Tips for lesson planning with technology

flickr photo by Robin Hutton shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

flickr photo by Robin Hutton shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license


This post examines the Simmons and Hawking (2009) reading ‘Planning to Teach an ICT Lesson’ and discusses some of its key/interesting points. There was lots more to this reading so make sure you do it!


“Taking the time to establish our learning objectives provides a powerful way of focusing our attention on learning rather than activities” (p.57)

Definitely an important part of the lesson. This allows students to get an idea of where you are headed and what is expected. Hattie (2012) also contends that this will benefit students by enabling them to better monitor their progress (p.67).


Checking for understanding is also important throughout the lesson. Don’t assume that students have met all the learning objectives within the lesson (Simmons & Hawking , 2009, p. 64).

Polling the students using a quick Google form, Socrative exit ticket, or simple show of hands helps you subgroup a class into flexible learning ability groups.


“Where the balance is towards ‘teaching time’ children are often entertained and their teacher feels like they are teaching their socks off, but actually there is only limited learning taking place” (p.75)

This is definitely one of the things that rang true for me throughout this reading. In my early teaching years, I tended to spend more time in almost lecture/board notes mode while commanding every student in the room to give me their undivided attention. I didn’t think about having the students move around. I didn’t think about the fact that their previous class had a 40-minute lecture, I didn’t think about the different types of learners. in my current school, we have seventy-five minute lessons. I try to get at least 3-4 different types of activities going throughout this time as an attempt to engage all learners.


“Whenever you set an activity tell pupils how long they have and regularly remind them how long they have left” (p.76)

Students will use every drop of time that you give them. I normally think of the most realistic time you’d need to complete the activity then subtract 3-5 minutes. The trick is that you can always add more time…


“Where a class typically arrive with low energy levels you could engage them in a quick mental warm up activity before beginning” (p.77).

Starter activities are great for captivating attention, getting students motivated and energised about what will happen next.


Simmons & Hawking’s seem to cast worksheets in a positive light. They argue that they are a way to save the teacher’s voice, creates a calmer atmosphere and provides an opportunity for differentiated self paced learning” (p. 80).

I do not share their enthusiasm. Students should be engaged and motivated by the work they’re doing. I can’t remember where I heard or read this idea, but I can’t remember one single worksheet that I’ve ever completed in my primary or secondary career. That’s interesting… I think teachers should be focused on creating STAR moments. That is, Something They’ll Always Remember.  


“Finish the main activity with plenty of time for the plenary” (p. 81).

This is a great time to get feedback on your students’ learning. Exit tickets are the new black. Use them to gain knowledge of your students understanding and your teaching. Ask your students. Check out some other ideas here:



Hattie, J. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. London: Routledge.

Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. Teaching ICT. pp.54-105. Retrieved from

3 Comments on Tips for lesson planning with technology

    January 20, 2016 at 5:06 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Jordan,

    Great post. You have highlighted some interesting points.

    I agree that a focus upon learning objectives aids learning. I recently learnt from another teacher that clearly stating the learning objective by both discussing with the class and then writing it on the whiteboard keeps students accountable. I think Hattie would like this too.

    I love starter activities. Quick and simple, they are so useful for focusing students on the lesson ahead.

    Worksheets – It’s good to hear you take this opinion on. It’s an interesting one. I believe that a well-structured worksheet that is differentiated (right in the ZPD, Vygotsky) can be beneficial to build the field of knowledge that a student needs to complete more creative learning task. I have found that the best STAR moments come from tasks that are creative, student-centered, involve critical thinking and allow for student choice. From experience in upper primary school, a lot of the time students need background knowledge to be built before engaging in the task.

    What do you think, do I deserve an exit ticket for this response?

      January 20, 2016 at 6:46 am (4 years ago)

      You smashed it, Jimmy! Exit ticket granted.

      While I definitely don’t love worksheets, I do see their relevance in some cases. The one you highlighted would be included in that. My critic lies in teachers’ use of them to cover bases. To teach without really preparing or giving thought, or even as Simmons & Hawking claim “to save teachers’ voices”… What is that?!

  2. Emma
    January 21, 2016 at 4:41 am (4 years ago)

    Great reflection Jordan!

    Like yourself and James, I agree that beginning the lesson with informing students of the outcomes they are striving to meet is vital to keeping students on the right track, particularly when using technology as students can become sidetracked/distracted by links and games quite easily.
    I have WALT (We are learning to) and WILF (what I’m looking for) magnets on my classroom whiteboard to remind me to make sure I do this.

    Unfortunately our school’s firewall blocks student access to most Google tools except google itself so I can’t use Google Forms 🙁 . This is why I generally use Socrative with my class to assess their understandings and group students with quick quizzes, questions and exit passes. I love that you can project responses on the IWB without names to promote discussion and critical thinking. It’s also great to be able to save the data you for reflection and record keeping. Another similar tool I’ve used for formative assessment and/or discussions is Nearpod, which offers the option to allow students to draw responses and fill in blanks too.

    The time issue is one I always struggle with, particularly when students are given more creative learning tasks. It’s difficult to find the right balance of time limits and expectations of the quality of student responses.


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