December 26, 2009

What comes first , pedagogy or technology?

Many teachers when trying to integrate technology into their lesson plans, end up getting dazzled by the wonders of webtools and run the risk of forgetting their real focus, the lesson goals.

Watch this video where I talk about Technology Integration:

TokBox - Free Video Chat and Video Messaging

Guide questions we can ask ourselves when selecting a webtool to use:

  1. What are the aims of the lesson?
  2. What kind of extra practice do I need my students to have?
  3. Which is the best tool to achieve the goals?
  4. How am I going to propose the webtool task?
  5. Where will my students do the task, at home, in class or at the lab? (Plan the time)
  6. How will the students share their work? In edmodo, in a class blog, via e-mail?
  7. What follow-up activity (closure) will we have?
It's essential to point out that you can only decide which is the best webtool to reach a certain goal once you have explored as many tools available.


GilMattos said...

Great questions, Ana. I totally agree, because I have made this mistake some times, we must be careful about our goals when we choose whatever webtools to be used. I remember when I prepared my final project for the Webtools4BrazilianEducators by Carla, she called my attention for an overuse of tools.I was so excited with everything available I wanted to use as many as possible - come to think of it I guess it looked like a Christmas Tree in the beginning (lol).
Thank you again for the wise ideas.

Ana Maria Menezes said...

Gilmar, thank you so much for the comment. I´ve noticed in several lesson plans the same problem, overuse of tools and sometimes teachers think of the tool first and try to plan the lesson around it. That sure doesn´t work. Another helpful tip is read posts of people sharing how they´ve used the tools (José Picardo´s Box of Tricks is fantastic and Alexandra Francisco´s Zarco English too).

Tony Watt said...

I replied on twitter that pedagogy ALWAYS comes first even when it is not explicitly stated.

Even when less-theoretically-minded teachers, you know very practical "use whatever works" types pick up new technology and use it in the classroom, what they do with it is still informed by their assumptions of learning and teaching.

Teacher 'education' rather than teacher 'training' can bring this implicit pedagogy out to be analysed and improved.

I think there is nothing wring in trying out a new learning technology without worrying too much about the pedagogy first - as long as the teacher reflects on their experience afterwards.

Tony = @cuppa_coffee

Sharon Elin said...

I am in total agreement that pedagogy comes first! Excellent list of questions and such an important reminder to focus on the lesson rather than the tool! I would like to invite you to read my blog post about the same topic.

Graham Davies said...

A timely reminder. I often raise this topic in my articles and at the websites that I maintain. See the ICT4LT blog:


Julia Hengstler said...

The instructional intention or what the students need to learn--do, remember, understand, create, etc.--is the primary objective. Is the main task learning a technology--doing something with it--or is the main task understanding a concept, doing a collaborative activity--for which the technology is one vehicle or method? These are the main drivers re. technology integration.
For example, if you are teaching concept mapping--as a new skill--and are doing it through a software that needs to be learned with higher stakes content/value on the activity's output that's not good integration. The cognitive load in this situation is too much--learn the basic skill, learn the new concepts to map (or deconstruct) AND learn the software. It makes the task overwhelming for some and unpleasant for most. Ouch! Teach the basic skill of concept mapping on familiar content in a familiar manner. Try to incorporate the terms they would see in the apps they would use (e.g. node, branch, child, parent).
Now you can go 2 routes: 1) move to the tech integration staying with the lower risk content--where just concept mapping properly with the tool is the goal then move to more advanced concept mapping; 2)move to more complex concept mapping in a familiar vehicle (e.g. pen/paper) before moving to the tool then teach the tool. In either case, the first taste(s) of a technology, application, should always be using more familiar than new content. Cognitive load should be built up progressively just like Milo of Croton ( We want students to be successful and must provide opportunities in their zones of proximal development.

ana maria said...

Tony, Sharon, Graham and Julia,

Thank you so much for enriching this discussion with your views and shared posts.

Laura Ponting said...

Here in Vietnam... there are other issues which I can't help but bear in mind. I set up twiducate accounts with my classes today. Sure, I'm concentrating on their use primarily in terms of pedagogy but I'm also influenced by the fact that the government blocked facebook here from November 11th, 2009.

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