Monday, November 18, 2013

Technology Lesson Plan

I have linked my concept map, lesson plan, video, and presentation. 

  1. How do you address one or more UDL principles in the lesson to meet the needs of diverse learners?
In this lesson plan I incorporate many principles of UDL. There are varied means of representing information, multiple means of action and expression, and also multiple means of engagement. Information is presented to students through multiple representations: there is a power point presentation (showing original images of the texts and giving students a sense of what they looked like in their original context), a video (combining audio and visuals, as well as providing a historical narrative), and images as well as documents (there is also a glossary following the documents). These various methods of representation allow students’ to use their individual strengths, while also providing them with challenges. For example, one student might do really well with reading and analyzing historical documents, but struggles with learning from and interpreting images or video. Multiple means of action and expression are available through the concept mapping tool that we will use as a class, discussion, and creative writing. The creative writing activity “Write your own Declaration of Independence” establishes authenticity and individuality to come through in the lesson. The group work throughout the lesson allows for collaboration and communication. Putting the students into pairs or small groups invites collaboration, but also enables students to take on individual roles – perhaps one student is confident in their writing skills so they take on the role of the ‘writer,’ another student in the group is good at public speaking and so takes on the role of the group’s presenter, and the third group member might have the best understanding of the various sources and provides leadership and facilitates discussion.
All of these various methods are included to create a dynamic and interesting lesson, and to provide students with individualized means to learn and express their knowledge.

2. How do you see the use of technology connecting with the content focus?

I think the technology I chose to use matches the content focus well. My learning goals in this lesson were for the students to understand the colonists’ motivations and arguments for separation from Britain, and to analyze the documents and make evidence-based hypotheses explaining these motivations. The introduction video highlights the difficulty the colonists faced when deciding to separate, and also the emotion and humanity of the Founding Fathers. It is a stirring, emotional, and engaging video and I think that it will help the students look at these documents in a new light, as well as understand the high stakes that were placed on the question of independence. The presentation does not contain a lot of content, it’s true, but I think that having the visual of what these documents looked like in their initial printings is important. The larger, colored version of the engraving might also be easier for the students to see and analyze, as the smaller version in their document packets is a bit blurred. Finally, the mindmup concept mapping website is a great way to visually map out all of the student hypotheses that they will generate after reading each document. Mapping out their ideas on the chalkboard would take up too much space, and it would be more difficult to show the interconnection between their ideas. The website makes maps that are streamlined and easy-to-read. They are also easy to manipulate, which is essential as I will be adding to it, editing, and deleting items as the class progresses. This technology will help students brainstorm, compare hypotheses, and see the connections between ideas in a way that non-digital technology could not.

3. How do you see the use of technology connecting with the pedagogical approach you’ve selected?

I think the technology connected well with its respective LAT. For ‘view presentation’ I have a presentation of slides that show the central question that the students will investigate and images of the texts that they are working with. For ‘view images’ I included both an introductory video and an image that they will use as a source. Then the students and I will work together to ‘develop a knowledge web’ using the concept mapping technology. As I said in the answer above, the concept mapping site manages to hold a great deal of information and present it in an orderly, clear display. It is easy for students to read what others included, come up with new ideas or build off of another’s response, because it is easily visible.

4. How do the content, pedagogy and technology all “fit” together in the lesson?

I thought of the content I wanted to teach first. This lesson plan is based on one I produced for my methods class, so the learning goals/objectives were already in place. My next step was figuring out how to best teach my students the learning goal and how to interact with the texts, while also being engaging and interesting. For example, I knew that I wanted the students to theorize and try to answer our historical question, and that led me to selecting the ‘developing a knowledge web’ LAT. I decided that producing a web of the complexity and size that I hoped the students would develop would require some sort of technology. So I really tried to consider the LAT and the technology and how they would help students accomplish my learning goals and objectives. I think I managed to incorporate technology in a way that makes sense and does not distract from the point of the lesson.

5. What is the relative advantage of the technology(ies) used in the lesson?

Certainly one of the advantages of using technology is that allowed me to give my students different visual representations of the material. The video serves to give background, create an emotional connection to the material, and includes dynamic audio and video. Using images of the engraving shows a larger, clearer image, making it easier to analyze. The images of the documents help students gain a perspective of the past and the effort that went into making these documents. Finally, the concept mapping website has several advantages in this lesson: it’s fast, efficient, easy to use, shows a great deal of information, shows the connections between ideas, and helps students visually understand how their ideas relate to our central historical question.

6. What was your overall experience like designing this lesson using the Learning Activity Types approach to technology integration planning? In other words, how, if at all, did this process help you to zero in on appropriate and effective technologies to approach the lesson?

As I mentioned previously, I already had the idea for the learning goals and objectives from a lesson plan I made earlier. That gave me a good place to start. After that I used the LAT chart and typology to organize my ideas on what I would like to have students do during the lesson. I knew I wanted to start off with an interesting video to hook them in, and that I wanted to incorporate discussion (in small groups and as a class), so that was easily determined. After that, however, there were so many choices that it made making a decision rather difficult. This is not a criticism, however. I am glad that there are so many choices to consider – it means that I can use this in the future to avoid boxing myself into a set of three go-to LATs.
I returned to my learning goals and had to decide how I wanted students to hypothesize and answer our historical question. I had decided on incorporating discussion, but I also thought that using something visual would help students theorize freely, pay attention and remember what other students had said, and then be able to return to those ideas after reading the next document. Once I looked at the LATs again, it seemed clear that developing a knowledge web would work well with this lesson.
Overall I think using this LAT approach to lesson planning was useful. It helped me understand different categories of activities and how/where I might want to fit those into class and how they would help me achieve my learning goals for the lesson. I also liked that the LAT provided various ways of learning and communicating learning, and then even more examples of ways to integrate technology into that LAT. It was systematic and is definitely something I will use in the future. 

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