Back in My Day…

“Back in my day, we didn’t have any of these fancy gadgets.”

Okay, so I’ve never actually heard a teacher complaining like this. But with the speed that technology is improving at, I am bound to be thinking this as I start my teaching career… Of course, the goal I have is to be as “tech savvy” as I can be, even as technology continues to evolve.

All these “fancy gadgets” as I lovingly refer to them as are going to be a source of power and weakness for all that use them. They open children to new worlds and create opportunities for creative expression… but what happens when the whole lesson is based around a tech that suddenly, unexplainably fails? Well, according to my brother – the world doesn’t exist without Wi-Fi and his laptop. So what does that say for kids that are born today? Or in 5 years? How much will they rely on technology to learn, and what will they do if it fails?

My hope going forward in a world surrounded by technology is that we won’t let it swallow up the traditional ways of learning. I know that there are some crazy kids out there that learn better writing things out than typing them up and they deserve just as much a chance as the kids that type up all their notes during class.

Tech Savvy Teachers need too…

The meme I created was centered around the idea that tech savvy teachers need to be adjustable and be able to meet the students where they are at in terms of technology. In my opinion if we are to use technology to the fullest potential in our classroom we have to be aware of where our students are at, as each student has a different level of technological understanding. Part of being adaptable means knowing where you are starting in relation to using technology in your classroom. Some of our students will have grown up using technology since they were 2 and some have no access to technology except maybe in the classroom if they are lucky. By taking this into account, we can create activities using technology that allow all students to engage in the activity. I also think this leads into the most important trait of a tech savvy teachers which is being adaptable. I think it is most important to be adaptable because we have people relying on us so we need to be able to think on our feet and have a back up plan incase technology doesn’t work or something goes wrong in our plan. Another interesting aspect I wanted to come across in my meme is how much technology has changed over time and yet we as tech savvy teachers always find a way to keep up with current technology and help teach our students how to use technology as well.

Tech Savvy Teachers Need to Be…

Sleek screens, winding wires and brilliant buttons. The classroom of tomorrow exists today, and educators are now tasked with transitioning into this new world. For some, this shift to a more digital classroom is long over due. For others everything that they have ever known has been altered in a blink of an eye, they feel like they are light years behind their colleagues and that their mind is about to burst because how is any of this possible? To the latter I say, take a breath and be open-minded.

I too, fear that I will be unable to use and understand these infinite number of programs and modes of technology effectively. But this fear of failure cannot fester, it must be replaced with the optimism, hopefulness, and perseverance that we wish to instill in our students. In order to become a tech savvy teacher, one must be open-minded to learning new skills and encountering new possibilities. Some days the Wifi will not connect, the projector will not turn on, and programs will not load and likely this will all happen within minutes. Technology can be frustrating. It will be our ability to approach each task with an open-mind, that is eager to learn from errors, that will truly make a difference in our lives and the lives of our students.

I look forward to what the future of technology holds and learning about the various programs and devices that will allow me to differentiate my instruction and better support my future students. To accomplish this, and so much more, I must start with an open-mind.

Tech savvy teachers need a back up plan.

“Control C, control P” was one of the first tricks I learned on the computer. I remember my teacher showing me how to do this and this forever impacted my outlook on technology. Through technology, I was able to design efficient presentations, learn at my own pace, and become informed about Microsoft Office programs. Having access  to these tools have been a positive experience for me, so I hope my students would have the opportunity to see these new pieces of technology in action!

I am an advocate for technology in the classroom because these would be the tools our future leaders will be surrounded with. They need to be exposed to this technology, so they know how to use them properly and be successful in the fields they are going into. While I will be continue to be a supporter of the use of technology,  I personally believe tech savvy teachers need a back up plan.

There may be  times when the video isn’t loading properly, the power is out, or the piece of tech does not cooperate as much as you would hope. These situations are very common especially with new technology. New technology offers great possibilities, but they also can create new problems.  For this reason, teachers need to be able to return to the “old school” way of teaching with their lesson plans. They need to have plans a, b, and c, when the link does not work or the power mysteriously goes out.

While students have access to technology, this unnecessary lag time of buffering videos and power outages, can drastically change the atmosphere in the room. The once excited students may lead to boredom and thereby misbehaviors. When teachers plan ahead and think through potential negative situations, they can successfully use the technology given to them.

Tech Savvy Teachers Need To…

Throughout my experiences in classrooms, I have noticed that it can be difficult to create a learning environment that is affective for all students’ learning styles. To do this in my own future classroom, I will integrate technology into different lessons. Using technology, such as iPads, allows students to have a visual right in front of them, and also provides for a hands-on learning experience. Including technology in the classroom would also help to assist special education students and make it easier to include them in a general education setting. For these reasons, it is necessary that myself and other teachers be  tech savvy.



Tech Savvy Teachers Need To…

As technology becomes further prevalent in classrooms across the country–and all over the world– teachers are called to embrace technological practices and make them an active part of the curriculum. Although many students may have more experience with certain aspects of technology than the teachers, the modern classroom embraces an opportunity for students and teachers to work together to learn, grow, and create.

Part of the teacher’s experience with technology requires adaptability. As technology changes, teachers must be able to take their prior knowledge, understand the technology they are using, and be prepared with another plan of action if some aspect of the technology or lesson does not work correctly. Due to the fact that technology has the ability to break, stall, or fail in a multitude of ways, teachers should incorporate alternatives into their lesson plan, and be patient if the technology does not respond immediately.

There is so much potential for technology to be a welcome addition to the classroom and with the right preparation and adaptability, future teachers have a wonderful chance to grow alongside their students.

Tech Savvy Teachers Can Make Deeper Connections With Students Through Technology

Being in the midst of a booming digital era, it is only fitting that teachers learn the same skills that their students have been picking up over the few years of their lives. The classrooms that students are learning in today are entirely different from the classrooms these teachers once saw growing up. Technology has completely taken over, and to have any commonalities with their students in the future, teachers must adapt to this new era. Learning skills, from browsing the internet for educational videos to be used in a classroom lesson to relating to students’ interests on the tablets and phones they now possess, will only benefit the teacher further in keeping control of that classroom. Becoming a tech savvy teacher ensures that a deeper student-teacher relationship can be formed, and because of that, students will have a better learning experience.

Class 1: Tech-Savvy Teacher’s Meme Smackdown

Here’s the flow of our first class  – a chance to get to know more about the course and try our hand at our first two tech tools.

  1. This our first class  … so … some intro activities.
  2. Peter will offer a  quick demo of AdobeSpark Post –  a great tool for creating striking title slides with public domain content.  See video below for more.
  3. Students will get a quick overview of WordPress and be pointed to our YouTube playlist.
  4. Next, students will work in small groups discussing their vision of the tech-savvy teacher. They will be invited to turn those ideas into memes using AdobeSpark Post
  5. While students are working, Peter will get each student logged into our WordPress account.
  6. We’ll have a meme smackdown and reflect on the activity and how the classroom workflow was designed and managed.

Assignment 1 / Completed Work

Task 1: For your first blog post write an elaboration / explanation of your meme. The post is due by midnight Sunday Jan 21.

Students should be sure their post includes a featured image (meme) made using  AdobeSpark. Use your meme from class or make a new one.

Here’s some post prompts – feel free to use one or more for inspiration.

How the meme reflects …

  • What you’ve learned about edtech in the classroom.
  • The challenges or opportunities of edtech.
  • Where do I want to be in my use of edtech tools in 3 years.

Task 2: Before our 1/24 class, comment on at least 2 student posts. It’s a conversation, not simply a … “nice job.”

Image credit: Adobe Spark

How am I graduating in six days??


Well its finally May 1, and we made it! Congratulations to all my fellow seniors on graduating and making it through student teaching!!

Graduation aside, I think in reflecting on this course, I can see that I have made a large amount of growth in my attitudes towards and comfort with educational technology.  Before this course, I saw it the way that many of the other teachers at my school viewed it, as a substitute for traditional pen and paper work, that was now to be done on a tablet or computer.  While that is fine if that is how you want to run your classroom, I have discovered that it is much more my style and my preference to have the students guiding the learning with the technology being the avenue through which they make discoveries, rather than me leading the instruction and them doing work on the computer.

I think I also gained more resources that I can pull into my practice going forward, and it has helped me feel more comfortable with experimenting and trying something new that I couldn’t have thought would work in the past.   Overall, I have found this course to be rewarding and a valuable experience to have during this hectic, but wonderful semester.

Fight Fake News with Critical Thinking

Lessons in Critical Thinking is now available free at iTunes. It includes critical thinking lessons in science, math, literature and media literacy.

During our discussion of digital literacy and “Fake News,” we realized that our middle and high school level students need more practice in the critical evaluation of information. Using some of our favorite edtech tools, we developed six engaging lessons which promoted critical thinking skills in a variety of content areas. Then, using iBooks Author, we compiled the lessons into this iBook .

For more work by this fine class visit our students page.

Student-designed critical thinking lessons include:

  1. Dihydro-What? Science Lesson by Kristen Turner
  2. Using TV Ads to Teach Persuasive Writing by Jennifer Upchurch
  3. The Choice is Yours: integrating a “choose your own adventure” into math class by Eli McElroy and Tamalin Salisbury
  4. How to Read Between the Lines of Research by Hannah O’Brien
  5. Do You Believe It To Be True Or False? by Jeremy Jon Reyes Pingul
  6. Civically Sublime by Kurt Anderson, Bekah Kolb, Ryan Greenberg


I had a great time being in this course. Looking back at my first post, I notice that I mention “closing the digital divide” as one of the main things that I’d like to see done. I think after taking this class, I will be a lot more comfortable in how I approach that divide. Learning about the myriads of different platforms we can use in the classroom not only helped me grow as a teacher, but as a technology user. I now feel confident when using apps or different types of programming that I initially did not feel comfortable with using.

I think the class overall was great. I really enjoyed the structure of each class: come in and talk for a little, then hear a lecture about a specific useful app, program, or piece of technology that can be utilized, until finally we go to our respected computers and get to work. I would definitely recommend going about future classes in this format. Also, I think the 3 hour time slot worked perfectly for a class like this.

All in all, I learned so much in this class. I feel much more comfortable using iBook Author now, as well as using screen casting to further my education career. The biggest thing I’ve learned, though, is using this blog posting website. I can definitely see myself in the future wanting to use something like this again and, because of this class, I will know how to blog correctly (and make it look so clean, with the featured picture and all).

Thanks Peter for a great class! I look forward to running into you either on campus or downtown. Take it easy, everyone!

Photo by  abdullah.khan2012, entitled “Technology”

Blended Learning

For my hypothetical “blended learning” lesson, I figured it would be essential for my students to understand how to do research while writing a long research paper for me. The learning objective would not only be to know how to type in “keywords,” or be able to simply find what they are looking for–rather, the learning objective will be for my students to fully understand the scope that the entire research process covers. They will learn what the best research tools are, the most efficient way to conduct research, and how to distinguish between “good” articles and “bad” articles.

For this hypothetical assignment, I would make a serious of “how to” videos that show how to conduct proper research. These videos will most probably be very similar to the screen casting video I made that shows how to use the UP researching websites. In addition to showing this particular video, I will giving my students videos on how to pick the correct “keywords” when conducting research, as well as a video about the difference between academic journals and journals that are not considered to be academic.

This assignment will help my students become more familiar with computer usage in regards to doing research. It will also be important because when they have to do research for other classes, they can simply refer back to all of the videos I would have made.

Picture done by Colette Cassinelli, entitled “Learning”