By Steve Quann
: : Tech skills:  Use of a projector, Google or Word Documents, possibly poll creation and texting

Digital Learning Day (February 5th) is approaching quickly, so I went to the Digital Learning Day site to peruse some of the lesson ideas from last year. Below is a lesson adapted for adult learners. You might adapt this further depending on the class learning objectives. For example, if you want your focus to be on writing, then change the discussion to a writing activity. If it is grammar, then you might use the present perfect in the poll question and elicit answers in complete sentences. If your goal is to offer conversation practice, have students work in groups throughout. I even see how the graph in the poll might be an appropriate discussion of percentages for numeracy classes. And if you are looking for opportunities for an authentic purpose for a reading, have students read an article, like this one from The Change Agent’s technology issue (the full issue is available for purchase on their website).

Lesson Idea:

  1. Introduce the activity by explaining that you are going to examine your individual uses of technology, discuss the advantages and disadvantages, and then come up with ideas for how to use technology for learning.
  2. Projecting a blank Word document (or better yet, have the class collaborate using Google Drive), brainstorm a list of digital media and technology used each day.  Explain digital media and be specific as to the types you mean (e.g., apps, games, texting, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.).
  3. Use a projector to show an SMS Poll (e.g., Poll Everywhere). Alternatively, create a poll in Excel and tally results as you ask for a show of hands. Before asking students to respond to the poll, ask them to reflect on the last 24 hours and then add up the number of times they used any of the previously mentioned technologies. You can use the question below:How many times did you use technology in the last day?
    a.      Less than 5 times
    b.      6-10 times
    c.      11-14 times
    d.      More than 15 times
  4. Use the above results as a jumping off point for a discussion or writing activity about what they think about their use of technology. Ask the class to explain what the advantages and disadvantages are of our society’s current use of technology. If your time permits and it is appropriate for the class, consider having your class read a short article, such as the Change Agent article linked above, as warm up or perhaps as a follow up, with the discussion being a pre-reading activity. 
  5. Go back to the brainstormed list and now ask the class to help you mark each technology according to purposes for which they are generally used. (e.g., For entertainment put an E beside the technology, for Work a W, and Learning an L.) 
  6. Have the class break up into groups and discuss ideas on how to use these technologies and media more as learning tools to practice English, work on Math, study vocabulary or connect to get help on homework, etc. After each group has at least one or two ideas, ask the groups to come together to share and discuss ways in which students can adapt technologies so they can be used for learning. In addition, investigate how the class as a whole might use technology to support each other’s education. 
  7. As a closer, ask the class which tools on the list they can now add L’s next to.   

Share what you are doing or did for Digital Learning Day last year or this year in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe (on the right) if you have not already done so!


Steve Quann was a proud staff member at World Education for many years. He was the past Director of the EdTech Center and now consults as an instructional designer on e-learning and mobile learning projects.

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