How Classroom Technology Translates to Instructional Design Success

Illustration of a woman in a purple outfit walking toward a door that says "Classroom exit" above the frame.

Educators transitioning out of the classroom find their home in Instructional Design. For K-12 educators, countless hours are dedicated to training and certifications to enhance the student learning experience each school year. Educators are known for their ability to facilitate learning and create engaging learning experiences for their students.  

What many people may not realize is that educators also possess the skills and knowledge necessary to make great instructional designers. Programs like Canvas, Nearpod, Padlet and PollEverywhere can be used to shape student learning and promote further engagement of the student – teacher relationship. Educators possess expertise in creating learning objectives, instructional materials, and pedagogy, and collaborate effectively with others, making them well-suited for this role.  

Yellow school bus on laptop.

During the school day, educators may use as many as three or four technologies at a time often attempting to reach different learners in their classrooms. Most educators are skilled in creating materials that are engaging, visually appealing, and effective at facilitating learning. There is experience with creating lesson plans, worksheets, assessments, and other instructional materials that are designed to meet the needs of diverse learners. They are also adept at selecting appropriate resources and technologies that enhance the learning experience.  

As a teacher, I regularly used Canvas for instructional materials and assignments, Nearpod for making boring exercises (like syntax and punctuation drills) engaging and interactive, and Kahoot for fun formative assessments and morale-bolstering before big tests.

Francis Hill, Former High School Teacher and current Instructional Design Consultant at FIU Online

After the pandemic, classrooms shifted from traditional face-to-face instruction to online instruction. This shift forced the education system to pivot and look to technology as a way to reach the student learner.  Eventually, students returned to the classroom and teachers needed to pivot to a new hybrid structure.  Programs like Nearpod made this transition almost seamless.  There is also an opportunity for educators to obtain a Nearpod Certification furthering the reach of this technology being used in every classroom. 

Nearpod is a phenomenal student engagement platform that adds endless engagement and digital learning. Nearpod provides various ways to transform student devices into powerful learning tools. From interactive controlled lessons, to live student responses, to customizable and ready-to-teach lessons, Nearpod has it all!

Ashley Marquez, owner of the “TeachCreateMotivate

Because educators have dedicated time and attention to a high level of student engagement; imagine what could be done if those same educators were on the other side of the screen, helping to structure lessons and create student engagement opportunities? They already have a deep understanding of how people learn and are able to apply this knowledge to the design of instructional materials. They know how to sequence information, use appropriate examples and analogies, and provide opportunities for practice and feedback. They are also skilled at assessing learner progress and adjusting instruction to meet the needs of individual learners. 

Years of training in technology, pedagogy and compassion aid educators in being perfect candidates for Instructional Designers. Former educators can build classes, work with professors, and procure skills that will lead to ID success.  

A woman using laptop with educational icons.

The leap from classroom to computer screen isn’t as big as one may think. Most educators use technology seamlessly.  A large majority of educators are amazed to find that their teaching skills can be directly applied to Instructional Design.  Instructional Designers are vested in student learning and learning outcomes, they are also closely vested in the best technology to use in order to prompt student interest and engagement. 

Ultimately, the transition from Educator to Instructional Designer brings with it some comfort and security. Learning new technology and holding a space for educators can easily become the “new jam” at most Universities.  

Danielle Shelton is an Instructional Design Consultant at FIU Online

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