True tech integration starts with learning goals

The real challenge is not integrating technology effectively. It’s developing a vision for technology use

vision-goalsThe other day I was working with a group of elementary school teachers on lesson planning with technology. They were introducing some new vocabulary words to their fourth grade students and were looking for some ideas. As we began, they said very little and it was clear were expecting me to introduce some new tools and apps that they might adopt in their classrooms.

Instead, I asked them a question: How can you be sure that students understand the vocabulary? Over the next several minutes we discussed ways in which the teachers would be certain that students knew and understood the new vocabulary words. One of the teachers offered that if the students really understood a vocabulary word they would be able to find and identify a relevant and appropriate picture depicting the word.

Another mentioned that if the students understood the vocabulary word they would be able to identify a recorded description of the word amongst recordings of other words. So, we began our technology integration process by envisioning learning activities that would demonstrate student mastery of curriculum content.…Read More

6 Characteristics of Great PD (And Great Classrooms)

Great and effective PD usually has these characteristics

PD-6For nearly a dozen years I’ve traveled to various schools and districts to deliver professional development workshops and presentations. Over the years, I’ve also sat in on many ed-tech workshops and presentations at schools, conferences, and “unconferences.”

These experiences have taught me that if our goal is to create fundamental change in classrooms, professional development workshops should ultimately devote less time to the “nuts and bolts” of technology and more time addressing pedagogy and best practices. Technology, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily change learning. So, the primary focus of any workshop must be the educator’s vision of a technology, and not the technology itself.

My EdTechTeacher colleague (and HarvardX researcher) Justin Reich and I believe that if we want teachers to integrate exemplary practices and lead and inspire the next generation, then we must prepare them in exemplary learning environments.…Read More