Category Archives: B. Design of TELEs

SAMR Model

I think my definition of technology would connect most closely to Muffoletto (1994) and the idea that technologies are a way of acting. Connecting to the definition of technology that started for me in ETEC 540 and that at a certain point in time a pencil was the current form of technology. The pencil allowed stories and ideas to be recorded. So what is an educational technology tool today may not be the most influential tomorrow but, just at the printing press allowed the spread of information through print, today’s technology is the act of creating and disseminating information and ideas in a faster way.

Keeping that definition in mind, I find myself returning to the visual below when I think of a TELE in my classroom. I think this graphic shows how as our understanding grows we get ready to take the next step and create more authentic use of educational technology in the classroom. Any time I prepare to bring in a technology I ask myself “can I do this with a pencil and paper?” if my answer is yes then I know I am at substitution. While there is a time and place for enhancing learning through technology I think the real value of technology appears when our lessons get into the transformation phase of SAMR.

All Things SAMR Model by Blanca Lemus. (2016). Retrieved 29 May 2016, from

Muffoletto, R. (1994). Technology and restructuring education: Constructing a context. Educational Technology, 34(2), 24-28.

Students as designers of learning

Jonassen’s (1995) “cognitive affordances” resonated with me.  I like how it frames the technology as a tool that provides opportunities and keeps the learner at the centre of the process.

I think design of learning experiences should be a shared experience between teacher and learner.  Kafia (2006) laments that “In the case of instructional games, a great deal of thought is spent by educational designers on content matters, graphical representations, and instructional venues.  The greatest learning benefit remains reserved for those engage in the design process” (p. 38).  I like this idea that the act of design itself is a great way to organize concepts and “make meaning”.  Shouldn’t we involve our students in this process?

I have found projects to be a great compromise between student/teacher design of a learning experience.  In this ideal model, the teacher is providing the overall structure and scope of the project, while the student(s) are designing the content and purpose.  Our school is currently exploring how to optimize this process, with much help from the Buck Institute for Education (BIE).

Jonassen, D. H. (1995). Computers as cognitive tools: Learning with technology, not from technology. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 6(2), 40-73.

Kafai, Y. (2006). Playing and making games for learning: Instructionist and constructionist perspectives. Games and Culture. 1(1). 36-40.

Ideal TELE: Intellectual Sharing of Learning

David Jonassen’s description of technology as “cognitive affordances” resonated with me most as to how technology should be incorporated into the classroom design (Jonassen, 2000). A technology-enhanced learning environment should connect students in a way traditional classrooms would not be able to achieve, while allowing students to expand their understanding with technology rather than have their learning be dictated by it.

Designers of TELEs should be questioning how the technology that they seek to include can help create meaningful thinking for students, how it can be used as a “Mindtool” (Jonassen, 2000). Jonassen further argues that both teachers and computers are merely the avenue for which students can foster their learning. An ideal design of TELE would include tools at the student’s disposal for them to use to enhance their understanding as well as provide opportunities to share their learning with others. Similar to GLOBE (Butler & MacGregor, 2003), students should have a chance to connect with other like-minded individuals working on the same aspects of learning to build on one another. Therefore, a TELE design can enhance learning through problem-solving, creative collaboration and critical thinking.



Butler, D.M., MacGregor, I.D. (2003). GLOBE: Science and Education. Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(1), 9-20.

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools: Engaging critical thinking. Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar:

Ideal Design of TELEs

The definition of educational technology as Mindtools, used to construct knowledge and make meaning, described by David Jonassen (2000) resonated with me. Designers of technology-enhanced learning environments (TELEs) in math and science should create experiences that engage students’ prior knowledge and allow for the exploration of personally meaningful concepts. Ideally, “teams of students are engaged in solving complex, authentic problems that cross disciplinary boundaries” (Kozma, 2003). Designers should include technologies that enhance authentic learning experiences through the facilitation of unique forms creation, problem solving and collaboration. David Jonassen (1995) writes, “control of learner interactions with the computer should be taken away from designers and tutors and transferred to the learners to enable them to represent and express what they know.” Technology should also act as a support and scaffold for students by lowering the barriers to entry by providing a means to participate and contribute understanding in various ways. Designers should utilize technology as “tools in service of richer curricula, enhanced pedagogies, more effective organization structures, stronger links between schools and society, and the empowerment of disenfranchised learners” (Kozma, 2003).

Jonassen, D. H. (1995). Computers as Cognitive Tools: Learning with Technology, Not from Technology, Journal of Computing in Higher Education Spring 1995 Vol. 6(2), 40-73

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar:

Kozma, B. Robert (2003) Technology and Classroom Practices, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36:1, 1-14, DOI: 10.1080/15391523.2003.10782399

My Vision of TELE’s: 5 Main Conditions

I have to agree with Chris Dede and his acknowledgement of Trotter’s (1998) statement that the inclusion of technology alone does not equate to better educational outcomes. My ideal pedagogical design of a technology-enhanced learning experience for math and/or science is exactly that, enhanced. The inclusion of technology into a classroom must enhance and enrich the learning experience. As I have stated before, technology needs to be implemented in a meaningful way that will allow students to better engage and learn the information at hand.

I found this diagram, picture below, that details five different conditions of meaningful learning.

While this particular diagram does not specifically address technology in the classroom, one can certainly see the relatedness of it. Any technology that is incorporated into the classroom should fall into most, if not all, of the following categories: active, constructive, cooperative, authentic, and most importantly in my opinion, intentional. Technology Enhanced Learning Environments (TELE’s) should be purposeful at their core.



Meaningful Learning – Education wired up. (2017). Retrieved 9 June 2017, from

TELE: Thinking in Meaningful Ways

My definition of technology is similar to David Jonassen (2000) because I believe that students learn from thinking in meaningful ways. Thinking is engaged by activities and hands-on learning, which can be fostered through technology. “Nothing can be taught unless it has the potential of making sense to the learner, and learning itself is nothing but the endeavor to make sense” (Frank Smith, 1978). Technology can take the form of anything that enhances student learning, provides students the opportunity to develop skills that will empower them, or allows students to share evidence of their learning.

My ideal pedagogical design of an elementary TELE centres around meeting learners needs to support differentiation, enrich learning intentions, and to transform teaching and learning. Technology needs to be viewed as a tool that provides deeper context, creative outlets, and opportunities where students take ownership over their learning. For a science curriculum, the TELE could provide virtual field trips, 3D exploration, and ePortfolio’s to post and reflect on their learning journey. Technology should provide a learning environment that supports inquiry, problem-solving, and thinking in meaningful ways, that a standard classroom could not fulfil.

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar:

Smith, Frank. 1978. Understanding reading: A psycholinguistic analysis of reading and learning to read. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

My vision for the technology enhanced classroom – 3 important facets.

The term “Mindtools” and how they are used in a classroom setting described by Jonassen (2011) best mirrors my ideal vision of how technology can be used to enhance a learning experience in the classroom.

I believe that technology should enhance the learning experience in 3 ways. First, technology should be used to engage and capture the learner’s attention. Use video display technology to show videos to take students out of the classroom and spark interest in a new topic, or use technology to help perform demonstrations that capture the audience’s attention. Secondly, technology use can help students make meaning of the world around them. Technology can be used to give students different visual perspectives of scientific or mathematical concepts. The use of simulations and graphing devices can give students hands on experience and allow teachers a better way to engage in constructivist practices. Finally, technology in the hands of the teacher can allow for different modes of assessment, as adaptive learning technology improves, teachers can utilize technology to better determine student deficiencies and misconceptions and help the teacher plan strategies, or better allot lesson time to address student concerns and problems.

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar:


I felt that David Jonassen’s description of Mindtools ” digital tools that support knowledge construction, exploration, learning by doing, learning by conversing, and learning by reflecting” (Jonassen, D. H. 2000),perfectly encapsulates what designers of learning experiences should aspire to.  Now more than ever our consumer based society is shoving technology in our faces to view and use.  Technology is often overlooked as a tool to create and is seen as a device to consume.  The DIY/Maker/OpenSource movement moves in a counter direction to the corporate controlled environment that surrounds us.  It is our duty as teachers to help our students not only understand how to create with technology but to educate them on how technology works.

I am currently moving my grade 5 class away from segmented core subjects into a more interdisciplinary station approach. I usually use direct instruction to introduce the general base components of each stations.  I cannot be in all places at once so I have been building web pages using wix to help build a structured approach around each station.  For example I have a 3D printing station, raspberry Pi station, VR/AR station and robotics station.  Each station has its own website that guides the students from basic steps to a self regulated approach where they begin to branch into individual areas of interest.  All stations are linked back into google drive and their own personal wix website where they place their assignments and projects.  We end in a passion project attached which incorporates all of the stations. I hope I can I can continue to build on my students digital literacy and my understanding of how it can enhance their learning.


Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar:

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.

My TELE – Vision

As my final project I have created a TELE for middle school teachers to use as part of the Heat Energy Unit required in the Ontario curriculum. It is a website that is scaffolded so students can work through it at their own pace with each lesson building upon the last. Embedded are simulations and physical labs for students to have both hands on and online experiences to help consolidate their learning of the concepts.

The rationale and introduction to the TELE is a website that can be found here:

And the student website with the lessons can be found here:

Part of my motivation for creating this TELE is to use it with my students in my class this year. I am excited to see how they react to the simulations and the WISE projects as part of their learning.

If you choose to check it out, I would love to have your feedback.