Content and Technology: A Mat(c)h Made in Heaven

Today we got together and talked about digital content. It’s coming but we’re unsure about how to get our districts and teachers there. We haven’t even started a conversation about parents yet.

Broad themes to consider:

  • content
  • adaptability
  • formats/operating system
  • learning and content management systems
  • infrastructure
  • devices and hardware support
  • teacher training

Open Content

The confluence of CCSS, technology, and collaborative tools is the perfect segway to getting teachers to contribute. We’ve been exploiting online resources for years…literally stealing them, it’s time for us to start giving back to the community. This is the perfect opportunity. However, according to our conversation this morning, we’re all fumbling our way through the curation, aggregation, formalization process. We are also:

  1. creating content in a vacuum even if we are using open content as a core (CK12, etc).
  2. taking a lot of time to get a finished product, mostly because there just isn’t enough time.
  3. aren’t yet thinking about closing the loop with the final goal of putting the content out there and then having others build upon it and resharing it.

How can we improve on this process?

Ability to Modify

There is tremendous potential in the process of using digital content to modify what students see and hear. This allows us to modify both content and delivery based on ability – I can enrich an environment through student groupings or account for other special needs. I can shift my attention based on how I present content to students. Digital materials also allow students to choose how they receive information because teachers can present it in a variety of formats.

The broader conversation in this regard is about metacognition for students. If they know how they best learn, they are able to choose and even create a learning environment that works best for them. This also creates some empathy for different types of learners. The workplace of today will expect this of students. We need to start helping them think about their thinking now so they can try myriad methods and apply old knowledge in new settings. Resiliency is key when they get into the real world. Metacognition will help our kids get there.


When we talk about the efficacy of content, we are concerned about many things. Accounting for differences across a wide variety of needs is very important. Textbook adoptions around the nation take time and digital content conversations should be no different. We need to vet sources for reliability, validity, and diversity. We need to think about whether the text is culturally balanced and meets the needs of all our students in terms of their needs as learners. These texts need to have enough flexibility to render immediate changes when necessary. It will be necessary.

The Perfect Learning Management System

The conversation bled into delivery and thus LMSs. We developed a short list of things we’d like to see in the perfect learning┬ámanagement system. Here’s our cursory list:

  • Contained or open social component
  • Grading
  • Assessment
  • Assumes 1:1
  • Takes a lot of different types of media – embeddable is important
  • Can set up smaller groups within the system
  • Transparent or closed communication available teacher to student

We are:

  • Melissa Lim of Portland Public School District (@actionhero)
  • Melissa Garner of Salem-Keizer School District (@moseylissa)
  • Jeff Kurtz of Salem-Keizer School District (@kurtzjeffery)
  • Jennifer Scypinski of Tigard-Tualatin School District (@jscypinski)
  • Corin Richards of Beaverton School District (@richards92)

from Blogger http://www.northwestedtech.org/2013/11/content-and-technology-match-made-in.html

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