Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mock Scenarios For Integrating Technology

• Scenario One: Upon walking into the classroom of a new eighth grade English language arts (ELA) teacher, the teacher informs you that she will be teaching a lesson on fate versus free will the following week. She plans on using excerpts from Oedipus Rex and Dante’s Inferno. She has not put the lesson plan together yet but intends to have the students present examples from the readings to support their case through a persuasive essay.

Having not read these two books since high school, I don't really remember the content and purpose of these books, but I would suggest that the teacher organize the class into groups. Each group would get an excerpt from one of the books and be asked to use PowToon to create an animation based off the quote. The idea would be to illustrate the quote in such a way that it depicts the struggle between free will and fate. I would also ask each group to embed their animation into a Google Plus class "community page" or a Diigo Group page. Each member of the class would be asked to log into that page to have a virtual discussion about how the animation depicts fate, and free will.

• Scenario Two: A high school science teacher is presenting a unit on astronomy, specifically on how Polaris is no longer the central point of the northern sky. The teacher is confident that he can teach it out of a book but is anxious to give the students a better experience from the lesson. He is hoping that the technology integration specialist will be able to help make a more authentic study for the students.

Being an Astronomy teacher, the main concept that is being manipulated is Earth's "precession", and motion through space. Milutin Milankovitch developed a theory of Earth's Cycles based off Kepler's mathematical models of planetary motion, which attempts to describe the pattern and shift in the sky above us, ultimately leading to patterns of ice age. I would use a tool like Stellarium or SkyGazer to have students manipulate a virtual planetarium. Each of these programs contain simulations that illustrate Earth's wobble or precesion. I would ask students to manipulate the simulation to learn how and why this phenomena occurs. I would also have students respond to a discussion prompt in their class "notebook" on a tool like penzu or google docs. I would also ask the students to create some type of animation of their own to illustrate the same process. Students could use some type of animated .gif program like fotodanz, or create a movie and upload it to youtube.

• Scenario Three: In a fourth grade social studies class, the class is discussing the role of landscape and surroundings on early natives—what type of food they ate, the type of dwellings they built, and of course defensive systems or escape routes. Many of the students have never traveled out of their own state and are not familiar with alternate surroundings. The social studies teacher has requested that the technology integrator help her create a new lesson.

My first thought was to take the students on a virtual tour of the area either using Google Earth, Google Maps . Another option would be to arrange a Google Hangout or skype conference with an expert from the local historical society. Students could form questions they would want to ask through this conference to gain answers. They could present their findings in a Glogster poster. Another option, depending on the classroom, the teacher and the amount of time for the lesson, they could divide into groups where each group becomes the expert on the topics. For example a group could research food, another could be dwellings...etc. Each group could still participate in the initial Google hangout to gain info, but create a collaborative presentation with Glogster, or Prezi, or google apps to share with the class and teach them about their topic.

• Scenario Four: According to the math teacher, math is everywhere. The teacher is concentrating on a geometry unit discussing area and volume. The teacher is hoping to have the students design a home consisting of 1500 square feet of living space with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a family room, and a kitchen. A playroom or dining room are nice to have but are not needed. In the past, the teacher has asked the students to draw it out with paper and pencil; however, this proved to be a poor choice for reasons he has not given. The teacher is currently thinking of using craft sticks and glue to have the students build models, but this does not fall within the budget. The teacher is turning to the technology integrator for help.

I would suggest using a tool like Sketchup, FreeCAD, or floorplanner to create digital models of the home. Sketchup is an easy tool to learn how to use and make nice models, it is a bit tedious to make them exactly to scale, it requires a local installation and only runs in windows or mac. FreeCad is a great tool, but also requires some patience and attention to detail to be able to manipulate easily. Being opensource it runs on most platforms and also requires local installation. Floorplanner is a free WEB2.0 tool and requires users to make accounts, however it is very easy to use to create blueprints. The choice of tool would depend on how much the teacher would plan to use the drawing programs and what skills they would want to obtain from the use of them.


  1. I was not aware of floorplanner before. I tried out the demo and like that it is a web based tool and very easy to use. I also believe that the students would would be further engaged in this task by the fact that they could "decorate" their spaces with the various furniture and appliances. I really think that this would be the perfect tool for the assignment especially with upper elementary/ middle school students. Great find!

  2. Great ideas, Mike. I was thinking about adding Skype with a native expert to my lesson plan too! Google Hangouts is really cool too. I like the idea of using a cartoon tool for the persuasive essay, like an editorial cartoon. Great thinking outside of the box!

  3. I just discovered PowToon, and have offered it as one option for having my students create a community service announcement on netiquette. I hadn't thought about it for the "Fate vs. Free Will" scenario, but it would be a fantastic tool to use for that assignment. Floorplanner can be connected as an app in Google Drive, just like PowToon, so students can use their school Google accounts instead of creating new accounts.

  4. Mike - PowToon looks awesome! I can't wait to show it to my students. I've had kids use the one where they have cartoon characters who read what you type...I can't find it right now, but they were limited as to how much they could type, not very helpful for projects. Fotodanz reminds me of echograph, an app on the iPad. I haven't found a lesson for it yet, but definitely have it in my toolbox. Thanks for your additional resources.

  5. I like powtoon too! Looks great. I think I will try it with my digital explosion 8th graders this next project! Fun! Great resources!