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Part I: Designing Digital Lessons

Digital tools that allow teachers to create and design digital lessons.


Design – Teachers should ask how the following concepts apply to managing and designing lessons. For example, what does the design of your daily lesson plans look like? Is it ugly back and white with multiple handouts? What story does that tell? Can all students relate to such the teachers presentation of content? In this presentation you will learn about the concept of design and how design is applied to integrating technology into a digital lesson. Design starts at the beginning not at the end; it's not an afterthought.


Introducing the Digital World: Ways to Design Digital Lessons

  • As educators, we need to be thinking about how to teach in the language of the Digital Natives.
  • The first involves a major translation and change of methodology.
  • The second involves new content and thinking.
  • So we have to invent; adapting materials to the language of Digital Natives

Designing Digital Lessons

As a lesson designer I will demonstrate how the stimulation of sensory memory system increases retention rate by adding a short media section at the introduction of the interactive lesson on the “Red Badge of Courage.” By stimulating both auditory and visual images into sensory memory at the onset of the lesson I can provide higher stores of information when transferred into short-term memory. The results will be that less information will be forgotten from the introduction of the lesson. 


Influencing Sensory Memory

In the case of teaching the “Red Badge of Courage” I introduce the lesson with a short film on the attack on Fort Sumter; which is the first battle of the Civil War. In the film students are introduced to the idea of bravery and how one Sergeant Hart risked his life climbing a pole in the heat of battle by permanently nailing the flag to a post.


Play Video Introduction Video: "Sergeant Harts Courage" 

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The idea of bravery or courage is then reinforced to the student’s sensory memory system by playing a short seventy-six second film clip of the battle of Fort Sumter. At this point in the lesson students are receiving both auditory and visual stimulation to their sensory memory system. A short three to five minute discussion of the seventy seconds of film would follow by expanding the definition of bravery and Sergeant Harts courage in the face of battle. The student’s definition of bravery would then be transferred to short-term memory by the working definition of bravery. 


The purpose in lesson design is to transfer information to short term memory with less amounts of information being lost through the transfer process. In the lesson design all three elements of the sensory memory was initiated as the learner experienced auditory, visual and working memory stimuli as it was transferred to the short-term memory system. The next point in the lesson is to create the same scenario by compacting sensory memory but with a different concept. The concept of fear and how fear relates to becoming a coward will be introduced to the lesson.


Compacting Sensory Memory

In slide two of the lesson on Red Badge of Courage an overview of the idea of the main topic of the book is introduced in the realization of fear and being a coward. A short two-minute film clip is shown to students asking the questions of;

·         “What is it like to face death?”

·         “What would you die for?” and “What would you kill for?”


The book is about bravery, fear and failure. And what it is really like to be in combat. What the book is not about are heroes.


 Play Video: Red Badge of Courage

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Through lesson design the sensory memory is exposed to both audio and visual stimuli as well as a second and important variable brought about in the Information Processing Model  article on how emotion can enhance intellectual development. That is human intellectual development plays a role in emotion and becomes a part of the emotional experience when transferring information to short-term memory. 


In part two of the lesson a three to five minute discussion would follow the film clip asking students to define fear and being a coward. It should be noted here that impacting sensory memory as it is transferred to short term memory can be done in a variety of ways, including graphic organizers, curiosity-arousing questions, movies, etc. In the design of this lesson I chose to influence the sensory memory by the review of short film clips. It also should be noted that short clips were selected rather than showing the entire film.


Retention through Schema Development

In the third part of the lesson students will transfer short term to long-term memory by using higher order thinking skills by comparing and contrasting information to build schemas of knowledge or conceptual maps.


Again using the Information Processing Model we will explore methods of transferring information from short-term to long-term memory by influencing the brain to activities that require complex thinking. 

The design of the complex task will be to ask students to compare and contrast their short-term memory definitions of being courageous and being a coward. In the activity design students are exposed to a Venn diagram to develop schemas of understanding through the comparative process. In order to compare information students must first identify similarities and differences between the two ideas of courage and fear or the human characteristics of being courageous or being a coward. 


The idea behind the comparison activity is to deepen the student’s knowledge using what is stored in short-term memory to create schemas of understanding. 


Using a graphic organizer like a Venn diagram helps students organize their short-term memory into more meaningful context. Note that there may be a short slowdown in the learning curve as students approach the conjunction of the two circles as students are asked “What is similar?” between the two concepts. Again the idea behind the lesson design is to systematically influence short-term memory to merge long-term ideas and concepts as schemas of understanding.


In the fourth slide students are asked to use their schemas of understanding by writing three paragraphs of expressed thoughts using a story starter which is the first paragraph of the book “The Red Badge of Courage.”


Students are asked to use their definitions of courageous and courage in the first two paragraphs as it relates to the first paragraph of the book. The third paragraph requires comparative thoughts of being faced with the students expressed emotions of courage and fear.

  • View: Digital Lesson
  • View Slide Show Lesson: Red Badge of Courage
  • View Lesson Plan: red-badge-lesson-plan.pdf
  • View Venn Digram Activity: venn-diagram-activity.pdf



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