Instructional Objectives Determine Selection of Tools

Hello loyal readers 🙂

I return to you today to talk to you about


Some of you are probably look like this now:


Never to fret. I was confused when I first looked at it too. Basically, whatever lesson you teach should determine what digital tools you use to teach said lesson. You must fit the content with the capacity of the perfect tool for the job.

For example, say you want to teach English, specifically a review session on King Lear. Say the first idea that pops into your head is to show your students the Ian McKellen version of the play online. While sitting the students in front of a feature length film can be a great review tool (at least, I know it was for me when I was in school), this can sometimes have unintended consequences. For example, poor sleeping habits at home makes for sleepy in-school students. Unless you plan on monitoring the whole class for the duration of the film to make sure everyone is awake (which, while somewhat necessary, keeps you from pointing out differences from the original play and/or making other valuable comments), it’s not going to prove to be as fun of an exercise as intended. No, you need something more specific, less passive and more engaging. Use the movie, yes, but do it in combination with an app. You want the students to really know the story, to understand the basic truths about humanity underneath all those “thee’s” and “thou’s.” In that case, here is your specific learning objective: “Students will be able to to understand and remember the basic plot, character biographies, of Shakespeare’s King Lear.” There are several Shakespeare apps out there which do just the job:

-” Shakespeare in Bits” is an interactive app which acts like a narrated graphic novel, allowing the viewer to experience Shakespeare in a sleek, vector style. Users can also read the play with the power to highlight lines and use easy-to-read character maps to understand just who is related to whom.

– The “Swipespeare” app allows users to, with a swipe of the finger, view a modern translation of any portion of any Shakespeare play. The app description compares the app to books which put the old and new side by side each other, but it can sometimes get a little confusing when one has to read back and forth. Instead, Swipespeare streamlines the process so that users only see the translation if they want to.

As can be seen, these apps are not only useful for review, but would work even more effectively if used throughout the entire exploration of King Lear. 

You see, what’s so great about choosing the tool to fit the learning objective is that it minimizes the possibility of students deviating from their work. Not only that, but if the tool is well chosen, the activity should be so much fun that the students don’t even want to do anything else. In my mind, that’s one of the prime reasons students try to do something else in the first place: they’re bored, tired, and frankly don’t care. The modern world is overflowing with new excitements almost everyday, making the stories from the past seem dull and passé. Therefore, we as teachers need to give them a reason to care and to show them that the old is just as exciting as the new. I mean, there’s a reason famous literature is called “the classics,” right? 🙂

Well, that about covers it, I believe. Here, while we’re at it, have some Shakespeare 🙂

WARNING: Mild crude humor, just a heads up.


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