Instructional Technology/Utilizing Technology for Meaningful Learning

Technology for Meaningful Learning edit

The information provided in this section of the Instructional Technology Book is provided by students in the Master's of Education program at the University of Mary Washington. Students are in the Leadership in Educational Technology program and are working in conjunction with Dr. Teresa Coffman in the ITEC547 Special Topics course (Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning) during the Fall 2008 semester.

This chapter will investigate and explore the various theories and resources on technology tools and meaningful learning. The course also created classroom activities that explores the idea of technology and meaningful learning.

Here is the page to help with formatting text

Please feel free to add to our research and classroom activities to grow the wiki of meaningful learning!

What is meaningful learning? edit

What is Meaningful Learning?

Meaningful learning occurs when complex ideas and information are combined with students’ own experiences and prior knowledge to form personal and unique understandings. Learning is meaningful when the student comprehends the relationship of what is being learned to other knowledge.

The main characteristics of meaningful learning are that it is active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and cooperative.

  • Active – learning occurs through interactions with and manipulations of the environment
  • Constructive – learning occurs when we reflect on our learning activities in order to assign meaning to them
  • Intentional – learning occurs when students can identify the learning goals and are aware of their progress toward actively achieving the goals.
  • Authentic – learning occurs when context-based, complex, and relative to real-life.
  • Cooperative – learning occurs through working with others and participating in a learning community (Grabe & Grabe, 2007).

Meaningful learning can be recognized through the following indicators, which were presented by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). These indicators are useful as guidelines for planning new instructional activities and lessons and evaluating current instructional methods.

  • Vision – What does meaningful learning look like? Classes of enthusiastic learners collaborating to solve problems and gain understanding. Students responsible for their own learning, actively defining goals and evaluating their own progress.
  • Tasks – Learning tasks are challenging, cross-curricular, and authentic. Often problem-based, collaborative, and time intensive.
  • Assessment – Assessment is ongoing, generative, and equitable for all learners. Students are assessed through diverse performance-based methods which gauge what they know and can do with their knowledge.
  • Instructional Models and Strategies – Instructional strategies are interactive and constructive and involve individual and group models of instruction. Students are interacting with, teaching to, and learning from teachers and peers.
  • Learning Context – The classroom is a learning community that values diversity, fosters empathy, and builds on strengths of each learner. The learning community extends beyond the classroom to families, social communities, and corporate communities.
  • Grouping – Students are collaborating in heterogeneous groups that are reconfigured as needed by the teacher to ensure equitable, learning-centered work.
  • Teacher Roles – The teacher is acting as facilitator, guide, or co-learner. Through these roles the teacher is providing the learning environment for students, coaching students, and co-investigating with students.
  • Student Roles – The students are exploring, discovering, reflecting, teaching, and contributing within the learning environment. Students are interacting with each other and the world, advancing from apprentices to teachers themselves through integrating their knowledge (Jones, B., Valdez, G., Nowakowski, J., & Rasmussen,C., 1994, ¶ 2).

The NCREL provides several tools for planning meaningful lessons ( and evaluating existing lessons (

“Children derive greater meaning in their school-based academic work from three sources. First, when they are actively engaged in the attempt to make sense of things they experience in school, they are encouraged to be meaning makers. Second, they derive meaning from seeing the relationship of parts to the whole, rather than being left with only parts. Opportunities to connect one concept or one skill to another increase students’ conceptual grasp of what they are doing, whether it involves communication, problem solving, appreciation of artwork, or carrying out projects. Third, they find meaning by connecting new learning experiences to their existing body of knowledge, assumptions, and meanings, much of which is rooted in their upbringing and cultural roots. We refer to teaching that seeks to maximize these three things as ‘teaching for meaning’” (Knapp and Associates, 1995, ¶ 2)


Leadership in Technology: IT Starts at the Top

Technology in education is becoming a way of life behind school walls. One major factor to the success and growth of technology education at the elementary level is proficient training and support for teachers. Georgia State University has designed such a program for the sole purpose of teacher training. Due to the development of NETST or National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers, a significant number of pre-service teachers at universities like Georgia State University are beginning their teaching careers with strong educational technology backgrounds. With recent changes in the school’s curriculum and financial assistance, Georgia State’s College of Education is developing teachers with the experience, knowledge and confidence necessary to integrate technology into their instruction in meaningful ways. According to Weinburg, Collier & Rivera (2003), the Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE) remains committed to producing teachers who are “technically and emotionally” prepared to incorporate a variety of technologies into the instruction of elementary classrooms. School administrators credit the assistance of their ITC (Instructional Technology Center), skilled faculty and a team of educators who share the vision of integrating technology into everyday learning.

Learning Old Things in New Ways

A significant reason why technology should be present in elementary schools is to allow for effective differentiation of instruction. Depending on a student’s learning style, multi media is an excellent way of enabling elementary students to construct their learning and enjoy the overall learning experience. German researchers, Zumbach, Kumpf and Koch (2004) conducted a case study on an elementary school in Germany that assessed the benefits of combining PBL with technology. Using Micro Power Point, students worked in groups to tell, infer, predict the outcome of a story about a badger. The students were found to be engaged and focused on the task at hand. Audio, visual effects were used in this lesson and found to be very effective to the learning experience. Pre and post assessments found the students to be able to recall details and facts more vividly and the students appeared to be more motivated.

Quality And Equity in Education?

A Balanced Playing Field for All Students

Means (1997) claims that schools that capitalize on the relationship between technology and education reform will help students to develop higher order skills and to function effectively in the world beyond the classroom. Achieving such fundamental change, however, requires a transformation of not only the underlying pedagogy (basic assumptions about the teaching and learning process) but also the kinds of technology applications typically used in classrooms serving at-risk students.

The NSRC's Impact on Student Achievement

According to the National Science Resource Center (2002), a significant amount of research indicates that quality instructional materials such as the NSRC’s Science and Technology for Children (STC elementary curriculum) enhances student achievement. For example, Delaware school districts base their elementary science instructional program almost entirely on the NSRC’s elementary science curriculum, Science and Technology for Children (STC). About ninety percent of Delaware public school fourth graders and seventy-four percent of its sixth graders met or exceeded state science standards on the 2002 Delaware State Testing Program (DSTP). And although the scores of minority students still lagged behind those of white students, the gap was narrower for science than any other academic area. In nearly half of the eighty elementary schools tested, there was essentially no achievement gap between white and black fourth graders. Virtually all Delaware school districts have attended an NSRC Elementary Science Strategic Planning Institute that prepared them to base their science programs on research and best practices.

Middle edit

Middle schoolers are a breed apart. They are breaking away from their family’s mandates toward those of their peers’. They fear the adult responsibilities which high schoolers are beginning to embrace, but, nonetheless, are curious about the adult world they see approaching. “Be certain that school is not just a preparation for a future world but a place where one can truly practice what one is learning; …making technological connections with real people who are part of the country in the text — in other words, using what they are learning in class to do what adults do” (Baenen, 2006). For learning to be meaningful then for middle schoolers, it must concentrate on being ‘authentic’ (or problem-based) and ‘cooperative.’

According to the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), middle schoolers are able to use practical computer applications, Web tools, graphing calculators, communication delivery systems, and are familiar with ethical issues surrounding computer use (Tileston, 2004, pp. 23-27).   Middle schoolers are ready to move on to using technology to develop critical thinking skills.  However, these require metacognition.  At a time when middle schoolers tend to project outwardly, longing to be part of a group, such an introverted activity may seem anathema.  However, middle schoolers are still in a stage of vacillation from introversion to extroversion and back again.  Therefore, it behooves educators to coax the reflective state in middle schoolers by requiring them to constantly monitor their progress.  “Reflection cements the knowledge that learners construct. (Jonassen, 2000, p. 99). 
Just how can instructional technology (IT) enhance meaningful learning in the middle school?  “IT enables activities like videoconferencing so that students can talk with others who are physically, intellectually, and culturally distant from them.  The technology also enables classes in different communities to collaborate on science experiments, sharing data and results to enrich each other’s findings” (Pritchard, 2002, p. 41).  As long as lesson plans can be devised to make the experience feel real to middle schoolers, learning can be meaningful to them by requiring them to define, classify, compare, contrast, challenge assumptions, project, explain, and/or reason all in an atmosphere of cooperation.  “Working with technology can help students to reach the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, especially analysis, synthesis, and evaluation” (Tileston, p. 37).

High School edit

Technology can be used in many different ways to promote learning at the high school level. However, at any level, “students do not learn from technology, they learn from thinking” (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003, p. 11). Teachers often use the same material from year to year making few changes each year. When incorporating technology teachers should keep in mind their overall objectives. If the technology does not support the objectives or it takes away from the lesson, then the teacher may want to rethink the use of technology.

“The skill and interest level in technology, as well as access to handhelds, laptops, and tablet computers, means students can – and want to- use technology (Jackson, 2005, ¶12). One way to integrate technology is through authentic assessments. A Webquest is an example of an authentic assessment. “Webquests are online, interactive modules that allow students to be involved in inquiry-oriented learning” and therefore leading to a more meaningful approach (Kundu & Bain, 2006, ¶8). Depending on the type of Webquest, students are not limited to the normal resources. They can take virtual fieldtrips to learn the material through the Internet.

Whatever type of technology a teacher chooses, the technology “should be used as engagers and facilitators of thinking and knowledge construction” (Jonassen, et al, 2003, p. 12).

Theories edit

Behaviorism (VAl) edit

Definition edit

Behaviorism is a theory of animal and human learning that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of a new behavior. (Funderstanding, 2001)

Theorists and Effects to Education edit

One of the best examples of behaviorism is the story of Pavlov’s dog. In case you are not familiar I will summarize the story: Pavlov would ring a bell every time he fed his dog so after a while the dog expected to get food when he rang the bell. Pavlov slowly started reducing the amount of food the dog received when he rang the bell and eventually the food didn’t arrive when the bell rang. Another name for behaviorism would be conditioning.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s behaviorism was a very popular style of teaching. Students that were using correct behavior were rewarded and students that were not acting properly were punished. B. F. Skinner was a well know psychologist known for his research on behaviorism. Skinner believed this is the reason that people and animals act the ways they do. Skinner stated that a student does not passively absorb knowledge from the world around him but must play an active role, and that the action is not simply talking” (Boerre, p.5). I think that most of us agree that the more active a role a student plays in the classroom the more they are learning. An active role can be accomplished by asking questions, presenting to the class, answering direct questions, and helping out fellow students are just a few of the ways. B.F. Skinner said, “A behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future.”(Boerre, p.3) When students are successful they feel good about themselves and then become more active participants in their own education.

Direct instruction is not a lecture approach but it is an instructional model that focuses on the interaction between teachers and students. (Magliaro, Lockee, & Burton, 2005, p.1) Projects that require interaction among students are very powerful. They allow the students creativity and show them that what they are learning is valuable and worthwhile. Student projects that involve multimedia assets encourage this belief even more. The students learn to take pride in their work.

Constructivism edit

Constructivist learning theory believes that the student must be able to build learning processes rather than just gain knowledge.  While the latter statement may be oversimplified, it is the driving force behind constructivist learning theory and stands in stark contrast to behaviorism theory.  Many theories on education and current research have “demonstrated the importance of social interaction in teaching and learning…and highlight the ‘knowledge construction’ processes of the learner and suggest that ‘meaning making’ develops through the social process of language use over time” (Ferdig & Trammell, 2004).  This research reflects Vygotsky’s educational theory (1978) that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the development of cognition.  Per Vygotsky (1978), “Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals." (p57).  Students must be able to transform knowledge gained through social interaction into something meaningful to themselves.  

Central to constructivism is its conception of learning. Von Glasersfeld (1995) argues that: "From the constructivist perspective, learning is not a stimulus-response phenomenon. It requires self-regulation and the building of conceptual structures through reflection and abstraction" (p.14). Fosnot (1996) adds that "Rather than behaviours or skills as the goal of instruction, concept development and deep understanding are the foci (...) (p.10). Research suggests that students who are more actively engaged in the learning experience will be more responsible for their education and will be have a sense of ownership over it. “Technology can offer ways for students to establish personal and intellectual ownership of new concepts while they visualize and interact with abstract ideas” (Ferdig & Trammell, 2004). Students can formulate introspective analysis on materials presented and can personalize the knowledge in a way that is meaningful to them.

Problem Based Learning edit


For at least 100 years, educators such as John Dewey have stated the benefits of experiential, hands-on, student-directed learning (BIE, 2002). Problem-based learning, the term we know it as today, began at McMaster University Medical School (Canada) over 25 years ago.

What is Problem-based Learning? Problem-based learning is a total approach to education; a learner-centered educational method. It is based on real-world problems. Students are involved in active learning; the problems are real-world and are seen as important and relevant to their lives. These problems are carefully designed and selected for the learner to help build critical knowledge, problem solving skills, self-directed learning strategies and teamwork skills. The learners encounter a problem that they must solve. They solve these problems first with information that they already possess and then they will need to fill in what they don’t already know. Learners may turn to information resources such as books, journals, information found online, and interviews with experts. They will have to identify what they need to learn to understand the problem and how they are going to resolve it. Problem-based Learning prepares students to think critically and analytically. It also teaches students to find and use appropriate learning resources.

What is the Role of the teacher? The teacher has a unique role in Problem-based Learning; they act as a facilitator, coach and/or tutor. The teacher helps to guide the students in their problem solving efforts by providing materials, guidance and evaluation. The teacher is the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage in Problem-based learning.

What is the Role of the Student? The students assume responsibility for their own learning. This gives them ownership of their learning and also fosters motivation to learn and feelings of accomplishment. This helps to promote independent learners who will continue to be lifelong learners. The student will usually work in learning groups with five to seven members. These group members will work together to solve the problems and learn. They, along the way, will gain collaborative or team learning skills. After they have solved the problem they should assess themselves and their peers.

What type of problems are best? Real-world, complex problem act as a motivation or stimulus for learning. A good problem is one that is ill-structured, messy and complex in nature; requires inquiry, information-gathering, and reflection; is changing and tentative; and has no simple, fixed, formulaic, "right" solution (Finkle & Torp, 1995). These problems are used to engage students' curiosity and initiate learning. These problems are also designed to challenge learners to develop effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Active Learning edit

What is Active Learning?

Active learning is just what one might guess, a method of education where students are actively participating in their own learning. Students are not passive in the classroom listening to lectures all of the time, but are reading, writing, discussing, or otherwise engaging themselves in solving problems (Bonwell and Eison, 1991, p.1). To be fully active in their own learning, students must be using higher-order thinking skills, including the three highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Thus, active learning activities require students to actively participate, and most importantly to think (Bonwell, et. al., 1991, p.1).


Active learning has been a strategy in education for as long as man has been around. Long ago, hunters and gatherers used a watch and imitate strategy to teach their young to survive. In his time, Socrates used what we now call the Socratic Method to get students to interact and discuss a problem to help them discover a solution. More recently, many different philosophers have supported active learning. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, and David Kolb all argue that experiences, whether it be Rousseau’s sensory, Dewey’s practical, or Kolb’s concrete experiences, are an essential part of learning. (Lorenzen, 2001, p.2)

What is the Role of the teacher?

Much like in problem-based learning, the teacher is no longer an authoritarian responsible for lecturing 100% of the time. In active learning, the teacher is responsible for facilitating experiences that will allow students to participate in their own learning and discover new information (Lorenzen, 2001, p.1) on their own and with their classmates.

What is the Role of the Student?

The active learning approach to education is built around allowing students to master ideas while developing strong thinking skills. In order for this to happen, students must be active participants in lessons and activities. They must be able to follow directions and take initiative during each lesson in order to learn and develop their thinking skills.

What are some examples of active learning techniques?

  • Small-group discussion
  • Role playing
  • Hands-on projects
  • Teacher driven questioning
(Lorenzen, 2001, p. 10)
  • Writing activities (Bonwell, et. al., 1991, p. 2)
  • Debates
  • Demonstrations
  • Simulations
(McAndrews, 1991, p. 40)
  • WebQuests (Grabe, et. al., 2007, p. 236)

Inquiry Learning edit

Inquiry is an approach to learning that involves exploration and discovery. Inquiry encourages students to ask questions, test hypotheses, and make conclusions all in search for new understandings. This approach is similar to problem-based learning. Instead of children listening to a teacher and repeating back information, they are actively involved in the learning process. Inquiry is driven by a students curiosity and interest. (National Science Foundation, 2000).

Inquiry is defined as:

  • seeking or requesting truth, information, or knowledge
  • investigating
  • inquiring or seeking information by questioning; interrogation.
  • question and query (

From the above definition, we can get a broad understanding of the inquiry process. Students can not simply sit in class and absorb information, they need to be involved in activities that help them to build understanding. Inquiry learning stresses skills development. Students learn from their experiences and from asking questions. It is an open-ended and ongoing learning process that does not concentrate upon closure or on some important process, fact, principle, or law. “Inquiry means that teachers design situations so that pupils are caused to employ procedures research scientists use to recognize problems, to ask questions, to apply investigational procedures, and to provide consistent descriptions, predictions, and explanations which are compatible with shared experience of the physical world (Dettrick, n.d. ¶.1).”

Using Technology Tools in New Ways edit

E books – electronic books edit

  • Text is presented as digital text
  • Eliminates need for cumbersome textbooks and several textbook storage rooms per school
  • Easily reloaded if file lost or corrupted
  • Ebook files are often downloadable from the Internet, negating the need for shipping time and expenses
  • Students can carry hundreds of Ebooks in a PDA
  • Portions of text can be highlighted
  • Ebooks can be created by both students and teachers

Resources: edit

Digital Story Telling edit

  • Story telling that combines graphics, sound, text, music, narration
  • Can be edited over and over
  • Can be published and easily shared
  • Extremely easy to use

Resources edit

  • Non-profit site with a mission to “assist young people and adults in using the tools of digital media to craft, record, share, and value the stories of individuals and communities”

Virtual Supervision for Teacher Evaluation edit

  • Removes the impact of outside observer on classroom activity
  • Can be archived
  • Teacher can view observation prior to meeting w/ supervisor
  • Viable alternative to repeated cancellations of scheduled observations

Resources edit

Podcasting edit

Recording voices and movements has long been a tool of educators. Today you can record in many different ways very easily and share with a wide audience. One of the ways to record is through podcasting. A podcast is simply a voice recording that is in an MP3 format so that it can be downloaded on to an iPod or MP3 player. It can also be displayed in a webpage or blog and listened to on your computer. You could even link it in a Power Point or simply have an icon on your desktop for students to click and listen.

Click here for resources to start your own podcast! [1]

RSS Feeds edit

  • Using an aggregator, you subscribe to sites that have RSS feeds. The result is that, instead of going to all you favorite sites to stay up to date on what’s new, you only need to check your aggregator site!

Resources edit

Yahoo! Groups – An interactive classroom website edit

Teacher web pages have become a very popular tool that educators can use to increase communication with both parents and students and increase student achievement. As Johnson (2000) notes, "genuine, regular, real-time collaboration with parents can make a positive difference in a child’s learning experience." There are many sites, free and subscription, available to assist teachers in designing and maintaining webpages.

Free Teacher Webpages edit

These websites have basic functions – posting syllabi and homework, teacher information, etc. While these sites are great for beginners the functions are basic and do not allow room for creativity by the teacher or students or interactivity between teacher, student and parent. Instead of creating a teacher webpage, teachers can create an online learning community by starting a Yahoo! Groups Page. On a group page students and parents can interact with each other and the teacher through a message board, create shared learning tools used the database feature or the file and photo share feature, share useful resources through the links feature and much more.

Online Learning Community edit

The Yahoo! Groups pages are a free resource that can be accessed at Anyone can register for a new group. The groups can be open to the public or by invitation only. Other controls include the ability to decide which members can post messages, approve or deny posted messages and control which features members can see. There is also a blast e-mail feature to send emails to the whole group at one time. These control features are important when designing a webpage for student use.

The Yahoo Groups page has many useful and interactive features. The main feature of the webpage is a message board. Depending on the page settings, anyone can post to the board to discuss any number of topics. Grabe and Grabe (2007) note that computer mediated communication (CMC) has many advantages,

     CMC may encourage more productive discussion by increasing the number of active 
     student participants and extending the time available for discussion.  It can 
     help those who cannot think as quickly as others, may not be as proficient in 
     using the language, or may be apprehensive of sharing when in the physical presence
     of peers (Althaus, 1997).  Even for those who have no difficulty expressing 
     themselves in class, the writing activities involved in e-mail allow the time for
     reflection not available in a fast-paced classroom discussion.
                                                                             (2007, p. 188) 

Access to a message board opens up many opportunities for students to interact with each other and the teacher digitally. Parents can even ask questions of the teacher on the message board. If one parent has a question it is likely that other parents have the same question. The “files” section gives users 20 MB of file storage. This would be an ideal place to post a syllabus, class policies, notes from the previous week, etc. This could also be used for document sharing. For example, students could collaborate to produce a group paper by posting the shared paper to the Groups page and allowing each group member to download the paper, make changes and re-post the paper with the changes and a new file name with the draft number. This would allow students to easily work collaboratively on the computer and track the update/revision process.

The "photos" section, with 30 MB of storage, could be used to give parents a peek into the classroom by posting photos taken during the day, or a place for the teacher or students to post photos for use in an assignment. There is a “links” section for posting live links to websites that accompany the class and also a “calendar” section for keeping track of project due dates and other important events. Lastly, there is a “database” feature that keeps databases such as phone books, class assignment lists, inventories, a FAQ and more. There is also a blank template which users can use to create their own database. A teacher could use this database in conjunction with an assignment. For example, students can collect information to put in the shared database. Once collected, students can process information into reports, graphs, or other appropriate product.

The greatest drawback to the Yahoo! Groups page is that an e-mail address is required for membership. This would likely restrict use of the Yahoo! Groups to high school students or as a webpage for parents. This is yet another good reason to advocate for a district-wide e-mail system for students in order that teachers and students have the opportunity to take advantage of an online learning community with Yahoo! Groups. is a FREE e-mail system for students which has e-mail, chat, message boards, wikis and blogs as well as a digital locker for on-line storage. Gaggle assists the teacher in monitoring student e-mails with very effective administrative tools. Any e-mail communication with inappropriate language, initials, or code words will automatically bounce into the administrator's inbox instead of delivered to the recipient. The teacher can also add words or slang that may be specific to your school or region that need to be blocked as inappropriate. The default can also be set up to limit student communications to students within the class, school or district. The only drawback to Gaggle is the FREE version has limited storage space and at times there are server issues, but this is a very robust tool for no charge.

Making Power Point a Multimedia Tool edit

The Microsoft program Power Point is ubiquitous today. Almost any meeting you go to, whether you are a teacher, doctor, or lawyer the presenter will be using Power Point to display the presentation. But have you thought of using Power Point as more than a presentation tool in your classroom? Power Point has many features that are not often used that can make it an interactive, multimedia experience. As DenBeste notes, with careful planning “Power Point can move beyond its static presentation by a ‘sage on the stage’ and lead to opportunities for discussion and consideration of visual sources” (2003, p. 492).

Hypermedia edit

Most Power Point presentations go in a straight line. Click to get to the next slide. However, it is very easy to insert an element of choice into the presentation through “action buttons.” This tool can make presentations more interactive as teachers and students explore the presentation together, choosing the next learning objective as fits the discussion. Teachers can also design interactive presentations that students can complete independently. This option is an excellent way to introduce K-2 students to the art of using hyperlinks to explore a webpage without the worry of unleashing young students on the Internet. Hyperlinks can also be used to link to an Internet site. This option allows for many educational opportunities. The presentation can link to further information, pictures, games for practice, etc.

For an example of a non-linear presentation with hyperlinks see the power point presentation Archaeology in this wiki. (

Make it happen:

Add an action button

1. Under Auto Shapes on the drawing toolbar choose an Action Button

2. Insert the Button into your slide

3. An Action Settings dialog box will appear

4. Use the Hyperlink pull down menu to link to any slide in the presentation or a url

Link an already existing clip art or word

1. Highlight the clip art or text

2. Under the Slide Show menu choose Action Settings

3. Use the Hyperlink pull down menu to link to any slide in the presentation or a url

Multimedia edit

One of the most powerful tools available in PowerPoint is the option to include video and sound files. By including multiple types of media, teachers can increase student interest in the presentation while helping students to discover new ways of viewing and processing information. As Grabe and Grabe note, “Multimedia presentation allow students more diverse experiences that may be more motivating or present information in ways that are more informative” (2007, p. 167). Additionally, this is an excellent way to differentiate instruction to meet the varied learning needs of students.

Make it happen:

Please note: It is important to include all video and sound files when copying the presentation to another media such as a CD or disk. This will ensure that the presentation will be able to access these multimedia files.


1. Save a video file to your computer

2. From the Insert menu select Movies and Sounds

3. Select Movie from File

4. Browse for the saved video file, insert

5. Choose whether the movie will play automatically or on click


1. Save a sound file to your computer

2. From the Insert menu select Movies and Sounds

3. Select Sound from File

4. Browse for the saved audio file, Insert

5. Choose whether the sound will play automatically or on click

Commercials edit

Looking for a new way to transmit information? Why not make a commercial using Power Point? Design your presentation with quick, easily readable statements/instructions and graphics like a commercial. Follow the directions below to play the presentation continuously, sit back and watch your students enjoy and learn.

Make it happen:

1. Under Slide Transition choose Advance Slides Automatically

2. Apply to all slides

3. On the Slide Show menu choose Set Up Show

4. Select Loop Continuously Until Esc

Photo Essay edit

PowerPoint can be a great way to reach visual learners. Design a lecture for visual learners based on pertinent pictures. Or have students design a photo essay by taking pictures related to a specific subject and stringing them together. For example, students can take pictures of the angles that can be found all around the school or outside. Lastly, you can use pictures of your students to make a fun and touching slideshow.

Make it happen:

1. Save picture files to your computer

2. From the Insert menu select Picture From File

3. Resize picture to take up the entire slide

Technology Integrated Lesson Plans edit

The links below are activities that use technology as tools to enhance meaningful learning in the classroom

Art Lessons edit

These lesson plans have been used at different levels in the art curriculum. All can be adjusted to suit a particular grade level.

Mini Masterpieces SOLs listed for grades 5,8, and Art I. Students are divided into three groups: before, during, and after computer use.

Tessellations This lesson is written for middle school students but can be used with fifth graders as well. Students create a tessellation on the computer to reproduce as a two dimensional work of art.

Watercolor Landscape and Haiku Fourth grade students painted a fall landscape and wrote a haiku to expain the feeling autumn promotes in them. One class period was spent in the computer lab typing the haiku. This form of visual literacy can be added to any art project.

Alphabet Book Fifth grade students created alphabet books for the kindergarten classes. Their tasks were to create a collage and a word page for the letters of the alphabet. One class period was spent in the lab typing their words and saving the pages for printing at a later time.

Useful Resources edit

Meaningful Learning Activities

Computers as Mindtools for Engaging Learners in Critical Thinking

Enriching Student Minds: Meaningful Learning Experiences through Technology-Rich Information Inquiry

Meaningful, Engaged Learning

Using the New Bloom's Taxonomy to Design Meaningful Learning Assessments

Reference edit

Baenen, J. (2006, October). Exploring the 'cusp culture' helps adolescents navigate the way to adulthood. Retrieved November 26, 2006, from National Middle School Association Web site:

Boeree, G. (2006). B.F. Skinner. Retrieved on September 17, 2006 from

Bonwell, C., & Eison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. George Washington University, Washington DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED340272)

Buck Institute for Learning. (2002). Problem based learning handbook. Retrieved October 29, 2006 from:

Carbonell, L. (2004). Behaviorism. What kind of questions do the behaviorists ask? Why? Retrieved on September 17, 2006 from

DenBeste, M. (2003). PowerPoint, technology and the web: More than just an overhead projector for the new century? The History Teacher, 36 (4). Retrieved from Wilson Web on November 17, 2006.

Dettrick, G. (n.d.) Constructivist teaching strategies. Retrieved October 11, 2006 from:

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