Making Technology Integration Awesome

It’s a challenge to make effective, transformative use of technology in the classroom. This year, I’ve been working with a small group of teacher representatives from various grades to curate/create a list of skills for every grade level that are realized through the integration of technology. We’ve looked at the ISTE Standards for Students, and lists of benchmarks and standards from other schools. We’ve also explore the Technology Integration Matrix from Arizona and will look at the (more mature) one from Florida. We’ve talked to teachers, and explored the landscape of technology integration at other schools. We’ve discussed how technology is used in our world, and how it is used outside of school by our students. I’ve come to realize that the particular skills on the list by grade level are a direct result of our approaches to teaching and learning, our beliefs and our local context.

We’ve collected a list of skills where students use technology that teachers at each grade level think are important for students to enter a grade with, and leave the grade with. Next, we will build on those lists, taking other sets of internationally renowned standards like those from ISTE and AASL into account. We will use feedback from teachers, and consider the coherence from K-5 to refine the lists. Finally, we will decide how to share the list with teachers in a way that’s user-friendly and dynamic. We have other documents that have been created in the past, but they are outdated and never referred to during instructional design meetings. One approach would be to categorize the skills by the phases of inquiry that we follow in our classes. Another would be to group the skills by the units of inquiry. We will get feedback from teachers about this. Might there be a third approach that we haven’t considered?

As part of this work, I will engage teachers in thinking about their vision of students who’ve experienced successful technology integration during their K-5 experience of school. I’m also interested in knowing your ideas.

Made with Padlet


Note that this post is written for my participation in #EdublogsClub challenge. The prompt was to “write a post about challenging situations”.

VoiceThread for Publishing and Collaboration

Voicethread is a great tool for collaboration and sharing. You can combine images, documents and video in a slideshow format. Then other users can add voice, text, audio file or video comments. As a K-12 school, it’s best to get a classroom or school license, which conforms to both COPPA and FERPA. Common Sense gives Voicethread a great review, and 4 stars.

Here are 5 possible uses of VoiceThread in the K-12 classroom:
  1. Upload a document, video or image and have students post a comment or response as voice, text, or audio.
  2. A small group of students co-create a presentation as documentation for or of learning.
  3. In one class, students co-create a VoiceThread. Then buddies from another class comment on the VoiceThread.
  4. Students read a favorite poem, using a painting or drawing they made as the backdrop. Other students can share similar poems as a comment.
  5. Collaborate with two other classes, where students in one class post images, students in another class comment on each image, with a poem, and students in a third class comment with music. The students will choose the three related media to evoke the same emotions/feelings in the audience. We did such a project in Grade 5 last year, where students in Dar es Salaam created the images in Art Class, students in Seattle made the music in GarageBand in Music Class, and our students typed up their own poems in their homerooms. 

This is our resulting VoiceThread from the 3 schools collaboration:

Find Free High Quality Images

Met Museum collection, public domain image.

Images can be used in the classroom in a number of ways. We can use images in presentations and other multimedia that we create, in photo essays, digital stories, and blog posts. High resolution images provides greater detail, which are well suited to many activities.Teachers can use them as prompts for writing exercises, and for discussions. They can facilitate both fiction, and non-fiction work in the classroom.

The Metropolitan Museum recently announced that many of their images would be licensed as CC0, which means that anyone can used them without any rights reserved. Here are three museums, with collections of images in the public domain. I’ve hyperlinked to the public domain collection, in each case.

  1. National Gallery of Art
  2. Rijksmuseum
  3. The Met Museum

As a bonus, visit The Commons on Flickr for other Creative Commons licensed images from various institutions. If you’re looking for other sources of images, read my other post on using online images.

Update: February 10, 2017 – I just read that Creative Commons has their own image search engine, out in beta. The search engine lets you find images licensed with Creative Commons from Flickr, MMA, New York Public library, Rijksmuseum, and The Met. This search engine is only for images. The old CC search is still available if you’re looking for other types of media.


Note that this post is written for my participation in #EdublogsClub challenge. The prompt was to “write a post about free web tools “.

Spice up Your Google Slides with Slides Carnival

If you’re creating a slideshow in Google Slides, you can find some more interesting templates than those built into Slides. To do so, go to Slides Carnival. Once you find a slideshow style that you like, you can make a copy of it, and then edit it as desired. Remember, that if you like the way a slide looks, you can always make a copy of it (make sure that you have permission), and then edit the copy.
Check out Slides Carnival for your own use, and share it with colleagues and students who use G Suite for Education. The tool works both on tablets and smart phones, as well as on laptops/desktops.

Take Control of Your Privacy

Do you ever feel a bit freaked out about what the Internet knows about you? Do advertisements ever seem to be too well targeted to you? Do you want to take control of  your privacy? Join a week of challenges as part of the Privacy Paradox.

Listen to the introductory show about the privacy paradox.

One of my favorite podcasts is Note to Self. I subscribed to it a few months back, and have listened to every episode since then, as well as some of the earlier episodes. In the most recent episodes, I learned about the Privacy Paradox. You can listen to the podcast to learn about it here. And if you’re interested, you can sign up, or just keep track of the pages where the information will be uploaded, and access them later without signing up.

The challenge begins February 6. You still have time to sign up, and join others taking the journey.

“In the five-day interactive project, we’ll help you understand where your personal information goes online, weigh the trade-offs and then make more thoughtful digital decisions. Tackling digital privacy can feel overwhelming. So let’s do it together.” – Manoush Zomorodi