Category Archives: 3. Digital Age Learning Environments

Community Engagement Project: Connecting with Parents Digitally


For my EDTC 6104 Digital Learning Environments class, I choose to create a workshop on Connecting with Parents Digitally for my Community Engagement Project.

During my presentation I will be helping teachers improve their parent teacher relationship by learning the different ways they can digitally connect with parents. Some of these ways are:

  • Reminder apps such as Remind
  • Digital Portfolio tools such as Seesaw
  • Microsoft tools such as Skype Video Conferencing and Microsoft Translator



Professional Development Workshop

Location- My Private School’s Main Campus

Date- Friday, August 30th, 2019

Attendees- All Pre-K Teachers, Directors, and Founders of all four campus’

2020 WAEYC Annual Conference

Location- Lynnwood Convention Center

Dates- October 22-24, 2020

Attendees- Early Childhood Educators


  • Ideal length will be between 45 minutes- an hour for both my schools PD and the WAEYC conference.
  •  I will be taking time during the first part of the conference to do a poll everywhere which should take about 10 minutes for them to watch the video and answer the questions. 
  • The remaining time will be spent focusing on the presentation and showing them how to find and use the recommended tools from the presentation.

Digital Tools

One of the following will be required for the technology workshop:

  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Smart Phone


The goals of the workshop will be to teach and demonstrate how to use technology to:

  • Keep Parents aware of the happenings of the classroom and/or school events
  • Build a home-to-school connection with parents
  • Bring new digital communication apps into the classroom

Active Learning

  • I have planned a flipped classroom activity for when the participants enter my workshop. Participants can find a link to a video they will watch as well as a poll everywhere questionnaire I would like them to fill out. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
  • At the end of the presentation they will get to collaborate in a Padlet on how the digital apps they learned about today affects the home-to-school connection between teachers and parents. 

Addressing Teacher Needs

I will provide all attendees with a link to the powerpoint presentation, the padlet, and the poll everywhere results for them to access after the presentation.


  • How do I help parents create accounts on the apps presented?
  • How do I set up my class on the apps presented? I.e Remind, Seesaw
  • How do I record videos and send photos through the apps?
  • What payment is needed for these apps?

I will also be providing links to the FAQ’s found on the apps website that can help give them a step-by-step guide to answering most of these and other questions.

Collaborative Participation

  • We will have a group discussion on the Poll Everywhere results which will help determine where everyone stands with incorporating digital communication in their classroom. 
  • Attendees will also be working together to set up accounts on the digital apps presented and test run some of them with one another to get a feel for how they work. 
  • Attendees will also comment on a Padlet near the end of the presentation and we will share ideas and feelings on how digital communication can help build a strong parent connection.

ISTE Standards

Educator Standards

  • 1. Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.
    • 1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
    • 1b. Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.

My workshop meets ISTE Educator Standard 1 by allowing educators to explore different technology communication applications and tools. During the workshop educators will also participate in a professional learning network where they can be actively learning practices that can be implemented into their classrooms.

  • 2. Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning.
    • 2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

My workshop meets ISTE Educator 2 by offering educators an opportunity to identify and evaluate new digital communication applications and tools for educational settings. Educators will also get a chance to explore and adopt any of the new digital resources/tools for their classroom/school.

  • 4. Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.
    • 4a. Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
    • 4d. Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

My workshop meets ISTE Educator 4 by presenting educators an opportunity to collaborate with each other and improve their relationship with parents digitally. Through our collaboration, educators are discovering new apps/tools, sharing ideas with one another, and ultimately solving the problem of how to achieve effective communication with parents.

Coaching Standards

3. Digital Age Learning Environments

  • 3a. 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.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3a by introducing educators to digital communication tools and resources in a collaborative learning environment. Educators will collaborate in a hand-on workshop that will prepare them to implement digital communication apps to create a technology-rich learning environment within their school.

  • 3b. Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3b by allowing educators to add new and effective digital tools and resources for parent communication to their tech libraries. Within the apps/tools presented, Seesaw allows students to be active learners within a technology-rich learning environment and promotes student voice within the classroom.

  • 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.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3c by providing educators with an opportunity to come together and collaborate in a learning network environment. Within the workshop educators will collaborate on ideas and choices to better integrate digital communication into their classrooms. This is a great way for educators to get a hands-on experience in a professional development setting.

  • 3d. Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3d by introducing educators to a variety of new technologies that will assist in building strong parent relationships within their classrooms. Among the apps presented, Microsoft Translate is a great assistive technology to help support student learning by providing a way for educators and parents to communicate with their native languages effectively.

  • 3e. Troubleshoot basic software, hardware and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3e by incorporating a hand-on experience for educators to explore and dabble with the new digital apps presented in the workshop. This gives time for me to evaluate and assist any problems that may arise within the programs being explored.

  • 3f. 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.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3f by presenting a variety of digital communication apps/tools that educators can choose from to adopt within their classrooms/school. I have chosen apps that I have used before in my classroom and have found to be effective tools when connecting with parents. All tools presented within the workshop can also be found within common sense media’s database as effective communication tools for the classroom.

  • 3g. Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers and the larger community.

My workshop meets ISTE Coaching Standard 3g by teaching educators different strategies and apps that help build effective communication and collaboration with parents. The workshop focuses on 4 different apps that provide educators an opportunity to build a strong effective relationships with parents within their classroom/school.

Supporting Documents

PowerPoint Presentation/Video:(Click Start Slideshow for Voice-Over) :!AhUaoqeEVJkEiFTGkOlSeM3EUUOq

Poll Everywhere: or Text BRITTANYBUMP776 to 37607



Throughout the process of creating this community engagement project, I have gained many skills and knowledge that will help me grow further within my career as an educator and a digital coach. I will be presenting my workshop during one of my school’s professional development days and submitting my workshop as a proposal to WAEYC’s 2020 annual conference. Even if not accepted for the WAEYC conference, I feel proud of the knowledge I have gained throughout this project and hope others can also benefit from my hard work.

Implementing Global Experiences into the Classroom

While taking Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6104 Digital Learning Environments course, we are asked to investigate the following ISTE Coaching Standard:

3. Digital Age Learning Environments:  Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

Within ISTE Coaching Standard 3: Digital Age Learning Environments, I focused my research on the following indicator:

3g. Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers and the larger community.

What digital resources and technologies can teachers use when implementing global projects into the classroom?

In the past I have researched how to build diversity into the classroom by using Skype as well as conducted my own global project using Skype Collaboration. Feel free to go read more about my research and experience with using Skype in the Classroom; for this blog post I choose to focus on other platforms and/or technologies that can assist educators in implementing global projects into their classroom.

When beginning my research I found this wonderful article written by Julie Lindsay called, “5 levels for taking your classroom global”. In the article Julie introduces 5 different levels of how educators can implement global opportunities in their classrooms for the students. I decided to go along with the 5 levels and find resources that will help educators implement global learning into their classrooms.

Level 1: Online interactions 

This level applies to asynchronous communication and involves sharing online learning via digital platforms for others to interact with. Examples include class and individual blog posts as well as digital artifacts posted online for others to view and comment on.” (Lindsay, 2016)

Recommended Level 1 Apps

Buncee – “Create and share projects or participate in the global pen pal program.” (Asia Society, 2019)

Padlet- A virtual cork board for sharing projects.” (Asia Society, 2019)

SeeSaw-Platform for digital student portfolios” (Asia Society, 2019)

Level 2: Real encounters 

The goal of this level is to connect in real time using whatever tool is available to those connecting. Synchronous interaction means learning is instant and participants can ask questions, share media and build understanding of each other in a very short time.” (Lindsay, 2016)

Recommended Level 2 Apps

ePals“A community of collaborative classrooms engaged in cross-cultural exchanges, project sharing, and language learning.” (Asia Society, 2019)

Empatico“Is a free online tool that connects students aged 7 – 11 to
classrooms around the world using video conference technology.”
(Asia Society, 2019)

Global Nomads Group“Videoconferencing, virtual reality, and other interactive technologies bring young people together across cultural and national boundaries to examine world issues and to learn from experts in a variety of fields.”(Asia Society, 2019)

Level 3: Online learning 

“The aim of this level is to encourage learning through digital interaction and sharing of artifacts. It applies to the development of online communities to support curriculum objectives and may be localized (between classes and schools in the same geographic region) or be more global. The learning focus is asynchronous interaction, although some serendipitous synchronous communication may take place, such as a chat facility for participants.” (Lindsay, 2016)

Recommended Level 3 Apps

PenPal Schools“A thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that builds global awareness and collaboration skills by facilitating authentic, cross-cultural PBL experiences.” (Common Sense Media, 2019)

Level Up Village- “STEAM curriculum that connects students to partners around the globe.” (Asia Society, 2019)

Level 4: Communities of practice

“This level is designed for specific learning objectives as a global community of learners. Communication can be both synchronous and asynchronous. The community of practice would normally have a shared objective, such as a global collaborative project and probably a set timeline that dictates workflow and communication patterns.” (Lindsay, 2016)

Recommended Level 4 Apps

Global Read Aloud“Pick a book to read aloud to your students during a set 6-week period and during that time try to make as many global connections as possible.” (GRA, 2019)

Hour of Code– “The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.” (Hour of code, 2019)

Level 5: Learning collaboratives

The purpose of this community is a little harder to grasp, but it’s basically about fostering learner autonomy for online global collaboration. Each member of the collaborative (educator, student, community partner) has the confidence and ability to initiate collaborations and co-creations within the collaborative. The learning paradigm is redesigned to encourage students to take leadership roles and, in doing so, co-create solutions to global problems and challenges.” (Lindsay, 2016)

Recommended Level 5 Apps

Global Kids– “Using interactive and experiential methods, the program aims to educate youth about critical international and foreign policy issues. Through its professional development program, GK also provides educators with strategies for integrating a youth development approach and international issues into their classrooms.” (Asia Society, 2019)

Taking It Global- “A global online community that seeks to inspire, inform, connect, and empower youth to take action in to improve communities locally and globally. “ (Asia Society, 2019)


Asia Society. Technology Tools for Global Education. Retrieved from

Common Sense Education. Pen Pal Schools. Retrieved from

GRA. The Global Read Aloud. Retrieved from

Hour of Code. (2019). What will you create? Retrieved from

ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from:

Lindsay, Julie. (2016, July 19). 5 levels for taking your classroom global. Retrieved from

Choosing Digital Tools for the Classroom

This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6104 Digital Learning Environments class, I investigated the question: “What are the best practices for choosing digital tools and content for the classroom?” My goal was to find information on what educators are wanting from digital tools and to learn how to choose digital tools that fit within your classroom/ school environment. Through research, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following ISTE Coaching Standard:

3F. 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.

Finding the “Right” Tools

When beginning my research I found an article written by Meg Hamel where she compares how to find the “right” tools to planning a meal for your family.

“To make a great meal for your family, you’ve got to factor in budget, individual schedules, food preferences or sensitivities, flavor, and nutritional value. The same kind of planning should happen when beginning a search for edtech products. Administrators and teachers must build a shared understanding of the specific goals for teaching and learning for their school.”

Meg Hamel goes on to recommend building a list of “What you have versus what you need” and to evaluate what has been successful within your classrooms and which areas could need more digital support. In a study by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Bill, 2015) shows that most teachers see the value that using technology can have in the classroom and prefer tools that:

  • Are consistent, inviting, and easy for teachers to use
  • Are intuitive and easy for students to use.
  • Saves teachers time and is simple to integrate into instruction.
  • Allows both teachers and students to continually tailor tasks and instruction based on individual student skills and progress.
Chart from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on What Teachers Want from Technology

The chart above is sorted by grade level as well as by subject that shows the different ways digital technology can be used in the classroom. As you can see the higher the grade, the more digital technology goes from simply a new way of delivery to more of a supportive role in the classroom. (Bill, 2015) Teachers also shared how technology could be tailored for more student-driven or teacher-driven learning in the chart below:

Chart from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In the link below I also provided some recommended apps/resources by Liz Kolb who sorts her digital tools into four categories: Social Use, Higher-Level Thinking, Value-Added, and Authentic Context.

Through my research I also found two edtech databases that help teachers narrow down what they are looking for in an app/resource. These databases are Edsurge and Common Sense Education. After learning more about these databases, I feel they can be helpful in choosing new technologies and assist teachers in finding an appropriate resource without feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of digital choices they have to choose from.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (K-12 Education Team). (2015). Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want From Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved from

Hamel, Meg. (2017, September 24). The Secret Sauce to Choosing Edtech? Find Tools By Fit, Not Feature. Retrieved from

ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from:

Kolb, Liz. (2016, December 20). 4 tips for choosing the right edtech tools for learning. Retrieved from

Blended Learning: Implementing the Station Rotation Model

As part of Seattle Pacific University’s Digital Education Leadership Program, we are learning about ISTE Coaching Standard 3: Digital Learning Environments . For this standard I wanted to investigate how to help teachers who may not be familiar with technology learn how to implement a blended learning model into their primary classroom (K-6).

I choose to investigate this topic as the new technology communication specialist for my school. It is my job to meet with teachers and help them begin implementing technology into our curriculum. I am aware that many of the educators at my school are nervous about the implementation of technology within their routines and I want to be able to show them how they can continue their routines while also implementing technology.

Through research and interviews, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following standard indicator:

3a. 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

Blended Learning Models

Blended learning can be defined as, “an innovative model of education that combines the best of face-to-face instruction from the teacher with adaptive technology to give students a more personalized learning experience.” (Anthony, 2019)

Heather Staker and Michael Horn classify 4 different models of Blended Learning shown below:

The Station-Rotation Model

For this blog post I will be exploring the Station-Rotation Model which can be found under the first blended learning model labeled the Rotation Model. (Staker, 2012)

Jenny White explains, “Station Rotation is one of the most popular blended-learning approaches. The model isn’t new or unique to blended learning; teachers have been using learning activity ‘centers’ in their classrooms for decades, particularly at the elementary level. What qualifies Station Rotation as a blended model is when at least one station involves student-led online learning. By definition, the model allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule, typically established by the teacher.”

Many teachers I know including myself have been using learning centers for quite a while now and are quite familiar with the foundation of a rotation model. The key difference of the station-rotation is “the rotation includes at least one station for online learning, while other stations might include activities such as small-group or full-class instruction, group projects, individual tutoring, and pencil-and-paper assignments.” (Staker, 2012)

Image found at

Elizabeth Anthony provides us a visual by detailing,“If you walked into a blended elementary classroom, you may not immediately realize it’s blended. In a blended classroom, students are using online programs that continually assess their knowledge and skills, and adjust instruction accordingly, to work on material at their “just-right” level.  The key is what the students are doing with technology and how teachers are using the data they receive to inform their instruction. “

To see an example of what a blended learning station rotation would look like, feel free to watch the video below:

Jenny White provides 3 “secrets” that have helped her begin implementing station-rotations into the classroom:

  1.  Spend Small-Group Time Strengthening Relationships With Students.
  2. Use Data To Drive Direct Instruction, But Consider The Tools.
  3.  Make The Model Your Own. (One size does not fit all)

Some Helpful Advice

While researching about the station rotation model I came across some helpful advice for teachers who are just beginning to implement blended learning into the classroom:

  1. Define Blended Learning in Your Classroom (Shorr, 2014)

I found this list of questions that Jeremy Shorr suggests educators should answer to help them define what blended learning means to them and their classroom:

  • What will the infusion of technology look like in my classroom on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
  • Will student opportunities for collaboration increase or decrease due to the amount of time that devices are used?
  • Based on the technology tool that I have, what is its optimal use?
  • What does assessment look like?
  • How do I know if students are learning?

2. We Are All Learners (Shorr, 2014)

Times have changed and asking for help from other educators or even your own students is completely acceptable and understandable. Not one person has answers to every question or scenario and maybe it is time for us to take our own advice and focus on the process rather than being solely focused on the product.

3.  It’s Not Failing, It’s Learning (Shorr, 2014)

So what, it didn’t turn out perfectly the first time, it never does! Teaching and learning can be messy and frustrating but learning from your mistakes and finding what works best for your group of learners is what all of this is about. As educators we aim to do our best to provide students with the best education and sometimes that means taking a step back and analyzing why something isn’t working the way it was planned out to. Don’t give up and remember to reach out to others in your school and community, they may have answers or need your support as well.

Blended Learning Tools

Working with young learners can be extremely rewarding, but sometimes finding technology tools that are designed around younger grades can be difficult. Many times I find myself trying to scaffold models down to my young learners levels, so when I found this resource I knew I had to share it:


Allen, S. (2017, September 27). What Blended Tools Are Developmentally Appropriate For Young Learners? Retrieved from

Anthony, Elizabeth. (2019. March 11). How to Implement Blended Learning in an Elementary Reading Classroom. Retrieved from

Blended Learning Universe (BLU). (2019). Blended Learning Models. Retrieved from

Edutopia. (2017, October 3). Station Rotation: Differentiating Instruction to Reach All Students. Retrieved from

Shorr, Jeremy. (2014, September 17). Blended Learning in the Mix: The Proactive Teacher. Retrieved from

Staker, Heather and Horn, Michael. (2012, May). Classifying K-12 Blended Learning. Retrieved from

White, Jenny. (2019, March 21). 3 SECRETS TO SUCCESSFUL STATION ROTATIONS. Retrieved from

Supporting Technology Integration Within Schools

This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6103 Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2 course, I investigated the question: “How can I support technology integration in my school and assist teachers in using technology to engage, explore, create, and communicate in their classrooms?”

My goal is to find information and resources on strategies to support teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms. Currently my school is incorporating more technology and has asked if I will take the position of technology lead to assist teachers who may be struggling with the new technology and need guidance on how to integrate technology into their classrooms. Through research, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following ISTE Coaching Standard:

2E: Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based on student readiness levels, learning styles, interests and personal goals.

2h: Coach teachers in and model effective use of technology tools and resources to systematically collect and analyze student achievement data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.

Models for Integrating Technology

The TPACK Model

The SAMR Model

Barriers You May Face

While researching about digital integration in schools I found a chapter written by Michael Phillips that makes aware of two types of barriers teachers have been having when integrating technology within their schools.

First-Order Barriers

The Extrinsic Barriers to Effective Integration

  • Lack of access to computers and software
  • Insufficient time to plan instruction
  • Inadequate technical and administrative support

Second-Order Barriers

The Personal Barriers to Effective Integration

  • Beliefs about teaching
  • Beliefs about computers
  • Established classroom practices

The Think, Feel, Care Protocol

When integrating technology it is easy to focus solely on your own thinking, but Beth Holland introduces a new “protocol” that will help allow technology supporters to look at the situation from the receivers point of view. This protocol is called the “Think, Feel, Care Protocol” and incorporates the following questions:

Think: How does this person understand their position in the school and their role within it?

Feel: What is this person’s emotional response to the change/technology/idea and how it affects their position?

Care: What are this person’s values, priorities, or motivations? What is important to this person?

This strategy helps others consider the “different and diverse perspectives held by the various people who interact within a particular system.” (Harvard, 2015)

“The goal of this routine is to help others understand that the variety of people who participate in a system think, feel, and care differently about things based on their positions in the system. ” (Harvard, 2015)

Some questions you may need to reflect on before attempting to assist teachers who may be reluctant to implement technology:

1.”What is the greater purpose of the technology? ” (Holland, 2018)

In other words where would technology fit within their instruction. Many teachers may feel they are to busy to implement technology into every lesson, but may be more open to using technology as a response tool for assessments or a communication tool for parents.

2. What are the teacher’s concerns? (Holland, 2018)

This questions refers back to the “Think, Feel, Care Protocol” I mentioned earlier. It is important to figure out what it is that is causing the teacher to feel uneasy with integrating technology in their classroom. This could be a multutitude of reason including,

  • They may not feel they have the time for technology.
  • They may not know how to use technology effectively.
  • They may feel overwhelmed with the use of technology.

3. How can the teacher make a gradual shift to technology? (Holland, 2018)

Keep in mind that when implementing technology we should encourage a gradual shift to others who are more reluctant. More often then not it is better to begin with one or two new programs or uses of technology in the classroom and be patient to see if and when the teacher is ready to implement more.


Common Sense Education. (2016, July 12). What is the TPACK Model?. Retrieved from

Holland, Beth. (2018, October 8). A Better Way to Integrate Edtech. Retrieved from

Philips, Michael. (2015, June 10). Digital Technology Integration. Retrieved from

Spencer, John. (2015, November 3). What is the SAMR Model and what does it look like in schools?. Retrieved from

Personalized Learning: Giving Students a Voice

While taking Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6103 Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2 class, we are asked to investigate the following ISTE Educator Standards:

Designer: Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

Analyst:Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.

While first researching these standards I was curious about technologies role on supporting personalized learning in the classroom. I had a brief idea of what personalized learning was and set out to find out more on how to integrate personalized learning into my classroom with the support of technology.

  • 5a. Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • 5b. Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • 7a. Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.

Personalized Learning

One Size Does NOT Fit All

Personalized learning differs from the traditional models of teaching in that it is “specifically tailored to students strengths, needs, and interests while ensuring the highest standards possible”. (Grant, 2019) Instead of teaching every student the same, you are looking to see what each student needs in order to grow. This may also mean that students are learning at different paces and ability levels in order to ensure each student is getting what they need in order to succeed.

For example, if you look at the images below you will see three individuals trying to watch a baseball game. On the left you see that each individual was given the same amount of boxes, this can also be equivalent to a teacher giving the same instruction to all students. There may be those who succeed within the lesson similar to the taller individual, but there also may be those who struggle to understand similar to the individual on the right struggling to see.

Similar to the right side of the picture above, in a personalized learning model students are given access to “tools and feedback that motivate them to capitalize on their unique skills and potential” (Grant, 2019) to be successful. Personalized learning empowers students to take a stand in their education and make it meaningful to their lives and interests. By personalizing students education you are preparing them for the 21st century world we live in.

What does this look like?

In Peggy Grant’s book, “Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology” she provides the following characteristics to a successful personalized learning initiative:

How is this different than Individualization?

When I first began researching personalized learning I was quite confused on how this was different than individualization. Luckily for me Peggy Grant provided the following chart to help me better understand:

Implementing Digital Tools and Resources

Digital Tools

Digital tools encourage student-centered learning by giving students:

  • More control over learning methodologies that fit their best learning style (Grant, 2019)
  • A sense of ownership when choosing how they learn best (Grant, 2019)
  • Accountability for how they choose to learn (Grant, 2019)

“Digital tools also helps students demonstrate 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity through the creation, consumption, manipulation, and sharing of digital content.” (Grant, 2019)

Digital Resources

Literacy Resources-“Ebooks, blogs, and discussion boards help students learn as they use their preferred learning styles and interests, as well as 

introduce them to multiple texts on similar topics.” (Grant, 2019)

Web Tools- “Podcasts, wikis, and media editors, allow students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Using these tools not only helps students develop important 

technology skills, but also provides ways for students to share their work and benefit from the motivation of an authentic audience.” (Grant, 2019)

Digital Information Resources- “Provide students with immediate answers. Instant access to encylopedia sits, podcats, expert websites and blogs, as well as to social media sites, ensure that students are able to interact effectively with content and experts. “(Grant, 2019)

Learning Management Systems- “Help teachers organize instruction and communicate with students and parents to support personalization by providing a platform for accessing content and keeping records of students’ progress. ” (Grant, 2019)

Khan Academy-Personalized Learning


Edutopia. (2017, September 21). Supercharging the Classroom: Using Technology to Support Personalized Learning. Retrieved from

Grant, Peggy. Basye, Dale. (2019). Personalized Learning, A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology. Retrieved from

ISTE. (2019). ISTE Standards for Educators. Retrieved from

Global Collaboration Project using Skype Collaborations

This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6103 Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2 course, I investigated the question: “How can we use Skype Collaborations to connect us with others both locally and globally to solve real-world problems?” My goal was to find information on Skype Collaborations as well as answer questions I had about creating a Global Collaborative Project. Through research, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following ISTE Educator Standard:

4c: Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.

What are the benefits of Global Collaboration?

Renewed Sense of Purpose:

“Students see the real effects that their creation can have on others” (Ripp, 2016)

Renewed Sense of Community

“Students yearn to see where they fit into the world” (Ripp, 2016)

Renewed Understanding of the Digital Footprint: “Engaging Students in global collaborative projects means that they see the footprint creation as well as the effect their online interactions can have on other people” (Ripp, 2016)

Before Creating a Global Collaborative Project

Questions to Think About

In Pernille Ripp’s book, “Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration: Create Globally Literate K 12 Classrooms”, he recommends thinking about the following questions before creating your Global Collaborative Project:

  • Which subject areas will this project influence?
  • How much time can you devote to this project?
  • What are your preferred digital or analog tools?
  • Do students have a say in what you share?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish from participating in this global project?

Tips to be Successful

Ripp also give the 10 following tips to a successful Global Collaborative Project:

  1. Be simple
  2. Make sure the idea is easily translatable
  3. Don’t make too many rules
  4. Invite others to contribute ideas
  5. Don’t get stuck in a rut
  6. Use technology tools for the right reason
  7. Create a community
  8. Be accessible
  9. Trust other people
  10. Make it fun!

Using Skype Collaborations as a Collaborative Tool

One tool I found while researching Global Collaboration Projects was Skype Collaborations. I found many projects that were available that I could join that varied on subject area and grade (age). It was enlightening to see other projects and get a grasp of what a real Global Collaborative Project should look like. Here is an example of one:

With the video above and the available global projects available with Skype Collaborations, I was able to see some examples of successful Global Collaborative Projects, The next question that came in mind is if this type of tool would be suitable for the younger ages (Pre-K and Kindergarten). I was pleasantly surprised on the amount of projects that were suitable for little learners! Karina Bailey, who is a Kindergarten teacher from Georgia, even shares some of her favorite collaborations she does with her class:

One document I found in my research on Skype Collaborations was a guide to help answer some questions you may be having about using Skype Collaborations in the classroom. Here are a few that helped me:

“How can I find the right Skype Collaboration for my classroom?”

Browse through or use the filter to view available Skype Collaborations by:

  • Age group
  • Subject
  • Location
  • Dates and times available

“How long does a Skype Collaboration session last?”

“As Skype Collaborations are run by teachers, it can vary, and depends on the nature of the Collaboration- whether it’s a one-off call or a longer-term project you’ll be working on together. Usually Skype sessions are between 30 minutes to an hour to fit in with the school lesson timings.”

“How do we get connected on Skype?”

“The host will normally send you a contact request via Skype before the session. If the host has provided you with their Skype ID, please go ahead and add them as a contact on Skype and wait for them to accept the request. If this is your first call, we recommend having a test call- either with the host, or if they are not available with another contact (even a teacher in another room!)”

“What age range are Skype Collaborations suitable for?”

“We have options for all age ranges- use the filter to find those available for your students ages. You can also include some information in your message to the host as to your students needs and what they hope to gain from the session. Generally as you’ll be working with another class, the students on both sides are usually around the same age.”


[Skype]. (2015, August 11). Kansas Students Solve Water Crisis for School in Kenya over Skype. [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Skype Classroom]. (2017, February 23). Kindergarden. [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Skype]. (2019). Skype Collaborations. [Web]. Retrieved from

[]. (Viewed 2019). Guide to: Skype Collaborations. [Web]. Retrieved from

[ISTE]. (2019). ISTE Standards for Educators. [Web]. Retrieved from

Ripp, Pernille. (2017). Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration. [Web]. Retrieved from!/4/4@0.00:14.2

Global Collaborator

Two memories stand out from my early elementary years: checking out my first public library book, which was about a day in the life of children in Japan who were “getting up as I was going to bed,” and writing a report on Australia and learning the song Waltzing Matilda. By today’s standards, these are hardly examples of “global collaborative learning,” but they remind me how exploring different cultures during childhood can leave a lasting impression and shape our identities as global citizens.

In our current module in Learning, Teaching, and Assessment 2, we are focusing on the ISTE Standard 4 for Educators: Collaborator.  I was interested in learning more about standard 4c: “Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally” (ISTE 2017).

Benefits of Global Collaboration in the Classroom

Instead of passively reading or watching an artifact created by others, video conferencing and real-time collaboration tools like Skype in the Classroom or Google Hangouts allow students to interact with experts, adults and other students anywhere in the world. In doing so they develop key skills that will help them navigate an increasingly global society.

Figure 1.1 shows the many ways that global collaboration helps students grow into world citizens.

Fig. 1.1 Benefits of Student Global Collaboration. Source: Liebtag et. al., (2016)

What’s Stopping Every Classroom from Going Global?

Tools such as Skype in the Classroom and global education collaboration websites such as,, make it increasingly easy to set up a variety of interactions with experts, teachers, and students around the globe.  Skype in the Classroom for example allows teachers to search by topic and interaction type and input availability. The only technology required is a high speed internet connection, a PC with a web camera and a microphone, and access to video conferencing software. In spite of this, however, interacting remotely with experts or classrooms is rare in K-5 learning.

Barriers & Enablers

Lindsay and Redmond (2017) conducted interviews with a group of educators whose classrooms participate in global collaborative learning to understand what types of things hinder and enable teachers in these activities. They found that typical barriers include a lack of time, autonomy, and importance placed on global collaboration within their organization, as well as not having the necessary hardware and software or technological expertise.

Conversely, teachers who had the support of administrators and other community members for both a global teaching focus and “educator risk taking” (Lindsay and Redmond, 2017, p. 6) were more likely to incorporate global collaboration in their classrooms. A “small and trusting” (p. 6) global professional learning network (PLN) also helped educators learn how to overcome attitude and technology barriers within their schools and share ideas, best practices and tools.

Educator experience and mindset also played a role in successful global learning in their classrooms. Teachers with more pedagogical and technology experience were more likely to try global collaboration. Educator mindset and curiosity also contributed to the interest and perseverance of successful global collaboration projects. One participant in the Lindsay and Redmond (2017) study described it as “Some of it has been a personal interest [in] finding out how technology can transform and enhance learning for students” (p. 6).

Role of Experience with Professional Development and Videoconferencing

Interestingly, several studies referenced by Klenke (2014), show that when educators receive some of their own professional development training through videoconferencing they are more likely to successfully use videoconferencing in their classrooms. In a large-scale project funded by the Canadian government on videoconferencing in education, teachers “…reported that their students had positive student-centered and collaborative learning experiences as a result of their own involvement using videoconferencing” (p. 18).

Types of Collaboration

There are many ways student can collaborate with other students or with experts in the field, but for true collaboration to occur, “Parties [must be] committed to learning something together and cooperating in the achievement of a goal that they cannot achieve individually” (Manso and Garzon, 2011, p. 33).  Once learning goals are established, tools should be chosen that best fits those goals (Manso and Garzon, 2011) and may include a combination of real time and asynchronous technology.

Figure 1.2 Examples of Synchronous and Asynchronous Tools


For real time collaboration with other classes, virtual field trips or virtual visits with experts or authors, video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts can be used, or collaboration platforms such as Empatico or National Geographic Explorer Classroom.


If time zones or scheduling is an issue, collaboration can occur using tools that don’t require real time interaction such as Padlet, FlipGrid, Google Docs, OneNote, or ePals.

Combining Tools

For collaborative project based learning, a combination of synchronous and asynchronous tools may be best. For example, students may video conference to meet one and other, discuss ideas for their project, hold review meetings, or present their findings. Documents and other resources could be shared asynchronously on a jointly-owned online space like Google docs or Padlet. A final presentation could be created with input by both classrooms using PowerPoint (online), Google Slides, Adobe Spark, or Prezi.

Preparing for a Collaboration Session

  • Teachers from collaborating classrooms should work together to establish learning goals. Manzo and Garzon (2011) recommend selecting a topic relevant to what students are learning or that connect with their everyday lives.
  • Students should develop their presentations and practice interaction prior to meeting online. If videoconferencing, it should be decided who is going to speak and in what order. Questions should be prewritten, and if appropriate, provided to the collaborating classroom or expert beforehand. (Empatico Room Setup Guide)
  • The space/time for video conferencing should be considered and the hardware and software should be tested before the day of collaboration. (Empatico Room Setup Guide).
  • Students should understand their roles & responsibilities and how they will be evaluated (Manso and Garzon, 2011).
  • Traditional “talking head” style lectures should be kept to a minimum of 15-25 minutes while video conferencing, beyond which the student interest diminishes  (Greenberg, 2004, p. 16).


Figure 1.3 Collaborative Resources

Here are some examples of products or resources that can be used for global classroom collaboration:

Meet with an Expert

Virtual Field Trips

Collaboration with other Classes

General Resources


Greenberg, A. 2004. Navigating the sea of research on videoconferencing-based distance education: A platform for understanding research into the technology’s effectiveness and value. Waynehouse Research. Retrieved from:

ISTE Standards for Educators (2017). Retrieved from:

Klenke, H. A., 2014. The effects of interactive videoconferencing on elementary literacy : collaborative learning environment. University of Northern Iowa UNI ScholarWorks Graduate Research Papers. Retrieved from:

Liebtag, E., Knight, A., Tomlinson, G. Mansori, M. Van Voorhis, M. Oxley, T. & Kennedy, J. (2016). Global education and equitable preparation: An educator’s digest of facts and figures, 2016., Center for International Education, Inc. Retrieved from:

Lindsay, J. & Redmond, P. (2017). Online global collaboration – affordances and inhibitors. In H. Partridge, K. Davis, & J. Thomas. (Eds.), Me, Us, IT! Proceedings ASCILITE2017: 34th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education (pp. 293-303). Retrieved from:

Room setup guide (ND). Retrieved from:

Community Engagement Project: Understanding by Design Model

This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s MEd in Digital Education Leadership, our cohort practiced using the Understanding by Design Model of teaching. We were asked to create a lesson plan that consists of student standards, digital citizenship elements, and the use of technology however when planning the lesson we were also asked to use the backwards design process.

This blog post will showcase a Kindergarten lesson I designed for my students using the Understanding by Design Model as well as my reflection on using the backwards design process.


The activity I will be using for this project is a collaborative project in which my students and I will be building a digital classroom E book. We have recently been learning about 3D shapes and I wanted them to begin seeing these shapes in the environments around them. For this project students will take digital photographs of 3D shapes around our school and I will upload them into our classroom computer. Next, the students and I will look at the photographs we took of the 3D shapes and use positional words to make sentences for our book. For example, one page of the book might be a picture of a ball at recess. We would look at the photo and using positional words come up with a sentence like, “The ball is on the grass.”

Kindergarten Concepts
-3D shapes
-Positional words

Technology Concepts
-Digital photo taking
-Creating classroom Ebook

Digital Citizenship Opportunity
-Go over copyright. We took these images of our school and explain how it would be unfair for someone to use our images without our permission or consent. Remember that when we use images online that other people have taken that we must give credit to them.

Creating the Lesson

The Six Facets of Understanding

For my lesson shown above I showed evidence of the six facets of understanding through the following:

  • Students would be able to explain the steps and process of making a classroom E-book and understand why making an E-Book can help others in our school/community.
  • Students needed to interpret what a 3D shape is and properties of each shape to successfully find shapes around the school.
  • Students would apply their knowledge of 3D shapes and Positional Words to create a Digital Page for our Classroom E-book.
  • Students would use their perspective to chose pictures they find best represents 3D shapes as well as a picture they would be able to write a sentence using a positional word with.
  • When reflecting upon making the 3D shape E-Book, students would learn about how our E-Book could be shared with others. They would also learn how to empathize with other classrooms who do not have access to such technologies to create their own.
  • Students would also learn the importance of Copyright and how to empathize when others use their photos without giving them credit for taking them.
  • Students would provide self-knowledge about 3D shapes at the beginning of the lesson when asked to identify shapes they see around their community.

Digital Citizenship

ISTE Student Standard 2C:
Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

In my lesson I incorporated digital citizenship using the experience of photo-taking to discuss basic copyright rules with my young learners. Most of my learners are new to technology and I wanted to find a way to relate a digital citizenship element to something they did during the lesson. I felt teaching them to give credit to photos and documents we read/use online would be a great lesson to pair with their performance task. I felt that discussing respect and rules of sharing online resources while students were feeling proud and invested in the photos they had taken would be more meaningful to the students and hopefully have a bigger impact in teaching them to be responsible digital citizens.

Project Reflection

I felt this project taught me the importance of keeping the end in mind when planning lessons. Many times it can be easy to come up with ideas and projects for students, but you can struggle to find standards or objectives that are relevant to what they should be learning. Using the backwards design ensures that the standards are being met, I am collecting appropriate assessment data, and that my lesson is relevant to what the students should be learning.

One area I would like to continue to improve on is finding age appropriate apps and programs I can use in lessons that allow my young learners to begin exploring technology and learning how to be responsible digital citizens. Luckily for me I am in a program with many voices to provide guidance and suggestions.


Common Core State Standards. (2019). Retrieved from

ISTE Standards for Students (2016). Retrieved from:

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by Design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

Makey Makey & Scratch: Getting a 4th Grader’s Attention

For the Community Engagement project in this quarter’s Teaching, Learning and Assessment 1 class, I chose to create a lesson that tied a hands-on technology lesson to 4th grade students’ learning about electrical circuits.


I am fortunate to work with a talented technology teacher who introduced me to Makey Makey, a simple circuit board that connects to a PC via a USB cable and can be used, among other things, to show students in a visceral way how different materials either conduct or insulate electrical current, and the difference between an open and closed circuit.

After working with the tech teacher in her classes, I taught a similar lesson in a 4th grade class at another school. I opened with a brief description of conductive and insulative materials and the way that electricity requires a closed circuit to flow. I asked students if they remembered learning about this in their unit on energy, and a few students raised their hands but the rest appeared to not remember. Though the class was very engaged during the hands-on part of Makey Makey, I couldn’t help thinking how much more meaningful the lesson could have been if it had done within the context of the Magnetism and Electricity module of their Science curriculum.

A simple version of this lesson can be done using any app (such as Word) that uses the arrow keys, space bar or mouse since Makey Makey maps these inputs (key-presses, mouse clicks) to places on the Makey Makey board that you can connect different objects to. However to make it more interesting and to integrate coding concepts into the lesson, students can write their own simple program in Scratch (see Introduction to Makey Makey video below).

Introduction to Makey Makey by Teaching Robots (2015). Retrieved from:

Sample Code in Scratch to Move Cat Around the Screen

Thinking About Thinking

The DEL program, and this class in particular, is making me think about thinking, or metacognition, in the context of teaching technology. Because technology classes in the schools I work in are not graded and time with students is limited to once per week, there is no formal assessment done to determine how much students have learned. This will undoubtedly change as computer science classes become mandatory in K-8, but until then each tech teacher has to do their own form of assessing student knowledge.

I used this community engagement assignment to consider, in a perfect world where computer science/physical computing class is part of daily or almost daily learning, what could be done to help students think about what they have learned in the context of the lesson. Though the flashy aspect of the project is memorable (touching a banana made the cat jump!) how can students make a strong connection to other parts of their learning?

Understanding by Design

Understanding by Design, also referred to as UbD (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005), invites educators to take a backwards approach to lesson design: start with what understandings you want your students to walk away with after doing the lesson and design the lesson accordingly.

Following the UbD process, I broke the lesson design into three stages:

Stage 1: Desired Results

To establish goals and understandings as outlined by UbD, I reviewed the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Washington State K-12 Computer Science standards for 4th grade to determine which could be supported in the lesson, as well as what basic understandings in electricity and computer science appropriate to this grade level could be gained and which essential questions should be covered.

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence

Starting with how I might assess evidence of student learning, as well as how students might assess their own learning, completely drove the lesson plan (which I realize was the whole point of the exercise). I started by trying to determine what the class might already know about electricity and circuits using a class mind mapping exercise (Gates).

Following the completed project, I chose to have student pairs share what they had learned in front of the whole class and complete an Engineering Notebook (document embedded at the end of the post) that encouraged them to think about what they learned regarding circuits, conductivity; input/output, events, and comments in Scratch; and finally, how they worked together as a team.

At the suggestion of my instructor, I created a basic rubric to make it clear to students what criteria they were being assessed on. The rubric also includes a column for students to assess their own work.

Stage 3: Learning Plan

My learning plan broke down the project into three segments:

  1. An introduction to determine what students already knew about electrical circuits, filling in the gaps through discussion and a short video; an explanation and demonstration (or video) of Makey Makey, and a demonstration of how to build a basic program in Scratch.
  2. Hands-on coding in Scratch, testing materials, building the input devices, and responding to the prompts in the Engineering Notebook.
  3. Each pair of students presenting their findings and project to the class as outlined in the Engineering Notebook, followed by an all-class discussion of understandings and essential questions.

The complete Lesson Plan and the Engineering Notebook are embedded at the end of this post.

The Six Facets of Understanding

The UbD process breaks down the term “understanding” into six components: Explanation, Interpretation, Application, Perspective, Empathy, and Self Knowledge (Wiggins & McTighe 2005). In my lesson, I tried to address each as follows.

  • Students can explain what facts they have acquired and their interpretations of the topic through their class demonstrations and Engineering Notebook entries.
  • Students apply what they learned by coding a program, making an input device that conducts electricity, and successfully building a working electric circuit.
  • Perspective can be gained for those students who might not see themselves as having anything in common with programmers or scientists, but suddenly, here they are, coding and experimenting. They might also gain perspective on problems faced during the project while working with a partner who may offer different solutions or ways of looking at the problem, or when watching their classmates’ project demonstrations.
  • Empathy could be experienced through difficulties they face in the project (“this must be what programmers or electrical engineers deal with all the time”), in trying to help their partner understand something, or in relating to any struggles with the project that their classmates describe.
  • Self Knowledge comes into play through participating in the mind mapping exercise, completing the Engineering Notebook (including the page on how well students worked together as a team), and the self assessment part of the rubric.

Digital Citizenship

As part of this assignment, we were to consider how the ISTE Student Standard 2, Digital Citizen, could be factored into our lesson. Most of this lesson, with the exception of using Scratch and watching an online video, is offline. An online component could be added to it, however, by going to the main Scratch website as a class and looking at other posted Makey Makey projects. The teacher could demonstrate how Scratch projects can be “remixed” and how credit can be given to the original creator on the opening page of a project. The teacher could also model leaving a comment on a particularly compelling project that the class voted on.

Screenshot of a search of the Scratch website for Makey Makey projects.

Project Reflection

This project, though challenging given my lack of formal teacher training, was an excellent learning experience. I really appreciated the UbD process and found it immensely helpful to start with the essential understandings I wanted students to gain from the lesson and work backwards from there.

Areas I think need work include the amount of time the lesson takes in its current form. I know that it is unrealistic given how technology classes are currently being taught in K-5. Also, I wonder in my drive to assess knowledge if I am taking some of the fun out of the lesson by requiring them to fill out the Engineering Notebook. I know some students will not enjoy the process. I would try to pair a student who likes to write with one who might prefer explaining things verbally so the work could be shared in a way that allows them to apply their strengths.

If I was working with a class that was experienced in Scratch, I would like to open the project up and allow students to create any program in Scratch that used the minimum 5-6 main Makey Makey inputs, plus more if they were so inclined (Makey Makey has additional, harder to connect to ports on the back of the board). I also would like to encourage students to bring materials from home that they want to test and really get creative with the input device design.

Lesson Plan

Engineering Notebook


DK Findout Energy. (2018). Stanford, O. Dutta, A., Gupta, K., (Eds.). New York, NY: DK Publishing.

Gates, J. 4th Grade Science unit 9, lesson 1, pre-assessment. Retrieved from:

Introduction to Makey Makey (2015). Teaching Robots. Retrieved from:

Next Generation Science Standards – 4th Grade (2013). Retrieved from:

Next Generation Science Standards – 4th Grade-topical model-bundle 2 energy transfer and information transmission (2016). Retrieved from:

Next Generation Science Standards – 4th Grade summary and flow chart (2016). Retrieved from:

Washington State Learning Standards Kindergarten – 12 Computer Science (2018). Retrieved from:

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by Design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson