Activity Type TechSlams

What is an Activity Type?

An Activity Type is the structure, or framework of an activity, that can be adapted for content and grade level. Harris & Hofer (2009) describe an Activity Type as “what is most essential about the structure of a particular kind of learning action as it relates to what students do when engaged in that particular learning-related activity” (p. 101). We have identified specific Activity Types below that have ‘structures’ that are useful to teacher candidates and other teachers new to teaching with technology for several reasons:

  • Each of these Activity Types incorporate technology. Teachers familiar with these Activity Types are able to use this knowledge to design lessons that seamlessly integrate technology into various activities in lessons.
  • These Activity Types require students to use just a few technical skills to complete the learning task; therefore, the teacher need only master a few technical skills to implement the activity. As well, the teacher teaches fewer than five skills in a lesson so the focus remains on the content of the lesson – not the technology!
  • These Activity Types can be sequenced to scaffold student learning of technical skills while learning content.

Therefore, teacher candidates and novice teachers may find the set of Activity Types listed here useful in building a repertoire of activities for designing tech-enhanced lessons.

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). Instructional planning activity types as vehicles for curriculum-based TPACK development. In C. D. Maddux, (Ed.). Research highlights in technology and teacher education 2009 (pp. 99-108). Chesapeake, VA: Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (SITE). Available online at