Teacher A.D.D.I.E. is in Town

Directed Teaching Activities (DTAs) were the tried and true method for providing explicit direct instruction to students who are expected to master the objective with 80 percent proficiency. DTAs required that the teacher identified the lesson objective, the teaching activity, and the assessment. However, with web-enhanced instruction on the rise, where does the DTA fit for twenty first century lesson planning? DTAs assume that the learning environment is the traditional classroom, however, thanks to web-enhanced learning, classroom learning environments are no longer static. Move over DTA. Here comes ADDIE.

Instructional lesson planning with web-enhanced learning may need to incorporate some of the principles of instructional design. The field of Instructional Design deliberately factors in web-enhanced learning because Instructional Designers use a systematic design process for online teaching and learning.

With twelve years of instructional design experience, I personally subscribe to the ADDIE Model.

ADDIE stands for:

  • Analysis – Here the lesson designer considers learner variability, resources needed for teaching and learning, and the learning environment itself (e.g., active learning, collaborative learning, constructive learning, authentic learning, or goal-oriented learning).
  • Design – Here the lesson designer focuses on the learning goals and standards that must be met, as well as the scope and sequence of the module design.
  • Development – Here the lesson designer develops the content for the learning module, and loads the content onto a website or into the learning management system.
  • Implementation – Here,  the lesson designer deploys the learning modules.
  • Evaluation – Here, the lesson designer assesses the success of the learner. The lesson designer may collect feedback from the learner, or the lesson designer may use data from tests that were delivered during the learning module. This collected data is used to identify areas that require improvements.


DTAs put teachers at the center of learning while ADDIE puts the students at the center. DTAs support behaviorism whereas ADDIE supports constructivism. DTAs rely on the traditional static classroom model. ADDIE relies on nontraditional unfixed web-enhanced learning. To my knowledge, the ADDIE model of Instructional Design has not been used with school-aged children. Nonetheless, as classrooms become more web-enhanced, perhaps teachers will have to become more savvy with planning web-enhanced lessons by way of ADDIE.


Lesson designing with instructional technology in mind

In many districts, classroom teachers are expected to be using instructional technology to enhance learning experiences for students. So how comfortable are teachers with using instructional technology? Some are at the entry level of technology integration, while others are at the transformative level. Still, no matter where the teacher lies on this continuum, the most important question that needs to be asked is what type of learning experiences are being created for students? In this regard, teachers now have to wear the hat of an instructional designer for web-enhanced learning.

one to one

Instructional designers apply a systematic methodology based on instructional theory to create content for learning events.” Source: www.eng.wayne.edu There are many prescribed instructional design models that instructional designers employ, but classroom teachers are not necessarily trained on instructional design models. Hence, teachers will need support with developing “systematic processes that can be employed to develop [web-enhanced] learning environments in a consistent and reliable fashion” (Reiser, Dempsey, 2007).

The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) lists five possible learning environments that are suitable for powerful learning experiences for students. They are:

  • active learning – students are actively engaged in using technology as a tool rather than passively receiving the information from the technology.
  • collaborative learning – students use technology tools to collaborate with others rather than working individually at all times.
  • constructive learning – students use technology tools to connect new information to their prior knowledge rather than to passively receive information.
  • authentic learning – Students use technology tools to link learning activities to the world beyond the instructional setting rather than working on decontextualized assignments.
  • goal-directed learning – Students use technology tools to set goals, plan activities, monitor progress, and evaluate results rather than simply completing assignments without reflection.

When designing lessons, teachers must always consider the instructional objective that they are trying to achieve which should be aligned with State Standards. Teachers should then think about the five learning environments, and which one will get them the closest to their learning objective. The environment will govern which instructional technology application will be chosen for use within the lesson. Then the lesson’s procedures and assessments can be constructed. Click here for a copy of a lesson plan framework based on the TIM Matrix that I created. This framework helps me to change paper based lessons into digital lessons.

Using the TIM Matrix has helped me to move from entry level technology integration to the adoption level. Now, to move towards my goal of transformational teaching.


Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/TIM_Summary_Descriptors.pdf

Robert A. Reiser and John V. Dempsey, trends and issues in instructional design and technology (2nd ed.). Merrill Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2006,


Visual Literacy and Google Slides

I recently took a course on Visual Literacy and its importance. I learned that Visual Literacy is one approach that teaches children how to make meaning from information with images that contextualize various subject matters. “Young people learn more than half of what they know from visual information, but few schools have an explicit curriculum to show students how to think critically about visual data” (McKenzie, 1998). Hence, it is my belief that Visual Literacy is a necessary component of Pre-K/12 curriculum.  McKenzie (1998) submitted that, “schools must show students how to look beyond the surface to understand deeper levels of meaning and tactics employed to sway their thinking.” This means that the curriculum should contain opportunities to teach students how to “interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information that is presented in the form of an image”, film, or logo (Wikipedia, 2017). McKenzie submitted further that, “there is a danger that …images will serve as decoration rather than information unless we show [students] how to interpret (or make meaning of) the data (1998).

Based on what I learned in the course, I decided to incorporate some of the principles of Visual Literacy with a stamp lesson.  I based the lesson on Dr. Temple Grandin since my students had been studying her. I posed the following questions to them: What is a stamp? What are the informative parts of a stamp? How and when did stamps come into use? Why are there pictures or images on postage stamps? It was the picture part that I wanted to focus on since pictures convey information.


I explained to my students that stamps, although they are very small, have pictures or images that have meaning. I told the students that making images meaningful has three components. The first is making ideas clear by visualizing them. The second is making them interactive, and the third is making them persistent (Eisner, 2017). In other words, when using images to support the message, the image must clearly make the idea visible. The image should also engage the audience, making them think deeply about the ideas. Lastly, the image must make the ideas persistent or relevant over time with different audiences. This is quite a hard task for third graders, but I wanted to challenge my students.

I gave them an empty slide template where they would place one or more images on the template that visually represented an idea about Dr. Temple Grandin, that was engaging to the audience and would stand the test of time by being persistent. For further information on how to implement this lesson, click here.

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I was pleased with what they came up with. If you want to try it with your students, click here to make a copy.

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In sum, it is important for a teacher to understand how to effectively use visuals in the classroom because these visuals will not only enhance comprehension, but they will also support a student’s ability to use visual thinking skills that will deepen student understanding and sustain recall and memory over time. It is also important for a teacher to understand why our students need to be visually literate because Visual Literacy will allow our students to elect alternative methods for sharing information in order to make their ideas clearer to their audience.  


Elliot Eisner. (2017, June 21). Retrieved September 16, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_Eisner

McKenzie, J. (1998). Visual Literacy. Retrieved July 03, 2017, from http://fno.org/PL/vislit.htmVisual Literacy. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 3, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_literacy_in_education


Good bye SAMR. Hello TIM!

I was recently introduced to TIM, a Technology Integration Matrix (TIM).  Prior to learning about TIM, I used SAMR to assist me with developing robust learning experiences for my students. However, TIM does a more in-depth job of merging the five levels of technology integration with the five meaningful learning environments. Apparently, TIM has been around since 2011 and I am just getting acquainted with it. Like SAMR’s ladder of questions, TIM offers an instructional planning model that allows teachers and administrators to consider curriculum demands, student needs, and available technology. Below is a figure that illustrates the TIM instructional planning model.


SAMR’s ladder of questions focuses on the technology that will enhance the task; while the TIM instructional planning model focuses on student needs and curricular demands in conjunction with the technology and tasks. Below is a list of questions housed within the TIM instructional planning model that I will use to develop digital tools for the classroom.

Curriculum Demands

  • Is this a new concept for my students?
  • What standards apply?
  • What curriculum applies?

Student Needs

  • What helps my students learn?
  • How can I individualize instruction?
  • Is this a new technology for my students?

Available Technology

  • What technologies are available to me?
  • What are their affordances and limitations?
  • How do these technologies relate to others we’ve used?

Because the TIM matrix encompasses more, I’m saying good bye to SAMR. See for yourself what the official TIM site has to offer for teachers and administrators alike.


Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/TIM_Summary_Descriptors.pdf

Harmes, J. C., Welsh, J. L., & Winkelman, R. J. (2016). A framework for defining and evaluating technology integration in the instruction of real-world skills. In S. Ferrara, Y. Rosen, & M. Tager (Eds.), Handbook of research on technology tools for real-world skill development (pp. 137-162). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Welsh, J. L., Harmes, J. C., & Winkelman, R. (2011). Tech tips: Florida’s Technology Integration Matrix. Principal Leadership, 12(2), 69-71. PDF of the article available from SEDTA


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