This week’s readings focused on how to effectively, practically, and authentically embed technology into the units that we teach and the learning experiences that our students do. One of the ways to do this is to use Eduro Learning’s A.P.L.E unit planner (A.P.L.E. stands for Authentic Purposeful Learning Experiences). With this planner, you start with the end goal, what you want your students to know and be able to do. The hope is that by focusing on the end goal, you (the teacher) end up doing very little direct instruction; instead, you plan different learning experiences for students during which they explore the content through various media, and then the students demonstrate what they have learned by completing an end-of-unit project.
A.P.L.E unit planner’s learning stages
- Learning Stage 1: Exploration (Research)
“The key behind the success of this stage is not deliver content to students, but to provide lots of different media and resources that students and explore and interact with to develop their own understanding.” (Eduro Learning’s A.P.L.E planner)
- Learning Stage 2: Finding Pathways (Planning)
“The purpose of this stage is to force students to stop and plan out their finished product before they actually start to create.” (Eduro Learning’s A.P.L.E planner)
- Learning Stage 3: Experiencing (Creating)
During this stage, students spend time actually making the product that they have been planning in the previous stage. By this point, students should have a detailed plan for their product.
- Learning Stage 4: Scrapbooking (Reflecting and Evaluating)
The hope in this stage is that students receive feedback from a range of audiences, including others who have also had to create similar products.
Another way to effectively, practically, and authentically integrate technology in learning experiences and units for our students is to think about the questions in 15 Questions to Ask About Tech Integration in Your Classroom (TeachThought)
- Will this help all students think and learn more deeply?
- Will this tech lead to non-productive struggle and frustration?
- Will my students find this tech boring after the initial exposure?
- How will this tech empower students to control their own learning?
- Am I more enamored with this tech “toy” than my student’s learning?
- How long will this tech be relevant and supported?
- Does this tech prevent great “analog” thinking and learning?
- Have I started with purpose and pedagogy instead of with tech?
- Will all students be able to access and leverage this tech?
- How does this tech align with my school & class mission and vision?
- What level(s) of Bloom’s Taxonomy does this help students access?
- Is this the best tech to prepare students for the modern world?
- Will parents think this tech threatens their child’s security?
- How might I combine this tech with other tools to grow learning?
- What will you do when this tech doesn’t work?
How have you planned for tech-rich learning in the past?
Two years ago, a few of us on my grade level decided to have our students go paperless for their homework. We worked with our two Elementary School Technology Integrationists, first to plan how we would want our students to go paperless with their homework, and second, to plan how we would ensure that our students would know where to go to find the homework and what to do technology-wise. To ensure that my students understood what to do, I scheduled time with the ES Tech Integrationists each day the first week of paperless homework. During that first week, the students spent class time using the different apps to complete their homework activities.
-Blog post on class blog explaining that Homework is Going Paperless
-Blog posts on class blog breaking down the first week of electronic homework for parents, day by day:
The second week, the entire class completed the same homework activity each evening and then spent part of class time checking in about with me and the ES tech integrationists.
-Blog post on class blog explaining how homework will look like each day of Electronic Homework, Week 2
Since then, I have continued to share the homework directions with my students electronically, via Google Classroom. I have not had my students use technology to complete the homework, as I did that first year, because I realized that it was too much for my students (not developmentally ready), and I wanted my students to complete their homework tasks by writing them out.
How might this week’s content influence how you plan for tech-rich learning?
During the past two weeks, my school has been working on preparing for the possibility of distance learning due to the Coronavirus outbreak and how international our school is. On our Professional Development Day this past Tuesday, we spent the entire day learning about technology tools we can use to help give lessons electronically (ie. Screencastify, Explain Everything, and Seesaw) and then practicing using these tools to make a lesson.
Yesterday, the school director shared updated information with everyone in the school community (teachers, instructional assistance, students, parents) that the school would be moving to distance learning in May. I plan to utilize the following Google tools during distance learning: Google Classroom to share lessons and photos of anchor charts; the daily lessons will be put into a Google Slides deck which will be uploaded to Google Classroom; to track students’ work and which students I meet with virtually I will use a Google Sheets spreadsheet that the ES tech integrationist has made a template for; the teachers will be using Google Meet to have face-to-face interactions with the students daily.
During distance learning, we teachers will need to constantly think about this week’s essential question: How can we effectively, practically and authentically embed technology within our curricular areas?