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Technology Leader: Designing Lessons with Technology Embedded

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Our assignment this week is to take on the role of Educational Technology Program Leader. An Educational Technology Leader assists teachers in selecting purposeful technology to support the instructional standards. As the Educational Technology leader, this week I am assisting Sherri Johns with her lesson on Researching a Musical Instrument, such as this beautiful Talking Drum.
TalkingDrum Image

To guide my thinking, I consulted the SAMR model….what’s that, you ask? This brief video can explain.


In Substitution, technology acts as a direct substitute, with no functional change. For the purposes of this lesson, I recommended substituting all internet sources instead of a combination of internet and actual hard-copies of books. I have done a similar lesson with students in the past and my experience has been that school libraries, in general, have limited books on musical instruments so the sources are usually limited to encyclopedias. The internet has a vast wealth of information that would not be available in the school library.
In Augmentation, technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement. Substituting the creation of a Slide Presentation for the creation and printing of a brochure acts as a direct substitute with the improvement of not having to print the brochure and “waste” paper and printer ink, both of which are precious resources. Also, posting the work to the teacher website will allow the work to last “forever” and be viewed by many more people than the printed brochure surely would have been.
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In Modification, technology allows for significant task re-design. Requiring the students to research in books and online, taking notes on note cards and then organizing this information into a brochure with digital images has been modified. The students are noting their information in a Google Doc (technology) which enables easy organization and reorganization of their materials and ideas, as well as spell checking. Additionally, they are able to copy and paste that material into their slide show. Finally, they are able to insert images into the slide show either by uploading or by using the images’ URL.

In Redefinition, new tasks are possible only because of the existence of technology. The addition of YouTube links to videos of the instruments being played adds an element that was not possible in the printed brochure required in the original lesson plan.

In the article, “Technology and Education Change: Focus on Student Learning”, the characteristics of software and computer usage were compared among classrooms that were seeing above-average student gains and classrooms that were seeing below-average student gains. There were some significant differences found between the two groups in the study. Some of them include:

  • High gains were seen from starting to use the software early in the year.
  • High gains were seen in classrooms with effective classroom management….less time lost in transition from non-technology activity to technology activity.
  • High gains were seen when the teacher was actively engaged with the students during the software use, rather than expecting the software to teach or even babysit the student.
  • High gains were seen when the teacher had time (professional development or maybe released time?) to co-ordinate what was being covered in class without technology and what was contained in the software. The teacher could either change the order in which the software modules or exercises were introduced or change the order that things were covered in class to match the sequence of the software modules/exercises.
  • High gains were seen when the teacher used the data run from the software to drive instruction.

    In the above Ted Talk, Raj Dhingra discusses several things that teachers use as an excuse not to incorporate technology in their classrooms. A primary concern for many teachers is budgetary. Among other options, he suggests Bring Your Own Device and Mobile Computer Classrooms as possible ways to get around a small technology budget.
    Collaboration among teachers can also overcome many obstacles to incorporating technology into lessons. Being able to bounce ideas off of another teacher and discussing possible solutions to problems helps to generate ideas which just might solve those problems. It was good to have that collaboration this week as I went over the lesson plan make-over with my colleague, Laurie Brandl, a fellow music teacher. Getting her feedback and suggestions, as well as her affirmation of my work strengthened my resolve to continue my efforts to incorporate technology into as many aspects of my General Music classroom as possible. The work that I have done, with Laurie’s contributions, can be viewed here:
    Re-Designed Research A Musical Instrument Lesson
    SAMR: A Brief Introduction
    Technology Is Learning



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