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,


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