It's Time to Pump Up Technology Integration In Your Classroom

It's Time to Pump Up Technology Integration In Your Classroom

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Can you believe it? We are half-way through the school year already! Now that we have had time to relax and rejuvenate ourselves, it may be a good time to reflect on what we have done so far this school year to integrate technology into our lesson plans, and to also reflect on what exciting new ideas we can try during the rest of the school year! Need some pumping up? Let's get started!

Ask Yourself the Following Questions to Kick-Start Your Spring Lesson Plans

  • What "Units of Study" do I have coming up this Spring?
  • Are there any units that I wish to make more EXCITING?
  • Are there any units coming up that have concepts students typically struggle with?
  • Are there any student-created final PROJECTS or PRESENTATIONS that I could revamp?
  • Are there any units that could use a few teacher-created "HOW-TO" videos for my students?
  • Will there be any times I will be "out of the classroom" this Spring for conferences? If so, think about creating a few short videos of the "digital YOU" teaching those lessons! Post them to YouTube or push to students via Google Classroom! Once you try will be addicted!

When it all comes down to it, we need to remember to begin thinking about the idea of technology integration by thinking about our LESSON PLANS first! Please remember, you are a TEACHER first and foremost, and the focus needs to always be on content itself and the accompanying lesson plans.

Because we are "Teachers of Children" means that NEXT, we are teachers of our Content Areas, Literacy, Citizenship, and more! When I say "Literacy," I mean ALL types of Literacy! Regular Literacy, Digital name it! When I say Citizenship, I mean ALL types of Citizenship! Regular Citizenship, Digital Citizenship...and more! Technology is here to stay, just like "literacy" and "citizenship" are here to stay, so our challenge is to think creatively about the ways in which we incorporate ALL of it together as a single streamlined package to our students via our daily lesson plans!

When thinking about your Spring Lesson Plans, I challenge you to keep these Six Simple ISTE Technology Standards for Students in mind:

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. Communication and Collaboration
  3. Research and Information Fluency
  4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  5. Digital Citizenship
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Take a look at these! Most all of these are things you are already doing on a weekly basis, and it's our challenge to figure out how to sprinkle in a little more as we travel through the rest of our teaching journeys this school year. Below, I would like to provide you with an example of just how easy it is to think about a unit you are already teaching, and to add a little creativity and pizazz to it! Let's get started!

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I recently worked very closely with one of my 4th Grade Elementary Teachers on a unit about National Parks. She wanted to add something special to this year's delivery of the "same old" unit that she has been teaching for the last few years. So, where did we start? We started with the LESSON PLAN itself! Remember, products and apps alone are worthless! It's about PROCESS, NOT PRODUCT! Products and Apps are only meaningful when combined with the right reasoning for educational use. Focus on your content and the learning outcomes you want to achieve with students, and the right digital tool will naturally fall into place!

We talked through the content, the student expectations and learning objectives, and then finally what she would like to revamp with the "final product" of the unit itself! In the end, we needed an exciting way for students to deliver and present what used to be "National Park Essays." Once we focused in on the lesson itself and the areas for improvement, we tried out a few different apps and products, and finally decided that it would be very exciting for this year's students to try using an App called "Shadow Puppet EDU" to upload pictures of their National Parks, to add captions, and to record their voices over the top of these slides for a final video compilation of their parks!

Mrs. Floto created her very own essay on a National Park, researched and found pictures to accompany the written paragraphs, created captions, and finally recorded her very own Shadow Puppet EDU video to use for MODELING this learning process for her students! When it comes to technology, it is CRITICAL that teachers MODEL both the learning process itself and the product that is being used.

What was amazing, was that the learning process itself was very similar to what it had been in the past, but we were able to sprinkle in some excitement and a very fun final product for students!

First, students researched their National Parks, took notes, and created and drafted essays on paper. After the traditional part of the lesson, we encouraged students to critically think about creative pictures that could be added to drum up excitement for their National Parks. Following their essays as scripts, they had to make decisions and use good digital citizenship and judgement for choosing accompanying pictures and maps. Next, students had to communicate and collaborate with each other and with their teacher in order to justify their story maps and slides, to provide evidence that their content was all in place and in the correct order, and to demonstrate that they were ready for the final step: RECORDING their voices!

In order to record their voices, students had to use basic technology operations including recording, pausing, and finalizing their shows. Once the shows were approved, they were SAVED and uploaded to their Google Drive accounts for easy access and sharing! Immediately following the completion of the student projects, the class selected a morning for "Presentation Day!" This was the day that students were able to watch each other's National Park Presentations and to celebrate the success of their classmates! What an exciting way for students to learn about National Parks and landmarks across our country!

As we reflected upon the journey of this lesson plan, Mrs. Floto was excited about the following take-away: "One thing I noticed from doing this is that some students who struggled with paragraph writing were finally able to visualize the concept!" In addition to her excitement, think about how easily she was able to incorporate the 6 Student Technology Standards into her lesson plan! Each standard was a natural fit, and it made for a smooth and streamlined lesson plan! Eventually, this teacher plans to post these student videos to her classroom website! Talk about an amazing way to showcase student work for parents and community members!

This teacher found a way to "pump up"

the technology integration in her classroom!

She started by picking ONE lesson plan!

Are you ready to "pump up" your lesson plans this Spring?

Bring on the excitement!

Bring on the passion!

It's time to sprinkle some additional creativity into our lives!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Kelly Clifford

cross-posted at

Kelly Clifford is the Technology Coordinator for Metropolitan School District of Steuben County, Indiana. Read more at her blog