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Junior High Technology Project

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The Junior High Technology project was developed using the following rationale:

  • Sometimes It is About the Technology: Many educators involved in educational technology believe “pedagogy before the technology.”  I agree, but sometimes it has to be about the technology.  Learners may not discover the full potential of a technology without direct instruction. There is a false belief that students, being digital natives, will intuitively learn all how the technology tools operate.   I have observed something quite different. If a student does not immediately understand the workings of a technology, he or she will quickly get frustrated and/or move to onto another. My role as a technology instructor is to know the tool and demonstrate to students how to use that tool . . . learning the tool separate from its connection to a curricular area.
  • Offering Choice of Technologies: I know that has been some questions about the existence of  learning styles, but I also know, through years of working with and observing students of all ages, that they have different needs and desires for expressing their knowledge and understanding of content and concepts. In most classes I teacher, I offer a choice menu of projects – see A Technology-Enhanced Celebration of Learning.
  • Tinkering is Important: At first I expected students to jump into their content-based project. I realized that the students needed to play with the tools to learn how they function. Now when I introduce a tool, I tell the students they can experiment with the tool, create projects on one of their hobbies and interests. Their content-related school project will come after they get the opportunity to explore and tinker with the various technologies being offered.
  • Supporting the Content Area: Educators embracing the potential of educational technology believe, as do I, that technology should be integrated into existing curriculum rather than being offered as a separate course. It is similar to teaching multicultural education and character development. These areas, like educational technology should be embedded into all curricular areas.  But, since I am a technology instructor (and like being so), I want to use technology to support the content being covered in the students’ classrooms.
  • Technology as Project-Based Learning: Along with supporting the content area, the technology project is designed to be just that – a project, one that will take several weeks to complete.
  • Addressing National Education Technology Standards: Built into the structure of the Junior High project is learning and practicing technology skills: developing innovative products and processes using technology; applying digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information; and practicing safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.

Idaho Content Standards Addressed


Basic Operations and Concepts

  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
  • Students are proficient in the use of technology.

Social, Ethical, and Human Issues

  • Students practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
  • Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.

Technology Productivity Tools

  • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

Technology Communications Tools

  • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

Technology Research Tools

  • Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.
  • Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

Humanities: Visual Arts

Goal 3.1: Demonstrate skills essential to the visual arts.

Objective(s): By the end of Grade 8, the student will be able to:

  • 6-8.VA.3.1.4 Produce art that demonstrates refined observation skills from life.
  • 6-8.VA.3.1.7 Locate and use appropriate resources in order to work independently, monitoring one’s own understanding and learning needs.

Goal 3.2: Communicate through the visual arts, applying artistic concepts, knowledge, and skills.

Objective(s): By the end of Grade 8, the student will be able to:

  • 6-8.VA.3.2.2 Demonstrate the ability to utilize personal interest, current events, media or techniques as sources for expanding artwork.

Goal 3.3: Communicate through the visual arts with creative expression.

Objective(s): By the end of Grade 8, the student will be able to:

  • 6-8.VA.3.3.2 Create a work of art that expresses personal experience, opinions, and/or beliefs.
  • 6-8.VA.3.3.3 Use the creative process (brainstorm, research, rough sketch, final product) to create a work of art.

The Junior High Technology Project

General Goal:

This is a semester long project.  The goal of this project is for students to use a technology creation tool to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of one of the following content areas:

  • Digital Citizenship (Technology)
  • Universal Human Rights (2009-10 learning expedition)
  • Africa (2010-11 learning expedition)

Progression of Learning Activities

For five consecutive technology classes, students will be introduced to different Web 2.0 project creation tools – one per class:

Students will be provided with an overview, during these introductory classes, of the expectations of their assignment.

  • At least 10 facts with references about their topic.
  • At lease five live links to additional resources.
  • At least 10 copyright available images.
  • A video embedded into the presentation
  • An audio segment embedded into the presentation.

Safe and responsible internet use will be demonstrated throughout these lessons:

  • Locating appropriate information sites.
  • Judging the validity and legitimacy of a website.
  • Conducting a Google Image search using strict filtering and user rights that permit use of the image.

Beginning with the sixth technology class, students will work on their technology projects.  They will provide the teacher with the topic and the technology tool they will use for their project.  As part of this contract, students will also specify possible extra credit projects.  The expectation is that students will work on their extra credit projects in the case that they finish their project by the end of the semester.

At the time that the students select their project topic and technology tool, they will be provided with a rubric of the assignment criteria.  At the end of each class, they will be asked to write a reflective statement at the bottom of the rubric specifying progress and challenges related to the project.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm

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