Technology and Differentiated Instruction

Teachers at Lake Forest Elementary School have discovered how to make technology work for them in their classroom.  According to the article “Differentiated Instruction: Getting Personal with Technolgy”  by Grace Rubenstein on the Edtopia website, these teachers have brought technology and differentiated instruction together to make an optimal learning environment in the classroom. They have taken two major teaching initiatives and made them into an almost symbiotic relationship.  One depends on the other for the classroom to work.

I found it inspiring that these teachers are not your typical techie type teachers.  They were willing to take the plunge and try something new that they were unfamiliar with.  I think this article would be quite helpful to recommend to colleagues that feel unsure of using technology in the classroom.  Everyone can start somewhere and build day by day their knowledge and ability of technology.  Teachers owe that to the modern day student.

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Posted by on August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


Giving Students Control of their Learning

J Bevacqua proposes a nonconventional mode of learning in his blog, Figuring It Out.  In his article, “Giving Up Control”, he describes a research project that he conducts with his students.  This key to this project is that he gives his students complete choice of their research topic and their presentation method.  He also avoided discussing grades for these projects only giving the directive that their presentations must not be boring.  The results were the desired achievement of most educators everywhere- authentic learning.

Bevacqua makes a statement that struck my thinking. He says, “I learned an important lesson in the power of student choice and how to intrinsically motivate them and their learning.”  Is this not what we as educators should strive for?  I hate it when students ask me about a reflection, a journal, a little project with ” Is this a grade?”  I have always wanted to figure out a way to move beyond this contingent foothold in learning with my students.  Perhaps I will try my own little experiment in student choice this year.

In conclusion, my thoughts are that I would love to work for someone like this teacher/principal.  I like the fact that he chooses to teach in addition to his primary duties, which I am sure are demanding. He is in the trenches with those he leads and chooses to take risks.  He is definitely an out of the box thinker when it comes to education.  This blogger is definitely one to follow in the future.

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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized



There is an amazing trend of changes taking place in our world.  Therefore, educators must be willing to shift as well with these changes. That is what the video “21st Century Education in New Brunswick” produced by New Brunswick School District is all about.  The core message is to awaken teachers to a new way of thinking about how our students will function in this fast paced world immersed in technology.  In the words of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “This isn’t Kansas anymore, Toto.”

One new concept that shook me up a bit was that there will be about 20,000 years worth of growth in the next century.  So much has changed over the last 10-20 years.  I remember the excitement of being able to record tv on a VCR so I would not be able to miss a show.  Now, VCRs are nearly obsolete.  I remember the wonder of getting a cordless telephone letting you go anywhere in the house while talking.  Now phones go with us everywhere and can take pictures, record memos, play music, and connect to the internet. WOW!  My favorite pasttime has always been books.  Books fill shelves and shelves of cases in my home.  I now have an ereader where I can shelf my books and carry the in my purse.  With all of this change and more on the way as we rapidly grow and improve our world, my mind is baffled at what can possibly happen next 10 years. The world will be a different place for my children, and will change even more for my grandchildren. INCREDIBLE!

My mind is spinning while reflecting on this video.  My teaching must follow the trend so that the content of my lesons remain relevant to my students.  Teaching today’s 21st century student is challenging because our content changes along with the delivery.  Some of us are getting used to using email on a regular basis, but now our students are using twitter and facebook instead.  Educators must keep up.  Our job is to prepare our youth for a successful future.  We must learn to adapt so that our students can adapt easily to the changes in technology, business, and living that they face in their future.

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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


Teaching and Technology

The video “Teaching in the 21st Century” created by Mathepediea is an excellent challenge to teachers to embrace technology.  We must use our content and teach them how to find, process, synthesize, and create using digital tools.  Why? Simply because technology leads our world today.

I found the contrast made between entertainment and engagement interesting.  Some teachers view the use of technology as just fun or entertainment.  I had a colleague observe my class producing vocabulary commercials using FLIP technology. She smiled and said, “That’s cute, but make sure they are learning and not just having fun.”  My students were not just being entertained, they were being engaged.  I would love to take that one part of the media presentation and post it in my classroom.

This video has given me new motivation to integrate more student generated creations using digital tools.  I had already made this a goal for the new school year in my mind.  The video helped me take it a step futher and define how often.  Perhaps with every unit?   I hope I can “byte” that off!

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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


NETS-T Standard 5 Reflection

Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers:

a. participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.
b. exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others.
c. evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.
d. contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community.

Standard 5 is a standard that challenges educators in our leadership.  We should go above the minimal and engage ourselves in technology even if it is unknown or scary.  Once we find ourselves comfortable utilizing technology, we should share what we know with others in our school, our district, and our PLNs online. The best way to get our students to become lifelong learners is to model it.  Learning, sharing, and collaborating is an excellent example of our own learning curve beyond the classroom.

I have begun to explore this standard this year a little more. I have participated in online webinars geared for teachers and I have created a professional blog while following other blogs.  I also try to comment on the blogs that really get my attention.  I will sometimes post it on my Facebook.   The last two years, I have attended the Upstate Technology Conference gaining many resources and contacts.  This past summer, I presented at the technology conference for the first time.

While I have successfully started exploring my professional online community and collaborating with them and with my local colleagues, I would love to carve time out for building my online presence a bit more.  I need to learn how to explore inviting blog topics that would draw readers and their comments.  Another tool that I could learn to use more efficiently is Twitter. I find it amazing at how many hits and comments I get when I take the time to comment on others blogs.  I hope I find a niche in time and personality online as I work to meet this standard.

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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


On Being Noble

Vicki Davis has given teachers a significant challenge to educators in her post called “Hey- I’m not messing up– I’m Learning” on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.  She is inspirational as she reminds all educators that we are noble people and we must act like it even in the face of finger pointing, cynics, and difficult situations.

I found the concept of being a noble person as a teacher interesting.  I also found it interesting that Vicki found it important to discourage the nay-sayers in education.  She must feel as I do.  I believe that many teachers spend a good bit of time complaining and unfortunately it has given public education a poor public opinion of what is actually happening in the classroom.  There are some wonderful thing taking place from some noble teachers in the face of some adverse circumstances.

I was able to relate to the article and felt that I was one of the people she referred to when she says,  ” we let those derelicts who should be fired hang on and sap the lifeblood and productivity out of our organization and we fire the trailblazer for the one mistake not realizing that person is a ‘go getter’ and one who really gets things done.”  Now, I have never been fired or even close to it.  However,  I do know what it is like to be in a position of needing to explain my thoughts and actions frequently because I don’t mind taking risks in order to find new and improved methods of teaching.

It is my conclusion that like Vicki, we as teachers must continue to hold our heads up high and focus on what we do because it is in our hearts and not in our pocketbooks.  Hopefully as we continue to press positively forward, teachers will be esteemed for their contributions to society as a blessing instead of a nuisance.


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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Uncategorized



Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:

a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.
b. address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources.
c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.

Standard 4 is about promoting digital citizenship.  As a professional, educators must consider legal and ethical use when resourcing technology.  Acknowledging copyrigt laws and understanding internet safety is of importance. Educators must also be willing to model online etiquette and also be aware that digital responsiblity goes far beyond the classroom and can lead to various implications if not exercized.

Personally, I try to always model responsibility and safety when using social media.  I never include posts, comments, or pictures that may leave a question in someone’s mind that might lurk for me.  However, recently, I was reminded that even in my professional online community  more eyes are watching than I realize.  When posting professional opinions on blogs, it is important to consider wording because colleagues near and far may read.

Improvements that I need to consider definitely fall into documenting sites, media, articles appropriately online.  I try to hyperlink all resources on my website and blogs that I resource, but I don’t always document every picture that I may find that I want to use in a document.  I am aware of free clip art sites and national archives that I use frequently and legally, but sometimes when I find something on the spur of the moment, this can fall through the cracks when I am working.

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Uncategorized