Book Critique

Recently, I read the book Instructional Technology and Media for Learning (2012) written by Sharon Smaldino, Deborah Lowther, James Russell, and Clif Mims. This book is intended to teach its readers how to incorporate technology into their classrooms using the ASSURE lesson plan model. It also includes example lesson plans, professional development opportunities, and technology selection rubrics.

This video goes into further explanation of the book:

If you pay any attention to my blog (even just looking at the name), you’ll notice I focus on technology integration into the classroom. That being said, I’m already pretty confident about how to do this, so while I was reading the book I found it slightly redundant. However, I do feel that it is an excellent read for someone who is just starting to integrate technology or is just looking to add a resource to their collection. This book covered the basics of integrating all sorts of technology into lessons. Since it covered all of the genres, it made it hard to really go into depth with any specific genre. The genres they cover are Web 2.0, Social Media, Audio, Video, Text, and Visuals.

To get a summary of the following post check out my Prezi presentation!

One of my favorite aspects of this book is all the resources they provide at the end of each chapter. Every chapter ends with professional development opportunities to demonstrate your professional learning and skills and develop a portfolio. Most chapters also give a sample lesson incorporating a technology tool following the ASSURE model and in the chapters that describe technology genre also provide a selection rubric to make sure you’re choosing the most effective tool to enhance your lesson.

One of the new things I learned from this text was the ASSURE lesson model. This stands for:

  • A – analyze learners
  • S – state standards and objectives
  • S – select strategies and resources
  • U – utilize resources
  • R – require learner participation
  • E – evaluate and revise

I liked how this model makes you think about the resources that may be useful in the lesson and gives you a chance to evaluate both the students and the lesson. This lesson plan would be a good idea to keep in mind, but it’s also worthwhile to keep the SAMR model in mind to make sure you’re really find a resource that can transform the lesson.

The book also covers ten different types of learning strategies and they are as follows:

  • Presentation
  • Demonstration
  • Drill-and-Practice
  • Tutorial
  • Discussion
  • Cooperative learning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Games
  • Simulations
  • Discovery

One thing I thought his book did really well was describing the advantages and limitations of the technology. This seemed to be a theme throughout the book and it was really nice to hear both sides of the story. So much of the time we only hear one side. It’s either how much good technology can do; how it gets students engaged and helps them learn in a way they are already familiar with. Or technology is hurting children and young adults because it’s affecting our social skills and basic knowledge of spelling, handwriting, etc. This book does a good job combining both sides of the argument.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was helpful in describing all the types of technology that could be brought into the classroom and pointing out both sides of technology. I think this is a great book to add to your library and if you want to buy or rent it you can find it on Amazon.com and read my review!

Book:

Smaldino, S., Lowther, D., Russell, J., & Mims, C. (2012). Instructional technology and media fro learning. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Virtual Tour of a Tech School

This video overviews how one elementary school has set up the technology in their school. This school does provides a nice example of how a class might incorporate technology at a 1-to-1 ratio and at a level similar to where most schools might be. Some of the classes are working independently on their iPads and going at their own pace (i.e. the third graders working on the Front Row app). Other classes were working together on one task (i.e. everyone working on the teacher-lead ISTEP practice). Some schools don’t have access to iPads for every student, but they might be able to incorporate technology into their class in other ways (i.e. the second graders working in the computer lab). This school shows technology at all three levels, but these three classes could be the way a whole school looks. I have found that incorporating any level technology helps the learning process when it is used effectively.