be using the peer editing tool in Google Docs to connect to another classroom across the state, country, or even the globe in order to create a discussion about the content and help students gain a better understanding of different cultures.
All of these things working together create a unification of educational skills known as TPACK. The goal of TPACK is to identify the knowledge needed by teachers to successfully integrate technology in their classrooms. Ideally it occurs when technical knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge overlap and reflect a balance of the skills necessary to promote an effective learning experience as well technology rich environment.
Finally, remember search engines like Google are your friends. There is a plethora of wonderful complete lessons on just about any topic you can imagine already written and available to you. Don’t try to reinvent something that has already been done, modify what’s already out there for your own use!