Lesson Plan Version 4.0: Networked Learning Revision

Networks are everywhere. They always have been.


In this post I will review my lesson plan 1.0 through the lens of networked learning.  In their recent report, Johnston, Becker, Estrada, and Freeman (2014) have analyzed the current and future trends in technology in the classroom, and many of these involve networked learning. The plan as it stands has no networked learning component. It is organized around direct instruction, demonstration, individual reading and individual work. It is as devoid of networked learning as is possible! The students never interact with each other or the teacher. They all listen to the teacher, and then they do their own work individually. Clearly, this would have changed in a plan rewritten according to the two prior model analyses: the TPACK analysis, found here; and the UDL analysis, found here. When the final version is written, it will incorporate all these revisions.

Social networking in a lesson plan is about as close to a teen’s real life, interests and methods of operation as a lesson could get. I would not incorporate social networking into this plan unless the class already had a background of using social networking in class. I would prefer to incorporate other forms of networked learning in this lesson plan, especially as it is for 11 year-olds.

Of the six emerging technologies highlighted by Johnson et al (2014), I am  most excited to use the first three: Bring Your Own Device (“BYOB”), cloud computing, and games and gamification in my work, and in the final revision of this lesson plan.

BYOD is exactly what it sounds like: students would bring their own computers, tablets and phones to class, and use them for their in class work. The great advantage of BYOD is the very same feature that had been seen as a great disadvantage: personalization of the device. Every student will have his or her device set up differently, using different browsers, tools and apps. The idea that this is a disadvantage, however, only holds if each student is expected to do the same work, the same way, at the same time as everyone else. But models we have been studying and the subsequent revisions I have been devising serve to break that paradigm.

I had a personal experience of this when we used the Mozilla Popcorn Maker technology. In order to use it the most effectively, I had to download the Firefox browser. Although the browser imported my Safari browser bookmarks, I had to go through the tedious process of signing in  again to the sites and technologies I needed, like google docs, WordPress, and Vimeo. The same holds for students using one set of shared computers, as is often the case. The start of each lesson is spent resetting the computer to the settings you need.

In this lesson plan 4.0 revision, I would have students bring their own tablets, phones, or computers.  As already specified in the UDL revision, the activity of drawing Drake’s route on a map by copying the teacher would be replaced with a inquiry based activity on Drake’s voyage using personal technology. Students would be asked to find basic information about the voyage, and speculate on alternative routes and issues. BYOD allows students to use the learning network resources of their choice. Some will prefer to search for text, and some for video. Some will look for websites, others for book reviews, some for History Channel videos, and some on YouTube.

Cloud computing is a technology that allows students to save their work and access it later on a different device and in a different place. Students could finish, review, or extent the work they did in class, and share with the teacher during the project.

Gamification is an emerging technology with a lot of potential. It is the process of using games and game theory in new contexts. The role play that I chose in the version 3.0 review would be a type of gamification. However, that could be extended with more game elements. We could re-enact the battle, with choice points for each side at strategic points. I did this once in a medieval role play where three factions had to determine their secret strategy, let me know, then act upon it. Sometimes, they make the same choices as were made originally, sometimes they find alternatives. Always, their decisions in the game illuminate the causes and effects of what we are studying.

I could include electronic gamification into this lesson, as well. We could use some of the many quiz apps available, or we could create our own non-quiz game by repurposing existing technology. I would like to use a game where students could trace the routes of Drake’s exploration or the battle with the Spanish. I have not found that game, yet, but I am inspired by the Flow Free game to create one.

I am coming to like this lesson plan!


Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens. New Haven + London: Yale University Press.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.


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