Category Archives: EDTC6104

6104 Community Engagement Project Reflection


Our school started the 1:1 computer program ten years ago and extended to lower grades after five years of this program and initiated the digital citizenship class in the kindergarten leverage iPad as the digital tool.  I have worked as a tech teacher in kindergarten for three years. In these three years, my students experienced many Apps to create digital stories, innovative videos, and posters in collaborative groups or independence set. Their favorite learning activity is the one related to their routine life in the real world and shares their digital artifacts with parents, teachers, and peers. I started to think about to collaborate with other classrooms teachers when classroom teachers asked me how they can integrate iPad as the innovative learning part and what Apps students have learned in my tech class can be used in their classes. And also, I want to build a connection between the digital world and the real world for students to demonstrate reflections and learning outcomes of the knowledge they learned in different classes using digital tools. 

Retrieved from

About the Workshop

I have explored some digital platform for collaboration, and I want to introduce Edmodo as the recommendation in my workshop. Within this strategy, classroom teachers can provide opportunities for authentic learning for tech class; Tech class can provide support on digital tools for classroom teachers. They are going to build a reciprocal relationship through Edmodo collaboration platform to share recourses and ideas for seeking the connection between tech class and regular classrooms to help students to lead effective learning. In this workshop, I will introduce Edmodo features to audiences, including groups, small groups, library, and message. Thinking of the limited time, I will implement blended learning in which audiences will receive a concise instruction about how to join my provisional group for this workshop. We will use the group for practicing most of the features in the real-time and keep this group as a small PLN for sharing experiences for the future. At the end of the workshop, I will introduce two digital tools, which are my kindergarten students’ favorite as a reference for audiences. 


In the digital world, classrooms should be not isolated anymore. Teachers need to break the wall to collaborate and build a community to seek opportunities to enhance student motivation and engagement.

For the tech class, it will not be the learning goal for teaching digital tools and skills. Tech teachers need to provide opportunities for the student to leverage digital tools to have deep and authentic learning and gain digital competences for the 21st century needs. 

For the homeroom classes, teachers have a responsibility to provide productive technology environment for young age students to cultivate their digital competences to benefit their future life in the digital world. Teachers have limited time in the class to manage digital tools and also need technical support to encourage them to move on.

Collaboration between tech teachers and classroom teachers can be the reciprocal way to engage and motivate students to leverage the digital skills they learned in the tech class to demonstrate their learning outcomes in their home class. Students can choose different ways to use a digital tool to express themselves to different kinds of audiences to lead student-centered and culturally relevant learning. 


Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

3e – Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments
3g – Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community

Inquiry Question:
What digital tools can support teachers to communicate with parents effectively?
What digital tools can support teachers to collaborate and communicate with peers?

Parent-Teacher Communication–Keep Parents In the Loop with School Learning Activities

Effective communication is essential between parents and educators for helping student learning.  In the digital world, It is a challenging task for teachers to choose the right communication tool to fit different groups of parent preference. It also overwhelmed teachers to get immersed in emails and phone calls from parents to ask about their children’s information while dealing with the full-scheduled work every day. The informative and in-time home-school communication will create a positive loop in which teachers can take more time and energy to focus on classroom learning, and parents can help their kids at home purposely. The more supportive information teachers provide, the fewer questions and concern parents will have. The positive loop will promote student learning and help them to succeed.

Retrieved from SpeakUp Research

In this survey, we can see that the most effective tools for parent communication and engagement are email and text messages. Moreover, there are no differences in parents’ interest in using text messages for communications by demographics or grade of a child in school. This result shows that parents prefer safe, immediate, and informative communications with teachers.

Remind-Provide Safe Mode Communication Between Parents and Teachers

Group set/ Private set Message

After setting up a specific class, Remind will provide default groups (teachers, parents, and students). Teachers can send messages to all parents/ all students /all teachers or the group created by different needs. Also, teachers can have private communication with one parent.

Set Time for Receiving and Sending Messages

Teachers can set work time for receiving messages within which teachers will not get interrupted from messages in personal time. Also, teachers can set a schedule to send a specific message out during the class time.

Productive Learning Evidence

Remind supports various file formats to be learning evidence for sharing with parents. Pictures, videos, or document will be productive and informative for parents to know almost everything they concern in school.

Available from Web and App

Remind is available from the website: remind.comand also can be used as the app on the mobile devices, which is handy and flexible.

 Translation feature

Remind provides translation for messages which is a crucial feature for teachers to communicate with parents whose prefer language is not English. 

Create A Thriving Digital Community From Peer-peer Communication 

Teachers always get significant influence on the profession from peers more than any other ways. “one-size-fits-all” approach of PD cannot satisfy teachers growth and different needs. Digital communities can help teachers to share experiences with peers and break the isolation to seek collaboration to enhance student engagement in learning. Edmodo is a powerful platform which can be used as a digital community for teachers locally and globally. Teachers can have a discussion and sharing resources through groups and small groups and also can communicate in time from the message. More details are provided in this blog:
Edmodo for Collaboration


School-to-Home Communications: Most effective tools for parent communications & engagement[Infographic]. Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning. Retrieved from

Knutson, J. (2016). 6 Tech Tools That Boost Teacher-Parent Communication. Retrieved from

Journal of Humanities, Language, Culture and Business (HLCB) Vol. 2: No. 10 (December 2018) page 26-36 | | eISSN: 01268147

Miller, A. (2015). Avoiding Learned Helplessness. Retrieved from

ISTE For Coaches 3

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

3b – Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments
3d – Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning
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

Inquiry Question: What kind of digital tools can enhance kindergarten’s student learning? What factors need teacher to be focused when they are looking for the digital tools for younger students?

Retrieved from Gryphon House

First Step into Digital World

Kindergarten is a crucial period for children to develop and form mindset and cognition. Children are growing up in the digital world, and it is educators responsibility to pave the path for them to meet the 21st century’s demands. Preschool teachers are also inspired to strive for exploring appropriate digital tools embedded into pedagogy to meet intrinsic characteristics of younger students to build connections between the real-world and digital world. Younger students develop a sense of initiative and creativity through exploring and using a variety of tools. They use crayons, blocks to create things to build an image of the world. We can use digital tools to make something impossible to be possible for young children, providing colorful,  productive and meaningful ways to scaffold younger children to understand and touch the real world. 

Build a Solid Foundation For Kindergarten Students

Digital tools and recourses should allow younger students to have authentic learning

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center state that “appropriate experiences with technology and media allow children to control the medium and the outcome of the experience, to explore the functionality of these tools, and pretend how they might be used in real life.” Early educators should mindfully determine what digital tools can be used in the classroom based on the Three C’s: the content, the context, and the needs of the individual child. The goal is to extend younger students authentic learning experiences to foster the ability to leverage technology wisely to develop cognition, explore real-world, and present themselves.  

We always need to ensure that digital tools and resources get younger students thinking and questioning.

Young age students will always having curious and interests to lead deeper learning. Teachers need to make sure the digital tools and resources that can trigger young students to think and question and get them empowered to have independent learning. 

Digital tools allow students to create artifacts

In kindergarten, we always have students who are shy and quiet cannot get engaged in learning activities. But in my iPad class, these students are active when they use digital tools to create artifacts collaboratively (animation, digital story) to demonstrate themselves. They can build confidence from interacting and sharing with peers and parents using digital tools to create.  Use technology in effective and meaningful ways that can make young students be positive creators instead of passive consumers. 

Digital tools allow teacher to track student learning process

It is important to create an environment from young age to experience independent learning with digital tools. The digital tool which has tracking feature can make teachers clearly on every student learning process. It will be possible to implement blended learning or flipped classroom to cultivate independent learning ability with digital tools from younger age. 

Choose the Appropriate Tools

In the digital world, it always has digital tools thriving from time to time, which will overwhelm teachers to look for the right ones from the endless of resources. Common Sense Media provides reliable reviews and rating of digital tools in education sorted by different level of age. Teachers can get great resources as a recommendation from the Best Apps.

Whenever you are using digital tools, look at the elements of motivation for learning. The following characteristics are crucial for obtaining and sustaining interest and extended learning for young children:

Developmentally appropriate content: The content should inspire the young student to keep moving on and help them to connect with real-world

Childish interface: young students can control the functions of the digital tool easily 

Wait time: Young students have limited patience. Don’t drain out their interests on longer loading time or processing time.

Incentives and interactive: can produce digital artifacts to present or share with others

Goal: have to have an innovative part of motivating the student to create

Evaluate Digital Tools

Whenever pilot new digital tools, teachers or tech coaches need to evaluate the effects on learning.

Digital Tool Review
User Experience
Is the content presented in a clear way?
Dose the tool offer easy navigation?
Is the tool childishly pleasing?
Are there many distractive features in the content ?  
Learning Practice
What skills can learners practice? Are these skills meet learning goal?
How much control do learners have over the pace of learning? 
Tracking Learning
Can users set their own learning goals?
Are there self-assessment opportunities?
Can teachers observe learners’ progress?
Social Interaction
What opportunities are there for communication between learners?
What collaborative opportunities are there?
What kind of communities can develop?  
Learning Outcomes
Can learners be motivated to question more?
Can learners connect to real-world and solve real-world problems?
Can learners build right cognition of real-world?
What kind of final product can this tool present?
Technical information
What internet connection does this tool need?
Is this tool compatible on other kinds of devices?


How to choose digital resources and tools for your classroom. Retrieved from

How we nurture children hasn’t changed, even if tools has become digital. Retrieved from

Selected examples of effective classroom practice involving technology tools and interactive media. Retrieved from

Jeffs, T. (2014). Preschoolers in the digital sandbox. Retrieved from

Johnson, K. (2016). Resources to help you choose the digital tools your classroom needs. Retrieved from

Zielezinski, M. (2016). What 7 factors should educators consider when choosing digital tools for underserved students? Retrieved from

ISTE FOR COACHES 3-Digital Age Learning Evironments

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

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.

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.

Inquiry Question:

How can encourage teachers to take risks to use new digital technology into class and motivate student lead meaningful learning with digital tools in technology-rich learning environment? Especially for the younger age students

In the digital world, more and more schools recognize the importance of digital technology, which takes the key role in fostering student digital competences for the 21st century and benefiting their sustainable lifelong learning. Also, digital technology can fulfill differentiated learning to improve student engagement, motivation, and innovation. Since technology has been exerting a significant influence on education, teachers need to explore new teaching strategies to build a productive digital age learning environment for students. 

Changing is always being a tough process in which teachers need to get inspired and build up the confidence to look for appropriate digital technology for appropriate ages and implement effectively to scaffold students to achieve learning outcomes. Facing thousands of digital resources, digital tools, and strategies, teachers need a clear direction to guide them to move on positively rather than stopping without motivation. With a clear direction, technology as the vehicle will take education closer to the destination.

Introducing different kinds of digital tools is not the goal for technology coaches. The goal is to provide explicit guidance for teachers to make up the gap which traditional teaching cannot fill in and then achieve learning outcomes meeting the needs of the 21st century’s. One digital tool cannot fit all teachers needs. So the technology coaches should model teachers seek the meaningful ways to integrate technology seamlessly rather than just using it as the replacement of paper or calculators and also keep teachers up to date with the latest available technological tools. It will be a positive circle created while teachers design classes using technology to support teaching and learning effectively, and both students and teachers will get motivated and ready for making efforts on the integration.  Teachers will have experiences of experimentation and trial-and-error in this adventure, but within the bright light (guidance), they will be motivated to take risks.

The Role of Digital Technology in Education

In the developing digital age learning environment, the highest priority is not to have teachers to use technology for its sake, but rather to embed technology appropriately to lead meaningful learning and apply related technology skills to students to benefit their future lives. Technology should facilitate the learning process but not create or control the learning goals.

As the technology coaches, we need to have teachers know how meaningful use of technology works mighty in the learning process, which will help to meet teachers’ different needs to achieve learning goals through productive ways. And model teachers not focus on the endless digital tools more than thinking over on learning to explore appropriate digital tools for reaching the learning goals.

Which Digital Tools Can Be Adapted?

-Keep learning the latest educational digital tools (From Peers, Coach, Online, PD)

It is vital for teachers to keep gaining the latest knowledge of new technologies. They can learn from PLNs (Twitter, EdSurge) to share their experiences and learn from others. The technology coaches also need to provide professional development courses to introduce useful digital tools and successful integration cases to cheer teachers passions.

-Learn from students

We also need to hear from students’ voices, which is essential for leading meaningful student-centered learning. In my iPad class, my students always told me which apps they want to use for demonstrating their artifacts. It is a secret to tapping into younger students’ intrinsic motivation towards technology to help them learn. You will be surprised by their over-expected achievement and enjoyment. I will always be proud of my Kindergarten students when they introduce their favorite digital tools and collaborate with others to lead student-centered learning. I am glad to design meaningful learning activities with their favorite tools to achieve the learning goals.

How to Embed Digital Technology Effectively

-Create meaningful learning activities from four aspects (understanding, communicating, collaborating, creating)

Technology coaches should encourage teachers to find digital tools to facilitate learning activities from these four facets and help teachers to evaluate the effects of technology to achieve the final goals. Technology coaches need to fill in every step of integration to reduce the potential risk of fails.


Research on multimedia learning has demonstrated more positive outcomes for students who learn from resources that effectively combine words and pictures, rather than those that include words alone (Mayer, 2008). Teachers need to think over a meaningful interaction within digital technology involved in learning activities purposefully to improve understanding, especially for the younger students. 


Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory argues that social interactions can facilitate the development of higher-order functions when they take place in cultural contexts. Students learn when they interact and communicate with other learners in a positive environment.  This theory provides teachers with guidance on integrating technology effectively in classes that should be used to facilitate communication among learners in the class, within a school, between schools, and around the world. Teachers can adapt meaningful technology-embedded communication learning activities, including blogging, presentation, online discussion forums, and emails. 


Technology can provide an online environment of virtual worlds to increase the possibility of collaborative learning’s occurring. Research with students who have used such virtual worlds have demonstrated that students engage deeply with the content and gain teamwork skills that support them in collaboratively and effectively solving the problems presented to them (Barab, Gresalfi &Arici, 2009). Teachers should integrate the appropriate digital tools to design authentic, collaborative learning activities to prepare and extend student deep learning in the technology-rich environment. 


Students are expected to be innovative in the 21st century. When teachers implement digital learning activities, they need to focus on increasing creation and imagination to scaffold student to have brainstorm and demonstrate their learning outcomes through creative ways.

When teachers integrate technology into above four aspects seamlessly through learning activities, they will scaffold students to achieve learning outcomes through productive ways and also enhance engagement and motivation which will also inspire teachers to explore more effective strategies on technology integration to support meaningful learning.

Teachers should think about following questions before implementing technology into classes:

-Does digital technology improve student understandings, help the student to construct long-term memories to have deep understandings of learning content?

-Does digital technology provide more opportunities for communication between peers, schools, and countries?

-Does digital technology create opportunities for collaboration to lead the student to have authentic learning in a group set?

-Does digital technology lead students to have a brainstorm on the learning process?

-Can the embedded digital technology be replaced by other non-technological tools?

-Does digital technology help to reach learning goals and enhance student engagement and motivation?

Evaluation for the Next Moving On

The technology coaches need to model teachers evaluate all kinds of technological tools, digital resources, and strategies that they used for teaching and learning. The evaluation will help teachers to know the potential issues and results of the technology integration. They need to consider the No/Not sure answers and improve the design through the process of identify-adjust-modify-implement. The process will be back and forth, which will weaken teachers confidence and passion. However, when the teachers see the different levels of learning achievement, their inspiration will be built up.

-Is the digital technology appropriate for the age and year level of the students? 

•   Are there links between the content/functions of digital technology and the expectations of the curriculum? 

-Dose the digital resources focus on schema construction directly?

-Dose the digital resources and learning activities not related to schema construction directly?

-Will technology integration help teach the curriculum in new or different ways? 

-Are digital sources reliable? 

-Does digital content encourage higher-order thinking? 

-Does digital content present multiple perspectives? 

-Will students be actively involved in using the digital tool? 

-Is feedback provided? Is the feedback appropriate and meaningful? 

-Are assessment tasks included, or can the teacher develop relevant assessment tasks that link to the use of the digital tool? 

-Can all aspects of the digital tool be integrated easily into classroom activities? 

-Can the digital tool be used for multiple curriculum units? 

-Does digital technology use to support or distract from the learning activity? 

-Is the digital tool easy to use and intuitive? 

-Does the digital tool work consistently? 

-Are there special technical requirements for using the tool? Does the school have access to those requirements? 

-Does the tool have multiple forms of help (manuals, context-sensitive help, and tutorials)? 

-Are teaching support materials or online resources available to help a teacher embed the tool into lessons? 

The technology coaches need to provide clear guidance from why what and how to pilot digital technology in classes to have teachers understand how powerful technology will be if teachers integrate it in effective and meaningful ways. Teachers will meet their learning goals from innovative ways to scaffold student construct new knowledge and also cultivate digital competences for the digital world. Teachers will get inspired to take risks when they see the destination get closer. They will have full passions to pave the path for students to get more engaged and motivated in learning. Any digital tool cannot replace a good teacher, but a good teacher can get support from appropriate digital technology to empower student learning in a digital age.


Eady, M., & Lockyer, L. (2013). Tools for learning: technology and teaching strategies. Retrieved from;Tools

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). Grounded Tech Integration: An Effective Approach Based on Content, Pedagogy, and Teacher Planning. Retrieved from

What if? Let’s reimagine learning. Technology can help. Retrieved from

Piccolo, L. (2017). How can teachers encourage learning by using technology in the classroom. Retrieved from

Joshson, K. (2016). 5 things teachers want from PD, and how coaching and collaboration can deliver them—if implementation improves. Retrieved from

Rebora, A. (2016). Teachers still struggling to use tech to transform instruction, survey finds. Retrieved from

Engaging the Community: Using Technology in Primary Literacy Group

Introduction and Reflection


For this quarter’s final project for my Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, we were asked to engage the digital community by preparing a presentation for a digital education conference.  We have submitted our proposal for the NCCE conference in Seattle in February 2019. While we haven’t yet heard if our proposal has been accepted, the process of coming up with an idea and working through the process of putting together a presentation that we feel will meet the needs of K-2 educators has been very valuable. Perhaps the most powerful learning that I gained from this project was having the opportunity to work with one of my classmates.  In my own classroom I am always talking about collaboration and how multiple brains working together bring more to our creative work and that we can often learn more from our peers than from the “teacher”. I am so glad that my peer and I took advantage of this opportunity. While I have more years of experience in education, I am moving into a grade level this coming year that I don’t have a lot of experience with, while my partner has been teaching this grade for most of her teaching career.  She also did her teaching training at a time when technology was prevalent in the classroom and most likely addressed in university education programs, where I began teaching using a overhead projector! We both brought different experiences and skill sets to our work together and I feel this allowed for our presentation to be better suited for a range of learners. Collaborating on a project like this felt more “real life” and finding the time to collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously as well as meshing our academic work was an experience and skill that reminded me that these are the experiences and skills we should be “teaching” our students in the classroom if we are, indeed, preparing them for future lives in the “real world”.


Professional Development that Meets Teacher Needs


Our presentation is planned for 50 minutes.  We chose to do a session rather than a workshop because we felt that most of our audience would have some background in primary classrooms and with using technology.  Educators coming to our presentation will be actively engaged in the learning by completing a poll and also by visiting and exploring some of the digital resources we plan to share.  During our presentation we plan to meet content knowledge needs by providing teachers reasons for including technology in the primary classroom, strategies and tips for implementing technology, and resources of which digital tools we recommend.  Teacher needs are addressed because we hope to provide teachers with information and ideas that can take back to their classroom and implement immediately. Teachers find value in professional development that prepares them to make immediate changes in their teaching that don’t require a ton of planning and time.  Collaborative participation is promoted by giving time during our presentation for the attendees to talk about which (if any) of the resources we share that they have used in their classroom and also by giving us suggestions of digital tools they have used that aren’t included in our list.


Presentation Slides

Here is a link to our tentative Slides presentation:



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



Here a link to an overview of our presentation:



For this quarter’s work on Digital Learning Environments we focused on ISTE Standard for Coaching #3. Each week we focused on a couple indicators of this standard and this culminating project reflected our understanding of all seven indicators.


ISTE Standards for Coaches

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

a) 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.

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

c) 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.

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

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

f) 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.

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

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


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

b) We will provide suggestions for variety of digital tools for the primary classroom.  We will briefly explore a few during the presentation as well as include links for attendees to try out some resources we have shared after the presentation is over.

c) We will provide a lot of links to resources in our presentation. 50 minutes isn’t a lot of time, but we have a lot of information to share and want attendees to continue the learning after the session.

d) We have created a closed caption screencast providing an overview of our Slides presentation as well as been intentional with our choice of  font and graphics.

e) We have included a slide on technology management and also a slide of how to have volunteers and support staff assist when students encounter technology difficulty.

f) We chose to do this project and create this presentation as a team. We also want our presentation to be a collaborative session. We will stop and ask the audience to share anything they might want to add or share their experiences with the topic we are discussing.

g) Our presentation materials (slides and screencast) will be shared on our blogs, available on the NCCE conference website (if we are selected to present), and we will encourage attendees to share any pieces of our presentation with their colleagues once they return home. We will also share our contact information with attendees for follow-up or clarifying questions.


Resources (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2018, August 22) from:

Personalized and Independent Digital Tools for the Kindergarten Classroom

Technology in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a time of tremendous transition and growth. It is many children’s first formal educational experience and the Kindergarten year sets the foundation and tone for a student’s educational experience.  Students this age are creative and are striving for independence. The are learning to take initiative and collaborate with their peers both socially and academically. Because we are working to embrace and cultivate creativity and social interactions at this age, it is crucial that we are intentional with our goals for the use of technology is the Kindergarten classroom.  When technology is implemented thoughtfully “it is one more outlet for them to display their creativity and learning.” (, 2012)

Independent Centers

A component of many early elementary classrooms is center time.  During this portion of the day students rotate through a variety of stations with each station or rotation focused on a different activity. Often during this time, the teacher is pulling small groups of students aside for individualized and focused instruction. There might also be some support staff or parent volunteers in the class working with small groups or assisting with the students working independently at centers.   

To be honest, this time in my classrooms has often been a struggle. When it flows well and all students are engaged and independent it is such a magical time in the day. But, more often than not, the students rotating through the centers have issues with engagement or need assistance regardless of how much teaching, modeling, and practice has been done ahead of time.  This is where I think technology can be used effectively and with intention in primary classrooms. This is also a time when students can be given choice in their work and activities can be easily differentiated.

Personalized Learning

Every classroom has learners at different academic levels with varied strengths and challenges, and different previous educational experiences, but in some ways a kindergarten classroom has the greatest learner diversity.  All students enter kindergarten with different previous educational experiences and at the kindergarten age (5 and 6) students will different birth dates can be 20% older or younger than their peers, which is a large range developmentally.  With all of our classrooms, but especially classrooms with large discrepancy among and between learners, differentiated learning must be part of the curriculum planning. Taking this a step further is involving students in their learning plan, often coined “personalized learning”.

The North America Council for Online Learning published an article in June 2018 titled, “A National Landscape Scan of Personalized Learning in K-12 Education in the United States”.  In the introduction, authors Gross, Tuckman, and Patrick define personalized learning as “an approach to a school’s pedagogical strategy for optimizing supports for each student, drawing on research about learning, motivation and engagement. Schools that personalize learning call on students to be active co-constructors, making choices in how they learn, co-creating their learning experiences and pathways through learning, progressing through content as they demonstrate competence, and engaging in their communities outside the school. This stands in contrast to prior expectations that all students should progress along a set curriculum at roughly the same pace, and significantly advances more recent differentiation work by placing student agency at the center of the process (2018).”

Choosing Digital Tools

Because digital apps, websites, and programs are constantly changing and being updated, adults that are selecting digital tools for students must frequently evaluate the programs being used and be on the look at for new or updated tools that might fit with curriculum and goals.  One of my favorite places to look for reviews of digital tools is Common Sense Media. There “top picks” lists are reliably packed with great resources and helpful reviews. Check out these “Best Apps” for kids, there seems to be a category for every learner:

In her article on the Edutopia website, Tara Jeffs (2014) provides this list of key elements for technology use in Kindergarten classrooms:

“Whether you are using apps, computer software or interactive websites, look at the elements of motivation for learning. The following characteristics are crucial for obtaining and sustaining interest and extended play for young children:

  • Developmentally appropriate content: not so easy that it is mastered quickly, and not so hard that it becomes frustrating or feels impossible.
  • Fresh content: the app updates as the user plays (i.e. is multi-leveled or has stages).
  • Wait time: not too long and not too short between levels or games.
  • Humorous activities: having fun and laughing are part of the digital experience — the sillier the better for some of our early learners.
  • Incentives: provides a reason to play and explore (i.e., stickers, levels or collections).
  • Goals: children and parents should agree that there is a reason or goal in mind to motivate further play.
  • Socialization: offers parental/adult involvement or playmate opportunities.”




Common Sense Media website. (Retrieved on 2018, July 22) from:


iNACOL. Org website (2018). (Retrieved on 2018, July 22) from: (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2018, June 21) from:


Jeffs, T (2014). Website (Retrieved on June  20, 2018) from: website (2012). Retrieved on 2018, July 23) from:


Screencasting in the Classroom: Using Video for School Based PD with Staff and Students

Community Engagement Project

For the final project in EDTC 6104 – Digital Learning Environments I’m reflecting on my Community Engagement Project. Using screencasting in the classroom for instruction with students or PD with staff members. I attempted to identify a learning need for a community of educators and design a workshop and presentation to distribute the content through a presentation at a local conference. I initially had a difficult time thinking of an area where I was comfortable and capable of providing PD or exposure to a specific topic for a group of K-12 educators. Eventually I settled on the topic of screencasting. I decided to apply to present this project at a local technology conference, NCCE. When I was thinking about the length I knew it would be between 30 and 60 minutes based on the topic and what I had to say luckily the conference application helped, since there was a choice for a 50 minute spot or a 2 hour spot. I went for 50 minutes.

Engaged and Active Learning

A focus of our class was active and engaged learning in a digital environment. It was a challenge to incorporate into PD especially since I am used to sit-and-get style of PD. I have done a lot of thinking and reflecting on how to adapt and update PD to a more engaging style, but putting it into practice has proved to be difficult. One way I’ve attempted to engage learners is to provide freedom, and that is a great draw of video, you make videos that fit the purpose according what is needed in your class or by your staff. I hope participants will be engaged because they are able to apply this learning to their individual classrooms and plan videos for their students or staff. Another idea was to incorporate flipped learning content into the session. I decided that trying to get participants to record their own screencast before coming to the PD would hopefully help spark an interest and facilitate buy-in from participants. I also decided to try to gather the recorded videos together along with a description to create a library of screencast and video resources that would hopefully benefit teachers for use in their classrooms or job. To get participants involved in the session I attempted to have them script and record a screencast toward the end of our time. In planning for this, I have some concerns because I’ve heard conference wifi can be unreliable at times and video of course requires more bandwidth.

I really hope that the idea of a library of screencast videos would serve as a springboard for teachers recording more videos, or using videos linked through this Google site in their own classrooms. I will be interested to get feedback and track the use over time through some sort of analytics. As I was thinking about adding one more website to teachers taxed brains, I became concerned that mine would not stand out. I don’t have any answers, and I realized I have no way to remind anyone that it exists. I’m hoping that if my training is valuable and the videos recorded by others are shared this will become a valuable site for the teachers that visit. Who knows, maybe it can be used by my school district in some way. Right now, as you can see below it is just beginning as a basic Google site with four different pages focused on gathering and sharing screencast videos and my presentation.

The main page from the screencast collective website.

Content Knowledge Needs

During this quarter we focused on the ISTE Coaching Standards, and specifically standard 3. We covered the standard extensively and because of the time we put in reflecting and applying standard 3, I felt that my project meets many of the indicators for standard 3. I had difficulty explaiThis is the draft website showing my presentation resources. ning other content knowledge standards that are me by using screencasting for student learning and staff PD because the application is so broad. However, I can reflect on how I have used screencasts and instructional videos in my classroom in the past and share the content knowledge I have incorporated and what standards those videos could address for students or staff. I was looking back at some of my instructional videos tied to 4th grade math standards and I found that instructional videos for two chapters on fractions covered nearly all of the common core state standards for fractions for 4th grade. Instructional videso do differ from screencasts in my experience in recording however, and I have not yet made such a clear connection to standards in my own screencasts. I find that I often use screencasts to allow for more time to focus on standards within a lesson or in class because they help explain how to use a tool or how to navigate within a tool that will be used often in class.

Teachers Needs

One benefit of choosing to focus on screencasting and video is that it can be used for a variety of purposes. The skill of recording screencasts can be focused on student needs or the needs of teachers. I was able to record videos that I used for both purposes which I felt could be beneficial to share with other teachers. Teacher needs are vast, and we are stretched in many different directions. Recording a video can be one way to alleviate some of the pressures felt by teachers because it allows some basic needs and directions to be explained outside of the instructional block, or frees the teacher to focus attention on complex standards or deeper thinking.

The shared screencasts page from the screencast collective website.

Collaborative Participation

In past classes and in our class on on Digital Learning Environments we’ve been studying about engagement and professional development and best practices around engagement. So, naturally I want to make the professional development I’m providing as engaging as possible to those in attendance. From past investigations I should know how to do that but I found that knowledge very difficult to put into practice! I found that there were outside factors that limited my ability to provide the type of collaborative participation I wanted. Our class often discussed the constraints of the wireless network at large conferences, so when leading a PD session that is focused on videos posted online, naturally audience participation in the form of making their own videos is limited. Honestly, because of those limits I find myself more understanding of the typical forms of PD we experience as teachers. That being said, I don’t want my desire for transformation of PD to end here. I hope that in my upcoming classes and in my new job this year I will be able to continue working to transform the type of PD teachers experience. It is great to hear about things that are working across the country from our readings, as well as reading and hearing from classmates about their experiences in providing meaningful and differentiated PD opportunities. I still have a lot left to learn, in fact I’ll never be finished learning as all teachers know, but I feel that I’m on a great path that will hopefully benefit others along the way.


Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning. (2017, June). U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

Community Engagement Project – EDTC 6104

Increasing Family Engagement Through Digital Portfolios

This summer I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone.  In my own building, I worked as the Site Coordinator for summer school, my first time truly managing other staff and being in charge of a building.  With my Masters program through SPU, I’ve submitted my first proposal to a conference.  While this has been daunting, I have enjoyed both challenges.  Having taught ELL for seven years, I’ve taught summer school, both initiated and led before and after school programs, and attended workshops, but have never sought out a leadership role.  This summer has shifted my own perception of what I’m capable of and how I can contribute to others.

Trying New Strategies to Engage ELL Families

One of my greatest challenges as an educator and coach has been communication with families.  Working in schools where the majority of the parents are not native English speakers, communication is often limited, lost in translation, and we frequently rely on students to be the translator to get messages through to families. Based on my own experience in Title 1 schools in two different states, ELL families are less likely to initiate communication with teachers and less likely to use email as a frequent communication tool. Numerous studies agree that in general, low-income and/or ethnic/racial minority families are less likely to participate in school events and certain aspects of the children’s education. (Dong-shin Shin and Wendy Seger 2016). Many of these same families have limited access to technology and less exposure to 21st century skills.  Therefore, I feel it is important for teachers to not only introduce 21st century skills to students, but also help coach their families in how to use technology as a communication tool, professionally, and share their funds of knowledge.

What do we know about family involvement in Title 1 schools?

The most extensive research comes from the Hoover-Demspey and Sandler study known as the HDS Model.  Their findings claim parent involvement is based on these key factors:

The Parent Institute, 2012

This chart supports evidence that parents who do not speak English or were not educated in the American education system are more likely to find it difficult to participate at the school site. Furthermore, these families may have varying cultural views on what parent involvement entails based on their own cultural experiences. Particularly in low-income/immigrant families, parents may be limited in time by constraints related to their occupation, caring for other family members, or cultural commitments. So how can I connect families to what’s happening in the classroom when they are unable to attend our events? How do we support our illiterate parents?

This past year I’ve been searching for digital tools that help connect with families and offer translation.  Partially motivated by several great digital programs students have used for projects without a common way to share their work with families. I was fortunate enough to attend the International TESOL Convention to learn more about what other teachers are doing around the world and what I might be able to apply in my own building. These challenges inspired my quest for a better system to increase parent engagement, empower students, while still meeting performance standards.

My search led me to discovering digital portfolios.  With the intention of supporting students and increasing family engagement, the platform I am most eager to explore at this time is Seesaw.  

Digital Portfolios – Empower Students and Engage Families

My Proposal

Searching for conferences to submit proposals to was a foreign concept to me.  After looking at larger conferences, I decided to do some google searching of my own and happened upon the WAESOL (Washington Association for the Education of Speakers of Other Languages) website.  I was so excited to see that they were accepting proposals for their 2017 conference to be held this upcoming October.  My greatest challenge was the deadline to apply, in July.  I had anticipated having all summer to explore apps, compare, and learn.

The 2017 WAESOL Conference will take place in October in Des Moines, WA.  My proposal was for a Teacher Demonstration session which is 45 minutes.  Knowing the conference targets ELL teachers, I feel I have a fair understanding of the participants who attend these workshops. Also, knowing the state standards we all address, I felt I could really streamline how digital portfolios can support teachers, students, and families.

How can I encourage others to buy in to using digital portfolios?

When thinking about how to get others excited, I thought back to various workshops I attended at the TESOL convention.  How did speakers get and maintain my attention? Beyond teachers wanting to learn about the topic, I want them to understand I am like them.  I am currently teaching, at times overwhelmed feeling I can’t take on anything else, yet wanting to serve our population and advocate for the ELL families in our state.

With attendees coming from around the state, we share the same teaching standards, evaluation systems, language barriers, gaps in formal education, as well as successes and challenges.  Rather than simply digitizing portfolios, this platform allows us to record students speaking and reading which is critical in their language development.  Students can monitor their own progress as well as have some control over the work they choose to publish.  Parents will have the opportunity to become involved digitally without needing to come to the school.  

In lieu of adding to the work day, digital portfolios can create a classroom system where students become more actively involved in their published work with the awareness of an authentic audience. Attendees will be able to make connections between digital tools and what they are already doing in the classroom. How can I achieve this in just 45 minutes?

Below is a mini-version of my slide presentation.  Starting with questions to gauge the audience, I might modify the direction of the workshop.  My intent is to truly highlight strengths of Seesaw and how it aligns well to tools and standards already utilised in K-12 classrooms. Again, by addressing the standards met and how teachers can use digital portfolios as evidence of their own professional growth, it is simply modifying how teachers capture the work already taking place.

After sharing how Seesaw can work for students, teachers, and parents, attendees will have the opportunity to explore Seesaw or another platform on a personal or shared device. Attendees will log in to a mock class as a student and be asked to upload photos, record audio, and take notes.  The audio and note-taking questions will align with teacher background which in turn will give me a better understanding of the who’s in attendance. If teachers prefer another platform, I’d like to hear about it and why it works for them.

Why Seesaw?  

So Why Seesaw?  Yes, there are other great platforms out there, however at this time, I am choosing to implement and promote Seesaw.  As mentioned in previous posts, many of our ELL students come from high poverty families without internet access, consistent working phones, first generation to have formal education.  Seesaw does not require an app like some other platforms. At this time, Seesaw allows teachers to assess reading, writing, and speaking, which all ELL teachers do anyway, now they can simply store data in one location. Seesaw offers voice messaging, which most platforms do not.

For example, we’ll look at one of my students from Guatemala.  He speaks Spanish. Great! We have Spanish support in my building so easy solution is send home all information in Spanish.  However, neither of his parents had more than 4 years of school.  His mother struggles to read in Spanish and his dad works long hours.  Who will translate? His mom does however have a phone and they frequently go to a coffee shop where she can access free wi-fi to chat with family back home.  How can I utilize this knowledge to support the family?  His mother can use the QR code to access Seesaw and look up his published work while she’s at the coffee shop and leave him voice messages.  

How else can Seesaw help?  Parents can give access to other family members.  We have many students who go to outside agencies for after school tutoring.  Those agencies then contact us wanting progress reports.  To eliminate this step, we could simply give the access to Seesaw and they can log in on their own to see how the students are performing as well as give feedback.  It’s another way to show students we all work as a team to support their academic growth and language development.

How does Seesaw support teachers in the classroom?  In my limited experience (one month) Seesaw has great support for teachers using the platform.  Through frequent email updates, I’ve learned about free webinars, updates to the system, Facebook groups to join that are grade level or content specific, and have joined a new group of educators who vary in experience. This is one of the driving reasons why I feel I can recommend Seesaw to others.  I may not know the answer to a question, but I feel I now have a support network I can quickly turn to and be directed to the person who has the answer.


The Parent Institute (2012) Why is parent involvement important? Retrieved from

Park, S. S., & Holloway, S. D. (2012, November 30). No Parent Left Behind: Predicting Parental Involvement in Adolescents’ Education within a Sociodemographically Diverse Population. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from

Shin, D., & Seger, W. (2016, January 13). Web 2.0 Technologies and Parent Involvement of ELL Students: An Ecological Perspective. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from

Module 3: Troubleshooting for All

Introduction to ISTE 3E and 3G

This week for my M.Ed. Digital Education Leadership program blog post at Seattle Pacific University. I’m reflecting on a different part of the ISTE coaching standard #3. For this module we are considering indicators E and G of Standard 3. Initially those two indicators and topics seemed unrelated but I think they really do overlap more than I first thought. Initially in considering the role students and teachers play in troubleshooting technology versus collaborating locally and globally with students, parents, peers and the larger community I decided to focus on troubleshooting. However, I think the two may be more connected than I originally considered. The question that chose to investigate was related to my school district. I wanted to know what tools or resources they had in place for teachers and students who need to troubleshoot technology so that they feel empowered to troubleshoot on their own. I also want to consider what technology coaches can do in order to encourage teachers to troubleshoot on their own.

Empowering Teachers

The first step that I see in helping teachers to become empowered users of technology who troubleshoot their own problems is encouraging them to begin to do that work. Perhaps even before providing that encouragement technology leaders will need to provide some modeling or sharing how we troubleshoot our own technology problems. I will plan to write a bit more about this later in my post. In order for teachers to be successful troubleshooters of their technology, however, they will likely need scaffolded help. In many of my previous readings and posts related to PD the idea that good teaching for students and  adults is the same has come up repeatedly. That is why I believe that some explicit teaching around troubleshooting is necessary for teachers. In my past experience working with teachers and collaborating in general the collective intelligence is far superior to the ideas of one person. Therefore, my hope in continually exposing the district staff to the idea of troubleshooting a device on their own and modeling with the  resources I use is that it will lead to a culture where it is natural for teachers to troubleshoot their own problems more often. My second hope is that by devoting a small amount of time to troubleshooting consistently will aid in creating of a community of resources related to troubleshooting to build a repository of solutions and resources for finding those solutions across an entire school district.

Troubleshooting Help – Some Resources

The next part of my research into troubleshooting tools involved actually looking for tools that were used in my district as well as other tools I could find around the web. I was able to find some pretty good resources but many, as happens with technology, seem outdated.

The first thing I noticed when looking for tools to help with troubleshooting technology within my school district is that there is a troubleshooting and PD website that does exist! It is just like what I was hoping to find, a place where collective intelligence is leveraged for the benefit of all. I was happy to see that they have a fairly advanced page with many working links that includes resources in a variety of formats. I saw documents, slideshows and videos depending on the topic you choose to learn more about. Some offered explanations or PD but others were basic directions on how to use a tool that would likely work for troubleshooting. Another positive aspect of this website is that it utilizes tools and resources that are already available from the web as well as incorporates tools and resources created by the technology leaders from within the district. I think this provides a good mix of showing teachers what is available and encouraging them to create and share their own knowledge. In addition to this webpage there is another page offered by the district that is an instructional technology blog. On the blog there is also a combination of different types of information. Some link to PD or other district websites and some are setup type tips that would be helpful to a teacher or student who was troubleshooting their technology. One point of interest for me is whether or not these resources are widely shared across the district or in trainings and how often they are updated. I hope to find out when I attend the new employee training later this month.

The next resource I wanted to share that I discovered in my search this week is from Pace University in the state of New York. Pace has an interesting idea in their website that is for troubleshooting all about computers for teachers or students. They have attempted to put the most important technology issues on their site and then further divided that into five subsites. The layout is great, and I like the subsites as well as the visuals on the homepage of the site. It would likely still be useful if it was current, but much of the information appears to now be out of date. I actually had a pretty difficult time finding a technology troubleshooting website, especially one made for teachers because I think much of this work has been taken on by districts, and probably also because so many specific problems can be solved by searching the web. Searching the web is one basic way to troubleshoot many technology problems but I wanted to provide two resources that might be more focused and powerful than a general web search. I want to talk about product forums and support pages. I’m choosing to discuss Google Forums and Google Product support because I use a Google account at work and students in my district use Chromebooks and have G Suite accounts.

Google Forums and Support

Google product forums is an extensive website that revolves around all of the products Google offers and allows users to ask questions and get answers from community members, volunteers or Google employees. I’ve found that each time I use the forums I learn something new, often in addition to the solution I was looking to find. As you can see the forum has an extensive list of products. Google Forum Homepage

I was look there today and was reminded that I can use the shortcut ctrl + ? to bring up the help menu on a Chromebook. One great reason to use these forums if that you often get specific step by step support tailored to your problem, or you can find past posts by searching that explain the exact topic you are trying to solve. Another similarly useful resource is the Google Support website.

Google's Product Help WebsiteFrom what I can see the support website is more general whereas forums are for more technical or specific problems. I’m not sure, so if you happen to know please provide a clarifying comment! The great thing about support and forum type of websites is that all major technology companies seems to have them. Whether you prefer to use Microsoft, Apple or Google products and services each of those three major companies has these dedicated websites. Now you don’t even have to go to the Apple Store! I think that because we do so much of our work on specific devices from one of these large companies, and because so much is now done online the best troubleshooting for most people will probably come from a major forum or product support website.

Empowering Students

Since the resources I’ve listed above are all free to use without any password protection or other restrictions I see no reason why those same sites should not be shared with students. If we are looking to empower students to be creative thinkers and problem solvers then troubleshooting should be a skill they acquire. It has been my experience that my former students are some of the most eager people to troubleshoot technology problems. When I reflect on my classroom practice from past years, I think if I had strategically provided them with these resources they would have been even more independent in their use of technology and in finding solutions for problems. I also wonder if more students would have demonstrated competency in troubleshooting. Explicit teaching and modeling can be used here with students and teachers alike. As I said above, there is a connection between encouraging local and global collaboration and confidence in troubleshooting. If you use technology sometime you will encounter a problem. Our students will continue to use technology just as students across the world will use technology. Students will collaborate with others who are far removed from their learning environments, when problems come up they should have some strategies for solving those problems. As Lindsay (2016) states, students should develop global competencies in order to be prepared for the global jobs they will be competing for tomorrow. Let’s work to help our students be prepared to compete globally by helping them become proficient users of technology. 

My Thoughts for Teachers Leaders

The way forward could help to shape classroom cultures, mindset and the entire environment of  a school or district. If we are willing to be patient, resist the urge to provide answers, model our own troubleshooting with both staff members and students, and encourage flexible solutions to problems then an important shift can continue to happen. Our goal as technology leaders should be to help spur this change. Change can happen, especially if we provide staff and students with some resources that they can use to move past the initial stage of just giving up. If we want students to persevere in their lives, shouldn’t we be willing to do the same in front of them and in front of our own colleagues? Certainly we need to test, prepare and do our best to ensure that our instructional time is spent instructing, but next time you have a technology hiccup maybe we should stop and think about what our reaction and solution teaches those around us. I would also encourage you to model if possible or share some resources that you use to troubleshoot technology to other teachers in a PD or in an informal setting. Finally, if you have resources from your school district or from another website that you would like to share with others below, please comment.


Computer Troubleshooting for Teachers and Students- Home Page. (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2017, from

Edmonds – Instructional Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2017, from

Google Product Forums. (n.d.). [Forum]. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from!home

Google Help. (n.d.). [Forum]. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from

Lindsay, J. (n.d.). How to Encourage and Model Global Citizenship in the Classroom. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from

Miller, A. (2015, May 11). Avoiding “Learned Helplessness.” Retrieved August 2, 2017, from