Interesting Technology Resources to Explore

It is important to explore new tools that can be integrated into the curriculum to enhance instruction and enrich learning for students.  The goal is always the purposeful use of technology!  At a recent tech committee meeting, members explored the following innovative tools/technology practices. We tried many of the tools and considered which might be appropriate for instruction in our content areas/subject matter.  As a bonus, members were awarded badges for all resources they explored!  Check out these great tools and determine which might work best in your classroom.

IGNITE – Present with Pizzazz!

IGNITE presentations provide an alternative to traditional presentations and really encourage students to become facile with their content rather than reading from a slide.  They are great for ANY content area.  Watch these videos and learn how IGNITE presentations can be used to share your stories and learning.

What is an IGNITE?
Edutopia IGNITE Article  

Watch this video about Ignite: What is an Ignite?

Bringing Content to Life with Multi-Media Presentations

Using Video in the Classroom

Digital Story-Telling 


Consider – How would you leverage multi-media tools to improve teaching and learning?

Skype in the Classroom – Exciting new ways to connect globally!

Explore the Skype Tools to learn how Skype can be used to enrich instruction.

Visit the Skype Home Page: Consider 3 literacy activities that are available at Education Skype

Visit Skype lessons

Read the introduction to Big Question Challenge

Visit Mystery Skype- How It Works

Click to on “See Mystery Skype in Action” to watch a brief video.  Scroll down and read about Mystery Skype.

Augmented Reality –  Learning with Virtual Environments

Augmented Reality is an exciting technology that allows kids to learn through exploration of virtual worlds.  Check out the resources below and consider how Augmented Reality might fit in your classroom!

Visit:  DAQRI

Teaching with Aurasma

Two Guys and an iPad

Worksheets for the Digital Age

Using Videos in Science

How could Augmented Reality be used to enrich content and engage students in learning?


Selecting appropriate Apps poses a significant challenge for educators.  Check out the resources below to learn more about App evaluation.

Content App Evaluation Form (Kathy Schrock)

Creation App Evaluation Form (Kathy Schrock)

Student APP Review Rubric (Kathy Schrock)

Still not satisfied?  Check out other IPad APP Evaluation Rubrics recommended by Kathy Schrock:



Productive Struggle – Embracing the Messiness of Learning!

I strongly believe in the notion of Productive Struggle as a catalyst for attaining higher levels of learning. This ideal challenges me to be brave in my lesson planning and steadfast in my belief that it is okay if projects are challenging and the work is messy. I have to be comfortable not knowing all the answers and accept that I may meet resistance when the work is particularly difficult. Sometimes it can be easier (and less intimidating) to work towards one ‘right answer’ than to explore the potential of many possible answers. However, that open-ended exploration is where each learner can bring his/her own strengths and talents to bear and apply creativity to develop unique answers and solutions; it is at the heart of innovation.

If my students and I are to benefit from having opportunities for productive struggle, then I must be relentless in my pursuit to create meaningful learning experiences that reach higher levels of SAMR. I must work to create an environment that nurtures creativity, perseverance, and opportunities for problem solving; a climate supportive of risk-taking, individual expression, and failure.

Productive struggle results when learning is messy, when there is more than one answer, and when students must solve challenging problems; it is the acceptance that failure is integral to learning. Lastly, it is a belief that challenge engages us in the learning process and can lead us to higher levels of thinking.

I continue to work towards my goal of building meaningful challenge into our activities. It is a work in progress, but I believe that opportunities for productive struggle will ultimately build grit and perseverance in myself and my students.

Digital Story-Telling

Recently I have been thinking a lot about Digital Story-telling.  The use of digital tools and multi-media to tell students’ stories offers many opportunities to extend learning and allow students to take ownership for their learning.  From the use of free tools such as movie-maker and audacity to using LittleStoryBird, iMovie, or iPads, this type of learning can be accessible to even very young children.

Consider the question: How can digital storytelling be a catalyst for the attainment of higher levels of knowledge/learning?

Here are some resources for Digital Story-Telling!

EdTech Teacher:

Telling Stories Digitally: articles/Digital_Storytelling_Across_the_Curriculum

Digital Storytelling:

Kathy Schrock:


Little Bird Tales:

Skype as a Tool for Promoting 21st Century Thinking

As teachers, we strive to provide experiences that foster Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Creativity for our students.  Mystery Skype provides an opportunity for students to engage in authentic learning experiences.  Students can explore many different roles as they work with others to locate, understand, and communicate information.  To learn more about Mystery Skype, visit the resources below or go to:

Scholastic: Excellent overview of Mystery Skype (Must paste link into browser)

How to Set Up a Mystery Skype

Mrs. Morgan’s Skype Etiquette:

Skype Roles

So You Want to do Mystery Skype?

Skype Lessons

Happy Learning!

Digital Citizenship Week

Last week was Digital Citizenship week.  In an age where children have nearly ubiquitous access to technology, understanding and practicing good digital citizenship is more important than ever!  Here are some resources that were posted last week.

Three Ways to Weave Digital Citizenship Into Your Curriculum

A New Twist on Cyberbullying- Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship Survival Kit

Edutopia – Six resources for Digital Citizenship

Inforgraphic – Citizenship in the Digital Age

Creating an environment for innovation and creativity

I have been thinking a lot about the need to creative a learning environment that inspires innovation and creativity for all learners.  Despite the strong emphasis on standards and testing, i believe there is a need to focus our attention on helping students to acquire the skills they will need to navigate life in a time of constant change and accelerating innovations.  Here are some interesting resources I have been looking at as i think about this topic:

Creating Innovators – Blog Post by Tony Wagner:

Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk: Educations ‘Death Valley’

Teach Thought – Excellent resources for all!:

Ted Talk: How Cognitive Surplus will Change the World:

IMPACT of Educational Leaders:

Digital Curricula Evolving:

Blog Post: what role should grades play in school? me

Educating for innovation

Inquiry based Learning – CybraryMan:

Going Global – Tips for Global Collaboration

Project-Based Learning Video: 

100 Uses for twitter in education (see Classroom- #s 38-54; 92-100)

Five Year Olds Pilot their own Learning:

8 Ways Kindergarten Holds the Key to 21st Century Instruction:

Twittering about Learning – using Twitter in an Elementary Classroom:

Projects vs. Project-Based Learning:

Flipping the Classroom:

Project-based Learning (break these out)

Blended Learning Infographic:

Arne Duncan – Empowering Learners in the 21st Century:

Edutopia – Schools that Work:

Virtual Learning in the Early Years:

The Journal – Parents and Students Want More Online Learning:

Digital Citizenship:

Digital trends Shifting the Role of Teachers:

Schooling Shake-Up in the UK:

Technology Trends

-12 Education Technology Trends to Watch:

The Digital Life of Teens: Mobile is Now:

Virtual Learning in the Early Years:

Creating Virtual Libraries:

Cracking the Code:

Scholastic – mobile Learning Technologies for 21st Century Classrooms:

Raspberry Pi: 

CybraryMan’s Google Docs:

Social Media for Schools:

Game-Based Learning:

KinderKids Blog:

Creating Info-graphics with Google tools:

Augmented Reality – Cybrary Man:


You Tube & Digital Citizenship:


Virtual Desktops: 

Virtual desktops (technical): 

Changing PD

20 ways to Make Professional Development More Effective:

Flip your Faculty Meetings- The Tempered Radical:

How Flipped PD Stacks Up:

PLNS: (break out resources)

Speed Geek Your faculty Meetings:

100 Uses for Twitter in Education (see Classroom- #s 55 – 91)


Creating a Physical Environment for Innovative Learning

Designing the 21st

Century K-12 Classroom:

Redesigning for the 21st Century Classroom:

20 things Educators Need to Know About Learning Spaces:

Sprout Space:

EDU 2.0 Furnishings:

Transforming Classrooms into 21st century Work Spaces:

Architecture for Education, Inc:

Furnishings that promote Learning – Smith Systems:

Furniture that Makes the Grade:

21st Century Furnishings:

Evolving Classrooms for 21st Century Learning:

Habits and Habitats – Rethinking Learning Spaces for the 21st Century:

Herman Miller:

Tech as Tie-Dye

After many years working with education technology in a variety of roles and with varying responsibilities, I have settled on a couple of truths that don’t seem to change for me.  The first, and perhaps  the most disconcerting truth, is that in order to be successful in a technology field, you have to accept that you are never really an expert.  As much as you may know, as hard as you may work to read and access the literature and keep abreast of trends in technology, things are changing too fast.  It is important to me to be comfortable with that truth.  It is also a challenge because others often look to their local tech staff as the gurus or experts.  “Will we even have computers in five years?” is a frequent and earnest query.  “How about ipads?”  “What will replace Smart boards?” “What will we be using in our classrooms in 10 years?”  “Augmented reality- what’s that and how can I use it to teach?”

All are legitimate questions and all are difficult to answer.  Ten years ago, we didn’t even consider use of ipads and smart phones as ‘standard practice” in our classrooms; ubiquitous wireless was not a ‘must-have!’  Now schools are investing heavily in tablets without a clear picture of how long they may last and what the long term costs of maintaining that infrastructure may be.  So we have to take a leap of faith and sometimes we have to be comfortable not having the answers to all the questions.

Recently, my excitement about our new, 3-D printer was overshadowed by awe of the innovative 3-D replicators being used to print body parts for surgical procedures and others being used to print live human tissue to aid children with birth defects or to assist in the treatment of cancer by replicating tumors and treating them.  Amazing!  As a tech leader, I keep thinking- “How do we prepare our children to be innovators and users of technology in such a startling and changing landscape?”  Reflecting on this,  I arrived at the idea of technology ‘as tie-dye’.  We can’t get so absorbed in our quest to acquire the newest, shiniest, miracle gadgets that we lose sight of what is really important- those tried and true ideals of fostering creativity, discovery, making something unique and personal from all the information and diverse materials available. Like a tie-dyed shirt, products should reflect creativity, individuality, and use of common resources to create something truly unique, personal, and innovative. We are truly living in the Wild West where anything goes and much is available to those willing and able to take risks. We must prepare our students to be creative thinkers with the skills and confidence to take risks with technology and provide the supports to try again if those risks fail. 

And as tech leaders, we must be continually aware of all we don’t know and seek to learn from all those who would teach us- including our students!    So I humbly don my tie-dyed shirt and remind myself that I have much to learn each day and that technology is only the tool that allows us to nurture the creativity, innovation, and best ideas of our selves, our teachers and students!


I recently attended the Boston Tech Forum- a truly excellent conference!  It was a day that left me very inspired and excited about all that technology has to offer, but also extremely humbled and motivated to do more! Being in the presence of so many intelligent and innovative thinkers, I kept wondering how these people had  been able to transcend what is ‘typical’ tech use and move their districts  to ‘the next level’. 

What does it take to be a transformational leader?  Is it having the creativity, insight, and knowledge to develop an innovative vision and the force of personality to bring people along with you or is it more?  Where do money, resources, and time figure into the equation?  And what about culture…is a program or practice that is innovative and effective for one school going to be meaningful for another?

All in all, the conference has stirred a certain restlessness in me and a heightened desire to learn more, do more, and improve my leadership skills. 

Twitter in the Classroom

I have spent a lot of time exploring twitter and trying to determine how I can use it to further my knowledge of educational technology and facilitate tech integration in our district. I have also considered how teachers in our district can use Twitter with their students. I think this article ( Twittering About Learning: Using Twitter in an Elementary School Classroom- ) is very interesting and really explores how twitter can be used to empower students to be more independent and self-directed learners. I am also struck by the authenticity of the learning. I think the teacher does a good job exploring some of the “cons” and concerns, but feel there might be additional policy implications for such an initiative. I believe that now is the time to start having serious conversations about how tools such as Twitter can have meaning in the classroom (not be used as “hooks” or “gimmicks”) and enhance student learning. Cybraryman does a nice job of pulling together a lot of resources for people to explore when discussing these types of initiatives at

BYOD – What are the implications for learning?

The idea of students bringing their own devices to class is enticing…students are comfortable and competent with the equipment so they may be more confident and would not face a learning curve. In some cases, their equipment may be superior to that available in school. In a classroom in which a student is allowed to access his/ her smart phone to gain quick access to information, it may be possible to get to deeper levels of learning. Also, back channel conversations in forums such as todaysmeet or twitter may raise the level of discourse overall.

But what are the the challenges and potential pitfalls? How does this impact policy? If students ARE allowed to bring devices, does that mean schools are no longer expected to provide access to technology? What about students who do not have their own device to bring to school – are they now at a serious disadvantage? How do we ensure that all students have access to the software or applications needed for class and who is responsible for technical support?

How do we find a balance that ensures equitable access for all and empowers students to be independent learners?

What do you feel are the most significant issues surrounding BYOD and how do you see this evolving in the future?