THE ACTIVITY TYPES APPROACH TO TECHNOLOGICALLY INTEGRATED
INSTRUCTIONAL PLANNING IS FOCUSED SQUARELY ON STUDENTS’ STANDARDS-
BASED, CURRICULUM-RELATED LEARNING OUTCOMES, RATHER THAN ON THE
TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN ASSIST IN CREATING THOSE OUTCOMES.
be used alone, they rarely are. Generally, the more activity types that are
included in an instructional plan, the
deeper and more differentiated the
learning that results.
Select assessment strategies.
After determining the activity
types to combine, select ap-
propriate assessment strate-
gies to gauge student progress in
achieving the targeted learning goals.
Assessments can serve many purposes,
including providing the teacher with
feedback on student progress, enabling
students to synthesize information at
multiple points in a unit of study, and
appraising students’ mastery of learn-
ing goals at the end of a unit.
It;is;important;to;include;assess-ment both during learning activities
(formatively) and after they are complete (summatively). Many activity
example, answering questions, participating in a group discussion, and
creating a timeline can all serve as formative gauges of student progress in
social studies. Similarly, taking a test,
writing an essay, and creating a presentation are examples of summative
more on the technologies being used
than on the students who are trying to
use them to learn. Technocentric
learning experiences rarely help students meet curriculum-based content
standards, because the design of the
learning experience has focused more
on use of the selected technologies
than what is most appropriate for a
particular group of students to learn.
Alternatively, if teachers choose
learning goals in accordance with
students’ learning needs, if they make
pedagogical decisions according to
instructional and contextual realities,
and if they select learning activity
types (including assessment strategies)
to match those goals and realities,
then the instructional plan is likely to
succeed. Choosing only from the educational technologies recommended
for each of the selected learning activity types supports teachers’ technology integration efforts without shifting their focus away from students’
curriculum-based learning needs and
easily into planning with many popular models (for example, Madeline
Hunter’s Seven-Step Lesson Plan,
Backwards Design, and Teaching for
The activity types approach to technologically integrated instructional
planning is focused squarely on students’ standards-based, curriculum-related learning outcomes rather than
on the technologies that can assist in
creating those outcomes. The process
is designed to help teachers plan effective, efficient, and engaging learning
experiences for their students.
to come, we will describe six learning
activity-types taxonomies, along with
classroom-based examples illustrating
their use, drawn from as broad and
inclusive a range of curriculum standards, pedagogical approaches, and
digital and nondigital technologies
as possible. We will try not to favor a
particular view of teaching and learning or propose a preferred way of inte-grating;technology.;In;doing;so,;we;are
advocating for teachers to retain—or
in some school districts, regain—their
decision-making power in instructional planning and practice.
Select tools/resources. Unfor-
tunately, many teachers
wishing to incorporate edu-
cational technologies into
curriculum-based learning and
teaching begin by selecting the digital
tools and resources they will use.
When instruction is planned in this
way, it becomes what Seymour Papert,
a seminal thinker regarding comput-
ers and pedagogy for children, calls
Learners First, Technologies Last
Though we have presented an approach to instructional planning as
a linear sequence of steps, in practice,
the process is recursive. As students’
learning needs and experiences develop, as contextual conditions (for
example, technology access) change,
as teachers’ expertise grows, and as
curriculum requirements shift, the
decisions and choices made at each of
the five stages of planning will similarly change. Each new development
may necessitate modifications.
These five generic steps don’t
comprise an instructional planning
model per se. They can be incorporated
Learning Activity Types Wiki: http://activity
Seymour Papert: www.papert.org
Judi Harris is a professor
and the Pavey Family Chair
in Educational Technology at
the College of William & Mary.
Her teaching and research focus
on K– 12 curriculum-based
technology integration, tele-
mentoring, and teacher professional development.
Mark Hofer is an associate professor of educational technology at the College of William & Mary. He partners with classroom teachers in exploring the use of technolo- gies to support curriculum-based teaching and learning.