Technology – Pedagogy

I just finished facilitating a session that aimed to make explicit connections between technology activities and specific pedagogical theories of learning. It went okay — we struggled a bit with the challenge of speaking about pedagogy in sufficiently specific terms, in the context of technology activities. Two or three people invoked multiple pedagogical constructs for a single technology example. While this might authentically reflect the real complexity of actual classroom work, I also feel that we would benefit from at least narrowing the conversation to one pedagogical construct at a time in order to truly understand the reason for its effectiveness.

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Here are our notes from today’s session:

Pedagogical Constructs
– Behaviorism: rewards, grades, stars, stickers, reinforcements
– Cognitivism: intellectual complexity, Socratic method, programming, debating
– Constructivism: building meaning based on experience, building knowledge base, socially, based, Montessori, project-based learning, not one authority
– Connectivism: working in a highly connected environment, using your network, blogging, lurking on backchannel (sidebar convos, perhaps) chat
– Engagement, joyful participation
– Differentiated Instruction
– Inquiry model, studio
– Understanding by Design
– Universal Design for Learning: multiple representations


Internet Safety — 5th and 6th graders
– Lecture, poster or comic about one safety rule
– Build a web page and publish it, demonstrating that they can follow the rule
– Connectivism, Understanding By Design: project is available for any student to be successful with, every student completes the task; more than constructivist, because of group work, connected to all teachers, working with and supporting each other

Art/music collaboration: history of silent films, background in nonverbal communication, drama, what it takes to create a movie
– students created storyboard, ideas for how they would create a silent movie
– how can we make this more open to different kinds of students? break students into groups? not so product driven?

Podcast project with ninth grade
– vignettes, write about an experience in their lives, added music and sound effects
– extraordinary podcasts in terms of writing and expression, correcting themselves as they were speaking it aloud
– one kid in particular related his experience with parents getting divorced
– very personal, not shared outside of the class
– differentiated — being able to express themselves in a different way
– kids who had decided they were not good writers
– read vignettes written by other people

Digital Storytelling — fifth grade
– kids had a personal narrative, Macs, iMovie, Garageband
– music, sounds effects, parents made up the audience
– blogged and podcasted so that relatives far away and teachers could also enjoy it
– behaviorism: rewarded for their work
– constructivism, engagement, personal narrative
– can add to story by including random elements, discussing how that impacts the story
– using photos may not be easier, especially if gathering other peoples’ images
– visual literacy: how are images interpreted? How do you tell a story well with images?

Google Tools: teachers investigating tools themselves and thinking about how they could use them in their classrooms, present the tool to the rest of the class
– larger group response and feedback to the tool
– greater opportunity for creativity — more ideas about how tools could be used

VoiceThread: bridging podcasts and vodcasts
– focus on the up-front preparation before you get to the technical tool
– could also have value to throw kids directly into the tool to explore it (e.g., Scratch)
– teachers didn’t think that one would be allowed to submit a research paper as a VoiceThread
– when is the purpose of the lesson exploration? (especially when it is something new). No matter how teacher-directed an activity is, learners find the opportunity to explore.
– exploration is highly constructivist — building your own representation of the tool based on your toying around with it
– power of exploration when there is a direction to it: e.g., “build a house” “build a bicycle”. Need to have some kind of goal, allow the time to explore, fewer projects, more time per project.
– Able to accept as research once you set the bar high for product expectations

Simple repetition: elementary school students record own stories and then, on their own, decide to re-record over and over in order to improve them.


  1. Vinnie Vrotny says:

    Thanks for sharing Richard. Enjoy BLC

  2. Ludmila says:

    Hello Richard,
    It is so rewarding and inspiring to read your blog. I share so many ideas with you about pedagogy and technology in today’s classroom. I joined the video conference today in UStream and enjoyed it immensely!

  3. Richard says:

    Thank you, Mila. I will check out your blog as well.


  4. Alice Barr says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to give your session yesterday. I have been struggling with how to be better at making connections of pedagogy and tech examples. I very much appreciated how you facilitated the session! I learned alot!