Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Interactive Classrooms in English / Language Arts (Short Version)

Chelsee Wilson, Susan McHale | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


The Interactive Classrooms in English/Language Arts (Short Version) 90-minute professional development focuses on exploring multiple technology applications to determine how they can be applicable for use in the English/Language Arts (ELA) classroom. Participants will explore various tech applications, choose at least one to apply to the ELA classroom, and demonstrate its integration with the SAMR model.

Essential Questions

  • How can technology complement the learning process?

  • What technology tools might be usable for the English/Language Arts (ELA) classroom?

Learning Goals

  • Participants will explore various tech applications and their potential use in the classroom.

  • Participants will be able to choose at least one instructional tech tool and identify its application in the ELA classroom.

  • Participants will apply their understanding of the SAMR model of technology integration to the chosen technology tool.

Materials List

  • Chart tablet or poster paper

  • Markers

  • Access to devices and internet

  • Sticky notes

  • Four technology Task Cards (one set for each pair of participants)

  • Four Corners mini-posters (one set)

  • Note Catcher handout (one for each participant)

  • Kick Me strategy printout, listing books and authors

  • SAMR Handout (all participants)

  • Tape (optional, for Kick Me stickers)


Display slide 2 attached Activity Slides as you welcome all participants and introduce yourself. Transition to slide three, displaying the GEAR UP grant goals. Review these goals. Share with participants that allowing students to use various technology applications can possibly increase their academic performance and postsecondary education preparation.

Share the learning objectives on slide 4 and inform participants that at the end of the presentation they will evaluate how well they were met.

Show slide 6 and introduce the Kick Me strategy. Discuss that today participants will self-assess how "techie" they are. Read aloud the descriptions of technology assessment on the slide. Instruct those participants who self-assess as "tech-savvy" to form a group to the left (Group A) and those who self-assess as "tech-phobic" to form a group to the right (Group B). Participants should assess themselves based on which statement MOST represents their attitude about technology. Groups should be evenly split for the Kick Me Grouping Strategy, so encourage those who identify somewhere in between these two statements to split up evenly.

Kick Me Grouping Strategy: The goal of this strategy is to pair participants who feel they are not tech-savvy with participants who feel more confident in their tech knowledge. Once participants are split into two even groups of different ability levels, use stickers that you've prepared or cutouts from the attached Kick Me printout to label Group A participants and Group B participants respectively with books and their authors. Place the stickers or cutouts (using a small piece of tape) on the backs of the participants, making sure that the participants don't see their own label. It's okay to look at other participants' labels, just not their own. Make certain as you label that each book participant has a matching author participant.

Give the participants a hint that these are book titles and their authors. All participants are to mingle together and take turns asking each other two questions that have only a "yes" or "no" response. For instance, "Am I a children's book?" Before answering, the respondent will have to look at the inquirer's back to see their label. Participants should continue mingling and switching partners every two questions until they can determine their label. Allow about twenty minutes for this activity. Once everyone has figured out their book or author, ask participants to pair up by matching themselves with their corresponding book or author.

Alternative Grouping Strategy: As an alternative, read the statements on slide 6 to all participants. Ask them to self-assess their tech knowledge and skills by assigning a number, one through three, to themselves. Three being "tech-savvy," one being "tech-phobic," and two being "somewhere in the middle," Ask participants to hold up their fingers indicating a one, two, or three, and then find a partner with a different number.


Once partners are established through the Kick Me activity or alternative grouping strategy, display slide 9 and hand out a Note Catcher to all participants. This will serve as a tool for recording information about the upcoming technology tasks. Pass out the four attached Task Cards to the partner pairs. Explain each technology task that partners will complete together (slides 10–13).

Partners will work through the instructions on the four technology application Task Cards and write notes about each using their individual Note Catcher.


Display slide 15. Ask participants to reflect on the Task Card investigations and their notes. Each participant should choose ONE of the tech applications that they believe they could BEST integrate into their classroom practices. Point out the signs you've posted in each corner of the room. Use a Four Corners strategy and ask participants to move to the corner that is the tech application they would most likely use.

Once multiple participants are located in each of the four corners of the room, display slide 16 and inform participants that each group will create a chart tablet or poster presentation of their tech application of choice. They should describe what it does and give at least three to five examples of how it could be used in the ELA classroom.


Display slide 18 and distribute the SAMR model handout. Explain that there are various levels of tech integration in schools. Read aloud or have groups review and discuss the four levels of tech integration and come up with possible examples of each. Have groups share out at least one or two examples of tech integration at all four levels.

Distribute sticky notes to all of the groups and display slide 19. Introduce and instruct participants in a Gallery Walk strategy. During the Gallery Walk, participants will apply their knowledge of SAMR to the poster presentations. Starting with the poster clockwise to their own, have groups examine each poster and the classroom examples it gives for tech usage. Ask them to determine if any of the uses fit the SAMR levels. Participants should choose ONE tech tool classroom example that they believe fits with the SAMR model and place a sticky note by it. Have participants indicate the SAMR level of integration on the sticky note.

After all groups have rotated back to their own poster, have them examine the sticky notes. Have a group spokesperson share out any comments, questions, or responses about the SAMR sticky note on their poster.


Display slide 20 and ask participants to evaluate their time in this professional development using a 3-2-1 strategy. On a sticky note ask each participant to write three things they learned about these resources, two challenges they might encounter, and one lesson idea. Allow time for participants to share out particular challenges and to discuss how barriers might be overcome.

Return to slide 4 of the professional development objectives. Read aloud or refer to them again and ask participants to evaluate the professional development on the rapid feedback form based upon these objectives.

Research Rationale

Students can now use Google Docs and other Google Apps to collaborate on group projects because they can all write on one document or presentation at the same time. Normally, group work falls on one student or a few out of the group, but with Google Apps for Education, students can sit separately and contribute simultaneously (Nevin, 2009). The teacher can also review the work of each student, further encouraging students to do their part during projects. Teachers can access student work at any given time to check for progress, provide feedback, review or grade assignments. A case study at Carylnton Junior-Senior High School in Carnegie, PA conducted through Google Education found that students were engaged in interactive learning and collaboration while using Google Apps. Teachers were more likely to use Google apps and Google classroom when they had direct support and coaching to engage in technology. (Google for Education, 2017). Tiene and Luft (2001) in researching technology-rich learning environments, conducted a study that used surveys, observations, and interviews to document the experiences of ten public middle school teachers whose classes spent two months in a technology-rich environment. The teachers and students both used tech equipment extensively in working on class projects and thereby significantly enhanced their technological expertise. The availability of so much technology altered class dynamics in several ways. Students were able to work more independently than in the conventional classroom, and their learning experiences were more individualized. Students also worked more extensively in teams, so that cooperative learning was enhanced. Teachers were, better able to present materials to the whole class using technology provided at their teaching station. Overall, these teachers felt that this experience was very rewarding, and that their teaching was more effective in this technology-rich environment. Researchers also felt that these students' achievement was noticeably improved over that of their previous classes, who had worked on the same curricular units without the benefit of technology.