High-Tech and Low-Tech

Design of TELEs

My definition of technology is similar to that of Roblyer & Doering (2012) in that technology is anything that we use (our tools) to solve problems in our environment, in conjunction with the skills needed in the application of these tools. We often refer to items as high-tech (a 3D printer) or low-tech (cardboard). These technological tools can all be utilized to solve some identified problem, but the tools themselves render useless, unless we have some meaningful knowledge base behind how to use them.

My ideological design of a TELE for science would be one where student needs are put at the center, and that takes a constructivist approach to knowledge acquisition. The TELE would engage students, tie into their background knowledge, and pique their interest in new areas. This would be accomplished by utilizing a variety of “tools” or pieces of technology at differing complexities that would facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. The goal of the Science course/assignment should be clarified, as this would likely drive the type of technology that would be needed. I do not believe that TELEs should be centered on the “technology” aspect so much as what the technology can do to enhance the learning experience of the student. In addition, we must also keep in mind educator comfort and availability of technology.


Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Pearson Education.


  1. Educator comfort and availability of technology are definitely two areas that need to be taken into consideration when using tech. Technology can be fickle at the best of times and a spotty internet connection or even one computer or ipad that is down in your class can quickly change the direction of a lesson from smooth to stormy. Its a combination of the strength of your IT team and what they have in place for you as well as your experience with technology troubleshooting ability as to how you deal with these issues. Students comfort with tech is also something that you have to judge because if you push to hard to fast you can have a backlash or if you move to slowly you could lose their attention and motivation. The beauty of tech is it can level the playing field for many students, its ability to allow them to express their creativity and solve problems multi modally is what leads to that intrinsic motivation we seek to instil.

  2. Hi Natalie,

    I enjoyed your statement on what your ideological design of a TELE would look like. I appreciated your recognition for the fact that students have different needs when you discussed”…utilizing a variety of “tools” or pieces of technology at differing complexities that would facilitate the acquisition of knowledge”. I was wondering what you specifically meant by “pieces of technology at differing complexities”. Are you referring to assistive technologies (ie. text-to-speech software) that can help students complete work?

    1. Hi Kirsten,

      ‘Pieces of technology at differing complexities” can mean a number of things 🙂 Yes it could be assistive technologies (which have afforded students so many opportunities), or it could be using a tool such as MaKey MaKey in a number of ways depending on the learner. In my Exploration classes I have multiple tools that need to be very versatile and meet the needs of students. For example, MaKey MaKey can be paired with very basic tactile materials for some learners, or students can completely “wired them up” for others – in the same class. Same basic tech, but can be adjusted for complexity (by me/the students/SEA support etc.) depending on where the learner is. The use of technology can be differentiated to accomplish the learning goal.

  3. Hi Natalie,

    I like the fact that you included a definition of technology with a reference.

    I wonder if you could expand on “render useless” and “meaningful knowledge”. Maybe give an example.

    A good next step might be to consider what is useless maybe useful to someone else.


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