Futures of Education

I found the discussion on Thin Clients and Blade PCs very interesting. These terms were totally new to me. Thin clients are hardware terminals without any software or hard drive. One cord connects to the server for everything. These tools are energy saving, reliable, and simple. They offer a centralized approach for using many computers. The server is the only place you can install software. Students can log into any desktop and get their desktop, files and software.  Administrators only have to maintain the server. Thin clients can be easily replaced and the user can be up and running again in no time.

The Thin Client has no moving parts, so it is solid and has the latest open source software. Blades are kept compactly in the tower in the data center. They can be switched automatically, if there is a problem. There are two connections. One connection is between the user and the blade which recognizes the user, and one between the data and network storage. If there is an error, the user can shift to another blade and log-in. This sounds like a cost saving measure and so I think eventually it would be implemented in many schools. I know the district that I work in is forecasting budget cutbacks again for next year, so I am sure that technology will still be upgraded but with great care and thought to the shelf life.

The topic of virtualization is another that was new to me. I hadn’t heard of virtual machines, but the idea sounds good. I have had to take in my laptop and my kid’s laptops many times for viruses. I also thought the term sandboxing of a rogue element was interesting. My understanding of virtualization is that there are multiple operating systems on one machine. It is easier to move files and new hardware and old don’t have to match. There is no down time or data loss. There are fewer physical servers. Again, this sounds like a cost saving and improved management move, so I think this makes sense.

Gesture-based Learning involves using the Kinect ability of gaming software first utilized on the Xbox 360, in education applications. There could be many possible applications and Johnny Kissco at www.KinectEducation.com is one teacher/entrepreneur that is working on it. When he talked about moving things on the screen with hand gestures, I could see this being used in special education settings where some kids might have difficulty with keyboard commands. I was showing the video to my highschooler and she showed me a website where you can use your webcam to play games. It is called http://iviewgames.com. I don’t know if these two technologies are related, but I could see many applications being developed with this. I think as with any technology, if it is made efficient and user-friendly, then teachers and administrators will adopt it.

Learning analytics or big data sounds like it would be helpful. Educators are always hearing about data-driven instruction. This sounds like an extension of this idea using technology. I do like Steve Schoettler’s idea of looking at the whole learner and including multiple intelligences, personality characteristics, cognitive abilities, and family background. I would want to be cautious about not using this information in a rigid way or as the only data that is collected on students.I would also want to be sure that students weren’t labeled with this technology. As each interaction between a reader and a text is different, so I think each interaction with learning materials can be different. I would use these analytics as a guide, but not as an exclusion of certain learning materials. I think we are always going to need a teacher there to interpret the results and make the final decision about what types of learning particular students could benefit from.

I would envision a future classroom where students are more mobile if we are able to use this Kinect technology. It would be another option for getting kids more involved with what they are learning. I think it would be very good with kinesthetic learners. I also see the use of more Augmented Reality models to bring more dimension and interest to many topics.


As far as how soon we will see this technology in the classroom, it is hard for me to say. There are districts that are struggling to keep the resources that they have, so adding on technologies will take more grant writing and more support by the taxpayers. New technologies are great, but as the iste.nets Essential Conditions document tells us there is an infrastructure that needs to be in place and it needs to be funded as well as the hardware.

iste.nets Essential Conditions

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Video Resources

  • Iditarod


The 2013 Iditarod began on March 2. It has been called the Last Great Race. The main website lists mushers who are racing, their biographical background, and updates their status each day. The link above provides many video updates on things that are happening in the race. This is a great chance for students to pick a musher and follow their progress in the race. They can keep a log updating progress each day. They can note which checkpoint their musher is at, how many dogs they currently have, and the high and low temperatures at their checkpoint. They can also keep track on a map. The videos create a lot of excitement, because students feel that they get to know the mushers, the preparation for the race, the hardships of the race, and the conclusion. They can also study the historical background for the race and there have been many books written about the Iditarod. NETS*S 1a.b.d. – Students create a biography using the Iditarod.com website and videos to gather background on their musher. They can also forecast possible race outcomes on a daily basis. 3a-d. Students use the website and videos to gather information and record data. 4b-c. Students plan and manage activities to complete a project and analyze data – temps, ages of mushers, number of dogs, years of experience etc. This resource is useful and relevant to me because I am working with it in a fourth-grade classroom right now. It has everyone excited. Unlike other sports, most kids seem to connect with this race and the prospect of cheering on their favorite musher. It also allows them to work on completing a biography.

  • Getting to Know Videos


These getting to know videos are a good resource for giving kids a visual learning tool to learn about artists and history. I have seen this used in particular around President’s Day. Students can watch these videos in conjunction with hearing good literature about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John Adams. The video clips are actually just promotion for longer full-length DVD’s, but are great for younger audiences. They give kids a second exposure to some of the facts that they have just read about in a fun, engaging way. Older students might even be able to use them as a model, and complete a storyboard using Comic Life or another similar resource for a video about another president of their choosing. This could also be done for studying artists, especially if you don’t have an art program at your school anymore. After storyboarding, students could use iMovie or Animoto to create a video on their president. NETS*S 1.Creativity and Innovation – Students create an original video based on a model. 2. Communication and Collaboration – Students share their video with classmates or complete it as a group project. 3. Research and Information – Students would use these videos as a model of what type of information they need to know about their chosen president. 4. They would need to plan and manage to complete their project. 5. Digital Citizenship – they would have to have a good attitude towards internet information gathering and using video making tools. I found this to be an interesting and relevant tool as it is being used by a young teacher in the school I work at and seems to capture the students’ attention. They are picking things out from the video that we have read about during read aloud time.

  • Watch Know Learn


This website has many educational videos that have been presorted by an educational panel. I found in particular many science videos that could be used to bring topics to life for young students.  For example, the video on parts of a plant at this link:


could be used as a learning video or a mentor video. Students could use it to make their own video about how certain plants grow. The video could be used to point out features of non-fiction information sharing such as diagrams and captioning. They could make their own video using the StoryKit app for iPads and then share it with fellow classmates, or with a buddy class. NETS*S 1. Creating an original video product to express themselves and 2. Communicate with their class or another class using a variety of media and formats. 3. Research – they would need to research their plant on the internet and locate information on where, and how it grows as well as its parts. 4. They would have to think critically about what information to share as a part of their project. I think this is relevant, because it is another good example of videos that can be used with primary students. The videos are short and understandable.

  • Bringing Economic Vocabulary to Life Through Video Posters


This lesson plan is hosted by the website ReadWriteThink.org. I stumbled upon it when looking for resources for involving students in making video projects. I really liked the way that this lesson incorporated so many resources. It would be a lesson plan that you could really tailor to your class needs. There are links to additional resources on the website that can be used for this lesson and links outside of the site as well. Starting education on economic responsibility at a young age has been more in the news lately, and I thought this lesson is a way to do that and bring dull vocabulary to life. I hadn’t heard of video posters and would be anxious to try this in a future classroom. In this lesson plan, students culminate in session three by making a video poster using Glogster or Powerpoint with embedded video. There is even a link to a video tutorial on how to use Glogster:


NETS*S 1. Students are using creativity to make an original video poster. 2. This could be a collaborative project and definitely would be one to communicate to an audience. 4. After literature and role-playing activities with economics vocabulary, they are going to use critical thinking and decision making to complete their video poster. 5. They will have to demonstrate a good attitude towards technology and 6. Use technology effectively.

  • New Literacies for 21st – Century Writing


I decided to include this article as a resource artifact, because I think it is a good example of using new technologies in a writer’s workshop setting. The article focuses on a third-grade classroom which has used traditional methods for collecting writing ideas in a notebook, learned craft lessons through mentor texts, and now embarks on a 5 step process:

Step 1: Planning – Story mapping using graphic organizers

Step 2: Developing Stories through Recorded Oral Rehearsal

*Reduce cognitive load of making story into written text

**Photo Booth, Tune Talk Stereo, or Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

Step 3: Listening, Critically Thinking, and Conferring

Step 2 spontaneously became collaborative with a partner

Step 4: Creating Storyboards

A written graphic organizer with a sketch box, narration box for what would become voiceover, and a media list. The media list was a checklist of possible visuals that would replace their  sketches – Tux Paint, photo, scanned drawing, video, or recorded song.

Step 5: Producing Digital Stories

iMovie, PhotoStory, or Windows Live Movie Maker

NETS*S 1. Students are using their creativity and innovation with technology to produce original works. 2. They specifically collaborate with peers in Step 3 of their process and communicate their final product to peers and family. 4. They use digital movie making software to complete their project which involves, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. 5. They have to show a good attitude to use the digital tools and 6. Understand technology and troubleshoot. An example of this would be rerecording voiceovers to get the right fit and searching pictures to find the right image to bring their movie to life.

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Video K-5

Article: Rethinking Composing in a Digital Age: Authoring Literate Identities Through                              Multimodal Storytelling

Authors:  Lalitha Vasudevan, Katherine Schultz, and Jennifer Bateman

Journal:  Written Communication (2010) 27(4), 442-468.

This is an ethnographic study of a multimodal storytelling project in a fifth-grade urban public school classroom in a multiracial and multinational school. It is a collaborative effort of two researchers, a community artist, Ms. Bateman, and a classroom teacher, Amelia Coleman. The study used a series of interrelated projects during the school year to fold together the teacher’s curricular plan, the district curriculum, and a growing variety of modalities for gathering visual and audio artifacts from the community. Audio and video recorders were used along with iMovie video editing software to participate in a multimodal storytelling project.

The study authors used interpretive methods to gather data and then analyzed this data to bring out patterns and themes. From this analysis, case studies of the composing processes of two students were highlighted in this article. These case studies expand on two different authorial stances. The first key point in this article is that by learning new ways of composing, students take on new literate identities, or authorial stances, in their classroom community.

In the first case study, Michael takes his small group on a neighborhood walk which includes a tour of his apartment. He photographs his room, basketball trophies, front steps and parents to use later in his iMovie. Most of the photos for Michael’s culminating video are gathered from outside school. They come from his funds of knowledge outside of the school walls. This video project allows him to make a connection between home and school in a positive and engaged way. NETS*S 1a. & b. Creativity and Innovation – Michael creates an original video to express a home and school connection. 2b. – He is communicating using a variety of formats. 4b. He is planning his activities to complete a project. 5b. The technology specifically encourages a positive attitude, which he has not always had towards school work. 6. Technology Operations – he has to place photos and audio into the software platform of iMovie.

In the second case study, the authors highlight how, Saima, a shy recent immigrant from Bangladesh completed written assignments often in a compliant, but disconnected way. However, when she worked on the “Buildings Speak” project and later projects using multiple modalities she was able to tell a more personal story and have a louder voice in the classroom community. With each project, she added details, including her voice and traditional Bengali music. NETS*S 1a. & b. Saima uses her existing knowledge of her home country to create an original work of self-expression complete with narration and music. 2b. She is able to appeal to a wider audience with text, pictures, narration and the video format. 4b. She plans, manages and completes her project to share with the class. 5b. She has a good attitude towards technology, and 6a. understands and uses iMovie.

Michael’s authorial stance became one of an engaged learner who could bring important aspects of his home life into his school writing. He became less recognized for restlessness and resistance and more for learning software quickly and helping others to learn. Saima shared a larger voice with her classmates than she previously had on paper.

The second key point made in the article is that of circulating literacy practices and increased modes of participation and engagement. In a nutshell, students should be able to use technology in the classroom that they often use at home. The authors make the point that classroom literacy can be narrowed due to the constraints of high stakes testing and mandated curriculum. However, multimodal projects including the making of personal narrative videos bring new voice and authorial stance to every learner. This makes a further connection between home and school life.

I found this article to be interesting and relevant to me, because students are often asked to write personal narratives. I have seen written works, artifacts from home, parent and child completed timelines with photos. This article presented some expanded ways of making a personal narrative. I think it would be very motivating for students to make a video which includes photos of things from their home that they may not be able to bring to school. Also, the addition of their voice lends a personal quality to their story. I think this type of project would allow students to share themselves with their classmates in positive and personal way, thus expanding their role in their classroom community.

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Video in the K-5 Classroom

Article: From Sharing Time to Showtime! Valuing Diverse Venues for Storytelling in               Technology-Rich Classrooms

Author: Paige D. Ware, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Literacy and Language Acquisition, SMU

Journal: Language Arts, 84 (1), Sept. 2006, pp. 45-54.

The author does a case-study of two nine-year old children and their reaction to the multi-modal resources available to them in their quest to be storytellers. This case study takes place in a low-income community in a large northern California urban area. The children were part of a group of kids in a technology-rich summer literacy class called (DUSTY), Digital Underground Storytelling for Youth. They tell stories and have the option to create multimodal movies.  The two students both enjoy story-telling, but have different perspectives on using technology as a part of their story-telling experience.

The students in this program had access to laptop computers, internet, scanners, digital cameras, digital recorders and a voice capture studio. They created handwritten stories and then could add images, music, movement, and voiceover. The author found that most of the stories taken to the multimodal level were those that were of high interest or performance tellability, as opposed to those of everyday tellability. She cautions us, as educators, not to place value judgments on whether stories are single or multiple authored, or on whether they are about high-interest or everyday subjects.

In the first case study, Inma is a student who is very much at home with converting her written story into video (NETS*S 1. Creativity and Innovation).  She is confident in her abilities as a single storyteller. She often helps her peers and volunteer college students with the software programs (NETS*S 6. Technology Operations and Concepts) and troubleshooting.  “When asked to think about how a multimodal story might change her written story, she focused on the need to use images thoughtfully and to record her voice with emotion and intonation (Ware, 2006)” (NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making).  She spends time on each image, using Photoshop to add details and text.  Inma demonstrates NETS*S 5. Digital Citizenship, every time she carefully crafts her written story into a video from which she wants her peers to pick up interesting details. She also helps her peers with technology in an encouraging way.

In the second case study, Miguel is a student who prefers sharing  tellership of the story with his peers. When his teacher encourages him to add details, or revise, he instead enlists his peers to contribute to the story verbally. Possibly because of his limited exposure to computers, or his preference for reading, he is more comfortable letting the volunteer put together his video, while he continues to tell stories. His stories are often about everyday topics for which he had a variety of ways to hold his audience’s attention. He is typical of the type of student who might present a challenge for educators incorporating video making into the literacy curriculum.

Though I had hoped, and still do, to find more articles on the use of video by teachers and students, I felt that this article was worth reading.  I found it useful, interesting and relevant to consider how different students might react to the use of technology. We (educators) often assume that students will gravitate to technology, but this is not always the case. When students are hesitant with technology, it is our job to investigate why this may be happening. (NETS*T 2c. Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources. ) We may need to simply do more modeling (NETS*T 3d.) and promotion (NETS*T 4b. Address diverse needs by using learner-centered strategies).  We may need to tweak the video project, by giving it more of a collaborative flavor for the student who prefers this to solo video projects. Personally, I think I would have students do a technology inventory, just like I would have them do a reading inventory.  I would have them reflect on questions about technology, their interactions with it and feelings about it, so that I could prepare lessons which would take these preferences into account.

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Resource Collection for Digital Project Based Learning

This website gives excellent information on using iMovie (Apple movie software) for making storytelling projects including biographies and a creative, personal project on each student’s special place. This lesson plan also gives teacher tips on using the iMovie software, timeline information, logistics, how to involve parents, and initial structuring for the lesson. NETS*S 1. Creativity and Innovation is addressed with this project as students create a new, original work as a means of personal or group expression depending on the project. It could also meet NETS 2. Communication and Collaboration if students are working on a project to which they all contribute. The author of the lesson plan includes an example of a class project done on Martin Luther King Jr. NETS*S 4b. is also addressed when students plan and manage their activities to complete their project. The author of the lesson plan noticed a big improvement in the attitude towards writing that I think would transfer to the digital environment NETS*S 5. Students would also be using NETS*S 6. To learn the software, and troubleshoot. I found this to be a very practical way to apply the project based learning approach in the classroom. It would be a useful way to build enthusiasm for writing. I could also see using this in the classroom to build enthusiasm for social studies topics.  It is also another example of using movie making software; similar to the article I reviewed last week, in which they used Microsoft’s Photo Story software.

This pamphlet is connected to the Oregon State University extension website. I found it interesting and valuable, because many of the project based learning examples I was finding on the internet had to do with planting a garden. Though this is a pamphlet about plants and not vegetables, I could definitely see doing a project on either. Sustainability and buying local farm to table products are increasingly important topics.  I would use this on-line pamphlet to have groups of students pick out a native plant in each of the categories to research and present to the class. I would also have students research why we want to plant native plants and not invasive species. They could also research local nurseries and see if their websites list native plants, cost etc. Students would be working on NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making, because they would have to identify native plants, discuss the problems caused by invasive plant species and make decisions about the right growing conditions for these plants, such as how much space, light, and the soil conditions they would need.

I found this article and video to give an excellent example of how to use technology (smart boards, internet) to add depth to project based learning with very young learners. This type of example was hard to find, as most of the resources for PBL are for intermediate and above learners. The article and video give a couple of common examples for project based learning with this age group: animal research and transportation research. They were also studying geography. NETS*S 3. &4. would be addressed with this type of project as the students would be researching actively with the teacher to locate and analyze information and to plan activities to complete a project. The teacher is modeling digital citizenship NETS*T 4. and providing an environment that is rich in technology (NETS*T 2b.). I also found it interesting that this school put some thought into how to incorporate the smart boards into a very young classroom. The boards are at a level where both the teacher and the students can interact with them easily. Many schools now have smart boards with internet access, so I would use this to do active class research on their driving questions. I would either take screen shots of information I wanted to review with them the next day and/or put down basic research notes on chart paper as you are researching with the class. I would then brainstorm with the kids about what could be a culminating experience for the project that they could share with each other, the school, and their parents.

This site gives a different wonder topic each day as well as access to archived wonders. There is information to research and discuss, often accompanied by learning videos. There are also links for further research. This is an excellent tool for project based learning. It could be used as a resource for a whole class project or for small group projects. Many of the topics are tied to STEM learning. It also gives links to many other sites which are helpful for math, language arts, science, social studies, and geography.  I would use this site to introduce the idea of project based learning. We all have wonders and here are a few great examples. Have you ever wondered that? What are your wonders? What wonders would you like to explore further?  This site could be used to address NETS*S 3. Research and 4. Critical Thinking. Let’s say for example you were discussing insects. You could assign groups to research different insects using this site and the additional links. The students could then decide how to present the information in their own words to the class. They might want to make their own videos using Vimeo or Animoto. They might draw the insect with a drawing program or by scanning in a drawing and captioning it.

This lesson plan on the ReadWriteThink.org website utilizes an on-line graphic organizer to help students do research for an animal study project. It also has links to Webquests on different animals and other links for further animal research as well. There are links to podcasts about authors of animal books. This would be a useful and interesting site to use for an animal research project. NETS*S 3. Research and NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking would be addressed as students would research the animal they picked out and plan their project. I would challenge students to think about “What is this animal designed to do?” as their driving question. I think students could also add a short video or podcast of their information to the project. Students would essentially become experts on their chosen animal.  The following video shows a good example of research on an animal, as well as other topics.


Here is a link below to the website resource mentioned in the video.


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Project Based Learning/ K-5

Article: A Project-based Digital Storytelling Approach for Improving Students’ Learning Motivation, Problem-Solving Competence and Learning Achievement

Authors: Chun-Ming Hung, Gwo-Jen Hwang, and Iwen Huang

Journal: Educational Technology & Society, 15 (4), 368-379

In this study, the authors proposed to investigate the learning differences between a traditional project-based learning activity and a project-based digital storytelling approach. The study was conducted with fifth-graders in Taiwan over a period of sixteen weeks. The students studied a science course which was called “I am the energy-saving master”. Five learning tasks were focused on including: the factors of global warming, how to save energy, comparing the energy consumption of household appliances, energy-saving actions, and my house saves the most energy. The control group did general project-based learning, while the experimental group did project-based learning using digital storytelling. Meta-Analyzer, a web-based information searching system, was used by the students in the experimental group to find data which answered teacher provided questions. Microsoft’s Photo Story was used to make movies for illustrating the data that was collected for the project.

Why did the authors favor project-based learning in the first place? Probably because this approach involves students in higher order thinking skills in the modified version of Bloom’s Taxonomy. It also fosters a collaborative, cooperative, situated and social learning event. The authors wanted to take this approach further though, by increasing motivation, and scaffolding the students’ organization of information.

After using the Meta-Analyzer to bring in data and answer questions about the content, students in the experimental group had to take pictures in their home of energy-saving measures. They then used Microsoft Photo Story to drag, and arrange photos. The students in the control group did use internet research, but placed their data collection into a PowerPoint file.

The experimental group scored higher on a science learning motivation post-test. They also scored higher on a problem-solving competence posttest. Lastly, they scored higher on a science learning achievement posttest. These results were found for both genders.

NETS*S 1. Creativity and Innovation is addressed by the use of the moviemaking software. Prior to creating their movie, the students must use the existing knowledge to create picture/scenes which would depict energy savings. NETS*S 2. Communication and Collaboration is involved in the information gathering that the students are working on with their peers and the movie making project team. NETS*S 3. Research and Information Fluency is addressed with the use of the Meta-Analyzer. NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making goals are met with the movie making project as the students have to decide what pictures to use, how to caption them, take into consideration all viewpoints in their group and complete their project. NETS*S 5. Digital Citizenship and 6. Technology Operations and Concepts are also an integral part of this project. Students have to have a good attitude about using the technology involved. Creativity is met in this project as students are tackling an authentic real world concern using collaborative tools.

NETS*T 2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments are addressed with the digital tools that are used and the fact that students are directing their own learning. NETS*T 3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning is met when the teachers show the students how to use the meta-analyzer tool to support their research and how to express their learning via the final film project. NETS*T 4. The teachers are also modeling digital citizenship by showing the appropriate use of the research tool and the movie making software.

I found this article to be of interest because of the many NETS goals that it does cover. I think it would be useful with a fourth or fifth-grade class and up. I could not locate the particular meta-analyzer that was used in the study and this was disappointing. I am hoping that through my resource search, I will find a similar tool. I think this type of project could be done with many science topics and some social studies topics. I think it would be fun to have students research historical community information and then take pictures for a movie about community landmarks or sharing cultural customs. Science topics might include city water treatment or sustainability efforts. It would maybe even lend itself to a math project such as finding geometric shapes in the school or community, or finding examples of where estimation or measurement is used.

If I were to use it with a class, I would do a lot of pre-planning to insure that I could model the use of the research tool with the class and the movie making software. This would be a nice project to share at an all school assembly. It might also be nice to have these movies playing while parents wait for conference time. Project-based learning with the added elements of newer technology is shown to be motivating to students and would be impressive to share with parents as well.

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Project-Based Learning

Article Title: Project-Based Community Language Learning: Three Narratives of Multilingual Story-telling in Early Childhood Education

Authors: Lotherington, H., Holland, M., Sotoudeh, S., Zentena, M.

Journal: The Canadian Modern Language Review, (2008), 65, 1 (Sept.) 125-145.

This collaborative action research takes place in a public school in Toronto, Canada. The three teachers involved and the researcher are committed to perfecting pedagogies which support emerging literacy, and value the many home languages that their students bring to their classrooms. Each teacher also tries to incorporate digital technologies into their multi-modal, multilingual, early childhood, story-telling projects. I chose this article, because it fit into the theme of project-based learning, and it intrigued me with its visual documentation of multimodal teaching techniques.

The first teacher describes how she uses the classic story of The Three Little Pigs to work on curriculum standards in art, math, language, social studies, science, and technology in a first-grade classroom. The story was retold in different home languages using parent volunteers. The students use the story as a mentor text to create their own original stories. They create sequenced, plasticine storyboards in a box. The teacher then photographs each sequence, and puts them into an iMovie. The students then narrate their movies in a chosen language. NETS*S 1a. & 1b. are addressed with this project as the students use existing knowledge of their home spoken language to generate a new product/process as a means of personal expression. They create an original digital movie with the help of their teacher. NETS*S 2b. & 2c. are addressed by the sharing of the iMovies with the class, and the fact that the class discusses cultural differences before creating their iMovie’s. NETS*S 4b. is attended to when students manage their storyboard sequencing to complete their projects. NETS*T addressed includes those which focus on creative inventiveness, incorporating digital tools, and participating in a local learning community through the application of technology.

The second teacher uses an Aesop fable as a mentor text for students to create their own Kid Pix stories in small groups in a kindergarten classroom. Each group’s creation is published using either a Kid Pix slide show with audio attachments of students telling their story, or a PowerPoint slide show with text boxes. Parent volunteers and Educational Assistants help translate the stories into three different languages. The NETS*S and NETS*T discussed in the above classroom setting would also be addressed with this classroom project.

The third teacher uses the story of The Little Red Hen to create a multilingual word wall. A digital camera and camcorder are used to document classroom activities which included building the story in many languages, and cooking the foods presented in the story. Parents were encouraged to help translate the story, and view the pictures and video of the culminating activities. The study also discusses the use of on-line translators in the absence of community volunteers.

I found this article of interest, because almost every school has some children who speak other languages at home. The teachers in this study used many modalities to encourage emerging literacy including technology. They also used technology to produce something of value for the parents and to honor the multilingual nature of their community. The school district in which I work has many students learning English as a second language. We have two dual immersion schools which focus on English and Spanish, and many Korean students at the school where I work. This study presents an example of honoring home languages, and incorporating them using technology. Whether simply documenting with digital photos and video, or creating stories and movies with software, the goal is the same. It is important to share projects with parents, and the community. It is also important to honor and respect the cultures, and languages that our students bring to the classroom. I would be willing to try any of these uses of technology.

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Mobile Learning K-3 Resources


This is a great, simple example of how to use mobile learning in kindergarten.  In this example the students used their iPod touches to watch short videos on American symbols. The teacher then created a template which she used to scaffold the students’ drawings of the symbols and their research of three important facts. This apptivity is hosted by the website by the same name, apptivities.  The note taking could also be done digitally on an app such as Simple Mind. With this lesson plan, students work on NETS*S 3b. Locating and analyzing information from a variety of sources. They also are working on NETS*S 5b. by having a positive attitude towards using technology for learning. The teacher is addressing NETS*T2a. by adapting a learning experience (note-taking) with digital tools (videos on iPod touch) to promote learning. NETS*T 2b-d are also addressed as the teacher is giving students a technology-enriched learning environment, customizing it, and using formative assessment to determine if they need to review the information.  I found this interesting because it is an example of using technology at a young age, but in an age-appropriate way.  If I were teaching kindergarten, I think this would be a great way to bring in technology and teach a life-long skill.


This lesson plan shows a use for a class set of iPads/iPods within a math center structure.  It could be used in second or third grade.  The students rotate every fifteen minutes to one of four apps to practice basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The apps used are Flash Racer, Mental Math, Twentyfour and Math Kingdom.  NETS*S 2a. is addressed by having the students working in small groups. NETS*S 6b&d are addressed by the productive use of new technology to practice basic math facts in a different way. NETS*T 2a. is addressed by the teacher’s use of a digital tool to design a learning experience that will promote student learning.  If I were teaching second or third grade, I think this would be an engaging way to use technology to make a rote task a little more engaging.


This lesson plan shows an innovative way to pair an iPad literature app, (Lit2go), with an app (Puppet Pals), that students can use to respond to a story. Students work together in groups addressing NETS*S 2a. by collaborating with an iPad to retell a story or using the story as a mentor text. They are also addressing NETS*S 4b. by following the teacher’s modeling of Puppet Pals to plan and complete their own project. NETS*T 1c. & 2a. are addressed when the teacher uses these apps as a collaborative tool to clarify their concepts from the story and incorporates digital tools to promote student learning and creativity.  I think this is an interesting way to assess a group’s comprehension of a story by analyzing their retelling of the story.  I have seen this done with a paper graphic organizer, but this is an engaging digital format.


This is a great example of second-graders responding to a literature set of I Spy books by creating their own using technology.  Students each bring in 10 small items, lay them out on colored construction paper and take pictures. They upload the pictures, their writing and voice to Voice Thread. The students also uploaded a self-portrait avatar made with Kidpix software.  Other students and the teacher can respond with text or audio.  NETS*S 1a. & b. is addressed by the fact that the students use their knowledge of the I Spy books to create their own, original I Spy.  NETS*S 2a. is addressed in that students interact, collaborate, and publish with their peers.  NETS*S 4b. is addressed when they plan and manage their activities to complete a project. They have to take digital photos, upload, add text and narrate. NETS*T 2a. – c.  are addressed by the teacher as they have designed an activity which uses digital tools, have a technology enriched environment in which students can pursue individual projects and customize it. Voice Thread seems like it really lends itself to individual creation, and collaboration as well.


In this lesson plan the teacher guides students through the process of creating a collage with the iPad app called Pic Collage. In this example, students are creating a collage of a butterfly’s life cycle. This app could be used to create a collage for just about any concept in any discipline.  I found this to be a very personalized, and thus engaging way to use an iPad or iPod in the classroom. It is a great way for students to create a visual example of their learning and understanding of a concept.  This example comes from the blogsite of LangwitchesNETS*S 1a. & b.  are addressed by the students applying what they have learned from other presentations of information ( for example, a Natl. Geographic video) to generate an original work of their own expression.  NETS*S 3b. & 4. Are addressed when students locate and organize digital photos to complete their project. NETS*T  1a., 2a. & 2c. are addressed as the teacher supports and models student creativity using digital tools to personalize their learning experience. Each student ends up with a creative product of their learning for their portfolio.  I think this would be really neat to try, and would certainly be more meaningful for students than a copy of a life cycle just set before them.


This blog post details a free website called Croak.it, which can be used to record 30 second audio clips, which can then be uploaded to a website and linked to a QR code.  The teacher uses this to differentiate instruction for individual students who may need an audio support before an assessment. She also uses it to have students do short book reviews. These book reviews are then linked to a QR code, which is placed on the book. Students can listen to the audio book review by their classmates and decide if it is a book they would like to read during independent reading time. NETS*S 1a. & b. are addressed as the student applies existing knowledge of a book they have read to generate a new product in the book  review.  It is a personal expression of their thoughts on the book that can be listened to by their peers. NETS 2 a. & b. are addressed as students collaborate and communicate with peers through their book reviews.  NETS*T 2a.- c. are addressed as the teacher uses a digital tool to help student manage their own learning in a personalized way.  I think this would be another great way to add personalized book reviews to the classroom.  I would also use Animoto  to create video book trailers.


This website called Teacher Seeds has many helpful links for technology. One that I experimented with and hope that the author will keep adding to is the Augmented Reality link I have included here. It was really easy to follow the steps and make this work. I tried out the math shapes. I think this would be particularly helpful since I have been in classrooms hunting around for those wooden shape models, which seem to disappear. I am sure they are expensive to purchase for classrooms as well. This is a way to make math, science, history and other lessons more engaging.  NETS*T 1a., 2a. – c.  are addressed with the modeling of this creative tool that enriches the learning environment and keys into spatial learning styles.

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K-3 Mobile Learning Article Review

Article Title: There’s an App for That: How Two Elementary Classrooms Used iPads to Enhance Student Learning and Achievement

Author: Corey McKenna

Journal: Education

Publication Date: 2012, 2(5): 136-142, published online at http://journal.sapub.org/edu

This study looked at the use of iPads in two classrooms in a small, Central California school district. One of the classrooms was a first grade, and one was a second/third grade blend. Both of the teachers participating in the study were first year teachers. Both teachers were enthusiastic about using the class set of iPads during some reading and math lessons. NETS*S 2a-d., 4a-d., and 5b., were addressed by these teachers as they incorporated digital tools, provided a technology-enriched environment, customized learning, modeled digital citizenship and demonstrated a vision of technology infusion at their school.  Some lessons were conducted with traditional methods, and some were conducted using the iPads. This study was of interest to me, because I work in elementary classrooms, and mostly primary classrooms. Our school has some iPads available for use through the learning center, but does not have classroom sets. I have used iPad applications with individual students, but was interested in reading about the results of using iPads with a whole class.

The authors noted a need for more research in this area of using iPad apps in the classroom to further develop a pedagogical framework for the use of this technology. The classrooms in this study were observed for a 3-month period. These digital natives were observed by their teachers, as noted in their observation logs, to have more engagement in the lessons which were taught using the iPad than with the traditionally taught lessons. I have also noticed this increase in engagement when using iPads with students. As noted in the study, and also in my personal experience, it doesn’t take long for students to learn their way around the apps. Both classes made gains in reading accuracy and speed. They also made significant gains on the three math standards that were assessed.

The teachers in the study spent a significant amount of time finding appropriate apps, loading them and synchronizing them. NETS*S 3a. is demonstrated by their transfer of knowledge in the teaching of reading and math to new technologies. In my experience, it does take time to find appropriate apps to use with students. The apps need to fit what you are trying to teach, who you are trying to teach, and how you are trying to teach. The teachers in the study had no staff development prior to using the iPads. In my personal experience, I have found the staff development to be uneven as well. IPads appear on the scene, but training on apps is often done on your own. Some staff have their own iPads at home to experiment with, but some don’t. Another issue that was noted in the study was the importance of having the infrastructure for wireless connectivity that is powerful enough to connect the whole class at one time. At the school in the study, connectivity was an issue. I have not found connectivity to be an issue at our school, but there is occasionally a problem with this. This would highlight the need to have backup plans for when internet connectivity might fail. I have found it important to have a good working relationship with the technology person at your school. This can decrease your frustration level significantly, by having someone to ask advice and get technical support from.

I found this study to be supportive of the use of iPads for whole class instruction and small group instruction in reading and math. This is of interest to me, because I think that iPads will become more prevalent in schools, as additional grants make them available. I did find the study lacking in the area of discussing the usability and productivity of particular apps. Indeed, the only app sited was the use of Ibooks for reading. I think that as I read more research in this area, I can be more articulate with parents about the importance of using these new mobile learning technologies and learn which apps are most useful.

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Week Four Article Review

K-3 Mobile Learning Category

Article Title: Examining the Influence of a Mobile Learning Intervention on Third Grade Math Achievement.

Authors: Kiger, D., Herro, D., and Prunty, D.

Journal: Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Publication Date: Volume 45, No. 1, 2012

A nine week mobile learning intervention (MLI) was administered to third-graders in addition to their Everyday Math curriculum. This research was done in a Midwestern elementary school in Wisconsin using four different third-grade classrooms. Two of the classrooms received the MLI and two of the classrooms had daily practice with “business as usual” techniques such as flashcards. All of the classrooms had teachers with over twelve years of experience. Two of the teachers had master’s degrees.

The MLI was imparted to students using iPod touch devices. The two teachers in the MLI classrooms did whole class modeling using a document camera and an iPod touch to introduce one application a day and then allowing ten minutes of practice time. Students were restricted to using only two apps during each practice session. Practice occurred daily. The apps which were introduced included the following: Multiplication Genius Lite, Mad Math Lite, Pop Math, Flash To Pass, Math Drills Lite, Math Tappers: Multiples, Multiplication Flashcard To Go, Brain Thaw, Math Magic, and Flow Math.

The two comparison classrooms practiced multiplication ten minutes a day using such things as flashcards, games, fact triangles, and number sequences.

Students were given a pre-intervention survey to determine their home technology environment. They were given a postintervention, paper and pencil, 100 item multiplication test. The goal is for students to achieve automaticity with x0, x1, x2, x5, and x10 multiplication facts and using strategies for finding other facts up to 10 x 10.

The article outlines the cost of purchasing the 24 iPod touch devices, the Sync cart, math apps and the technical and instructional support. The wireless mobile cart with an Airport Extreme wireless hub and laptop was used to store, charge, and sync the iPod touch devices. There are eight informational tables in the article. Table 1 analyses the total cost and per student cost of the MLI. Table 2 shows the study conditions for the MLI vs. the Comparison groups. Table 3 gives the pre-intervention student demographics and achievement. Table 4 gives student home technology environment information. Table 5 shows teacher characteristics and technology use. Table 6 shows control variables and their data source. Table 7 gives the influence of MLI participation on a postintervention multiplication test for total items correctly answered. Table 8 shows the influence of MLI participation on postintervention multiplication test for double-digit items.

Figure 1 gives a timeline for MLI intervention. Figure 2 shows the iPod touch devices and cart used in the MLI. Figure 3 depicts four of the math apps that were used for the MLI.

On average, MLI students answered more items correctly (M=54.5) on the postintervention multiplication test than the Comparison students (M=46.3). MLI students also answered a greater number of double-digit multiplication problems correctly compared to the comparison students. MLI is shown to be less expensive per student than one-to-one laptop programs. The article emphasizes the need for commitment and training of teachers and administrators as well as an onsite resource person for teacher support, device management and trouble shooting. The study was limited by the similar demographics of the students, the similar home technology use of students, and the similar experience of the teachers involved. It is also limited by the brief and ideal nature of the implementation. Further study would be needed in typical education settings.

I found this article interesting because last year I was working in a third-grade setting. Most of the math interventions were done with traditional math games, and flashcards for multiplication. A Smartboard was used for some whole group instruction and review. Concepts were presented to the whole class followed by small group instruction. The computer lab was also used occasionally for math instruction. This was usually done by directing students to certain software selections and specific skill practice. Though iPod touch devices are not available at every school, I found this article to give compelling results for using technology to practice math facts. I think students would find this type of practice preferable to flashcards, as it mirrors their real-life use of technology and most apps use a fun, game approach to learning. The use of iPod touch devices would also give students choice which increases their motivation to complete the practice. I currently use iPad math apps such as math magic with students who have special needs.

The following NETS were demonstrated by this study. NETS*S 3c. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks. I believe that this NETS standard is addressed because students are selecting a digital tool from a list of 10 possible in order to practice the specific task of gaining automaticity with their multiplication facts. NETS*S 5a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology. I believe this standard is addressed because students are shown “responsible use” of the iPod touch devices. The goals and settings of the apps are reviewed. The article gives a 12 point bulleted list of how responsible use of the technology was modeled.  NETS*S 6a. Understand and use technology systems. I believe this standard is achieved by the MLI because students learn 10 math apps and use them to increase their learning of multiplication facts. NETS*S 6b. Select and use applications effectively. Students accomplish this standard by selecting two apps per practice session, so that they do not waste time jumping between 10 different apps in a short amount of time. NETS*S 6d. Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies. The students in the MLI groups transfer the knowledge that they gain from their standard curriculum to the newly learned math applications.

NETS*T 2b. Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress. The students in the MLI groups eventually choose between 10 iPod math apps to practice their multiplication skills. NETS*T 2c. Students in the MLI classrooms were able to customize and personalize their learning activity using a digital tool. NETS*T 3a. Two of the contributing researchers to the study demonstrated a fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies by aligning the math apps that were selected with the curriculum, and standards that were already in place. They also considered the authenticity, user-friendliness and entertainment value of the apps. NETS*T 4a. &b. The MLI teachers modeled safe use of the iPod touch devices, and allowed all to use these learner-centered apps. NETS*T 5c. The researchers did a literature review of current research prior to their study and also made suggestions for further research.

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