Putting Content First

Have you ever been out shopping and bought something just because it seemed cool or it was on sale?  You were not sure how you would use the item, but you knew you had to have it.  I have a few shiny tools in my shed that I bought at the big box home improvement store that I was sure would be useful in fixing up some part of my home and I have a few dresses in my closet that I bought on sale just in case I was invited to something that required fancy clothes.  The reality is that most of my home improvement tasks require simple tools and I don’t have time for complex projects, so I hire a contractor.  I don’t attend many fancy events, so the dress I bought a few years ago does not even fit.  If I get invited to a wedding, I will need to buy a different dress.

As teachers, we can get the same feeling about using technology in the classroom.  Technology is shiny and new.  It creates a wow factor for the students and we think that if we can squeeze it into every aspect of our lessons that it will magically transform learning.  The truth is, learning is not transformed by technology.  It is transformed by addressing the standards with quality lesson design.  Learning should involve technology if and when it benefits the outcome of the of the lesson.

I encourage teachers to take note about how and when they use technology in the classroom.  Before you design your next lesson or unit, take a look at the resources available regarding the TPACK model, graphic show below.  Begin your lesson planning with the content and pedagogy in mind.  Then weave in the technology as it enhances the lesson.  You may find that whether you use technology more or less often, the use of the technology will then transform learning for students in the classroom.


Image is property of and shared by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org.

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