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Integrating Technology into the Classroom

By Linda Ullah
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 Understandings & Objectives

Thematic Planning

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Thematic Planning

Instructional Time: 30 minutes

Thematic Planning-Integrated Instruction

How do you think about curriculum? Do you see each subject as unique? Do you see skills as separate and discrete?

Do you see the connections between curricular areas so that language arts, social studies, science, the arts, mathematics, and technology all integrate and support each other as part of a total learning process?

In the thematic planning process curriculum is planned based on global concepts and themes that you want your students to understand. All areas of the curriculum are integrated in a natural way as they relate to the global theme. For example, if you teach United States History, the novels your students read would relate to the period of history being studied. Science concepts would be appropriate to that period of history. Eighth grade teachers might plan the Civil War period together. In Language Arts students might read the RED BADGE OF COURAGE. In social studies students might research the causes of the Civil War and compare them to our modern social concerns. In science students might study the physics involved in military science. In art students might study art of the Civil War period, etc. A technology project could be a web page, or multimedia project about the Civil War period that integrates all subject areas. All curriculum is based on content standards, and assessment is built into the learning process throughout the duration of the unit of study. The learning needs and learning styles of all students are considered, and all students are given the opportunity to be successful learners.

Taking a Look at How We Teach

Think about how you usually plan curriculum. What drives what you teach and how you teach it?

Take the NCREL Indicators of Learning Quiz

Save your graph as a PDF file for future reference (FILE > PRINT>SAVE AS PDF)

Next, go to Meaningful, Engaged Learning.  Compare your chart with the indicators.  Although there are no right or wrong answers, think about how your current instructional practice compares to the indicators.

What thoughts do you have to better engage your students in learning?

All instruction should be linked to core curriculum and be multi-disciplinary. As educators we must assure that our curriculum is based upon rigorous standards.
The goal of standards-based education is to increase the academic achievement of all students by creating a standard set of guidelines and expectations for all students. Standards bring consistency to the educational system and a high level of expectation for all students. Our challenge is to align our curriculum and instruction to these new standards. Assessment, too, must be consistent with the standards. Frameworks, instructional materials, and assessment should ideally all be aligned with the content standards. This means that we need to rethink how we plan curriculum. See the chart below to learn how standards based instruction changes the way we think about planning curriculum and instruction.

Take a look at the lesson or unit you are editing for the workshop and:

1.  List the "thematic" connections with other content areas (consider talking to teachers who teach those areas to see if you can collaborate)

2.  Jot down one or two ideas, based on the Meaningful, Engage Learning information, that you now have for modifying your teaching strategies to assure that all students are engaged in learning during this lesson/unit

California SB2042 Induction Standards
Standard 16. Using Technology to Support Student Learning
Each participating teacher builds upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired during preliminary preparation for the delivery of comprehensive, specialized use of appropriate computer-based technology to facilitate the teaching and learning processes. Each participating teacher is a fluent, critical user of technology, able to provide a relevant education and to prepare his/her students to be life-long learners in an information-based, interactive society. Each participating teacher makes appropriate and efficient use of software applications and related media to access and evaluate information, analyze and solve problems, and communicate ideas in order to maximize the instructional process. Such use of technology supports teaching and learning regardless of individual learning style, socioeconomic background, culture, ethnicity, or geographic location. Each participating teacher integrates these technology-related tools int the educational experience of students, including those with special needs.