Digital Sandbox

This Blog is designed to provide the reader with information on how to adopt technology into the classroom by relooking at traditional classroom tools and transitioning into new ways of teaching and learning. The Digital Sandbox explores the future of learning through the recreation of 21st Century learning environments.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Designing Highly Engaging Digital Lessons

Designing highly engaging digital lessons can be the catalyst for enhancing a school’s vision for the future,  strengthening its learning goals, and helping it to realize its mission. To be deemed successful, digital lesson design itself must weigh the relationship between technology investments and student growth. Technology integration  requires that teachers be willing to make substantial investments in time, resources, and support. Incorporating technology into the classroom effectively, teachers must use those strategies that are directly aligned to practices that engage students in higher levels of direct learning and the development of critical thinking skills.

Viewing technology lesson design as a process instead of an event requires two paradigm shifts in thinking and development. The first paradigm shift occurs when the stakeholders of the district realize the design process will result in more than simply purchasing technology. Ten years ago, technology investment focused primarily on acquiring computers and was simply a process of deciding what type of computers to purchase, how many, and where to place them. Today, new technology opportunities require technology designers to rethink the plausibility of technology in the classroom. The design process must address how technology will be used by students and staff, not just what equipment it will involve.

The second paradigm shift occurs when the technology design process integrates the technology into the curriculum. This paradigm shift allows the designing process to have an impact on student learning. For the technology planning efforts to have maximum effect on student learning, the process must be coupled with curriculum development and instructional lesson design. Since the goal of technology design should be improved student learning, this process begets questions that only classroom teachers can answer. Therefore, a collaborative effort between technology professionals and teachers will produce the most comprehensive and successful technology integration plan. Without this investment of time and effort, designing for technology will have little or no impact on school improvement.

Finally, the key to increasing student performance begins by providing formal teacher training. Through professional development, teachers will better understand the design for technology integration and realize ways to apply the essential strategies to instruction. When teachers understand the criteria by which technology integration will occur, the approach to the school improvement process in regards to web 2.0 literacy learning will become more effective. 

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