After teaching a graduate class to veteran teachers for the past few years, I’ve found that many teachers are not comfortable planning lessons based on the curriculum standards. They find it very hard to think outside of the box or think creatively when planning lessons and designing learning opportunities. I’m not sure if this is due to the emphasis on standardized testing and teacher accountability based on test scores or if it is due to the lack of trust from principals when teachers incorporate project based learning in their classroom. I have seen teachers only want to use the examples that are written on the portal or units that have been taught in the past, instead of studying the standards and focusing on learning goals and creating their own lessons.
Understanding by design is where we should begin. Please take time to read this article about teaching technology to teachers. The focus is not on the technology, but on the learning goals. My focus when I lead professional development is to teach Common Core and Standards Based Curriculum by engaging students using interactive strategies that involve technology and non-technology based activities. Think of the learning goal when planning lessons and use technology if it is appropriate. Technology is one of the tools teachers and students will use to master the content and demonstrate their knowledge. Be creative and focus on your students this year as your plan your lessons.
“I used to think that teachers needed help learning the newest Web 2.0 tools, but now I think they need to know how to use a simple tool to teach vocabulary, main idea, summarizing, character analysis, story structure, writing strategies, research techniques.”
“I used to think that teachers needed help creating interactive flipcharts, but now I think they need to know how to seamlessly plan their day so that their lessons are integrated and flow based on their learning goals.”