Category Archives: digital literacy

Module 1 EDTC 6103 Video Integration into Google Classroom

During the Spring quarter in the Digital Education Leadership M.Ed. program at SPU we are investigating the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Our first module asked us to reflect on and investigate ISTE Standard 1. The standard led to the question; how can teachers use their knowledge of content, teaching, learning and technology to advance student learning, creativity and innovation in face-to-face and virtual environments? This question connected with a topic related to one of my posts from last quarter.

I thought it would be fitting to investigate how a teacher can use their knowledge of subject matter and technology to facilitate student learning using Google Classroom through video or screencasting.

Again I’m thinking about how well chosen video can aid instruction, provide direction even encourage reflection by students. In addition to video, I wonder if screencasts done by a teacher would lead to some of the same outcomes?  Finally I wonder how a teacher’s use of technology might lead a student to reflect on their learning using the same technology, or through commenting on a video? Can student learning be advanced through these methods?

From my research it is easy to find advice on what tools to use to make screencasts or videos, or statements that say that instructional time is increased but data on student learning is harder to find. The idea that in a 1:1 classroom teachers could save instructional time by having students watch screencasts or instructional videos at home or at another time in order to avoid explaining procedures and directions does make sense to me based on my experience in an elementary classroom. However, it might take even more planning in a school without 1:1 devices. I don’t work in a 1:1 school, however through BYOD and computer or iPad carts it could be possible to move our 3:1 ratio up to 1:1 on certain days or at certain times.

These are my notes from module 1

So how does using a screencast or video in Google Classroom relate to instruction? One piece of advice that is often repeated by an instructional coach at my school is that the lesson is just an invitation. That is good advice, it is always good to remember more teacher talk does not necessarily lead to increased learning. With that in mind I think that using a screencast or a short video to give instructions or possibly a series of directions could in fact benefit a student’s understanding. Even creating a lesson recap, which I will talk about a bit later, would support the idea that students don’t have to be with me at all times in a lesson to further their conceptual understanding of concepts. Suppose an ELL is able to go back to and replay directions as needed? Wouldn’t that give them additional time and chances to process the language which might lead to an increased understanding? Obviously other scaffolds are needed, but repeated exposure is a start.

More reading notes

Related to my use of Google Classroom, I am specifically interested in cataloging video within the stream. I have begun using classroom in one subject area in my day in an intermediate elementary classroom, but I’m finding that the stream is becoming difficult to navigate for students. I came across a post by Alice Keeler that might help to solve my problem. In her blog post she suggests creating an additional class to use purely as a video resource. The class can be called a video library so that students know exactly what they will find in that stream. There she suggests posting videos for instructions that are about 30 seconds in length and linking them to assignments in the other class. 30 seconds! That seems tough, but it makes sense because she adds, even in a 1 minute video it can be tough to find that one spot. If I’m talking about ELL students again how much more difficult would understanding become for them within a longer video. She also suggests creating a playlist of videos to explain a larger concept, or a set of directions with each video being under a minute long. A couple takeaways for me are to create shorter videos for instructions but also to create shorter videos to explain content. Another related support for navigating the classroom stream is the ctrl + f function. In trying to find a way to search the stream I found that there is not really a way to do that yet apart from ctrl + f. This is a topic that could be taught to students and recorded in a screencast to help them navigate more efficiently. The Google product forums are a great place to look for advice related to the use of Google Classroom.

Another idea for using video or screencasts to introduce new concepts or recap previous lessons. This approach can help you flip your classroom which allows for an increased amount of rigorous or collaborative work to be accomplished during class (Fiorentino & Orfanidis, 2017). I think of teachers in my school who are asking students to complete complicated multi-step projects over an extended period of time, similar to what we read about during this module challenge based learning (CBL), project based learning (PBL) or design thinking processes, they could begin to integrate Google Classroom as a way to post directions through video, text or screencast to allow students to focus on difficult or collaborative tasks while at school, instead of taking time to read or listen to directions. Directions could even be shared in advance and watched for homework.

In my school I think that many teachers are inspiring student creativity in many different ways. I’ve seen teachers engaging students in a poetry unit that culminates with a poetry slam where students present their own original poems to a wide audience of parents, staff and community members. I’ve also see a unit about Greece culminate with Greek days, where students try to replicate the ancient Greek culture and engage in some of the oldest olympic events as a grade level tracking their performance and comparing results as a class. Finally I’ve seen students in my school take their learning around simple machines in science and culminate the unit by building Rube Goldberg machines using a combination of simple machines. Many of these projects would definitely fit into the CBL, PBL or design thinking processes. I wonder if any of these teachers have used these processes to complete these projects? If not, would any of those frameworks improve their projects?  Maybe some professional development focused in those three areas would allow teachers to get even more out of the amazing projects they have created. Perhaps focused integration of technology would lead to increased student learning or understanding. In the very least teaching students about how they can use video to record and improve upon their design processes would begin to use some of the 21st century skills that they will need to be successful in the workforce. It is even possible that if teachers use Google Classroom to present their projects it could increase efficiency and lead to greater outcomes for students.

Teachers can make videos or screencasts to support content instruction, minimize whole class directions, or to encourage reflection during and after instruction or throughout the process of PBL, CBL or design thinking processes. Students could also make videos or screencasts as a way to demonstrate learning, especially after a unit. These videos and screencasts will likely lead to increased understanding by students. I am still looking for definitive evidence to support the idea that reflection through technology would advance student learning but it seems like something I could investigate in my own classroom through the use of commenting within Google Classroom, or video reflection. Instruction that is implemented through Google Classroom frees up the teacher to work with struggling learners or to check in with students for an extended period of time as they explore a concept in class. Finally through media students can access the content of the classroom from anywhere at any time which would allow for more collaboration or exploration in the classroom leading to increased learning outcomes.

All of this leads me to believe that a logical course of action for my classroom is still to encourage students to find academic content on YouTube. Then I will post those videos within my Google Classroom stream that is specifically dedicated to video and link those assignments in my original classroom. Then continue to create my own content related videos or screencasts. I will also use videos and screencasts to teach students how to use the Classroom stream more efficiently and as a recap to lessons that are taught in class. Eventually I would even be interested in creating a flipped classroom if only in one subject as a starter in my elementary classroom. I see all of those concepts as supports that will aid in student understanding. Ultimately I think all of those supports will lead students to become more creative in their demonstration of learning as they see how I use video in new ways. Finally, I will encourage students to reflect through comments or through their own videos that they will in turn post in our Google Classroom stream which will lead to the collaborative construction of knowledge.


Brown, P. (2016, February 17). 7 ways to spark collaboration and imagination in your classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Fiorentino, J., & Orfanidis, D. (2017, March 14). New G suite apps to boost your effectiveness. Retrieved from

Harmon, E. (2016, November 1). Searching within the classroom stream [Public]. Retrieved from!topic/google-education/pK3Y5HItlMs;context-place=topicsearchin/google-education/searching$20within$20the$20stream

International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.). ISTE Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from

Juliani, A. (2013, January 23). 10 commandments of innovative teaching. Retrieved from

Keeler, A. (2016, August 29). Google classroom: Video playlists in a video library [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Module 2: Teaching Content Curation to Empower Students

I have found that most if not all intermediate elementary students really lack the skills to check the credibility of sources derived from the internet. Typically students will type a search term into a search engine, like Google and are then faced with millions of results. Here is a great example of a type of natural disaster my students recently researched for a presentation when getting over 83 million results, it’s not surprising that students may feel overwhelmed. According to Kingsly & Tancock (2013) students “when faced with so many results to their first attempts at searching, can quickly become overwhelmed.” (p. 392) “They simply shut down and pursue whatever information is easiest to retrieve” (Kingsly & Tancock, 2013, p. 392). Of course, search results can be narrowed down in a number of ways, one being instructing students on how to best search for information that will pertain to them and their topic.

Teaching students to evaluate sources and to think critically about the information they retrieve from the internet is often one of those skills that is assumed to be built into a curriculum. However, I’m convinced that it may not receive enough attention from teachers to prepare students to be successful curators of digital information in the information rich environment in which we all now live. So, I started gathering data and researching questions I had around ISTE student standard 3 to begin to explore how to develop some of those skills in my students. ISTE 3 Knowledge Constructor that says, “Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experience for themselves and others” (ISTE 2016). I found that not surprisingly there is a lot of information and there are a lot of tools out there to help us be better content curators. Many of these tools would probably work to allow us to teach the same skill to students as well.

In my research into ISTE student standard 3 I specifically wanted to find out, how could I begin to teach intermediate elementary students to begin to curate information to evaluate the accuracy, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources to help them generate meaningful connections or conclusions? I wondered what would be an a appropriate entry point for this critical skill with students whose understanding of digital literacy, digital citizenship and general competencies with technology are just developing. I did find some helpful ideas and frameworks for beginning to develop the media literacy skills of elementary students. One example is the set of core competencies that Henry Jenkins identifies that “young people should acquire if they are to be full, active, creative and ethical participants in this emerging participatory culture” (Fromm & Mihailidis, 2014, p. 94-95).  The skills that Jenkins includes were probably not as necessary before the proliferation of digital media. It seems to me that developers of curriculum are still trying to figure out how to fit all of these skills into their products. As a teacher I can’t wait, I need to begin teaching these skills to students now. They are necessary to develop digital citizenship. Those skills are sort of like a guide for why curation needs to be taught to students. Fromm & Mihailidis (2014) argue that today’s digital citizens must be,

“well-informed citizens in both understanding information and in their ability to evaluate and analyze what they are seeing (Swiggum, 2008, p. 16), they muse also centralize the user within this experience. Curation does exactly this, requiring with almost every media interaction the application of a broad range of media literacy skills Jenkins outlines” (p. 95-96).

So curation is really a means to develop the digital literacies that students will need in their lives.

Okay so curation is useful for students, now how can I begin to teach it? Luckily the two sources I found helped me to answer that question. First I found that just like good teaching in all subjects, the skills and thinking should be modeled by teachers before students are in put in front of a computer screen in order to help students develop online competencies. I often find myself thinking that students already know how to research. As soon as we begin a research project, they begin asking, can I look this up on the internet? Or they say, there is no information on my topic in the book I have, please let me look on the internet.

I found in my research that modeling would help students to achieve better results in their own research. In Kingsley and Tancock (2013) the author suggest that teacher who is guiding a class in researching about famous Americans, would model asking questions about the famous American before beginning to research. The teacher would be guiding students to “ask question in the categories of “When, where, and how did this person live?” and “Why is this person important?”” (p. 392). After students have gathered information from their questions they can begin to triangulate their data. For my middle elementary age students it seems manageable to teach them to use Wikipedia. “For nearly every topic there will also be a Wikipedia page that students can use to verify basic information” (Kingsley & Tancock, 2013, p. 395). Next it would be useful to show students some basic ways to determine author’s credentials again Kingsley & Tancock (2013) suggest some very manageable ways to do that. First, model how to look for information under a “contact” button, or and “about us” link (p. 395). The last suggestion is to screen for content bias simply based on website suffixes or other data found on the website. The article suggested potential biases for .com websites being commercially motivated or that .gov websites may be maintained to reflect the views of a certain political party. The authors also suggested using a website’s mission, objective or purpose to check for the goal of certain websites. Finally teaching students to evaluate to check for personal opinion as opposed to information linked to references that demonstrate academic or legitimate organizations is the last suggestion for how to screen for content bias. (Kingsley & Tancock, 2013, p. 395-396)

Now that I’ve talked about how students can evaluate the accuracy, credibility and relevance of information I want to talk about some other way students might curate information and why it will be beneficial to them going forward. Fromm & Mihailidis (2014) “offer four key competencies for developing a critical approach to curation in digital culture.” The competencies are critique, contribute, collaborate, and create. (p. 97). I spent time above discussing how students can critique the information they discover online, and discussed how a teacher could assist in teaching that critiquing process. Now I want to look at how to scaffold students to explore the other three competencies. To teach students to contribute we can use social media as a model. To be media literate students have to be taught to “understand that their contributions to public spaces as helping to define narratives, dialog, and topics of interest for a large group (Fromm & Mihailidis, 2014, p.99). As an elementary teacher I’m not quite sure how to incorporate social media into my classroom to help students understand how to contribute. I think there are some tools like SeeSaw that could allow me to begin this teaching, but I would need to be very deliberate in showing how the microcosm of our classroom app based social media account relates to the larger social media networks used outside the classroom. I could also create a class Twitter account and use that to connect with other elementary classrooms, but I think for my age group of students contribution would be more teacher directed. Collaboration is the next competency. Again I feel limited by the age of my students. This seems like the next step to establish the meaningful connections ISTE 3c discusses. In an elementary classroom maybe after completing a research project students get in touch with an expert in that field and share their ideas or suggestions for how to approach a particular problem would be one way to collaborate. Jenkins calls the shift from contribution to an active form of collaboration “the nexus of participation and media culture” (Fromm & Mihailidis, 2014, p. 99). So no doubt this is an important skill, but I’m still left wondering how exactly to provide authentic experiences for collaboration to my students. Finally they should create, “the media literate curator must be able to create context to build a sense of connectedness and place in digital culture” (Fromm & Mihailidis, 2014, p. 99). Again as an elementary educator I think that what my students create may differ from secondary students, but I think the important thing is giving them the opportunity to create and then to add what they have created to the voices online. I think that if I begin to teach students these critical skills they will begin to develop into skilled curators of digital media which will allow them to be “more analytical, participatory, engaged, and interactive youth in both online and offline life (Fromm & Mihailidis, 2014, p. 96).


Fromm, M.E., & Mihailidis, P. (2014). Scaffolding curation: Developing digital competencies in media literacy education. In M. Stocchetti (Ed.), Media and education in the digital age: Concepts, assessments, subversions (pp. 91-101). Frankfurt, DE: Peter Lang.

2016 ISTE Standards for Students, (2016). ISTE International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from

Kingsley, T. & Tancock, S. (2014). Internet inquiry: Fundamental competencies for online comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 67(5), 389–399. doi: 10.1002/trtr.1223

Digital Readiness Project: Study of a Public Middle School


Recently, I had the opportunity to interview my principal about the digital readiness of our middle school. The goal was to discover how my institution is ensuring that technology is being used wisely for teaching and learning. The infographic that follows is a visual representation of my findings.  Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, the ISTE Digital Citizenship Standard 5, and some informal interviews with colleagues guided the construction of the interview questions that follow.

Principal Interview Questions:

  1. Digital Literacy – What should be taken into consideration when developing a plan for technology or digital professional learning at our middle school?
  2. Digital Access – What are the challenges to implementing a one-to-one computer to student ratio in our school district and precisely this middle school?
  3. Digital Etiquette – When it comes to netiquette (etiquette on the Internet, social media, email, etc.) for middle school student where is this directly taught at our middle school? In the best case scenario, what would it look like? How would you like parents to get involved in netiquette?
  4. Digital Law – When we think about cyber bullying and how hard it is to track and keep ahead of in today’s student culture.  How do you and the rest of the administrative team deal with cases of cyberbullying at our school?
  5. Digital Communication – How do you see students learning and comprehending foundational technology knowledge? (examples typing, emailing, document creating and saving) Is there a specific class they all take? Does this come at home or elementary school?
  6. Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Health and Wellness, and Security – How can I best leverage the teachers at IMS to improve their own digital literacy? You know this population so well and how to approach them, so they buy into guidance without feeling frustrated?

Three separate themes ultimately emerged from the interview and makeup remaining blocks of the infographic: technology curriculum, access via funding, and levels of inquiry for parent-student collaboration on etiquette on the net.


Overall from this interview, I got a better sense of my principal’s perception of his staff and how they can adapt to new pieces of information. He clearly realizes that they are easy to reject new ideas if the materials presented do not demonstrate a quick and easy to learn the solution. Therefore, I need to explain clearly and precisely the need for students to learn digital citizenship and not fear, we need to show and embrace responsible and meaningful technology use for students. After the interview, I processed the information we talking about and then I sent him a link to my website and went over the ideas I have for funding, and planning for the future of IMS students. I focused in on the planning for the future part, and it will certainly lead to future conversations. He has already organized me into a new PLC group for creating tech-related professional development.

I think my principal should seek to leverage all funding available to the school, and we should be a middle school in our district which accesses all possible CTE funding from the state. His ability to leverage additional technology funding from the state could show a clear indication of his commitment to providing access to technology. I also think my principal should utilize the PTA a bit more to help with information on technology use for parents and students. He informed me that the district had already started a campaigned aimed at giving the parents and community enough information about what is going on with their children when it comes to technology. He told me that the district has already sponsored a couple of screenings of a documentary called “Screenagers” for parents. I interviewed some of our staff that also have students in our district, and they said it was eye-opening in regards to how young people are using social media and technology.

The nature of adolescents was a common theme of our discussion. I asked how we prepare teenagers, who are still maturing, to be responsible online. We sometimes refer to them as “mushy brains” because they make such illogical decisions sometimes. He explained that the expectation for all our young people to be mature and responsible during the school day is unrealistic, and, as a result, having this same hope for the way they act in their online is not being logical. Rather, he believes that students and parents need to have the tools in their hands as they learn, not after.

Parental involvement was another important facet of the school’s tech plan as he saw it. Parent education is offered, but rarely utilized, and parents who show up are those that tend not to need the extra lessons.  Those parents who he has spoken to in meetings say they already possess necessary skills to monitor their child. However, my principal noted that he then speaks to similar parents who are unaware of their child’s improper use of technology. Specifically, he believes that parents should be more involved with their child’s use of social media.

I went into this interview with the knowledge that our school appears to have some advanced technology implementation, especially when it comes to our video broadcasting capabilities.  There is a class of students who makes a video for the daily announcements every single day. Throughout the school day, there are other varied opportunities for students to interact with digital tools and obtain necessary skills. My administration supports educators in their experimentation with technology.  He is a bit more experimental and forgiving than the rest of the district.  From my perspective, this district is pretty conservative when it comes to financial decisions and technology.

These students who utilize the technology offered, especially the highly motivated few who make the newscast every single day could be in charge of creating curriculum.  I think using these kids to talk about Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying, and Netiquette would be an excellent way to take it off the plate of the homeroom teachers.  These students also know what is going within social media.  I think that at first it would have to be structured inquiry but eventually, students would participate in the free inquiry, where they would lead the discussion and push to educate the students and staff about digital literacy.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). ISTE standards: teachers. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from

Ribble, Mark. Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately. (2014). Retrieved December 5, 2016, from

EDTC 6104: ISTE Coaching Standard 3 e & g – Digital Age Learning Environments

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 provides seven benchmarks for creating and supporting effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students. My focus is on benchmarks e & g:

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

g. Use digital

EDTC 6433 – Module 3 – ISTE Standard 3 -Collaborating with Peers

EDTC 6433 – Module 3 – ISTE Standard 3 –

How can I collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation without making them feel insecure or giving up? My demonstrations have sometimes not gone over the way I would have like them to and so how do I make them easier and helpful for the widest audience?


A subset of ISTE Standard 3 states that we should collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation. This idea is something that certainly pertains to my work life and something I have wanted to look into.  The two resources I found to correlate well with the complex topic of teachers’ wanting more technology in their classroom but in contrast, they are so apprehensive to use the technology.  Now, as Christian Briggs describes in Digital Fluency, there is a big difference between being digitally literate and being digitally fluent and until you are fluent how can a teacher be expected to teach students on a software or piece of technology that they do not feel comfortable using.  “Literacy and fluency have to do with our ability to use a technology to achieve a desired outcome in a situation using the technologies that are available to us. This applies to our ability to use a hammer, nails and wood to build the house that we intend to build” (Briggs, 2012).


For example, last year I did three different tech sessions on the possibilities of  I am a big supporter and user of this product which not only helps with originality and plagiarism for students, but it also has a new ETS grammar checker.  These tools and the fact that I now grade even my 7th graders paper on this system has changed the game.  I do not have to lug around 90 student papers back and forth from school each night.  There are also fewer late papers because the deadline closes and the students have to email directly their papers if they are late.  Needless To say, I think this piece of tech is awesome and helps my teaching practice.  It saves me time and provides the students with an experience of a tool they will probably encounter in high school and college.  And as Tessier describes tips for integrating and implementing digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation to teachers without losing them in the process. I wish I would have read this before giving my tech support sessions. Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 8.46.44 PM Although I know the teachers I showed the materials to were excited about the tech, they did not end up using it.  Most of them left even in a gruff because they thought I was showing off or flaunting my skill, but as I am digitally fluent in the basics, I feel much more comfortable making mistakes with technology than they do.  When Briggs explains that  “a digitally literate person is perfectly capable of using the tools. They know how to use them and what to do with them, but the outcome is less likely to match their intention. It is not until that person reaches a level of fluency, however, that they are comfortable with when to use the tools to achieve the desired outcome, and even why the tools they are using are likely to have the outcome you want at all.”  This is precisely the case when it comes to showing new tech to some of my colleagues.  It takes time and practice to infiltrate their day-to-day routine, and unless it is forced upon them to change or it performs miracles some will still not change their ways.  So how do I come off as less condescending with my tech information and allow my colleagues time and space to learn the new school without feeling like they are too far behind to pick up a new school or piece of tech?

Briggs, Christian, and Kevin Makice. “Digital Fluency.” SpringerReference (2011): n. pag. Social Lens, 2012. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <;.
Tessier, Dutch. “Tips on Technology Integration for Apprehensive Educators.” SmartBlogs. SmartBrief, 2014. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <;.