Using Technology in Lesson Design

One manner that we can utilize technology as instructors is through our lesson planning process.  There are several processes for designing lessons, but perhaps the most powerful is the Backward Planning approach that is recommended by most instructional designers.  This approach asks the teacher to first consider what you want your students to DO before you consider what you will teach.  With Backward design we start with the student learning outcomes first (written with verbs that indicate some action on the part of the student that is measurable), then decide on the manner in which we can measure learning (assessment instrument), and then we decide on the materials and activities that need to be done to practice and develop these skills.


Here is an example of how technology can play a role:

Perhaps you are a history teacher and want students to understand the relationships between current economic conditions and political policies that were developed.  First you will want to decide how your students could demonstrate this understanding.  Perhaps you will have them engage in a debate between two rival political parties one the historical policy. Your assessment might be a scoring rubric with a number of necessary elements (facts, relationships between economics and policy, explanation of party differences, etc).

Now that you know what your students will do and how they will be evaluated, now you can decide on the information they need to know and the activities they can do leading up to this.  So then you might ask, how does technology play a role?

Perhaps you do not have class time to have a live debate? What are some alternatives?

  • Students record in small groups their debates
  • Have a social media debate
  • Have students create a documentary portraying the debate

How does technology play a role in assessment?

  • recorded evaluation allows instructors to rewind and view elements again.
  • Recorded products can be shared internally or globally
  • Rubrics can be created electronically

How does technology play a role in materials and activities?

  • textbooks and original historical documents available on the internet
  • Other research from historians.
  • Online or electronic activities, quizzes, etc.


Technology is not necessarily a requirement for this project, it could be done without it.  But you can see that integrating technology provides opportunities for your students that are otherwise difficult to do without it.  The important part here is really process.  If we know where are students need to be at the end, we can better tailor our lessons so that students can meet those expectations.