All posts by Tech Savy Kinders

Teaching 21st Century Learners

For our current module, we were asked to define 21st-century learning skills and how we might use that definition in coaching. This is as my triggering questions and with ISTE Coaching Standard 1d “Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms” and ISTE Coaching Standard 2f “Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences” I wanted to know how we as coaches can help teachers implement 21st century learning skills with technology. 

To help answer this question I first needed to explore what is meant by 21st-century learning. P12 (Partnership for 21st Century Learning) developed a framework to help define what this learning looks like. According to P12, “today’s students face higher expectations in both school and the workforce, 21st Century Skills help to prepare students for what they will need to know and be able to do in school and college, at work and throughout all aspects of personal and civic life. Students can build these skills by applying them as they learn regular school subjects. And we know that pointing out these skills will actually increase students’ grasp of what they’re learning, as well their overall engagement in their own education”. 21st Century Skills are a set of academic building blocks—abilities and ways of thinking—that can help kids thrive as 21st-century citizens. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning identifies these skills (or the 4Cs as they are often called) as Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and Innovation.

Helping Teachers Implement

New 21st century learners are highly relational and demand quick access to new knowledge. More than that, they are capable of engaging in learning at a whole new level. With the world literally at their fingertips, today’s students need teachers and administrators to re-envision the role of technology in the classroom. As students develop the four C’s, we have discovered that effective application of these vital skills in a technology-infused life and workplace requires acquiring them in a technology-infused learning environment. This environment calls for two elements: We must increasingly put technology into the hands of students and must trust them with more progressive technology use.

Shifting Roles: Using 21st-century learning skills teachers should make the shift from being the focal point of the classroom with presentations using technology to students being the focal point as explorers and designers of their learning. Teachers should spend less time creating presentations and more time crafting powerful learning activities. According to NAESP article Technolgy Integration for the 21st Century Learner by Nancye Blair “they will find that material is covered with more depth and retention the first time around, saving them time and energy in the long run”. Allowing students to be explorers and designers shows that we as teachers believe in our students’ abilities.

Discovery and Exploration: In technology-infused discovery activities, Internet research, virtual manipulatives, and multimedia resources allow students to explore unanswered questions. Blair also stated, “discovery activities give students real-world, problem-solving experience and ownership over their learning, as well as allow them to bring their observations into the subsequent lesson, discussion, or creation activity as prior knowledge.”

Creation and Design: Creation activities provide students the ability to develop creativity and problem-solving skills by displaying their mastery in profound and meaningful ways. Through creation activities, students design products that make them active partners in constructing learning experiences in the classroom and beyond. In demonstrating their skills and knowledge, they become more confident in their own abilities and their own voices

What We Can Do As Coaches Conclusion

Knowing the information above we as coaches can help teachers implement these changes in their lessons. Informing teachers of what 21st century learning looks like in the classroom is a good first step in effectively implementing this skills for all learners. One of my colleagues in my cohort for our Master’s program wrote a great post about self-reflection for 21st learning skills for teachers or coaches to use (read her post here). All of the evaluation tools are great for teachers to see how they are currently implementing 21st-century learning skills. With the information gathered from self-reflections and from understanding how to integration technology into the classroom with the support from coaches will help teachers successfully teach 21st century learners.


Effective Collaboration

For this week’s module on Developing Coaching Skills, we looked at two standards from ISTE. The first was 1D from Visionary Leadership “Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms” and the second was 2f from Teaching, Learning, and Assessment “Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences”. With these standards and using the guiding question of what roles communication and collaboration play in successful coaching, I wanted to learn more about effective collaboration skills. This leads me to ask ” What are effective collaboration tips for successful peer coaching?”

According to Merriam-Webster, collaboration is “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor”. Knowing what collaboration is the first part of making it successful. In an article published on Scholastic by Kriscia Cabral “In collaborative working environments, teachers have the potential to create professional development schools, teacher study groups, teacher-researcher partnerships, professional learning communities, peer-coaching, collaborative problem-solving, and teacher-mentoring.” This statement brought me back to my original question of what are effective collaboration tips? Plus what can we do to create a collaborative working environment?

Creating a Collaborative Work Environment

Kriscia Cabral who wrote Strategies for Effective Collaboration developed some tips for teachers and coaches to create effective collaboration environments.

Creating a Working Agreement– This is created in a collaborative setting where every voice shares expectations and then as a team four to seven expectations are agreed upon. These agreements are powerful in that they are created as a group and created with the group in mind.  It reminds everyone all of what is expected of others and ourselves when meetings take place. Below is an example of what a working agreement might look like. This is what my Kindergarten team and I review each year.

Have an Agenda– Before starting a meeting, set an agenda that can realistically be followed. Again, have this posted on a whiteboard or poster paper. The agenda is a guide for the time you have together as a team. It is a visual reminder of what is planned for discussion and decision-making. The agenda also helps to keep the time spent together somewhat guided and on topic. The screenshot below is an example of an agenda. This is the agenda my team and I use each week for our meetings. To make it easy for all members to contribute topics or ideas it lives on our OneNote where we collaborate together.  Cabral stated in her article that her team uses a “parking lot” system to keep track of ideas and questions that they would like to discuss at any given point. These items might not be immediate issues but it’s a good way to keep track so those thoughts can be revisited.

Communicate– One curial part of successful collaboration is communication and how to communicate well.  Have trust in your team and be willing to share your thoughts often. Actively listen as colleagues share their ideas. Come up with a system that works for your team when it is time to make a consensus. One strategy from Cabral’s article is the “Fist to Five” strategy. Team members show a five all the way to a fist to show how strongly they feel on the given topic. This is a strategy that can be used among peers, as long as it has been agreed upon by the entire group.

Find Other Ways to Connect– There is so much to be said about nurturing strong relationships and how that helps us accomplish goals. If possible, plan a more social gathering with your colleagues. Try and connect outside of the workplace and gain an understanding of where others come from. Not only is it nice to get out and talk about something else besides work, but it also gives you and your colleagues an opportunity to build upon the already established relationship.


For effective collaboration to take place coaches and peers need to work together to build relationships and trust. This can take place by having open communication, norms, and agenda based around a topic the peer wants to work on.  This inspires peers to deepen their thinking.

Sustaining Technology After PD

With new technology rolling into schools constantly it can be easy for a teacher to become overwhelmed. As coaches, I think we can help teachers become more comfortable using technology. According to Standard 1d from ISTE coaches “Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms”. Looking deeper into this substandard I wanted to know strategies to help teachers feel less overwhelmed with new technology innovations.

The Struggles

With districts and schools being different across the nation there are different struggles teachers can have when implementing technology regardless of the grade level. Brendon Hyndman, a Senior Lecturer and Course Director at Charles Sturt University wrote the article “Ten Reasons teachers can struggle to use technology in the classroom” to help give an insight to what might be happening with technology use in the classroom. In the article, Hyndman stated the following ten reasons

  1. Introduced technology is not always preferred
  2. Differing device capabilities and instructions
  3. It’s easy for students to be distracted
  4. Technology can affect lesson time and flow
  5. Teachers need more professional development
  6. Not everyone has technology at home
  7. Teachers need to protect students
  8. Not all teachers “believe” in using technology
  9. Lack of adequate support, infrastructure, or time
  10. Tensions between students and teachers

While these struggles might not apply to every teacher its good for coaches to know that these struggles are happening. With this information, coaches can focus on ways to help alleviate these issues.

How Can Coaches Help Teachers

To bring education into the digital age, we must give teachers the skills they need to adapt their classrooms. And teachers can’t do it alone – they need district and state leaders to invest in meaningful professional development opportunities that let them explore new teaching practices, but what does solid professional development look like? A NWEA article by Hugh Fournier lists the following seven things to consider in teacher professional development.

  1. Align professional development to instructional goals. Armed with a good understanding of student learning goals, Jean says, “Look for synergies between assessment data, curricula, and other instructional resources.” When good information goes into a development program, good results will follow.
  2. Identify learning outcomes. While a good number of objectives will suit all teachers, there are certain teams that will need different goals and outcomes – intervention specialists, as an example. Depending on the learning outcomes needed for each team or group of teachers, different professional development needs may apply.
  3. Review existing professional development options. Many school districts likely have access to existing professional development tools. Are they right for your current needs or goals? That’s the key question that needs to be asked and discussed before settling on the professional development program that will bring the success your school is looking for.
  4. Give the gift of time. Good teacher professional development does not happen in one sitting (with or without a clown nose). It’s necessary to carve out time for teachers to meet regularly, so it’s important to dedicate time and resources accordingly.
  5. Make professional learning relevant. When designing or selecting your teacher professional development program, be sure to make sure that it can be applied in the classroom right away. It should possess insights and strategies that align with what teachers are doing in their daily classroom work.
  6. Measure success with metrics. By building evaluation metrics into the professional development program, teachers and staff will be able to measure the effectiveness of the program. In this way, adjustments can be made to ensure the overall success of the program.
  7. Keep staff engaged. Teachers and administrators need to be engaged throughout the program – during the collaboration time as well as in the classroom.

Tips For When PD is Over

After professional develop concludes teachers might still feel overwhelmed with all of the information they just received. One of my classmates mentioned that she has heard time and time again from teachers about PD and coaching is that they want tips, tools, and strategies that they can implement immediately without a ton of extra work.

Tips, tools, and strategies should be easily accessible to teachers. Paper handouts, a bulletin board, or an online site should be available. At my own district, all technology information including tips and tools is located in our staff KIT (Knowledgebase for Integrating Technology). On this site, teachers can find technical information about curriculum, integration, troubleshooting, etc. If there is ever a need for further assistance our helpdesk is just an email or phone call away.


Although professional development is a strong way to initiate technology for teachers hopefully, we can implement some tips, tools, and strategies to make the job of teaching less stressful. By working to ensure that teachers aren’t overwhelmed with technology integration we can have successful use in the classroom.



Fournier, Hugh. “7 Things to Consider in a #Teacher Professional Development Program | #Edchat #TeacherPD.” Teach. Learn. Grow., 11 July 2017,

Hyndman, Brendon. “Ten Reasons Teachers Can Struggle to Use Technology in the Classroom.” The Conversation, The Conversation, 24 Sept. 2018, (2017). ISTE Standards For Coaches. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2018].


Troubleshooting in Primary Grades

Before introducing my students to computers for the first time for small group rotations I fear that all of the devices will act up all at once causing me to leave my group to help those at the technology station. After reading ISTE Coaching Standard 3e “Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments.” I wanted to know what are ways primary students can troubleshoot technology on their own? By answering this question I am hoping to solve the problem of disrupted groups and frustrated students.

In my own classroom, most troubleshooting problems comes from students who click on an icon multiple times without waiting for the computer to load. This causes extreme frustration for the students and takes away from their learning. By teaching students basic troubleshooting skills, along with basic computer skills can help students work through their technology issues on their own. Leslie from Kinderworks developed 10 skills that can help Kindergarteners become successful when using technology. She listed the following by basic, medium, and advanced skill levels. I believe a great first step to helping students troubleshoot technology is by first teaching them basic skills when handling and operating devices.

In my own experience the most troubleshooting issues from from students minimizing a window and over clicking on an icon/button. With this list I think we can ease the frustrating part of operating technology devices in a primary grade.


  • The names for the parts of a computer
  • How to exit from a window
  • How to move a mouse accurately
  • How to hold the mouse still when clicking
  • How to click, double click and drag
  • How to press a key lightly so only one letter/digit is entered
  • How to log in/log off
  • How to turn on/off the computer and monitor safely
  • How to double click a shortcut icon


  • How to identify that multiple internet windows are open at the same time (or tabs) and exit out of one or all.
  • How to use the backspace enter key and space bar
  • How to manipulate sound level through headphones
  • How to open/use a folder {not multiple… just one level of clicking}
  • How to use a scrolling button or the scroll bar on the screen
  • How to navigate websites using their schema of previous sites


  • How to type basic things (name, login information, a phonetically spelled sentence) using a keyboard
  • How to use the task bar to switch between open windows

Basic Skills are Taught Now What

Learning the basic skills of computer handling and operation doesn’t mean the frustration will suddenly disappear when students interact with technology. In my own Kindergarten class I have seen students get stuck and instantly shut down and believe that they can’t do it. Along with teaching students these basic skills, we need to teach our students (especially Kinders) to have perseverance. For these students to know that its okay not to get it right on the first try and to stick with it even through they might be upset. Every year I teach my students to take three deep breaths, try again, ask a friend, and then ask the teacher.

Other Tips:

Another great idea for troubleshooting in the classroom is to publish a troubleshooting guide/poster. This can be used by students as a reference for when they get stuck on their device. With a guide students can try solving their problem before rushing to the teacher for help.


Technology in K-2 Differentiated Literacy Groups

Professional Development for Technology Use

Meeting the needs of all students is something teachers are doing daily in their profession. With technology meeting those needs with differentiation is a great way for students to reach their goals through personalized learning and student choice. Integrating technology into the classroom is an effective way to connect with students of all learning styles. Technology transforms the learning experience. Students have access to an incredible amount of new opportunities. From learning how to code to learning how to better collaborate across teams and with their instructors–technology empowers students to be more creative and be more connected. New tech has super-charged how we learn today. This professional development allows for teachers to see how using technology for literacy can boost student learning and is an easy way to add something new to the classroom.

Conference Presentation:

With our focus of getting teachers involved in implementing technology for literacy groups we submitted a proposal to the 2019 NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education). This professional development is set for a 50 minute session with engaging features to excite teachers who might be new or have little experience implementing technology for student growth in their classroom. Below is our presentation that has many resources for all teachers to try in their classroom. We hope that by sharing our resource teachers and others in education will begin to implement technology or even change the way they are currently using technology to meet the needs of all students.

Link to presentation


Below is an overview of our 50 minute presentation. In this overview we discuss the importance of our professional developed for not only students but for teachers as well.

Link to Youtube Video

Meeting the Needs of Teachers

When developing our presentation we used the article Effective Teacher  Professional Development were they reviewed multiple studies to develop a list of what effective professional development includes. They first started by defining “effective professional development as structured professional learning that results in changes in teacher practices and improvements in student learning outcomes.”

Using this methodology, they found that effective professional development incorporates most, if not all, of the following elements:

  • Is content focused: PD that focuses on teaching strategies associated with specific curriculum content supports teacher learning within teachers’ classroom contexts. This element includes an intentional focus on discipline-specific curriculum development and pedagogies in areas such as mathematics, science, or literacy.
  • Incorporates active learning:  Active learning engages teachers directly in designing and trying out teaching strategies, providing them an opportunity to engage in the same style of learning they are designing for their students. Such PD uses authentic artifacts, interactive activities, and other strategies to provide deeply embedded, highly contextualized professional learning. This approach moves away from traditional learning models and environments that are lecture based and have no direct connection to teachers’ classrooms and students.
  • Supports collaboration: High-quality PD creates space for teachers to share ideas and collaborate in their learning, often in job-embedded contexts. By working collaboratively, teachers can create communities that positively change the culture and instruction of their entire grade level, department, school and/or district.
  • Uses models of effective practice:  Curricular models and modeling of instruction provide teachers with a clear vision of what best practices look like. Teachers may view models that include lesson plans, unit plans, sample student work, observations of peer teachers, and video or written cases of teaching.
  • Provides coaching and expert support: Coaching and expert support involve the sharing of expertise about content and evidence-based practices, focused directly on teachers’ individual needs.
  • Offers feedback and reflection: High-quality professional learning frequently provides built-in time for teachers to think about, receive input on, and make changes to their practice by facilitating reflection and soliciting feedback. Feedback and reflection both help teachers to thoughtfully move toward the expert visions of practice.
  • Is of sustained duration: Effective PD provides teachers with adequate time to learn, practice, implement, and reflect upon new strategies that facilitate changes in their practice.

Accessibility for all learners is important so that all content can met their needs. For our presentation we wanted to make sure we had multiple forms for our learners to obtain information. Our main source of sharing our presentation will be by projecting in on a screen. For projecting our slides, we have picked larger fonts and colors that offer contrast for better viewing. In addition, we will offer print outs that include all extra resources we offer during our session. Finally, we created an overview video including our slides that is presented with Closed Captions for learners who need extra support.


ISTE Standards for Coaches

  1. Digital Age Learning Environments Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
  2. Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments.
  3. Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.
  4. Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.
  5. Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.
  6. Troubleshoot basic software, hardware and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments.
  7. Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure.
  8. Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers and the larger community.

Our presentation meets all 7 indicators of ISTE Standard 3 for Coaches as described below:

a.)We will share information about multiple ways to structure students’ use of digital tools and well as many management tips, both for the classroom environment and the technology.

  1. b) We will provide suggestions for variety of digital tools for the primary classroom.  We will briefly explore a few during the presentation as well as include links for attendees to try out some resources we have shared after the presentation is over.
  2. c) We will provide a lot of links to resources in our presentation. 50 minutes isn’t a lot of time, but we have a lot of information to share and want attendees to continue the learning after the session.
  3. d) We have created a closed caption screencast providing an overview of our Slides presentation as well as been intentional with our choice of  font and graphics.
  4. e) We have included a slide on technology management and also a slide of how to have volunteers and support staff assist when students encounter technology difficulty.
  5. f) We chose to do this project and create this presentation as a team. We also want our presentation to be a collaborative session. We will stop and ask the audience to share anything they might want to add or share their experiences with the topic we are discussing.
  6. g) Our presentation materials (slides and screencast) will be shared on our blogs, available on the NCCE conference website (if we are selected to present), and we will encourage attendees to share any pieces of our presentation with their colleagues once they return home. We will also share our contact information with attendees for follow-up or clarifying questions.



Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017, June 05). Effective Teacher Professional Development (Rep.). Retrieved August 23, 2018, from Learning Policy Institute website: (2017). ISTE Standards For Coaches. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Aug. 2018].

Evaluating, Selecting, and Managing Digital Tools

With so many digital tools available for teachers and students to use and based on the ISTE Standard 3 for coaches, I wanted to know how coaches can evaluate, select, and manage these digital tools for teachers. To answer this question I first took a look at what my own district does to help make this process smooth for all staff members.

One Districts Technology Integration System

There are many different ways for districts to select and manage different digital tools for all staff members. My own district has a good system in place to make technology integration seem smooth and simple (in my opinion). To help manage all of the digital tools available for staff the district uses a platform called Powerschool.  On this platform the district provides access to materials such as Online Curriculum, Mobile Teaching, Technology Training and Integration, as well as, digital tools.

Evaluating and Selecting Digital Tools

Not all digital tools are created equally and therefore they need to be evaluated before staff and students can access them. My district has four things they look at when evaluating a digital tool and a simple flow chart to see if the tool meets the district standards.

The district job in evaluating digital tools allows for them to make sure they meet the requires for student privacy and safety, to make sure it aligns with current district curriculum, any potential cost, and any issues with district wide technology/Security. If a digital tools meets all of these requirements then that digital tool is uploaded on to the platform for all staff members to access. A great thing about this process is that any staff member can submit a digital tool for approval. This allows for teachers to have a voice in the digital tools they think would be a good fit for their teaching and their students learning.


Technology changes by the minute, and as educators we need to keep up with the times in order to best prepare our students for this ever-changing world that we live in. With a system in place to evaluate, select, and manage digital tools districts can keep up with the demand and provide its staff and students with safe, effective digital tools in the classroom. Coaches can take the model above to help teachers select what is best for their students learning, while making sure the technology fulfills laws around safety.

Helping Teachers Create Technology Rich Environments

With the use of technology on the rise, schools are looking for tech coaches to help teacher integrate technology into their classrooms. After reading ISTE Standard 3c “Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators” I wanted to know how these coaches could help Kindergarten teachers create technology rich environments for students. 

To implement technology successfully, teachers need to understand why technology tools are important to young children, how to use teaching strategies, and apply the tools in the classroom. In my own experience teachers in my district have been given technology tools, but then were left to figure out how to implement it on their own. This tends to leave most teachers frustrated and technology goes unused. If coaches implement more teacher voice into the design of curriculum, I feel that technology rich environments can truly be successful. According to Teacher roles in designing technology-rich learning activities for early literacy by Cviko, Mckenney, and Voogt, “Active involvement in the design of technology integrated activities can help teachers implement them effectively in their classrooms.”

Teacher Involvement in Design

According to Hutinger, Bell, Daytner, and Johanson (2006) teachers need help in developing an understanding of how implementation of technology integration will impact children, and time to make the change. Coaches can help teachers with this implementation by giving teachers more involvement in the technology design. Cviko, Mckenney, and Voogt researched three different levels of teacher roles when designing technology rich learning activities. The three levels of roles were executor, re-designer, and co-designer. As the executor, teachers receive a ready-made curriculum, and can be assumed to have had minimal involvement in the curriculum design. For primary school teachers, executing a new curriculum typically involves anticipating changes/implications for one’s teaching role, and coping with concerns about materials and resources required to support implementation. The next role teachers can take on is the re-designer where teachers actively take part in the development process by contributing to changes not only during use (e.g. reshaping activities), but also in re-designing the actual resources. This is often done together with other teachers. Not only is this a practical process through which teachers fine-tune things for their own purposes, but it can also be beneficial for teachers to engage in analyzing curriculum together with colleagues, e.g. to deepen their own understanding of the subject matter. The final role for teachers is co-designer, which teachers take part in the development process by participating actively in creating new resources, often together with other teachers. Extending existing resources with self-made learning materials can be motivational to teachers and create a sense of co-ownership towards the materials. Co-design stimulates actual use, since teachers engage in developing resources that fit into their classroom contexts.

Why Teacher Involvement is Key

The role of the teacher in a technology-rich learning environment is simply to make the most efficient use of what they have and what is readily available. According to Cviko, Mckenney, and Voogt, “When teachers were initially involved in the co-design and use of technology in the classroom, they reported feeling that technology was at least partly theirs; while by the end, the teachers became strong advocates of technology use.” Everyone would benefit if technology coaches work as a partnership with teachers to help create these technology rich environments.

What Co-Designing Looks Like

When teachers are co-designing technology rich environments there are a couple of key questions they can ask 1. How are the students acting as consumers of content? and 2. How can we empower students as creators of content? With these questions in mind and with the support of a coach, teachers can create successful and diverse learning for their students. Teachers’ sense of ownership towards a new curriculum is suggested to positively influence curriculum implementation. The study also found that primary school teachers’ sense of ownership evolved over the course of a school year. When teachers were initially involved in the co-design and use of technology in the classroom, they reported feeling that technology was at least partly theirs; while by the end, the teachers became strong advocates of technology use. Teacher ownership towards a new curriculum seems to depend on how teachers are involved . To create sustainable technological interventions, teachers require time to develop ownership.


When coaches and teachers work together to create technology rich environments and teachers have more ownership in the process it is more beneficial for all. With co-designing teacher perspectives about technology’s impact on teaching/learning are found to influence technology integration.


Amina Cviko, Susan McKenney & Joke Voogt (2015) Teachers as co-designers of technology-rich learning activities for early literacy, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 24:4, 443-459, DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2014.953197 (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2018, June 21) from:

Professional Development Strategies from Tech Coaches

With technology constantly changing and the demand for teachers to integrate this new technology into the classroom can sometimes be a daunting task. To help with this large task districts are hiring technology coaches to teach teachers to use the district technology in their daily classroom routines. The ISTE Coaching Standard 2 states “Technology Coaches assist teachers in using technology effectively for assessing students learning in differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences for all students” (ISTE). More specifically ISTE Coaching Standard 2e says “Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based upon student readiness levels, learning styles, interests, and personal goals.”. This made me wonder how coaches could effectively model technology- enhanced experiences that best fits the needs of the teachers.

There are many different strategies out there to improve student and teacher learning. ISTE wrote an article titled “Know the ISTE Standards for Coaches: Support learning with technology” by Helen Crompton. In the article Crompton looks at one strategy that would help technology coaches effectively model technology-enhanced learning experiences. Project Based Learning (PBL) is one strategy that helps students learn content and skills through the process of solving a real-world issue. The teacher presents a driving question to the students, who develop their own line of inquiry to address the problem. The result is a student-generated product that answers the question.” Technology can enhance PBL by expanding students’ ability to research, collaborate and share their work. And tech-enhanced PBL can enable teachers to differentiate instruction at various points in the learning process. With modeling and later coaching, student-selected problems and questions, as well as investigation of those problems through technology-enhanced learning experiences, guarantee differentiation of content, process and/or product. Design of instruction, which embeds student choice, addresses learning styles and interests. The technology coach uses PBL and models and coaches teachers to use it effectively with technology and works with them to plan and implement PBL in their classrooms. The coach can create a PBL website as a repository of information and works alongside teachers to use it to locate resources, develop activities to scaffold the process, discuss and select appropriate tools, and design assessment methods to evaluate student products. Add in coaching and modeling how to do these things effectively, and this approach meets all elements of this indicator.

Coaching is most meaningful to teacher when it is content-specific and stimulates collaboration between coaches and teachers in a coaching relationship. The advance of technological tools impacts not only teaching but also coaching. As stated previously, the possibility of virtual coaching allows for coaches to spend more time coaching and less time travelling to school sites (White
et al., 2015). While video-sharing and online conference platforms can pose a challenge to teachers who are not as comfortable with  technology, they have benefits that outweigh the challenges. In addition to helping coaching happen in more efficient ways, technology can also help improve the quality of experience for teachers. For instance, online video-sharing platforms create a way to share exemplar videos with teachers (Kurz et al., 2017). Other platforms have now been created that allow teachers and coaches to interact with uploaded classroom videos, resulting in more timely feedback. In addition to these benefits, these experiences serve as a model to use technology in meaningful ways in service of a larger goal, in this case, the coaching of teachers.




Elementary Digital Footprints

Looking at ISTE Educator Standard 3 Citizen: 3d Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy. After reading this standard I began to think about what it would look like to teach young primary students about their digital identity and digital footprint. This made me ask the question “How can you teach primary students to manage their digital footprints?”

As a primary teacher I know very little about teaching my students on their digital footprints and how to manage them. Reflecting on what my current school does, it seems like we are more focused on teaching the students computer skills such as typing, editing, and care rather than being a digital citizen. Know this I wanted to see what my district technology policy is and then find resources to help propel my school into teaching our students about becoming responsible digital citizens.

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media offers fun and engaging activities to help teach students about a variety of topics related to technology. Some of the many lessons available cover topics such as cyber-bullying & digital drama, internet safety, creative credit & copyright, and more. The one topic that they offer is to also teach students about digital footprints and reputation. This is something that I believe that I have and many of my coworkers put on the back burner when it comes to teaching technology to our students. Not only are multiple topics covered, all of the lessons are aligned with CommonCore Standards. A family tip sheet is also available to send home with students to reinforce their learning outside of the classroom.

Digital Footprint and Reputation: Follow the Digital Trail

I picked this lesson specifically because it helps answer my question of how to teach primary age students on managing their digital footprints. In this lesson students learn that the information they put online leaves a digital footprint or “trail.” This trail can be big or small, helpful or hurtful, depending on how they manage it. Students follow the digital information trails of two fictional animals. They make observations about the size and content of each trail, and connect these observations by thinking critically about what kinds of information they want to leave behind.

Below is a neat introduction video that can be used for younger students.


Implementing Across Grade Levels or Beyond

After getting feed back from my critical friend this week and feed back from the professors I decided to dig deeper in implementing this teaching to across entire grade levels or even in a school. As mentioned earlier my school district has adopted the Common Sense Media program. One idea from my critical friend was to have students learn the material and then teach it to another grade level. I loved this idea because it involves multiple classes and grades. If your school does a Big Buddy/Little Buddy system with different grades. If buddy classes aren’t available these lessons can still be taught across grade levels. When looking at this lesson for my resource I reached out to my grade level team and we discussed two ways of teaching this to all of our kindergarten students. The first was to have one teacher teach the same lesson to each kindergarten class, while the other teachers picked a different subject to teach. The second was to plan out a certain week/time to all teach the lesson to our classes individually. It can look different between grades and even schools.

Personalized Learning in Primary

During this week’s module we looked at two educator standards from ISTE. The first was standard 5 “Designer: Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability” and standard 7 “Analyst: Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals”. After reading these standards I was drawn to the designer standard and I wanted to know “What digital tools are available for Kindergarten students that allows for personalized learning?”

With this question in mind I started my quest to find an answer, that’s when I found the article “TOP 9 MUST HAVE PERSONALIZED LEARNING APPS, TOOLS, AND RESOURCES” by Matthew Lynch from The Tech Edvocate. In this article the author lists 9 different personalized learning apps that are available to teachers, students, and parents.

What is personalized learning and what does it look like:

What is personalized learning? It can look a little different in every school, in every classroom and for each student. Teachers create lessons that are challenging without being too hard, and that suit the individual interests of each child. When teachers face 25 or 30 students, if they decide to teach in the conventional way of standing in front of the room and lecturing, then they must provide a lesson that will benefit the majority of the room — the average student. That leaves behind those who are below or above expectations. The best teachers find ways to help those students, but it’s a tall order. It takes a superhuman amount of work to find lessons that fit each student every single day. Educational computer programs can identify specific weaknesses in a child’s skills, such as understanding analogies or adding fractions. Teachers can review these outcomes daily, then assign lessons to each student according to his/her needs — for the next time they log on. The computer system does this by constantly assessing how a particular student answers questions and what kind of lesson most engages that student. In a classroom personalized learning can take on different forms. In a kindergarten classroom students might use a math program during rotations that adjusts itself to each students learning level and helps students grasp skills they are missing. For older grades it might look like giving the students an array of different, personalized tasks to do. However a teacher stuctures a student’s personalized learning I think its important to remember all students shouldn’t be required to show their learning the same way and digital media open up a host of possibilities beyond the traditional essay, poster, report, or quiz.



Digital Tools for Personalized Learning

According to TOP 9 MUST HAVE PERSONALIZED LEARNING APPS, TOOLS, AND RESOURCES” by Matthew Lynch from The Tech Edvocate the following are the top apps available for personalized learning in the classroom:

1. Knewton

Knewton has been around for a while compared to other personalized learning resources. The company uses learning analytics to track past performance and modify future curricular experiences based on that performance. Knewton actually provides the course materials and gives recommendations to both students as what to study and to the teacher as what to help students study.

2. Classkick

Classkick is an iPad app that allows the teacher to see all of the students’ screens as they are working on a problem. Teachers who are in the classroom can use this data to tailor the help they give students. Teachers who are online can use the data to complete curated blog posts for the class based on where students are having trouble and can set-up individual help sessions with students.

3. Reflex by ExploreLearning

The current national math competencies expect students to be able to solve problems and use critical thinking. This can’t happen before basic fluency is achieved. Reflex is a platform that teaches math fluency using games. As students complete games, they are marked as competent for math facts that they have memorized. Students are notified of daily time by a green circle that fills up when they have spent enough time on Reflex. Teachers and parents get weekly reports on student progress.

4. Explain Everything

There is a saying that the best way to know if you know something is to explain it to someone else. Explain Everything does that and more. It is an excellent tool for creating and designing presentations, forcing students to articulate their understanding, and collaborating with their peers.

5. Newsela

Students have significant variations in their reading ability. It is impossible for students to understand the meaning if they are reading at a level outside what they can do by themselves. Newsela affords a personalized reading experience with information from reputable sources such as the History Channel and The Guardian. Analytics are provided to the teacher based on completion and reading comprehension.

6. Smart Sparrow

Smart Sparrow is a platform that allows for content creation, assessments, and adaptive authoring. Each student will receive an individualized learning experience based on their interactions with the software.

7. RealizeIt

A well-designed personalized learning system focuses on mastery-based learning. In mastery-based learning,students stay with a topic or level until they demonstrate competency. RealizeIt brings mastery-based learning into a personalized environment where students are presented with content at their level and do not progress until mastery has been demonstrated.

8. Summit Learning

Self-regulation is a difficult skill to master. It requires subcomponents such as metacognition and time management. Summit Learning is an entire solution for personalized learning that ultimately helps students be able to be self-directed learners. Students learn content through authentic problems and projects.

9. Class Dojo

Students need personalized learning when it comes to classroom management in addition to instruction. Class Dojo provides teachers with a platform to track student behavior and assign positive and negative remarks. In addition, teachers can send instant messages to specific parents and share photos from the class. Students can choose their own avatar.

Personalized Learning through a Kindergarten Lens

Of all of the recommended digital tools for personalized learning Class Dojo seems to be great fit for a Kindergarten classroom. Class Dojo isn’t just for classroom management, students can create digital learning portfolios. With these portfolios teachers can encourage students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, being kind, helping others or something else. This program also allows for students to have voice by allowing them to showcase and share their learning by adding photos and videos to their own portfolios. One of the many benefits of Class Dojo for a Kindergarten classroom is how easy it is for students to post to their portfolios.

Posting Process:

Once students have posted in their portfolio’s the teacher can review their work and can then give instant feedback to students.

Teacher View:

The video from Class Dojo’s website gives a quick peek of how it is used throughout a classroom and shows different features that can be used.


Dobo, N. (2017, January 25). The Growing Role of Technology in Personalized Learning. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from (2017) ISTE Standards for Educators. (Retrieved on 2018, May 4th) from:

Lynch, M. (2017, August 13). Top 9 Must Have Personalized Learning Apps, Tools, and Resources. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from