Archive for July, 2007

A Summer School Mentality: Focus on Essential Standards Learning

Summer school fascinates me since the teachers have much less time (six weeks) to cover a year’s worth of material (40 weeks)- about 15% of the total time. They have to decide what is critical content that will help the students to do well on the final or state exam. They reduce the over all content to get to the critical essential parts. They do not have time for students to do fun activities that do not promote the student learning. They do not have time for long projects that only peripherially add to the students learning. They do not have time for random web surfing but they do have time for specific web sites that serve a precise purpose. They may show a small three to five minute clip from a movie instead of showing the whole movie. The teachers realize that each class activity has to relate specifically to the course’s goal. Although many students are repeaters in the content, there are some students who are taking course for the first time since they want to get ahead in their schooling.

If summer school teachers can boil down the curriculum and the students can do well on the final or state exam, it means that much of what teachers do during the year may be non-essential.

Let’s all develop a summer school mentality so that we focus on essential learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007



Super-educating a Document Camera/Elmo

Back when we had opaque projectors, we were happy to just project a book page, a picture, etc. Now the quality is so much better than you can super-educate with it. Some examples:

Using a pencil or pen point to focus attention on a precise part of an image or passage

Writing on a copy of a student paper as the class suggests comments for improvement.

Using pre-word processed mini-pieces of paper to add higher-level questions or comments to the shown item. Just put the piece of paper above or below the image or passage to be projected.

Using a sheet of paper to reveal line after line as the students read it. A teacher can do focused comprehension questions or improve speed reading.

Having a student draw what you are saying.

How else do you super-educate your use of an document camera or Elmo?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Technology as Device or Communication

I started my educational career by teaching Spanish. When I discovered computers (TRS-80), I realized that they could help with communication. I have always seen technology as a communication tool. It helps me to communicate better to my students, it empowers them to develop high-level thinking activities, and it permits me to let students know how they are doing academically.

I see technology not as a strange device that gets in my way but as an extension of how I am as an educator. I view each new technology through this lens: How it help me to better communicate? It helps me to judge the potential of a new technology for the classroom. For example, if my school prohibits cellphones in the classroom or my students cannot afford text messaging, then using a cellphone as a communication tool does not make sense to me. A videoconferencing tool like Skype that enables two people to talk to each other from any distance is a great communication tool.

How do you communication with technology? What lens do you use to evaluate new technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Formative Feedback: Rate your Feedback

Which of these best represents the feedback you give students:
_____1. Nothing
_____2. A grade / score
____ 3. A general praise such as “Good job!”
____ 4. A more specific praise such as “Good paragraph!”
____ 5. A very specific praise such as “Strong topic sentence supported by three different examples!”
____ 6. A general improvement such as “Do better next time!”
____ 7. A general improvement such as “Write better paragraphs!”
____ 8. A general improvement such as “Write stronger paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly indicates the point that you are going to prove.”

You get 1 point for #5 and 1 point for #8. You get a zero for all the others since they do not give the student specific information about how to improve.

What was your score? What will you do to do better the next time? How can you set up a specific help comments word processing file that you can cut and paste from?

Speaking World Languages Through Technology

Does technology contribute to conversations?

I am trying to help my son get ready for his first year of teaching Spanish. He’ll have three preps. I am amazed that there are not more online resources to help him in a conversational manner. There are plenty of grammar and of vocabulary sites. I have not found any that promote communication. (I’m counting basic restaurant dialogues as vocabulary since students memorize the conversation.) I do not see collections of pictures that students can ask questions about, pretend to be the people in the situation, explain what is happening, etc. A picture of a statue of Don Quixote does not promote communication. A street scene with a store and people doing things encourages real language use. Likewise, I do not find many real conversations that he can play/download for his class. Sure commercial companies have teaser ones but I could not easily find real conversations (a great use for podcasting). So much technology and so little real life language use. So much technology being used for lower level skills but not for the actual purpose of language which is to being able to converse with another person.

How do you promote real conversations using technology in your World Language classroom?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Reporting Standards Progress to Students

How often do you report to the students their progress in the standards that you and your team have decided on?

Do they find out on a
Class basis?
Weekly basis?
Every 5/6 weeks?
Every 10 weeks?

By reporting their progress in the standard, I do not mean giving back a quiz or test unless that quiz or test focuses solely on a specific standard. Likewise, simply giving the student back a standards-based grade or a standards-based rating is not enough. A 4/6 simply tells the student where he/she is but not what specifically to do to improve.

How many precise formative statements do you include on each assessment so that the student can improve immediately in the standard?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Avoid Strategic Planning for Technology: Educational Planning

I talked to someone recently who is writing a strategy plan for technology for the district. He was complaining how hard it was and how long he has spent on it. I wondered why. If he already knows the district’s academic priorities and already knows how well the students are doing on state assessments, then his major decision is how best to help the district students be successful in those areas. The district’s academic priorities and actual state results dictate the efforts of the district and all of its parts. He can find appropriate technology resources, talk to other schools who are using these resources, and then with the help of classroom teachers, department heads, and Assistant Supt. for Instruction make the decisions. He should not be operating in a vacuum by thinking of faster wires. He should be supporting the district’s goals. Buying 200 Elmos is not an educational decision; how the Elmo can specifically support the academic priorities and state results is an educational decision. Are there other technologies that might be more beneficial?

How does your district do strategy planning for technology? Does it plan for the technology or for student learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Promoting Your Technology Integration Efforts, Not Technology

Subject area learning or technology learning

I recently heard of an alarming situation. A superintendent had been wined and dined by a company that would take care of the school’s technology needs to supposedly prepare students for the future. When the superintendent mentioned one of the things that the company could do for the students to the director of technology; the director mentioned that they were already doing it and gave several subject area examples. The superintendent went on to tell something else that this futuristic company could do. The director again told how they were presently doing that with examples at various grade levels. Unfortunately, the superintendent hired the company. The technology integration in the district went from a focus on students’ subject area learning through technology to students’ learning technology skills. Teachers were given modules that they were to teach. These were not modules on subject area content learning but on technology skills. Teachers found out that they had even less time to teach subject area content learning.

How do you as teachers and you as directors of technology-infused learning demonstrate clearly to your principal and superintendent the students’ technology-infused in-depth subject area learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Save or Toss The Students’ School Learning

We’ve been sorting through things in our house as we get ready to rent it. It has been interesting to watch my two boys who graduated high school and college (with high grades) as they go through their stuff. They do a quick glance and toss their school stuff. The boys hesitate the most in their school stuff that relates to what they are doing now (a programmer and a Spanish teacher) but even then they toss it. They hesitate on materials from a particularly challenging teacher and think of how much that teacher made them think. They spend a long time in examining their games and toys. Probably school to game/toys time ratio is about 1 to 10 time.

How much of school is important to our students? What of their school has meaning for them? What of their schooling is worth saving?

What would they keep from your class? What technology-infused learning would they want to save? How important do they see the learning to be?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Formative Assessment and Formative Feedback

Formative Feedback to Standard

I’m finishing up an article on standards-based learning for a journal. I think that the one drastically different aspect of standards-based learning from the usual teaching method is in the area of assessment. Teachers in a standards-based learning environment give many formative assessments. These assessments are embedded in the daily classroom activities since all activities are standards-based. However, the true clincher to show that they are standards-based is that the teachers give the students individualized comments about how they can specifically improve in the standard before the next time. These are not the general “Study more,” “Work harder,” or “Write better paragraphs” comments but these are specific formative comments “Include three different examples in your paragraphs to improve” or “In your contrast paragraphs, show an example from one novel and then vividly contrast it to the other novel.” As a result of the teachers’ feedback and the students employing these strategies, the students will be more successful in the standard.

Do you provide formative assessments with specific formative comments so that you students can constantly progress in the standard? Do you use technology to monitor the students’ progress and your formative comments to them?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Eliminate educational technology; have technology-infused learning

Instructional Technology

Educational Technology. Instructional Technology. What a misnomer!

Technology is not instructional. It is how the teachers and students choose to use the technology that makes it instructional.

Why is “instructional” (the purpose of using technology) the adjective that describes “technology” (the noun)?

I like terms like “technology-infused learning” or “technology-mediated learning.” Notice that learning is the noun and “technology” is the adjective.

Our focus should not be on technology since it is only a tool to help us get to the end of learning. The more we focus on learning, the more wisely we use technology and the more our students learn.

What is your focus?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Necessary Educational Tool – Digital Camera


I see a digital camera as a required technology for every educator. I think that educators enjoy simply tools- tools that help promote students’ higher-level standards-based learning and tools that do what we want when we want without a lot of complication.

With it, we and our students can

-take still images that represent stages of learning in a process. Most cameras allow you to take low resolution images which work great for most classroom and web projects. If you take at the lowest resolution, then probably you do not have to use a third party program to get “small memory” images.

-make movies for our class or for other classes using YouTube. Many cameras can directly upload to YouTube type programs. For example, mine records in .mov. Check your camera manual for the format of your movies.

-do audio recording for podcasts, collecting oral interviews, recording language experiences.

Simple technologies can help our students in powerful learning.

How else do you use a digital camera to help promote students’ higher-level standards-based learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Digital Divide in the USA WiFi Spots


We talk about the digital divide between the USA and third world nations. However, there is a huge digital divide within our country. Here’s an example. Ithaca in the Southern Tier area of New York state with about 30,000 people has over 50 wifi spots (mostly free) according to CNETs Hotspot zone. On the other hand, Pulaski in the northern Tughill Plateau area of New York state, with about 2, 3000 people has no hotspot within 12 miles of the city. It is not just inner city that belongs to the digital divide. Rural parts of the state also do.

As educators we must urge all governments (cities and small towns) to offer hotspots for people. Our youth need the opportunity to get on the Web and use the wonderful educational resources especially if their parent(s) cannot afford Internet in the home. The students need to have nearby places in their community where they can go to get on. Twelve miles is not nearby. Not only libraries and governmental offices (what about the Post Office which almost each area has?) but also businesses and museums should offer free hotspots. Let each community be proud of how many hotspots it offers.

We get excited about how the $100 computer can help children in Third World nations. What are we doing to help the children in our own country, state, and region who are denied access to the Internet?


Does Your Classroom Technolgy Use Support School’s Academic Priorities-Part 2

Priority Precise or Vague

Usually when I do a workshop or presentation on this topic, someone in the audience says something like, “We should not base everything we do in the classroom on state assessments.” I agree. However, whatever we define as our school’s academic priorities must be something we can assess in order to see student growth. The problem with education is that we have been fuzzy in our goals and therefore we have never known if we have reached the goals or not. If your school wants “global citizens,” how do you know how the students are progressing in this wonderful goal? If your school is a 21st Century School, how does it measure the students’ growth in these skills? If your school is a character school, how do you assess and improve the students growth? If you cannot define it, you do not have it as a priority! If you cannot assess it, you do not have it as a priority!

If you cannot define exactly what the “skill” is and you cannot assess it, then you never will be able to use technology to help students reach it!

When I taught Spanish, I wanted my students to be fluid speakers. I defined this as saying at least 15 sentences about a given topic in a minute or as having a conversation in which at least five different questions were asked about a topic with the other person answering those questions. Once I defined it, I could plan how to help students achieve it. I used technology of cameras, television, images, recordings to help them be successful. I measured them frequently to determine how I could help them to be better.

How do you define the priorities within your subject area? How do you use technology to help students achieve those specific priorities?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Does Your Classroom Technolgy Use Support School’s Academic Priorities-Part 1B

Academic Priority

I got ahead of myself in the last blog. As I have done Learning and Technology analysis in schools, the biggest problem/difficult I have encountered is the the mismatch between what the principals say is the school’s academic priority and what the classroom teachers say is the school’s academic priority. When elementary principals say that English Language Arts is the academic priority for the school, they think of the students doing well on the ELA assessment. When many classroom teachers think of English Language Arts as the academic priority for the school, they think of creating writing such as writing poetry, writing autobiographies, etc. Although these are wonderful parts of ELA, they do not show up on the ELA assessment. Doing them does not help the students to be successful on the ELA assessment. When there is a mismatch between the principal and the teachers in terms of what the building considers academic priorities, then we cannot assess technology’s role in supporting the school’s academic priorities since there is no agreement.

If we assume that the principals are the key factor in setting the school’s academic priority and that the students doing well on the state ELA assessment is the school’s priority, then any technology use which does not contribute to doing well on the state ELA assessment is not beneficial. In fact, is counterproductive. No matter how exciting the technology-infused learning, no matter how beautiful the final product it, that technology-infused learning is not really ELA assessment learning.

How do your academic priority match with your principal’s? How does your technology use focus on the state assessments?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Does Your Classroom Technolgy Use Support School’s Academic Priorities-Part 1

The big question is not “Do you use technology in your class?” It is not “Which technology do you use in the class?” It is not “How often do you use technology in your classroom?” The critical question is “How does your classroom technology use support the school’s academic priorities?” If how you use the technology does not support the school’s academic priorities, then your technology use is ineffective.

A fourth grade teacher spends two months on a poetry unit in November and December. She digitally records her students reading a poem. She has her students write their poems and read them to students in another location via videoconferencing. She creates a blog where the students can share their poems. They word process a booklet of their own poems.

In Jan. her students take the state language arts assessments. Has her poetry unit with all its technology activities helped prepare the students to be successful on the state assessment? No! She has not done any of the activities that are required on the state assessment.

Her technology use in the unit was not beneficial to the students on the state assessment. She could have had the students compare two poems on the same topic which is close to a state assessment activity using any technology and then that technology use would benefit the school’s academic priority of the English Language Arts state assessment?

How do you use technology to support the school’s academic priorities?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Customized learning For Sale

As I was driving I saw a sign “Custom House for Sale.” I was intrigued by the message. How could the house be customized without knowing who was to buy it? Don’t you customize a house for a particular buyer?
I thought about our school curriculums that have the same mentality. They are made for imaginary students. They problem becomes when we teach a curriculum which is not tailored to real students. It looks good on paper but when it comes to helping the students to be successful learners, it does not work.

How do you customize student learning through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Educational Technology Conference or Just Technology Conferences

Conference Student Learning or Technology

I recently submitted some conference proposals to two different educational technology organizations. I become very frustrated with the first one since I had to select which category my presentation was under. The topics were elearning, emerging technologies, leadership, technical and integration. My topic was not any of them. I wanted to focus on Student Learning.

The second conference had two interesting educational questions:
Does your session address remediation strategies or techniques?
Does your session provide measurable activities that lead to improved student performance?

I was intrigued that we have to ask the second question of whether a session leads to better student learning. If it does not, then why should the session be in an educational technology conference? I thought that the reason we used technology was to improve student learning. Or do we just use technology to learn technology?

I wish that more conferences focused on student learning. The same for journals. To me the real question is how students improve in their academic learning through technology, not what is the newest technology.


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


YouTube Video Creation Reflection- Vocabulary

Here are my reflections on uploading a YouTube video that I made on teacher exercises to improve vocabulary in English, ESL, and World Languages.

It took time to find and or create images. The longest time was to find the Flickr images of fruits and vegetables under the Common License, probably about 8 minutes.

I used the free Gliffy to create the concept maps.

It was hard to find crisp examples that would clearly demonstrate the strategies; I had some but others I had to figure out.

I put the presentation in PowerPoint (really Open Office’s Presentation software) so that I could easily go from screen to screen. I used a very large font size so it could be easily seen. I kept the mouse on the extreme right side of the screen.

The presentation starts with a title, author, and contact information screen.

I used a camera stand to avoid the jiggling that my earlier video English essay had. It took a few minutes to get the computer screen to be in the digital camera’s screen- I had to use the zoom in, move the stand, etc.

I had to be very close to the camera and speak in my outside voice to make sure my voice would be recorded. I recorded it inside to avoid extraneous noises. I turned off all possible noise making things (air conditioner, cell phone). The last time I had recorded the Spanish Direct Object outside and you can hear the air conditioner and other noises.

I decided to both say and show the words (strategies) so it took longer than I had planned.

I did have to redo it since I mixed it up what I was reading one of the last screens. I knew it was quicker to redo it than to have to edit it. My camera held both the original and the second movie version.

It took about 27 minutes to upload a 2:31 .mov formatted movie.

I found it difficult to tag this since it covers so many subjects – English, ESL, and World Languages. I know that most World Language teachers will search by their language such as Spanish and not World Language. I was not sure how to tag it to indicate beginning vocabulary.

It takes YouTube about from one hour to seven hours to process the video once it is uploaded depending on the traffic on YouTube. Mine took about 40 minutes.

I just got to see the video and realized that the camera was not straight on so that some of the words are not easily read. I showed it to some other people and they like that I supplied the words and have a specific example of each.

Let me know your reaction about the content and what could be done to make it better without going Hollywood 🙂

I challenge you to put up a YouTube or TeacherTube video during the summer. Let’s try for 300 videos before school starts.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Science Assessment and technology from a major textbook company


I recently had the opportunity to look at an elementary Science teaching guide from a major publisher. I looked in detail at one unit “Observing Weather.”

I noticed that:
They referenced the National Science Education Standards (see page #) without including the actual standard in the lesson plan. The referenced the general standard but no specific part of it.

Students were assessed in a group about the science concept (baseline assessment). No individual scoring was done.
I did not see any mention of what the teacher was to do once he/she had the information from the baseline assessment.

For the final assessments, students were to go back and modify their original baseline assessment.

Reteaching was simply going over the same material.

The final assessment was primarily memorization although the students had done numerous higher level thinking activities. It did not look like the textbook assessed the science standards but it was hard to say since it did not identify the specific part of the standard that it was teaching in the unit.

In the unit overview resource section there was no mention of technology. After searching carefully within the unit there was a mention of CD section and a few websites. Although “Observing weather” has many possible technology-infused activities from watching the weather, seeing others’ experiments, seeing animations, etc., these were not mentioned.

The unit was a hands-on unit with the students do many mini-experiments but they did not use technology to see weather in action.

How do you use technology in your science units to help students succeed in the science standards?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


LifeLong Learning-Part 5: Students use different learning strategies for different situations

Students Different Strategies for Different Situations

K12 and even college students often employ very few different learning strategies. However, once they enter the real world of business, they will employ many different learning strategies depending on the situation. They will go beyond the memorization of a chart or to the application of a simply formula according to a well-defined structure. They will be asked to solve unique problems that contain many variables, involve many people, and includes diverse cultures.

How do we prepare them for using different learning strategies for different situations while they are in K12?

As students role play in online simulations such as SimCity, they come to develop a more divergent thinking strategy. They realize that one decision can impact on many other aspects of a city.

When students identify and problem solve with students from other countries, they develop a global culture strategy. Students work on local mini-solutions to global warming that are equally valid and yet unique to each culture and country.

Often students will discover that imaginative solutions can overcome problems. Many new problems require creative solutions rather than relying on old answers. As we have students use analogies and metaphors in the class, we begin that creative thinking.

How do you use technology to promote different strategies?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

LifeLong Learning-Part 4: Students Integrate Learning from Various Subjects

Subject areas compartamentalized or integrated

Our students will soon graduate and then be in real world settings where they will be required to integrate knowledge from different subject areas. They will not be in compartamentalized subject area learning “Why are we doing math? This is Social Studies class, not math!” They will integrate their learning from the various subject areas in their projects.

How do we help students prepare for this aspect of their lifelong learning?

Have interdisciplinary assignments. Have them interview people about the local history of a specific area such as a park and prepare a detailed presentation. They combine English and Social Studies skills and use a variety of technology to record the people talking about the park, capturing images of the park, and showing timelines.

Have them do problem based learning (PBL) such as solving the traffic flow around the school or planning an elementary playground. Such problems require that student integrate Math, Science, Social Studies and English skills. They are not doing academic problems but dealing with real world problems that are messy. PBL activities incorporate the use of various technologies.

Have the students work with an expert in a field. A school may work with an environmentalist through videoconference to change school procedures to minimize school pollution.

How do you integrate various subjects into meaning projects in your classroom through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


LifeLong Learning-Part 3: Students Learn From Their Peers, Teachers, Mentors

Students learn from

A third aspect of lifelong learner is learning from different types of “teachers.” Students can learn from the classroom teacher but they can also learn from peers and mentors. Since our students will be on their own after their graduate from school/college, we can help them to see the value in learning from others.

How do we foster learning from others?
Do we have students work collaboratively where they learn from each other? (Collaborative work is very different than group work.)
Do we encourage collaborations that go beyond the classroom such as getting help through IM, Skype, etc from people who live in other locations?
Do we have our students teach a concept to other students in distant locations and have other students teach our students through Web resources such as videoconferencing?
Do we help our students to create instructional videos on standards based topic for YouTube?
Do we have them work with a mentor in a field of their interest through email, Skype, phone calls, etc.?
Do we encourage our students to participate in a blog on an standards based topic and share their learning with the class?
Do we have our students contribute to a Wiki about a standards based topic? To correct others?
Do we ask students to research and create their own topic report through connecting with an expert and bringing that expert virtually into the classroom?
Do we help students to assess the “teachings” of others?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

LifeLong Learning-Part 2: Students Plan Their Own Learning

Teacher or Student Selected

Another aspect of lifelong learning is for students to plan their own learning. This planning goes far from giving students choices of the teachers’ pre-selected activities in the class. A beginning step is for students to design their own activities for their learning of a topic. English students may select their own way of showing the differences between two pieces of literature as long as they show three differences with examples. They may decide to do a word processed essay, a PowerPoint presentation, an imovie, a podcast, etc.

When students set their goals for the course, they take a big step in being lifelong learners. As the teacher tells the major standards goals for the course, the students can decide on what particular areas they want to develop for themselves. They can monitor their process toward their own goals and decide if they need teacher mentoring, peer mentoring, web-based assistance, etc.

An even bigger step is for students to help set the goals for the course. Students can talk about the types of communication that they think are important in the business world and these can be incorporated into an English course.

Teachers may find it difficult to let go of the reins but the students will have to be in control of their own reins very soon and we are to help prepare them for their future.


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


LifeLong Learning-Part 1: Assess One’s Own Learning

A major movement in the UK is lifelong learning which stresses that once students are done with their formal academic schooling, the rest of their lives they will be learning in informal peer and mentoring settings that require very different skills than the academic schooling. Roughly about 31% of the teachers’ lives will be in formal schooling (masters’ level work) and the other 69% will be in informal learning. One aspect of lifelong learning is assessing one’s own learning

How often do your students self-assess their own learning?

How do they assess it? Do they
– use a rubric to assess themselves?
– look at previous self-assessments accessed through technology to see if they are growing?
– access networked or online models to use to self-assess themselves against?

How do you help students to constantly assess their own learning and to make decisions about future learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

It’s not the technology but the teaching


Technology is neutral.

I’ve seen two teachers in the same subject area on the same topic use PowerPoint very differently. One used it to display the outline about the topic. The other used is to present contrasting images about the topic for the students to analyze.

Technology does not magically transform the teaching learning process. A change in the teacher does.

Sometimes teachers see a new technology such as the Smartboard and they use it the same way as they did a chalkboard, they write on it. Sometimes when teachers see how a technology can be used, they accept the change in their teaching. A teacher who sees a Smartboard demonstration may then want her students to manipulate math shapes on the Smartboard.

How technology supports our school academic priorities will not change until we change how teachers use technology. How do you use technology? How has your teaching changed due to using technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

A Non Efficient Learning and Technology Session-NECC


I attended numerous sessions at NECC. Many surprised me since they spent so long in an introduction to the topic. For example, I attended a one hour session on WIKIs. The speaker spent 20 minutes (33% of the time for the session) in talking about why WIKIs were important. The speaker had not shown any examples. To me, that is a huge waste of time. We do need to know “why” but more important, we have to see good educational examples of WIKIs.

How does your school or district handle professional development? Do they talk and talk about the importance of the topic and then spend some time on the actual topic? How do we teach? Do we talk and talk about the rationale or do we dig into the topic with technology? Do we quickly show students the type of technology-infused project we want them to do?

Which technology serves our educational purpose? -NECC

Backward Design

Based on the many sessions and poster sessions at NECC, I see that podcast is the “in” thing. My question is “Why is it better for a specific learning than another technology?” Using the Backward Design model, I thought we were to

– identify the standard
– identify the specific component of the standard
– figure out how we will assess it
– select the activity
– then choose the technology

If teachers say they want to podcast, then they are jumping to the absolute last decision instead of starting at the most important decision (the standard).

Where do you start?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007



Real Focus in Technology-Infused Academic Learning in Podcasts-NECC


At NECC, I had several people come up and challenge my ideas about technology-infused learning in podcasts. They did agree that the students only spent 25% of their time in learning science (1 day of learning content, 1 day to plan the podcast and 2 days to produce it) but they insisted that the students were doing higher level thinking within the podcasting. I agreed that the students were but that higher-level thinking had nothing to do with science content. It focused on media literacy. They were selecting which images to use and which words to use. Hopefully, each time they were becoming better at media literacy. However, media literacy does not show up on state assessments. Nor have most schools identified it as a major academic priority. If a school has identified this 21st skill as a priority, then they have to have a way to measure it and assess it. If it is not on the state assessment and not a school recognized academic priority, then doing such an activity does not contribute to the school’s academic priorities.

They still are only learning science 25% of the time during the project! What is your percentage of learning to technology in a project?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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