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An August 7, 2012 webinar from ASCD® titled Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works provides teachers with information about how they can “integrate technology into [their] instruction to maximize student learning and engagement” (ASCD). The focus is on how to use technology to enhance quality instruction. Two questions I thought about after reviewing the materials provided for webinar include:

What is “quality” instruction?

Is it possible to use technology in the lesson plan development process to create quality instructional plans which engages students?

What is “Quality” Instruction?

Several slides in the webinar material support “instructional strategies” as an influence on student learning. The strategies highlighted include “Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback,” “Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition,” and “Cooperative Learning.” These are somewhat similar to the Teaching ALWAYS Actions™ (Pilcher, 2010 and 2012):

What Technology is Available for Teachers to Create Instructional Plans which Engage Students?

iLessonReady™ (available in the iTunes store) is a lesson development solution for teachers to use to engage students in learning while aligning lessons to the Common Core Standards. It guides teachers to create learning targets, learning tasks and feedback strategies (formative assessments) that help students achieve one learning target at a time until students achieve a learning goal aligned to the Common Core Standards. The app’s structure/development aligns to long standing, research-based practices identifying the most effective variables that influence student achievement and engagement (Black & Wiliam, 2012, 1998; Brookhart, 2012, 2008; Hattie, 2012, 2008; Pilcher, 2012, 2010; Stiggins, 2012; 2007).

iLessonReady helps teachers unpack Common Core Standards into meaningful 30 Day Learning Goals and then align weekly and daily lessons to this goal. It helps teachers ensure that students are engaged in learning that specifically aligns to achieving a complex skill defined by the Common Core Standards. The engagement occurs when teachers create:

  1. defined learning targets so that students know what is expected each day to achieve an overall learning goal;
  2. learning tasks that align to learning targets that guide student practice toward achieving the targets;
  3. feedback strategies that promote a feedback loop in the classroom meaning feedback occurs as part of instruction and from self-reflection, peer input and teacher input; and
  4. summative assessments that align to a natural segment of instruction and culminate to reflect student mastery of the 30 Day Learning Goal or the unpacked part of the Common Core Standard.

Learn and Plan in the Cloud! Every teacher wants to be evaluated as ‘highly effective.’ The iLessonReady™ app helps teachers develop plans which engage their students to achieve complex skills associated with the Common Core Standards.

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For more information about the iLessonReady™ app visit http://www.iLessonReady.com or visit the iTunes store.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we work with school boards, leaders, and teachers to apply Evidence-Based continuous improvement processes and the principles from How to Lead Teachers to Become Great in their districts to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.