Whilst reading Simmons & Hawkins (2009) chapter, “Planning to teach an ICT lesson”, I became aware of my own streamlining (or perhaps corners cut) in developing lessons for my students. Even with best laid plans for my upcoming classes, I can guarantee that I will not develop lesson plans with the detail demonstrated in this chapter (pages 101-104). As a teacher practising roles in schools requiring work far beyond classroom teaching, the constraints on my time make it impossible for me to develop lessons with detail of this depth. Additionally I question the efficiency and need for this detail and depth, particularly for experienced teachers.

In “The Game Changer”, Dr Jason Fox talks about goal setting that can limit creative potential and I would apply this concept to lesson planning also. Carefully planned experiences can be limiting, lacking in creative potential and not versatile enough to allow flexibility when the unexpected occurs, when student interest takes us on a tangent or when it is evident that something just isn’t working. In regards to technology and lesson planning there is much to consider about what could go wrong and contingency plans are an important aspect of lesson/unit programming. A plan for a sequence of lessons or unit of work with scope for extension or flexibility where required may be a more efficient planning device than a carefully constructed plan for each lesson. 

The specifics of intention and the language incorporated in Simmons and Hawkins guide is very helpful in planning meaningful learning activities. They recommend that teachers ask the following:

  • What do we want to achieve? – Develop aims for learning
  • What will students learn? – Learning objectives
  • How will i know what they have learned? – Learning outcomes

In regards to developing aims for lessons or units of work, it is vitally important to always consider the Roblyer and Doering question, “What specific needs do my students and I have that (any given resources) can help meet”. 

Simmons and Hawkings recommend that focus is on the desired learning and not built around the activities. This focus retains emphasis on meaningful use of lesson time to engage students. The importance of developing clear objectives and outcomes that enable students to have clarity about what is required of them is also articulated by the authors. I like the idea of “WALT (We are learning today) and WILF (What I’m Looking For)” which could enable a brief overview of desired lesson objectives and outcomes that is not too tied down in detail.

References

Fox, J. The Game Changer. 2014. Milton QLD. John Wiley and Sons.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching: international edition, 6th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching ICT (pp. 54-105). London ; Sage Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=CSU&docId=aleph002991955