Sunday, March 29, 2015

Summary of Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works

Pitler, Howard (2012). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

I chose this book because quite a few years ago, the noncredit basic skills group read and discussed Marzano’s Classroom Instructionthat Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, and I found the research=backed structured instructional strategies for teaching students to think and study useful, even though the book is more geared at younger students. The key research-based strategies outlined in that text, along with specific classroom materials in the accompanying Handbook, are the following:

  • Identifying Similarities and Differences
  • Summarizing and Note Taking  
  • Reinforcing Effort and providing Recognition
  • Homework and Practice
  • Nonlinguistic Representations
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
  • Generating and Testing Hypotheses
  • Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers
I would think that writing any book about technology tools would be frustrating because the tools come and go, and there are constantly new and better resources.  I attended three of Kathy Schrock’s presentations at CUE Conference in March, and she has compiled a lot of useful tools for all of the above.  She should have written this book!  The best thing to do, I imagine, is to list a couple of tried-and-true tools and then provide a Web site with updates (would need to be constantly updated!).
The chapters in the Using Tech book match with those in the original text and are divided into the following sections:

  • Creating the Environment for Learning
  • Helping Students Develop Understanding
  • Helping Students Extend and Apply Knowledge

 Again, some of the activities and tools are more suited to younger students, but the following were interesting and new for me, and I could adapt them for use with my students:

Chapter 1 Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback

  • Set learning objectives that are specific but not restrictive
  • Communicate learning objectives to students
  • Connect learning objectives to previous and future learning
  • Engage students in setting personal learning objective

Pre-assessments (with Survey Monkey) – find students’ misconceptions / weaknesses before the lesson in order to focus on main objectives – survey results guide lessons and assessments that follow

Resources (besides those already known to me):
  • eClicker – iOS app for quizzes and surveys
  • Tech4Learning predesigned rubrics

Chapter 2 Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

  • Teach students about the relationship between effort and achievement
  • Provide students with explicit guidance about exactly what it means to expend effort
  • Ask students to keep track of their effort and achievement

Badges – see

Chapter 3 Cooperative Learning

  • Include elements of both positive interdependence and individual accountability
  • Keep group size small
  • Use cooperative learning consistently and systematically

Nothing much here that I don’t know about and/or haven’t already used

Chapter 4 Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers

  • Focus on what is important
  • Use explicit cues
  • Ask inferential questions
  • Ask analytic questions
  • Use expository advance organizers
  • Use narrative advance organizers
  • Use graphic advance organizers
  • Use skimming as an advance organizer

  • The Differentiator: T selects sites from lists of thinking skills, content areas, resources, products, and grouping strategies – site creates  “Students will” objectives/SWBAT statements

Chapter 5 Nonlinguistic Representations

  • Use graphic organizers
  • Make physical models or manipulatives
  • Generate mental pictures
  • Create pictures, illustrations, and pictographs
  • Engage in kinesthetic activities
  • AudioNote
  • PaperDesk
  • Word Drawing Tools (see p. 123)
  • Animation Factory


Chapter 6 Summarizing and Note Taking


  • Teach students rule-based summarizing strategy

Steps: 1. Take out material not important to understanding

2. Take out words that repeat info

3. Replace a list of things with a word that describes the things in the list

4. Find a topic sentence – if there is none, write one

  • Use summary frames
  • Engage students in reciprocal teaching
  • Give students teacher-prepared notes
  • Teach students a variety of note-taking formats

  • Text Compactor
  • Ultimate Research Assistant
  • Apps: Notes, AudioNote, Infinote, PaperDesk
  • Writeboard
  • ThinkFree


Chapter 7 Assigning Homework and Providing Practice

  • Develop and communicate a district or school homework policy
  • Design homework assignments that support academic learning and communicate their purpose
  • Provide feedback on assigned homework
  • Clearly identify and communicate the purpose of practice activities
  • Design practice sessions that are short, focused, and distributed over time
  • Provide feedback on practice sessions


Chapter 8 Identifying Similarities and Differences

  • Teach students a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences
  • Guide students as they engage in the process of identifying similarities and differences
  • Provide supporting cues to help students identify similarities and differences


Chapter 9 Generating and Testing Hypotheses

  • Engage students in a variety of structured tasks for generating and testing hypotheses
  • Ask students to explain their hypotheses or predictions and conclusions

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