Habits of Design

The routine: We purchase the cool technology device and then learn how to use it.  This makes sense because it would be a drag to read the owner’s manual for a smart phone we didn’t own or attend an instructional iPad training without the iPad.  However, an often overlooked and under planned effort is the lesson design component behind instructional technology.

Let’s switch gears for a minute.  Imagine the potential challenges for a chef who has devoted her entire career to preparing vegetarian meals and will now learn to prepare and cook meat.  The chef will eventually purchase new knives, grills, and warmers.  In the interim she will use the stove-top, oven, and serrated knives that she has on hand to begin learning some new routines.  She’ll want to experiment with marinades, cooking times, and the work flow in her kitchen which has to accommodate a different kind of meal.

It’s common to begin training for classroom technology as soon as it’s deployed.  But, like the chef who will learn new routines before her equipment is on site, teachers can benefit from learning new routines for instruction before the new devices arrive in the classroom.  Much more than “digital ink” and replacing pen and paper in some cases, technology personalizes learning and offers opportunity for autonomy in the learning process.  These functions require new habits of mind and new routines for handling conversation in the learning process.  On par with 21st Century learning habits and the Common Core, dialogue from a teacher can begin ending with more question marks than periods.  As students advance their knowledge across Bloom’s Taxonomy, their work product can become more interactive.

For some examples of classroom routines that help to integrate technology, check out a couple past blog posts which discuss routines that promote participation and spur class discussion.  Also, consider transforming assignments to look and feel more like the work flow of a technology work product i.e. a paper blog.  Paper blogs can introduce the concept of blogging to students (and teachers for that matter), while still maintaining some familiarity with a traditional writing effort.  A blog worksheet allows for authentic reading and writing between students as they pass their blog sheets to peers for commenting and “posting.”

Technology integration begins with the ideas and routines necessary to represent information in new ways and deploy new habits of learning.  Bottom line:  It’s never too early to start integrating technology, even if it is not yet present.  New habits and routines take time to develop.

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Tech-Infused Book Study

Is your district doing a book study with faculty over the summer or next year?  If so, consider extending the experience by infusing  a bit of technology.  We are familiar with the importance of dialogue and reflection in the classroom for our students.  The same benefit exists for adults.

By creating a shared space to record notes, observations, and insights, a team gets the benefit of collaboration and exposure to some great technology tools…and all without having to create another series of scheduled meetings to reflect on personal applications.

The Ed-Tech industry has witnessed several Web 2.0 technologies jump on the scene in recent years and several offer a simple and fun opportunity to share ideas.  Teachers may appreciate the experience enough to implement it in their instruction and assessment routines.

Here are a few tools that will put a new spin on your next book study:

Stixy Blogger Padlet
Lino Wikispaces Murally


For more on using these tools, you might consider enrolling in one of our summer Ed-Tech boot camps.  We cover several of these tools and more in a half day, hands on, open space meeting.

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