Guidelines for Technology-Based Learning Conference/ Workshop Presentations

During the past few months, I've been to numerous conferences. I have become very disappointed with the presentations. They have been “See the technology” presentations that did not focus on how the technology improves student learning. I suggest the following guidelines for any technology-based learning presentations including professional development

1. (33.3 %) How does the technology help improve student learning?
Does the presenter identify the specific learning topic and specific learning goals that this technology helps with?
Does the presenter show at least four real classroom examples from her/his school or district?
Does the presenter use examples from real classrooms and not the company’s website that a professional artist may have spent hundreds of hours creating as a beautiful, but unrealistic, demo?
Does the presenter show actual learning not just talk about student learning?
Does the presenter focus on how this technology uniquely helps the students in their learning? Why use this technology as opposed to some other technology for the same specific learning goal?
Does the presenter focus on the substance of the program, not its glitz?

2. (33.3 %) Does the presenter show the critical steps that the students go through in using this learning tool from start to finish?
Does the presenter focuses on the critical parts of the program, not on the minor parts such as showing every possible background?
Does the presenter show the critical parts in the logical order of student use (from start to finish of the learning) instead of going through the program menu by menu?
Does the presenter only focus on what the beginning / average student user would do and not some advanced feature that students would not usually use?
Does the presenter show his/her final product that is the result of what he/she actually did during this workshop?

3. (33.3 %) Does the presenter go over implementation issues, tricky or non-logical things that could prevent the learning from being successful?
Does the presenter know the program well enough to tell critical details, such as this app only records for one minute or a student cannot erase if she uses this part?
Does the presenter give a realistic time frame about how much time it takes the students to do/use this program? Is that time appropriate to the learning level? For example, in one program students create an animated mini-movie of a conversation that takes twenty minutes to produce when they could do the same conversation with an app camcorder in three minutes.
Does the presenter mention other programs /apps that build on this learning to take students to even higher levels of learning?
Does the presenter talk about how students collaborate while using this program/app?
Does the presenter go over how he/she assesses the learning from this program/app?

Let’s move from the technology whiz factor to the student learning factor!

cross-posted at

Harry Grover Tuttle teaches English and Spanish college courses at Onondaga Community College and blogs at Education with Technology. He is also the author of
several books on formative assessment.