Over the last month or so, I have been learning about how to best utilize technology within a classroom context. You may have already scoped out an earlier post where I explained TPACK. Essentially, it is a means of evaluating how our lessons address Content, Pedagogy, and Technology. You’re looking for the sweet spot.
Revising the Lesson Plan
So, as I was revising the lesson plan with the information I was learning in my MAETy1 classes, what exactly was I considering as I looked for what to keep and what to ditch?
First, I took into consideration what Bransford (2000) had to say about learning. If you would like to read more about his thinking, I talked about it in a previous post. In this instance, I focused the most on his ideas that facts are important, but that students need to seek out information and use it to create something in order to show that they learned it.
With this in mind, I went to my lesson plan and looked to see if students were doing that. While they were to a certain extent, I felt like there was an opportunity for students to do more of seeking out of information. I felt that it would be of more benefit to student learning to give the students more opportunities to find the information with collaborative groups and then report back what they found as opposed to just using a presentation.
Next, I looked at Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s work. I was particularly concerned with making sure that I touched on their Learning and Innovation Skills (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration) for this particular lesson. As I looked at the old plan, I did see those things (such as using the philosophies to craft a personal worldview), but I felt like there was an opportunity to make improvements.
With this in mind, I added significantly more choice in order to engender more creativity. Next, I added more opportunities for small and whole group interaction. Additionally, I wanted the students to have a wider audience than just their classmates and me, so I added parents and the option of sharing with the world.
That took care of some pedagogical revisions to the lesson plan. Next, I made sure that the Content lined up, and it did.
With those revisions made, I turned to the technology piece. Originally, the students were to create a presentation explaining their personal philosophy using Google Slides or a similar method. As I went through, I saw opportunities for students to use technology in other places.
Koehler and Mishra (2008) explain that teachers should “…recognize when information technology can assist or impede the achievement of a goal.” As I looked through the plan I saw two additional places that technology could add to the learning experience, while allowing for students to use paper and pencil if they prefer.
The first place was the where the groups wrote what they thought the sayings of Confucius meant. I felt like using a Linoit to allow all the groups to see what the rest of the class was thinking rather than restricting conversation to one person at a time would be a huge benefit.
The second place was the use of any number of different tools (Popplet, Google Draw, or something else the student was familiar with) to create a graphic organizer to show the relationships between Confucianism, Buddhism, Legalism, and Daoism. These tools also would make it easier to share the information with the class (and others).
I feel like this experience of looking at what I have done in the past through my new lens that I am gaining from my MAET experience has been both affirming of what I have done in the past, but also challenging to make what was decent to good better. I look forward to more and more of these rubber meets the road assignments.
With all that in mind, what suggestions would you have to make the plan better? How can you use these lens to tweak and perfect what you’re doing with your students?
Bransford, J., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How People Learn Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Framework for 21st Century Learning – P21. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework
Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPCK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (Eds.) Handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) for educators (pp. 3-30) New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Retrieved from http://punya.educ.msu.edu/presentations/AERA2008/MishraKoehler_AERA2008.pdf