Technological planning

The sun can be very annoying at times! I am sat with my MacBook in my favourite coffee shop writing this and the sun is just beaming into the building bright and cheerful. The problem is, I either get it right in the face so it is blinding and I can’t see my screen, or it on my back and shining on the screen, and I can’t see the screen. The sun definitely needs a dimmer switch! The sun shining onto my screen actually has something to do with this week’s waffle since I want to waffle about the role of technology in the planning.


Technology's Role in Planning (Original Image from pixabay.com)

Technology’s Role in Planning
(Original Image from pixabay.com)

I do often mention that I grew up in a world in which technology was growing as well. Although technology is definitely still advancing, wearable technology was a thing of science fiction when I was a lad, I actually grow up with technology – almost in the same class in every key stage. Many people working in education today might not ever remember a time when there was no technology and so have nothing to compare the change with…believe me, when I comes to planning, technology has definitely had an impact. Throughout this waffle I am going to be referring to sessions, mainly since this is what I call them now that I am working in higher education, but this term is easily exchangeable for lessons from when I worked in primary schools.

  • Capturing ideas – I tend to do the majority of my planning for sessions when doing something else. Usually I plan while walking, working out or listening in meetings (naughty I know). It seems that my best ideas come to me while not actually thinking about the planning but doing something else. At my age I often think of some good ideas and then, if I don’t capture them, I forget them! You only need to look at recent tweets to see this in action. Technology allows me to capture these ideas in any situation, either directly into my task managers or via notes, reminders or even Siri. Before my iPhone, it was a little pad of paper which I eagerly grabbed for, just to find that I had no pen, or that I had left those important notes somewhere else! Never underestimate the power of synchronisation!

  • Recording the lesson – When I say recording, I am, of course, referring to the actual ‘paper’ recording of the session, rather than the video recording. While on placement, all my session plans would be on two sheets of lined A4 paper – yes I did say paper – using a pen, pencil and ruler to create the table and with a well used pot of ‘Liquid Paper’ to cover the numerous mistakes. The more advanced students would have a pile of photocopied lesson plans already produced ready to fill in. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the credit to do this. Once created, there was very little room for variation or change. With the use of technology the whole recording of sessions is ‘released’. I use that word on purpose, since I do think it is like technology gives the freedom to move away from set methods – you didn’t realise I could be this philosophical! Technology not only allows for changes and adaptations within planning, it also allows for the planning/recording to take on different forms. Presentations, mind maps and even visual documents, allows for non linear connections to be recognised and taught. One of the points from my research about developing good practice with the use of PowerPoint was to allow the teaching to follow a less linear approach. Once a practitioner has embraced these changes, it is often the case then this change of style will be mirrored in the way they ask the children to record their work.

  • Sharing of planning – I remember in my early days of teaching (this waffle is becoming like a ‘this was my life’ programme) one of the first tasks for a Monday morning was to photocopy all the planning for the other teachers and teaching assistants. This was not because I was planning for them, we did it together and then shared the final outcome but it was still a job that needed to be done. I also remember, photocopying the whole week’s planning in order to hand it in to the headteacher for ‘scrutiny’. This process used to frustrate me, not only because of the time involved, but also the cost and the over use of paper. Although we have not moved to a completely electronic system, many session plans are now stored in virtual clouds and shared with each other via technology. Some practitioners might even go as far as viewing these on mobile devices within sessions – the ‘free from print outs’ world is still just peeking over the horizon. We all acknowledge the value of collaboration and actively encourage this with our planning and teaching. With items shared online, plans can be adjusted and commented on in the cloud environment before sessions – leaving both breakfast and coffee for what they were initial created for.

  • Technology supports me in the complete planning process. This might be because of what I hope is a natural affinity to its role, but even if people still want to print things out, technology has still supported them in that process…if you remember ‘carbon paper’ you will know what I am talking about! Using a range of applications and tools it allows me to be more efficient in the process and, and do I dare say it, might even reduce the time spent on planning to allow me to engage more in the resources that will be used in my sessions. Of course, technology has a very important role to play here as well and (see I do actually plan these waffles) I will waffle about this in next week’s post.

    If you feel like engaging more with teaching and learning, I now have a discussion forum section on the webpage. You can add your views and opinions on the topics I present either as replies within the forums or anonymously via the topic survey. There will also soon be a series of open badges that you can achieve for your participation! – curb that excitement!

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