Every semester I teach a course for future teachers introducing the ideas of technology integration. And each semester, we cover the same ideas of appropriate and effective use of technology. What does that look like? What resources are out there? What digital expectations can we have for middle school students?
Let take the example of teaching volume in a middle school math classroom. In the common core math standards, students are asked to first calculate volume (6th grade) and then solve real world problems using volume (7th and 8th grade). Theses students should also use computational thinking, justify their reasoning, and construct models with mathematics.
Appropriate: For those of you familiar with the TPACK framework, you know how the teaching pedagogy (PK), content knowledge (CK), and technical skills (TK) should be a good match. For the example of volume, terms like hands-on, collaborative, manipulative, and problem-solving, fit into those three categories.
Effective: In technology integration, effective indicates that some uses of technology can be more meaningful to student learning than others. Think of this in terms of the lower order thinking skills and higher order thinking skills from Bloom's Taxonomy. Research using technology in education has shown over and over again higher order applications of tech (for example creating, problem solving, debating, etc.) make significant differences in learning gains.
The technology tools below are excellent options for teaching volume that are both appropriate and effective. But don't stop there! Consider good teaching practices like scaffolding, effective questioning, reflection, and cognitive load to take these technologies from good technology choices to a great technology integrated lesson.
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