Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Teaching with Technology Website

As explained in my previous post, "Final Project Outline", Leanne Forrest and I originally created the Teaching with Technology website as part of a presentation we gave for the IT Summit in 2012.  In this post I intend to provide a bit of background around the development of this resource.  For a complete overview of my Major Digital Project please click here.

The inspiration for the Teaching with Technology resource came from reading the book -  Classroom Instruction that Works 2nd Edition by Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, and Stone.  In the book these authors regroup the nine effective teaching strategies as originally identified by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock into the following three categories:
1. Creating the Environment for Learning
2. Helping Students Develop Understandings
3. Helping Students Extend and Apply Knowledge

Focusing on these three categories and nine effective teaching strategies, Leanne and I developed a resource designed to facilitate the integration of technology with these strategies to improve student learning.  As is stated on our home page, "Focusing on these strategies to improve learning while matching pedagogy, content, and technological knowledge, allows a focus on teaching and learning that includes technology."  

While this resource lists a number of technology tools, our focus is not on telling teachers which tool they should use, or on providing them with technical instruction for how to use each tool.  Instead, our goal is to help teachers identify effective teaching practice, and to realize that technology can be used to help support the implementation of each teaching strategy.

In the resource have provided a brief overview and summary for each category, and have divided each category into sections based on the corresponding teaching strategies.  For each strategy we have included suggestions of tools which could be utilized to integrate the strategy into teaching practice.  By no means is this list of tools all inclusive, and it has been updated and modified over time.  As part of this final presentation we have created a public Google Spreadsheet and we are asking for teacher input.  Our intention is to periodically visit the spreadsheet and to update the website with tools suggested by workshop participants.  Please feel free to add to the document.
When first developing the list of tools, Leanne and I attempted to suggest tools that fit the following criteria whenever possible:
1. Since we originally designed this resource for Regina Catholic teachers we did not include apps, because we did not have tablet devices available at a system level at the time of creation of this resource.  Our intention is to further develop this website to include app suggestions for each teaching strategy.
2. Because our division does not have student email accounts we tried to include tool options which do not require student email accounts in order to create accounts
3. Because many Web 2.0 tools include terms of service which require students to be 13 or older to create an account, we tried to include tool options which do not require the creation of accounts, or that allow for teachers to create "class" accounts for students.
4. When possible we have tried to list "free" tool options.

In preparing for our Teaching with Technology Professional Development sessions we revisited the entire resource and made a number of  modifications:
  • Added the "Reinforcing Effort and Providing Feedback" section
  • Added the "Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers" section
  • Added the "Additional Tools" collaborative Google Document
  • Revisited each effective teaching strategy section and modified suggested tools (removing outdated tools and updating new offerings)
Please feel free to explore the effective teaching strategies document and to add to the list of tools we have suggested.  Feedback will be greatly appreciated.

1. Creating the Learning Environment
2. Helping Students Develop Understandings
3. Helping Students Extend and Apply Knowledge

I plan to provide a more detailed video explanation of this resource in future "Major Digital Project" reflections, along with information regarding the development of the professional development workshops, and project reflections. Please visit the "Major Digital Projects" section of my blog for resources and support materials related to this project.

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