AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH BASED ON CONTENT, PEDAGOGY, AND TEACHER PLANNING
In many ways, Hein’s aphoristic poem “On Problems” describes efforts during the past few decades to integrate technology into K– 12
instruction—which, though successful
in some contexts, has not produced
the educational revolution that was
predicted by technology advocates.
This is the first installment in a
seven-part series, in which we present
a different approach to curriculum-based technology integration that
systematically erases and then redraws the lines—those assumptions
and practices that led to less-than-revolutionary tech integration.
The remaining articles of this series
will appear in the Learning Connections section of L&L, beginning in
this issue with a piece on social studies
learning activity types (see page 26).
Subsequent installments that focus on
mathematics, K– 6 literacy, science,
world languages, and English/language
arts describe learning activity-types
taxonomies, along with classroom-based examples illustrating their use.
Tech Integration Redux
Technology integration efforts often
begin with what’s most unfamiliar
to many teachers: the technologies
themselves. Though it’s true that we
must first become familiar, comfortable, and competent with technologies to be able to integrate them into
instruction effectively, doing this alone
does not ensure effective technologically facilitated teaching. Most technology integration strategies begin
with and focus on the technologies’ affordances and constraints—what they
can help us do and their limitations.
Unfortunately, this approach does not
ensure that educational technologies
will be well integrated into instruction
that is keyed to specific content-based
What is needed instead is an approach to technology integration that:
•;Focuses;on;students’;standards-based learning needs rather than
the specific features of particular
tech tools and resources
teaching styles and levels of
relatively quickly, with few, if any,
additional resources required,
even in resource-scarce settings
•;Is;predicated;upon;teacher;owner-ship of the planning and implementation process to ensure
How can we meet these requirements? By selecting educational
technologies last, as the final step
in instructional planning.
How can we ensure effective tech
integration if technological decisions
are such low-priority tasks? By constraining tech options according to
the types of learning activities included in an instructional plan.
We think of this as a “grounded”
approach to technology integration
because it is based in content, pedagogy, and how teachers plan instruc-tion.;In;the;sections;that;follow,;we’ll
describe how technology integration
decisions may be better incorporated
into the ways teachers typically plan
for teaching and learning.
curriculum standards-based learning
needs. Lesson, project, and unit plans
are organized and structured with
content-based learning activities. We
based the “activity-types” approach to
helping teachers better integrate technology into curriculum-based instruction on the results of this research.
Quite simply, we suggest matching
technology integration strategies
directly to how teachers match—by
specifying learning activities—rather
than asking teachers to plan instruction to the opportunities offered by
Planning instruction that is facilitated by the use of digital tools and
resources can be complex, with each
decision affecting other decisions. Yet
there are five basic steps to planning a
learning event, regardless of the planning model used.
Choose learning goals.
Planning must begin with appropriately selected learning goals
these learning goals are framed by district, state, and/or national content-based curriculum standards.
Research tells us that teachers plan
instruction primarily according to
Make pedagogical decisions.
Once you determine learning
goals, consider a series of eight
practical pedagogical deci-
sions that will determine the specific
parameters of the learning experience
you are planning. Based on knowledge
of learning needs and preferences, plus
the logistical realities of classrooms,
teachers should determine:
HOW CAN WE ENSURE EFFECTIVE TECH INTEGRATION IF
TECHNOLOGICAL DECISIONS ARE SUCH LOW-PRIORITY TASKS?
BY CONSTRAINING TECH OPTIONS ACCORDING TO THE TYPES
OF LEARNING ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN AN INSTRUCTIONAL PLAN.