Constructing Meaning

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Instructional Technologists and TOSA’s often hear “I want to include technology in my lesson, but I don’t know how to?” It starts with constructing meaning. Think about teaching as being the general contractor at a work site. You have a series of employees that you want to help you build something, let’s say a building.

  1. What is it that you want to teach? Check for prior or background knowledge. Make sure the foundation of your building is solid before you start construction.
  2. How would you normally introduce that topic? Look at the blueprint (lesson plan) that you have used in the past.
  3. What do you want the students to know and or do at the end of the lesson? How should your building look like at the end?
  4. Find the tech tools to match those needs. You don’t need a chipping hammer to nail wood. If you don’t know which tools to use, Google it, YouTube it, check with your PLN and teacher friends.
  5. Remember that it’s not about just using technology, but it using it to further the students’ understanding of your subject area. Could you have shown the students a building and told them how it was made? Yes, but would it have the same impact on their learning?
  6. Add layers to your lesson. Your building will needs various floors, windows, kitchens, doors, etc. The more times you address one topic in different ways, the more likely all students will learn and retain the information. When you only address it once, you are likely to choose an activity that plays to your personal learning style, but how about all the other learning styles in the room?
  7. Innovate. Don’t just tell students, let them explore the topic for themselves. Let them create and invent a new solution to the problem. Let them get their hands dirty and learn from trial and error.
  8. Make real-world connections. Use the internet to reach out to professionals in the field that you are learning about.

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