This ASCD Study Guide is designed to enhance your understanding and application of the information contained in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition, an ASCD book written by Howard Pitler, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, and Matt Kuhn and published in August 2012.
You can use the study guide before or after you have read the book or as you finish each chapter. The study questions provided are not meant to cover all aspects of the book but, rather, to address specific ideas that might warrant further reflection.
Most of the questions contained in this study guide are ones you can think about on your own, but you might consider pairing with a colleague, reaching out to your network, or forming a study group with others who have read (or are reading) Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition.
- The book opens with a description of the many changes that have happened in the world of education and technology since the first edition was written in the summer of 2006. Think about how your practice and the tools you use have changed since that time period. What technologies do you regularly use now that you did not in 2006?
- Use the answers from the above question to reflect on or discuss the following question: Given how rapidly technology morphs, how can you best prepare students for using tools that will likely change, evolve, or become obsolete in the future?
- The nine categories of instructional strategies are organized into a framework for instructional planning. How does this organization help you to think about systematically and intentionally incorporating technology into your instructional practice? How does this structure align with other planning frameworks or educational philosophies with which you are familiar?
- Think of technologies you currently use. Where would you place them in the list of categories of technologies shown on page 10? Is there another category you would consider adding?
Chapter 1: Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
- This chapter gives several options for using technology to help teachers and students personalize or differentiate objectives. Choose a tool that will help you both gather information about the background knowledge of your students on an upcoming topic and allow students to personalize at least one learning objective. You may choose from the examples of technologies in the chapter or choose your own. After your activity, consider the role technology played in being able to quickly pre-assess students, student engagement, and students learning practical-life skills.
- Engage your students in an activity that uses technology to gather feedback from a peer, from you (the teacher), and to self-assess. You may choose from the examples of technologies in the chapter or choose your own. What insights did the activity give you as to how accurately students are able to peer- and self-assess? Share the results of that experience with another teacher or reflect on it in a personal journal or blog, noting what you learned and what you might do differently in the future.
Chapter 2: Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
- This chapter provides ideas for helping students to see the relationship between effort and achievement. An important first step for teachers is to define what is meant by "effort" rather than simply telling students that they need to "work hard." Using a charting or graphing tool of your choice (or allowing students to choose), have students assess the effort they put into an upcoming assignment or project. As a class, discuss the criteria for "effort" and "achievement." After the activity, discuss with your students what they learned from the experience. What surprised them? What frustrations did they encounter? How could they anticipate and address those frustrations in the future?
- This chapter gives ideas for helping to provide recognition beyond your classroom or school. Discuss with your peers how your school could allow for students sharing and receiving feedback on their work while maintaining a focus on student safety and not allowing for senseless negativity. Consider using technology to send a deserving student recognition and then debrief the student's reaction with peers.
Chapter 3: Cooperative Learning
- Technology provides rich and engaging methods for collaborating in informal or formal cooperative group activities. Look at the list of suggested resources on pages 78–79. Choose one of these or a similar tool and engage your students in a cooperative note-taking or problem-solving activity in groups of 2–4. For an extra challenge, include students from another classroom or school. At the end of the activity, discuss these questions as a class:
- How did your group manage to stay focused on the task? What would you do differently next time?
- What were some of the challenges with the tool that you faced? How did you overcome those challenges?
- What are some agreements you would want your team to adopt if you did an activity like this again?
- If you want your students to experience a project-based learning experience, choose two other instructional strategies and combine them with cooperative learning technology. For example, cooperative groups could produce a movie, tell a digital story, or create a project website together.
Chapter 4: Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers
- The first part of this chapter focuses on different levels of questions. Intentionally plan questions in your lesson that move students through the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy and the technologies that would support each of those levels. Create a list of technologies that you feel support increasingly challenging levels of questioning. (You may wish to visit Andrew Church's digital Bloom's Taxonomy at http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy for an example.)
- When people hear the term "advance organizers," many think primarily of graphic organizers. However, an advance organizer is any tool or activity that helps to activate background knowledge, connect to new learning, and engage the learner in upcoming content. The second part of the chapter gives examples of using technology, especially brainstorming software, instructional media, and instructional interactives, as advance organizers. The chapter breaks advance organizers into four categories: expository, narrative, skimming, and graphic. Think of an upcoming unit that you will be teaching. Incorporate a technology source for each of the four types of advance organizers as you introduce the unit.
Chapter 5: Nonlinguistic Representations
Technology lends itself to providing nonlinguistic representations and multiple avenues for learning for students. To give you and your students a chance to learn five new tools, incorporate a new tool for each of the five processes recommended for creating nonlinguistic representation.
Chapter 6: Summarizing and Note Taking
- With the wide variety of note-taking formats and applications, students and teachers can benefit from exploring several so that they know what works best for them. In an upcoming lesson, plan for an opportunity not only to teach three different methods of note-taking, but also to allow students to explore three tools for doing so.
- Several examples were given for using technology to summarize (e.g., track changes in Word, Google Docs, Wordle, Tagxedo.) If you have never used one of these tools before, choose one of these with a lengthy article or text (e.g., presidential speech, newspaper article about a current event) and go through the steps of the summarizing process. Alternatively, have your students create short "service announcement" videos summarizing something they have read or learned using one of the six summary frames.
Chapter 7: Assigning Homework and Providing Practice
- In this chapter, the authors cite several trends that show how technology is allowing for students to engage in differentiated, asynchronous, ubiquitous learning (e.g. Flipped classroom, Khan Academy, online learning). The idea of "homework" tends to be greatly affected when students can truly learn "anytime, anywhere." As schools move towards a norm where all students have access to devices and tools for learning, new challenges arise for educators. Discuss with peers or self-reflect on the following questions:
- What skills and strengths do I already have that will benefit me in a 1-to-1 classroom?
- What skills do I need to learn or improve upon in order to be successful in a 1-to-1 environment?
- What are new opportunities that may emerge as we move towards a 1-to-1 classroom?
- What threats do I perceive as a result of this trend?
- You likely have favorite sites on which students can practice basic skills and concepts. Compile and organize them using a tool of your choice (e.g., Diigo, Google Docs, Evernote) that will allow you to share these and connect with sites that other educators use.
Chapter 8: Identifying Similarities and Differences
- One of the key ways for integrating technology into comparing and classifying is to use graphic organizers to help students with these processes. Have students work in pairs to explore a drawing or organizing/brainstorming tool (e.g., Google Draw, Inspiration, Bubbl.us) to create a graphic organizer that they will use to compare or classify something that they have learned. How does creating the empty graphic organizer help them with metacognition? What challenges did they encounter? (Alternatively, create the graphic organizer as a class activity.)
- Explore using one of the collaborative tools that you have already learned for allowing students to create and share a metaphor or an analogy about a current topic of study.
Chapter 9: Generating and Testing Hypotheses
Find a tool or resource that exemplifies each of the four processes in generating and testing hypotheses (problem solving, investigation, systems analysis, and experimental inquiry). As an extra challenge, find four that can be used with the same unit or topic of study.
Conclusion: Putting It All Together
Look at the 12 priorities on pages 224–225. Create a system for rating these 12 priorities using Rubistar, Google Forms, or other survey software. Ask other teachers and leaders in your school how well they think your school is doing in each of these on a scale of 1–4. Use this information to create one or two focused initiatives in your school.
Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition was written by Howard Pitler, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, and Matt Kuhn. This 248-page, 8" x 10" book (Stock #112012; ISBN-13: 978-1-4166-1430-2) is available from ASCD for $22.95 (ASCD member) or $30.95 (nonmember). Copyright © 2012 by McREL. To order a copy, call ASCD at 1-800-933-2723 (in Virginia 1-703-578-9600) and press 2 for the Service Center. Or buy the book from ASCD's Online Store.