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Technology Integration for Teaching: Module 3

Implementation and Integration of

Educational Technology

In Module 1, you considered the research and theory that support online instruction, and in Module 2 you reflected on the ethical considerations of integrating this new pedagogy into your classroom. As you move through the course, I hope that you are finding new tools to use in your classroom, but I also hope that you are committing to the pedagogical changes we all need to make to ensure success for all students. In this module, you will learn how plan for and implement democratic and constructivist lessons in an online platform and how to integrate student voice and choice in that virtual space.


To complete Module 3, you will:​​

1. Watch Jay McTighe discuss backward planning and Understanding by Design

2. Read McTighe's retelling of Grant Wiggins's advice for teachers and participate in the Menti poll.

3. Investigate educational technology tools and add your own to the discussion.

4. Share resources for incorporating student agency.

5. Reflect on which tools will be the best for your classroom.


Understanding by Design

McTighe and Wiggins developed the Understanding by Design (UbD) framework based on Ralph Tyler's conception of curriculum that focuses on the goals and outcomes of teaching before planning the activities that students engage in. I think of UbD like a funnel--the teacher thinks about the big picture first and then works backward to plan weekly and daily activities and assessments to reach the end goal. Below are two brief videos of Jay McTighe discussing backward design and UbD.


Understanding by Design:

Advice for Teachers

Now that you have a basic understanding of UbD, we need to consider how it can be applied to online learning specifically. Jay McTighe has provided many resources on his website. Please go to the website and download the UbD unit template 2.0.


As you read McTighe's article, Three Lessons for Teachers from Grant Wiggins, take notes on the template. Jot down questions and ideas about implementation in your synchronous, asynchronous, blended, or hyflex classroom. Think about what authentic feedback looks like in your digital space, how you can truly have empathy for students, and what "the end" is for your content area or in relationship to your standards. 

After you have read about, watched the videos on, and reflected on UbD, please participate in our Menti poll. In order to see the results, you will need to enter your email address. 


Teaching Tools

Now that we have considered how to plan for remote instruction, we need to determine what to plan. The outcomes and content should remain the same (which is why we began with backward design), but the methods, activities, and means of assessment may differ depending on your virtual setting. For me, the major difference between asynchronous remote learning and synchronous remote learning, for example, is my ability to check for student understanding in real time. In an asynchronous setting, I have to make sure that my lessons are irresistibly engaging so that students are more likely to learn without my constant supervision and without the spontaneous collaboration that can happen synchronously. This section will focus on creating engaging remote learning experiences, and the tools presented will be flexible enough to work in multiple spaces. Also, I am sharing tools that I am most familiar with, but many of them also have similar platforms that exist. As you explore the tools, don't focus on what the tool is so much as what it can do. Also, everything shared below has a free version.


The example shared of each tool below is designed to be used in our asynchronous setting. However, all of the tools can also be modified for use in real time. The content, depth of knowledge required, and age level have been varied to demonstrate the different capabilities of each tool. Some have been left off of the list because they were already used in this course (e.g., Menti, Padlet, Google Forms, Xodo). Also, as much as possible, the tools were chosen because they can be used to provide students with choice, to give them space to share their ideas, and to encourage collaboration. Click through each tool and review its capacity for creating engaging online learning. Then, add your own suggestions (and preferably sample lessons) in the discussion below. Feel free to add your own reviews of the shared tools as well. 

  1. Nearpod: This is a digital presentation tool that allows students to interact with the material, answer questions, and watch videos among other things. There is also a large sample lesson database that you can modify for your students. Students can also be encouraged to create their own Nearpods for presentations. (Example: middle school science lesson)

  2. Blendspace: This is similar to a Pinterest board in that it allows you to house multiple resources on one topic in a space. TES, where Blendspace is housed, has multiple tutorials to help you start your first Blendspace. Again, students should be encouraged to create their own to show their learning about a topic (Example: upper elementary figurative language lesson)

  3. EdPuzzle: This website allows you to assign videos and add questions for students to answer while they are watching. It has a gradebook feature and allows you to make multiple classes. This can be made more interactive in a synchronous setting, but in an asynchronous class, student input is not as possible as with some of the other tools (Example: high school algebra lesson).

  4. Flipgrid: This resource allows students to make short videos to respond to a topic. A bonus is that there are many free lessons, and a lot of those lessons are connected to Epic! which has many free books for students (Example: elementary reading lesson).

  5. Soundtrap: Students can express themselves through a podcast using Soundtrap. They can collaborate remotely, and respond to any topic you choose. Soundtrap has multiple lesson plan ideas for all content areas, my favorite being a science lesson where students interview a spider (Example: middle school podcasting class).

There are countless ideas of innovative teacher resources, so please add your favorites! If you need some inspiration, I highly recommend Kathy Schrock's guide, which organizes ed tech according to what level of Bloom's Taxonomy it might address or by their function. You could also explore the Padagogy Wheel, which is similar to Schrock's guide.


Teaching Tools:

Constructivism and Agency

While many teachers worry that online learning will make it more difficult to incorporate student voice and choice into the curriculum, some research shows that student agency is actually more possible in virtual environments. For this section, please read Baasanjav's (2013) article on the Experiential Learning Cycle and Stevens's (2018) article on balancing meaningful assignments and workload

Stevens uses the concepts of scaffolding, interactivity, and collaboration to suggest five strategies for creating meaningful assignments that will not overwhelm students. These strategies are:

  • Anticipate student questions

  • Create reusable formative assessments

  • Scaffold assignments with multiple parts

  • Create choices for summative assessments

  • Encourage collaboration

Choose at least one of these five strategies to review and find an additional article, an educational tool, a website, or a video to share that can help others understand that strategy and how to implement it in their own classrooms in a constructivist way. Make sure the resource that you share encourages student choice, student voice, or both.  

Share the resource(s) you found on our growing Google Doc. Note that a great place to create a resource like this in a classroom is a Wiki, like pbworks, but it is not practical in an open educational setting like this.


Selecting the Right Tools

An aspect of this course that may seem overwhelming is the number of resources that are recommended. My most important piece of advice is to be discerning about what you plan to use and limit the number of tools that you require of students. You can always give them choices and provide options, but requiring students to use various platforms can cause a number of issues. First, your school district may have licenses for specific programs or may have security concerns about others. Talk to your IT department and administration before you make decisions about what you will use in class. You should always evaluate the privacy policies of online resources before requiring students to use them. Common Sense has a privacy rating initiative that has already evaluated many sites that teachers use. Also, see if a program you are already using has a similar component to a new tool you are considering. If you are using Google Classroom, for example, the G Suite has many options with similar functionality to things shared here. 

The biggest takeaway from this section should not be all of the innovative resources you can start using in class; instead, focus on the opportunity for student engagement that these tools provide. It is great to be excited about the resource, but more importantly, think about how it can improve your teaching and student learning outcomes. Choose tools that encourage student agency, promote collaboration, allow for consistent scaffolding and assessment, and motivate students to participate. 

Think about some of the tools you are considering for your classroom for next semester. Use this checklist to determine if it is a good choice. Also, keep those tools in mind as we move on to Module 4, as you will be asked to consider their ability to meet the needs of all learners.

Congratulations on completing Module 3 on Implementation and Integration of Educational Technology. In this module, you learned about backward planning and incorporating educational technology tools that allow for student agency. In the next module, you will incorporate your learning from the previous 3 modules to consider how to make your course accessible and meaningful to all students. If you have feedback on this module or questions about what you learned, please email me

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