Category Archives: ISTE – 3. Digital Age Leaning Environments c.

Community Engagement Project – EDTC 6104

Growing your PLN through Twitter


This summer I made a huge life choice by leaving teaching and entering the educational technology industry to continue my work with SPU School of Ed and the Digital Educational Leadership program.  I moved from Seattle to San Francisco and started working for Edmodo as the Community Growth Manager.  I believe that a piece of that is due to my time on social media and growing my professional learning network. The way I used social media made me thrive and build my support base to believe in what I was doing in the classroom and for my career.  As George Siemens states “a central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs inside a person. Even social constructivist views, which hold that learning is a socially enacted process, promotes the principality of the individual (and her/his physical presence – i.e. brain-based) in learning” (2005). Educators need to figure out how to utilize the tools that we have available in place on the world wide web and by doing so we can harness the global collaborative power of teachers around the world.  Teachers can use Twitter to connect with new educators, communicate what really happens on the job, create a public professional persona to help students know what it means to have self-awareness and positive online self-management.  During April, 2017 I created and ran a Global Collaborative Project that used Twitter in the classroom.  I appreciated this video to help spur my students inspiration by Ted Ed – What makes a poem … a poem? – Melissa Kovacs

Workshop Title and Description

Presentation Session “Growing your PLN with Twitter” – Educators are using Twitter to grow their professional learning network, sharing resources, and building the global educational community. I am one of the PSESD Washington Teacher Leaders for Twitter this year, and I want to share how this program and the use of

Twitter has made me a better more informed teacher. Twitter can be a way to create a strong professional social media platform for yourself to help promote what you are doing in your classroom every day.  I think this topic is important because teachers spend so much of their time alone.  We have our classrooms and our students but when it comes to honest peer-to-peer contact it takes so much time and investment.  Some teachers don’t ever make those important connections with their colleagues in their building and Twitter or other Social Learning Networks are crucial for creating new conversations with people outside of your building.

In 2015, Denise Scavitto wrote an article Teachers: Embrace Twitter for Professional Development and I appreciate the way she explains the reason behind using Twitter to grow a PLN.  “For me, Twitter is a way of consuming information targeted to my interests. Using a hashtag like #sschat connects me to topics that will interest and intrigue Social Studies teachers – from all walks of life – and all because I know what to look for. Twitter isn’t overwhelming anymore – it’s incredible. I’ve connected myself to an extensive personal learning network of educators, entrepreneurs, and innovators through a little bird – and found it the best professional development I’ve never paid for” (Edudemic).  

Learning Objective Event

My objective is to create a presentation for my session on teachers using Twitter to grow their PLN. There are 600 educators are registered for the conference total.  I am not sure if anyone has signed up for my session yet, but I am hoping to talk to around 30 teachers specifically about my topic. The conference I am CCS Powerful Learning Conference in Issaquah, WA on August 16th, 2017. I already submitted a small proposal and got it accepted in November.  I have a handout but may need to complete a couple more. The venue is the CCS Powerful Learning Conference at Issaquah High School in my old district.  I was inspired to submit a request because I went to the conference last year and I wanted to show growth by speaking at the next year’s conference.


My presentation should be one hour and fifteen minutes long. That is the required length. I think it would be essential to provide blended content. I could probably make it a lot longer but this will help me limit and edit my work.  I also submitted a proposal to NCCE for their 50-minute session.  I think I can cut a lot of my material out if I could accomplish a true flipped or blended learning environment. 

Workshop/Online Elements

Common Misconceptions & FAQ

  1. The first one is that 140 characters are not enough to have a productive conversations.  But my counter to that one is imagine you are in a meeting with 20 of your closest friends in your department or staff.  How much content do you add in that 45 to 60 minute meeting?  With the addition of pictures it opens a whole other place for content. The 140 characters also limits people from venting, blabbing, and allows for constraint when we know sometimes educational meetings can run long.
  2. If you don’t have a lot of followers then there isn’t any point.  But I disagree because it is more important about how you use the platform.  To gain followers you must use the platform on a consistent basis.  
  3. Hashtags are just trendy things for young people and are not professional enough to take serious. I think that if it is for “young people” then that in itself is a reason to give it a try.  It keeps you current and it also allows you to connect with your students.  If teachers are not constantly learning then they are taking steps backwards.
  4. Twitter for communication and collaboration come with the the idea that it is only for some politicians and weird bots who spam up your feed. But I think that is another way to show to students, parents, and admin that it does not always have to be ran that way.  It can be “boring” as my students said when they found and read my twitter feed.  I said it isn’t boring to me it is what I am interested in and what I like to talk about.  

Gates Foundation (Ed.). (2014). Teachers Know Best What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from

Morris, K. (2017, May 11). Step 2: Using Twitter to Build Your PLN. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from

Scavitto, D. (2015, April 17). Teachers: Embrace Twitter for Professional Development. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from

Global Collaborative Project – Social Emotional Experiment – EDTC 6103 & 6104

This week in my exploration of ISTE Coaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am continuing to examine ISTE Coaching Standard 3 and specifically point G, in an effort to understand how teachers can create…Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.33 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.48 PM

This standard immediately made me think of my final assignment and Global Collaborative Project from EDTC 6103 in the Spring of 2017.  In this project, I worked together with my administrator, advanced eighth-grade language arts students, and parents to create a global collaborative environment. If you scroll down you can see the whole breakdown of the project from planning to execution to feedback and reflections.  One unexpected outcome of the project was the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) that took place. And now that the state of Washington’s educational legislative body (OSPI) and similarly in other states have hooked onto the fact that social emotional learning is essential to a student’s health and future my project is even more relevant.  The unexpected part came as many students do not get to experiment with new digital tools in their classrooms very often especially not real world social media platforms due to unpredictability and fear.  I decided to push the envelope a bit so that my students got to use Twitter during national poetry month.  I got the okay from my principal and the parents were notified. This gave my students an authentic audience and an external megaphone to share their work. The flip side and surprising part were that students felt exposed and vulnerable with their writing out in the public sphere. 

Now, taking a step back I first want to use Washington States OSPI’s definition of SEL “social emotional learning is broadly understood as a process through which people build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships and making responsible decisions, leading to success in school and in life. Research shows SEL on a large scale supports better performing and more positive school communities” (2016, pg. 3).  I think in our current 21st-century digital revolution that digital citizenship fits directly into that “awareness”. Being able to build a positive self-rewarding social media presence that adds to your life instead of distracts or detracts is something that now needs to be taught in classes.  

Therefore, to implement SEL “effectively and equitably schools will need to (1) start by evaluating and building school and classroom environments that are conducive to SEL; (2) incorporate principles of universal design for learning when adapting SEL curricula to their unique climate; (3) emphasize equity in the selection and implementation of curriculum; and (4) take a holistic approach, understanding that each person (child and adult) will start at different places and progress in different ways along an SEL continuum” (2016, pg. 7).  As I began my project with my students I did not know realize how serious posting on the internet can be for some of them.  Online personas are extremely personal and some of my students struggled with posting and sharing their poetry.  Not only but some just could not handle the wide range of communication that Twitter allows for.  As the social benchmark, standard five states students should have the ability to “demonstrate a range of communication and social skills to interact effectively with others” (2016, pg. 4).  Although many teachers and adults do not want to admit it being able to communicate on social media is essential to these effective interactions with their peers.  At the end of the process, I believe that some students understood through my examples that a social media platform like Twitter does not have to be for ranting or spamming people.  It can be used for good and for a specific purpose, to make friends and connections and build a network of people for your own community.  


Click to view slideshow.


Global Collaborative Project

Poetry & Twitter


Autumn Ottenad


National “Poem in Your Pocket Day” in person shared on Twitter

#pocketpoem, #poetryhw, #poetryisd #npm17

April – May 2017


Connection Phase

ISTE Teaching Standards

In order to clearly reflect on the alignment of the ISTE Teaching Standards in the project that follows, I have used the standard number and letter to identify them accordingly.

  • ISTE Student 2 Communication & Collaboration Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
    • a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
    • b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • ISTE Student Standard 5 – Digital Citizenship Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
    • a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

Communication with Collaborating Partner

For this global collaborative project, I have chosen to utilize a vast amount of teacher professionals on Twitter during the National Poetry Month of April. Most of us teach English for middle or high school classes; there are also teachers that tweet posts for their elementary school students. Although I did reach out to a couple of other teachers specifically, it was more about working on a larger platform. Our shared intent of expanding our students’ reach regarding sharing their work is increased via Twitter (2. a. & b.).

My colleagues and I did communicate over direct messaging on Twitter.  I also reached out to other Humanities teachers in the ISD via email to inform my local colleagues and interested district employees.  Given the collective subject area expertise and subjects taught, we will focus our attention on language arts content and skills. Specifically sharing and writing our poetry.  Since I started working with PSESD and Corelaborate as a Washington Teacher Leader my ability to monitor and use Twitter has expanded.   It became apparent that this vast social media platform could be an opportunity for a wider community might provide a rich opportunity for a technology-supported collaboration project between our students (2. a. & b.).

General Overview

Project Plan

The goal of this endeavor is to expose my students to a global collaboration project, which allows students to work with peers across the Twitterverse and see how far their posts/tweets can go. It can also teach valuable skills like digital citizenship, communication and collaboration, and information fluency (5. a. & b.). I decided to work with my two-morning Advanced 8th-grade Language Arts classes; I have roughly 26 students in each class.  I chose those two sections because I thought they could handle the responsibilities that come with using Twitter and making the required deadlines of posting a lot better than my other classes (5. a. & b.). In those two classes, I have 24 boys and 26 girls which I think will play a part in participation.  Each student will be asked to create and use a Twitter account during the month of April and early May.  April is the National Poetry Month (#npm17) and April, 27th we would participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.  The project will be a sharing of creative writing to a wider more authentic audience while sustaining a professional demeanor on a social media platform.  My students will “like”– communicate and collaborate with other students via Twitter (2. a. & b.).


Technology & Communication

I have already stated the use of technology will be predominately the Twitter application on their smartphones.  I created a new account for this project and to keep the students safe from trolls and spammers.  Twitter is a free social media tool used for communicating.  You are allowed to use 140 characters to message other people; certain hashtags will allow others to connect and collaborate easily (2. a. & b.).  Students were told to either tweet their poetry as written or take or make a photo of their poetry.  Some students used Canva or iPhone image editing apps; others just took a picture right from their interactive notebooks.  


Instead of National Poetry Month and my students and I beginning our two to three weeks poetry unit.  Students will receive four different poetry writing assignments that they will need to post to Twitter.  All will use the hashtags #poetryisd, and #poetryhw for collaboration with their peers and they will Tweet at me (@ottenadpoetry), so I am notified that they have done their assignments (2. a. & b.). Students will also participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.


Additional Considerations

This project will require multiple check-ins with Twitter but will be primarily asynchronous in nature.  Students will be posting at different times and will have certain requirements to hit at various times.  They are required to interact with their fellow students’ tweets regarding “likes,” replies or retweets.  I will also keep up on the people following the account and block any trolls or spammers.  I have consulted the district’s AUP and the fact that the students are at least 14 years old and Twitter is open on all classroom computers we are not violating anything.  I have notified parents of what is going on in the classroom and opened the window to allow them to follow our classroom interactions.


Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.5 – Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.6 – Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.3.D – Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Design Phase

Global Collaborative Project Outline

Six A’s of Project-Based Learning

6 A’s of Project Design Guiding Questions
Authenticity What is the point of writing when the audience is only my teacher? How can I get my students’ creative writing heard by a larger audience?  What could push them to create better more thought out poetry?

By placing the poetry on Twitter students have a true authentic audience that feels larger and more important than just our classroom and their classmates.

How will your project require students to produce something that has personal and/or social value beyond the school setting?

Students will start to see what happens when their poetry is shared and found.  Specifically on the National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27th.  Students will have their poem they want to share with them and also share it on the web.  It can be one of their own making or one that inspires them in some way.  

Academic Rigor What disciplines, content areas, and standards will your project address?
This project hits an array of standards that only pertain to poetry and figurative language in language arts.  Specifically, it is for my 8th-grade advanced language arts classes at IMS.  It also requires the students to share their writing with people who may or may not like it.  Their bubble becomes much larger than it used to be once we put things out there on the world wide web. It also connects securely with the following speaking and listening standards. I have taught several different units for poetry and at the high school level, we used to have a poetry night that was hosted by the language arts department.  Teachers, parents, admin and of course students would attend. This event was great but I always thought that the poetry could be sent to an even wider audience.
What higher order thinking skills will students be using?Learning Targets: Students can analyze how the structure of the text can contribute to its meaning. Students can use their Twitter accounts to correctly post and tag their poems in a multimedia setting.  They will use the social media tool to connect with the outside world.  
Adult Connection How will the adults collaborate to design the project and/or assess student work?
I have reached out to my whole language arts department at my school and my TOSA for the whole district is also sharing the Poem in Your Pocket in the next newsletter.  Teachers are sending me their favorite poetry and poems they have written so I can share it on Twitter for them or they can share themselves and use the same hashtags.  
I am also collaborating with the national cohort of teachers who are participating in the same National Poetry Month.  I saw how other teachers were conducting their programs and I got ideas of how to entice students to post their tweets.  
What opportunities will students have to observe, interact, and work closely with adults?My students are posting their poetry alongside adults for National Poetry Month.  They can see using the same hashtags what it looks like to publicly disperse your materials.  We also perused Twitter together to like, retweet, or reply to certain poets and their work.
Active Exploration How will students engage in real investigations and field-based work?
What technology tools and media sources will students use?My students are predominantly using their phones or school provided laptops to post their Tweets on to Twitter.  
How will students be expected to communicate their new knowledge and skills?They are expected to post their tweets within specific calendar dates using certain hashtags and tagging my poetry Twitter account @ottenadpoetry. Hashtags include #Poetryhw, #poetryISD, #Pocketpoem, #NPM17
Applied Learning How is your project grounded in real-world learning?
Students have to create a piece of creative writing which is not always set in the real world, but then presenting it and sharing it on Twitter a social media platform is more connected to real-world.  They will have to learn as it has taken me quite some time that self-promotion is crucial for success.  It also is clear that presentation matters, students who are taking their time to make a graphic that goes along with their poems are getting more traction than those who simply take a photo of their notebooks and post it.
How will your students work in teams and problem solve with each other?
Students worked together to find poems for Poem in Your Pocket day and which ones they would post and why.
How will your project help students develop organizational and self-management skills?
Beyond the other two questions, I think students will develop organizational self-management skills.  This project counts on them remembering to write their poems, create some graphic, and post the poems in the time allotted for their due dates.  
Assessment Practice What project criteria will students use, and how will they reflect on their learning?  During the week following most of the posting, I will have students reflect on the process of writing the poetry and then having to share it on Twitter.
How will standards be assessed? See rubric below.

Steinberg, A. (1997) Real Learning, Real Work. New York: Routledge. adapted from National Academy Foundation’s Project-Based Learning: A Resource for Instructors and Program Coordinators

CCSS Poetry Rubric
Timeframe: April 16th – May 5th

Activity details:  Students will participate in our Poetry Unit by also posting on Twitter and being involved in the International Poetry Month.  We will use different hashtags to get in the correct threads of communication so they can spread their poems to larger audiences.  

Execution of Project

Parent Guardian Email/Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.  


Our goal will be to tweet several times per weeks about poetry.  At first, I will model how to tweet about our work or exciting poetry opportunities.  As the students grow in their understandings of how to use Twitter to share ideas, they will begin to tweet independently or with a partner.

Students’ safety is of utmost concern.  Last names should not be used in tweets and accounts.  We will avoid using images of students in our Tweets.  Responsible use of social media and Internet safety will be explicitly taught in our classroom to ensure all students know how to stay safe while online.  Here are our classroom norms for using Twitter:

  1. Approve your tweets with an adult before publishing especially if you feel it may be deemed inappropriate.
  2. We only connect to classes and people who add value to our learning.
  3. We use first names only on Twitter
  4. Twitter is a tool for learning.

Finally, if you do not have a Twitter account, and need assistance on creating one please come by and ask me or ask your student. We would be more than willing to help you create a Twitter account so you can start following our class.  We will probably not follow you back because it is our policy that we only follow other classrooms or educational Twitter feeds.  Using these social media tools will give you a glimpse into our classroom and your child’s learning in a new and exciting format.  I think you will love being “connected”!                                                         

“Tweet” fully yours,

                                                                                            Mrs. Autumn Ottenad



Email to Staff & Colleagues:

Good Morning,

I am working on a class for SPU that requires a Global Community Project and I have decided to combine our poetry unit, national poetry month and Twitter with my students.  I was also hoping that if you have Twitter you could potentially tweet some poetry using the #poetryhw and #poetryisd.  If you even could email me a poem I can put them on Twitter for you.  I know my students would love to see teacher input on this topic.

The other event I am trying to work into our schedule is Poem in your Pocket Day #pocketpoem (  It is on April 27th and students should carry around a poem in their pocket and share it with people throughout the day.

Here is some of the information I shared with students and parents. “Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.”

Thank you so much,

Mrs. Autumn Ottenad

8th Grade Humanities




Collection of Student Artifacts from Twitter


Feedback from Students


Positive Feedback for both Twitter & Poetry Positive for Twitter/Negative for Poetry Positive for Poetry/ Negative for Twitter Negative Feedback for both Poetry & Twitter
Risa W. – The poetry unit was not as bad as I thought it would be, I liked tweeting the poems instead of turning them in.  I don’t like the reflections though. Trevor C. – Before we just turned it in.  Poetry is bad but I like that we just post it on Twitter. Ruth S. – I liked the unit, but I feel like I was not used to posting my poetry on twitter.  I would write the poetry, but sometimes forget to post it.  The poetry was fun to write. Tommy B – It was terrible, horrible, no good we could have just turned it in during class no one even reads the poems on Twitter.
Mason B. – Tweeting the poems was really fun! Poetry was a chance to express true feelings hidden within other words, using rhymes, and making everyone more fun to read! Matthew K. – This unit was as interesting unit to do.  It was an interesting way to share poems.  It was pretty boring but it was fine. Makena L. – It was good to try to involve social media but it may be hard for students without a smartphone but it was annoying to make a twitter. Alec B. – Twitter was a mess and is not an educational platform.  Poetry is fine, just boring as ever.  Technology should be used in other, more educational ways.  Whatever.
Breana L. – I like tweeting them so everyone can see, but it is kind of confusing. Cody C. – Tweeting our poems instead of reading them out loud was way better.  More convenient and faster. The writing of the poems was the bad part.  Poetry is very boring. Madison N. – The actual unit was okay…but the Twitter part was unnecessary. C.J. G. – Last year we had more instruction, this year we were just told to write poems.
Leila R. – Tweeting my poems wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I liked tweeting my poems out rather than having to read them out loud. Daniel A. – I didn’t think it was terrible, but it was not the most fun.  Personally, I don’t enjoy poetry, but I am grateful we didn’t need to present them.  Overall, I think the unit was okay. Shoki I. – Just turning in poems would have made more sense.  Making a Twitter was completely pointless Noreen A. – This unit was not the worst and it went better than I thought.  Poetry is not my favorite, but it was fairly easy.  The twitter part was different, but it seemed pointless in my opinion because most people just made the account so they didn’t have a large following.  
Medha V. – I like tweeting our poems because more people are able to see it and I don’t feel embarrassed like I would if I was reading it to the class. Benny P. – I did not enjoy the poetry unit, but mainly because I don’t like poetry in general, but I did learn a lot about poetry. Camille P. – Compared to past poetry units using Twitter was definitely different.  I think it’s difficult to use and some people don’t take it seriously and post random stuff.  I don’t know whether it would be beneficial to use again. Chris A. – My experience was mehh…it was less boring than other poetry units.  It was kinda bad and corny.
Anonymous – I love this unit and I enjoyed the prompts we wrote about and posted.  I also liked the way we shared the poems on twitter allowing me to share my poems and get used to technology.  My only question is why we are the other units so much longer? I honestly wish I got to explore more mentor texts. Gavin B. – I don’t like the poetry.  The Song lyrics were okay. I liked using Twitter in class. Aiden L. – Tweeting poems made me self-conscience about what I write so it made me think so it was fine. Braden H. – Ever since the Twitter verification did not work I lost my LA book problems have stirred though I had to re-do some of my poems.
Mary – Poetry on Twitter is a really good tool for poetry, we get to post our poems. William W. – I do not like poetry but I kind of like writing it.  Tweeting the poems is good and an easy way to turn it in from home. Aoife B. – The poetry unit was the best all year.  I enjoyed it, but Twitter sucks.  My poems don’t fit 140 characters other than that , good. Lizzy J. – I was eh with the Twitter thing because it was a little extra and no one reads other people’s poems (at least I didn’t) and my mom got mad that i got an account without letting her know.
Katie Jo – I like how interactive it was, also I liked how I got to see other people’s poetry.  I really enjoyed it! Jeremy D. – Tweeting has been really easy to do, but poems aren’t fun.  Tweeting was fun and a good use for poems. Emme F. – Tweeting poems – it is embarrassing to show school work in a public social media place.  Where I usually don’t talk about it.  It was also a little extra work that seemed not helpful. Jack W. – This was a pain it was nearly impossible to get photos to load and my poems were too long for a Tweet.
Katie – I liked using Twitter because I felt like it was a “safe environment” to share my poetic product.  I also liked that I could explore poetry unlike I did in other units. Isaiah J. – Tweeting my poems has been okay.  I liked the poetry unit last year more, although it was interesting to share my poems with a larger audience. Lindsey C. – Posting poetry for a grade is uncomfortable.  Poetry is very personal and I don’t feel okay with sharing my feelings with everyone.  Additionally, it’s hard to find all my posts even with the hashtags which is extra work for me and you to find them.  I could be a good idea but not for middle schoolers.
Abi C. – My experience with Twitter was okay.  It gave me some examples if I was stuck on what to do.  It was okay compared to other units. Ethan V – My experience with Twitter was fine and I was able to post without any problems.  I just had small problems with the pictures.  I thought it was a creative way to share, but not private. Eva A. – Technology is a bit problematic, but I like this better than having to stand up and share.
Eli L. – This poetry unit was shorter than the one we did last year and also we didn’t have a final project this year which was nice. Sophia C. – I didn’t like tweeting my poems because I don’t like sharing my writing I think it was a good concept, but I personally didn’t like it.
Kathryn M. – Tweeting poems went well.  I thought it went better than most units, and it was fun.  It was not terrible horrible no good. Eden C – Tweeting poems was easy, but it seemed odd to force us to make an account.  The comparison was okay.
Preston J. – I think that tweeting the poems were a good idea, and I am glad that we do not have to present them to a class.  Also, this poetry unit was more unique than others I have taken before.
Ansh P. – Tweeting out poem was a pretty good experience and was relatively easy to do and better than other tests.

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Data Analysis

It is interesting to note from the qualitative and quantitative data about the male to a female breakdown of their take on the project.  Twelve of the fifteen students who liked both the poetry unit and the use of Twitter were young ladies and on the opposite end of feedback for those students who hated both parts six of the eight were male students.  When I think back on it, the students who wrote negative feedback about both elements of this unit are pretty cynical students in general and usually criticize what I put in front of them.  It is this fascinating new cultural trend of apathy, that “nothing is cool” and I know that is not a new trend for teens to think nothing is a fresh idea but I can’t imagine being negative about a teacher letting me use Twitter in a class assignment even if it was for poetry.  The last piece of data that gave me hope for this overall project was the ten boy students who do not like poetry but liked the Twitter part of the project.  Analysis of their interest is important because these are all students who I struggle with engagement and enticing them to do their best on their assignments.  In this instance, their motivator was the ability to use their phones and use Twitter, but that had to come with some poetry.  So either way, I did one of those fun teacher tricks where I got them writing what I wanted them to all under the guise of “fun.”

Self Reflection

This project was more successful and easier than I had expected it to be.  I am very lucky to have an administration team that allows for experimentation and trial and error.  He and the rest of my staff allowed for me to try something new and use an online tool that is not usually utilized at the middle school level.  But because Twitter is such a notorious application, due in part to our current political situation, I thought practicing in a more academic setting could help students learn about how to act on an expansive social media platform.  

Access to technology was the initial challenge as standardized testing ate into our planned timeline. And standardized testing uses all the laptop computers in the building.  But most students have a smartphone with the Twitter app-enabled, therefore I just had to bend the school rules a bit to allow students to access the app from their mobile devices.  Those few students who did not have their Smartphones or did not have their own devices (tablet, or laptop) at their disposal I allowed to use one of the seven desktops I have setup in my room.  While Twitter proved to be a useful tool for arranging the open and moderated communication between students, I failed to consider how some students would handle the requirement of creating an account on their own.  It again made me take stock of the fact that we call this generation “digital natives” because they were born with a tablet in their hands, but when it comes to tasks like opening a new account or application they struggle.  Establishing the hashtags in Twitter required students to sign-up, log-in and post a tweet and ensure they tagged the correct people and hashtags.  Then, I had to individually check that each student had posted and labeled their tweets appropriately. Once students joined, I had to individually like and/comment on all 55+ students to their specific tweets. And, all of this was done asynchronously between classes or from home.  I also had to monitor my new account like a hawk to ensure I did not have any trolls following me or someone who had posted within our hashtags which were gross or offensive. In the end, I had to delete one to two items per day.


As students began the formative stage of writing their poetry they needed time to make their poems before posting them.  So some time in class was spent just generating ideas and creating versions of the poems they would eventually post.  Students decided on their own how they would post their poems to Twitter.  Because they have a 140 character limit, most students took pictures of their poems and posted them that way.  While others created word art and graphics that helped desirably present the poems.

I anticipate trying this project again and potentially having a classroom Twitter account all year long.  I had parents immediately begin to follow me and it was a great way for them to have more insight into what we do in my classroom. I have not spoken with my administration about doing it again, but because he did not deal with any actual backlash or parents being upset, I figure I would have the ability to try it again. I think I would also add in some more analytics about best times to tweet and when will students get the most views.  I would also use the work I did in Module four of this class to push the digital citizenship piece about netiquette and the real feelings that come out of putting things out into the World Wide Web.  


Related Resources:

Colorful Poetry: 22 Diverse Poetry Picture Books for Kids:

KUOW Local Recorded Poetry Collection:

Washington State. (2016, October 1). Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from

The Poet Tree Project:—diamante.html

Accessibility & Adaptability – Text-to-Speech – EDTC 6104 – Module 4

Thought Question:

How can I choose digital tools that are assistive and adaptive technologies but still support student learning?

Ensuring that the digital tools we choose to share with our students are ADA acceptable and keep equity and accessibility in mind, I am curious about what assistive truly means.  As 13% of students are working with a learning disability and no two student has the same diagnosis, therefore, one tool may help one but not the next (NCES).  If we also take a look at the Gates Foundation, “Teachers Know Best” study and the essential finding for me come from the fact that both “teachers and students see technology as a useful in instruction.” Which I think is an essential basis for our conversation.  If educators and students did not state that digital tools helped education then there would be no point.  And as we try to bridge gaps in learning with digital tools it is important to think outside of the standard U.S. Public School student to the ones who make up our fringe groups of students and even beyond to our global populations.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 9.02.33 AM

When I think of “assistive and adaptive” for middle school language arts/ss the big names in online digital tools, come to mind like Turnitin and Newsela but I wanted to explore a realm I am not as familiar.  So I reached out to my really good friend who is a Pre-K – Kindergarten Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in the Issaquah School District.  She also has her own business where she can continue her work with individual patients throughout the Summer.  She predominantly works with nonverbal students and those kiddos who are severely impacted by autism.  When I prompted her about her favorite “digital tools” she first asked what I meant by digital tools.  That language/moniker, especially for an SLP is a bit clunky, but then I remembered I once opened her Ipad and was shocked by some educational apps she had for her very young audience.  So I asked her what are her favorite Apps, she replied quickly with her short list:

  • Bitsboard,
  • Speak for Yourself,
  • Little Bee Speech Articulation,
  • Boardmaker Online,
  • Epic, Toca
  • Board Games.  

After perusing through the provided list, I want to share some more information about Speak For Yourself.” If you click the link you will see the Apple Itunes store and that price tag gave me a bit of sticker shock, but after learning about what it does and what population it helps I understand it a bit better.  I read most of what it does from the blog “Speak for Yourself (SfY) is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application that was created by speech-language pathologists.  This AAC app turns the iPad into a communication device. It gives a voice to adults and children who are not able to speak or are limited in their ability to express themselves verbally.  Speak for Yourself is being used by thousands of individuals around the world with autism, cerebral palsy, apraxia, and genetic syndromes. Additionally, it is also being used in preschool classrooms to promote word-finding, visual language support, and verbal speech development.”  I think that this YouTube video also helped me understand where this application could be assistive and adaptable to people who are in the most need and young age.  As I contemplated how this tool could be used in other learning environments, I began to think about mute students or those dealing with traumatic situations who may not be able to always verbalize their feelings.  But I also thought about collaborating globally at young ages with students who do not speak English.  Students could potentially use the “Speak for Yourself” (SfY) pictures to speech tool, and then the group on the other side of the world could understand and send it back.  

This conversation and following brainstorming session, fostered by my involvement with the Digital Education Leadership and has pushed my thought process for tools that help with “assistive and adaptable” technology. Although I am not sure, I would have the capability or purchasing power to have gotten the funds from my previous district for the (SfY) app due to its $300.00 price tag I can see how it would be useful to a large population of Educators and students.  From there my exploration of more text-to-speech digital tools started to peak my interest.  Last quarter when I was feeling under particular pressure to balance work, life and school I utilized my Apple Iphone’s “VoiceOver” function to read several of the required web pages and .pdf to me while I drove to and from work.  When my commute was sometimes over an hour in the afternoon it was a great use of time.  I am also an auditory learner and remember things a lot better when they are told to me verbally than if I just see it visually.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 3.48.22 PMNow the Apple “VoiceOver” is not accessible or equitable to everyone because not every student obviously has an iPhone or any Apple products.  Therefore, other text-to-speech tools include Google Chrome’s “Snap&Read” which came highly recommended by a fellow cohort member and if your school is already Google (GAFE) schools and have Chromebooks in the school this extension might be the best feature out there.  Now, for the other big name in software/hardware and who sometimes mandates schools exclusively use their products, Microsoft has some innovative learning tools – for OneNote was named Top Dyslexia app for 2016, if you use the link and check out the page they have a live tester at the bottom of the page which is this new Immersive Reader which reads the script aloud. All of these tools are accessible online and it just depends on what tools the student has access to from school and at home.  


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers Know Best What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from

ISTE (2011). “ISTE Standards for Coaches.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from ISTE Connects (2017).

LLC, S. F. (2017, June 24). Speak for Yourself on the App Store. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from

NCES – National Center For Education Statistics (Updated, May, 2017). “Children and Youth with Disabilities.” The Condition of Education.  Retrieved from Perez, Luis and Kendra Grant (June 8, 2015)

Speak for Yourself. (2014). Retrieved July 21, 2017, from

ISTE Teaching Standard 3: Model Effective Use of Current & Emerging Digital Tools

This week in my exploration of ISTE Teaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am examining ISTE Teaching Standard 3 to understand how teachers can…

“exhibit knowledge, skills and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.”

Embedded in this standard is the indicator for teachers to…

“Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate and use information resources to support research and learning.”


I’d like to start two years ago, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia.  This is where Soledad O’Brien, an American broadcast journalist and executive producer, said, “I might be in the wrong room to say this, but I think technology for technology’s sake is a complete waste.”  I have heard this quote thrown around quite a bit lately in educational conversations.  It has become the go-to excuse for not using technology in the classroom, but I want to reveal a way that I can make my lessons applicable to their real-life aspirations of my students.  I want to demonstrate real world digital connections within their middle school humanities courses.  Therefore, to complete my goals for my students I will need to experiment with new technologies to become “effective” in “emerging digital tools” so I can exhibit knowledge and skills innovative enough for their future professional world.  


Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 7.57.21 AM
Click to see my Trello board


In this line of thinking I will at times need to use technology just because it is technology, and then try to implement the tech with my students.  For example, I spent the last couple weeks exploring Trello, and after a few short minutes, I saw an endless amount of options for this free tool in the classroom.  They also have this wonderful bank of inspirational ideas for uses and ways we as educators could use Trello in our jobs. I immediately thought of the old archaic way we all used to use note cards or index cards to categorize our research into subtopics to then create our outlines.  But as the second example in the bank backs me up with Trello allows for a free online tool that can totally accomplish the same task but online. Trello even calls each new idea you add to a list a card.  It can also help with a team or whole classroom projects.  Each person could be in charge of added a new resource or list and then breaking it down into subtopics.  But even though I know, this tool could help teachers and kill fewer trees I know it would be tough for me to convince some teachers to make the switch. Why?

Well because of a bunch of reasons. Therefore, how do I get teachers to buy into wanting another tool in their teaching lives?  Or even how do I get teachers to experiment with a tech or digital tool that they have looked at before but should reexamine? As I took a look at Krueger’s article, “Three Barriers to Innovation Education Leaders Must Address” I agreed that “community resistance, access, and policies” are pieces, of the puzzle but it is not the whole picture as to why teachers resist new digital tools.  Along with those pieces there also exists the time restraints, money, and fear of breaking from routine or simply breaking the tool itself.  FullSizeRenderThese barriers to try something new in public schools are so ingrained and deep seeded that I do not want to waste much time examining them. But as an example of a digital tool that can facilitate many parts of ISTE standard three and several expectations built into new teaching contracts regarding the creation and maintenance of a “web presence” is Edmodo.  Edmodo is sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for education” but because this startup is not a startup anymore it is so much more than that.  Edmodo now boasts over 78 million users and is a fully functioning Learning Management System. Teachers still can communicate with their students, parents, and other colleagues.  But Edmodo can also “be used to share assignments and grades, host discussions and post videos, schedule appointments, and create and take polls” and now boasts a strong formative tool called Snapshot that allows for instant grading and formative data collection (Wan, 2016).  All of that sounds fantastic but as the CEO stated last June ““if I can only [make] 30 cents or 40 cents per user per year, [we] would be profitable,” why is something like this happening?  believe this is due in large part to the fact that most teachers just have not had a clear demonstration of all Edmodo’s capabilities.  Teachers are doubters and will wait to experiment with new digital tools because of that fear I was referencing earlier.  Another instructor must come in and show an example of how something like Edmodo could change their lives for the better.  Moreover, teachers must see the connection between using a tool like Edmodo which looks so much like social media as a tool that helps connect their current school life to their future career.  If they learn simultaneously how to find their homework and see due dates, but also how to communicate in a digital atmosphere we are not only teaching them time management but digital citizenship strategies.  And both of these are huge parts for creating a truly future-ready student who will be not only an active member of society but a thriving member of our communities.  



Crompton, H. (2014, July 24). Know the ISTE Standards-T 3: Model digital age learning. Retrieved from

Edmodo (Product Reviews on EdSurge). (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from – It is a popular social media network for parents, teachers, admin, and students

Krueger, N. (2014, June 28). 3 barriers to innovation education leaders must address. Retrieved from

Wan, T. (2016, July 10). No Slacking Off! How Savvy Teachers Are Turning to Trello and Slack (EdSurge News). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from

Wan, T. (2016, July 10). Can Edmodo Turn Virality into Profitability? (EdSurge News). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from

ISTE Teaching Standard 1 – Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity


This quarter in my graduate studies in Digital Educational Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am exploring the ISTE Teaching Standards as a follow up to my study of the ISTE Student Standards last quarter. I am beginning with a look at ISTE Teaching Standard 1, which centers on facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity.

My compelling triggering questions – How can my middle school humanities students be driven to ask the right questions that foster their curiosity, wonder, and follow-thru?  How can I promote and support their excitement while still teaching them reading/writing skills and time management?

As I am currently working from our recently acquired Schoolwide Inc. Research Report Writer’s Workshop Unit — immersion section it shows how to model the importance of well-formed questions in the research process.  One of the mentor texts we are using with the students is Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison by Marfe Ferguson Delano, a former writer for National Geographic.

“Before our mentor author generated her questions, she thought about her purposes: the reason why she wrote her book.  In this case, our mentor author, Marfe Ferguson Delano, is a writer for National Geographic and is keenly interested in sharing her research with students so that they not only get to read informative and exciting facts but are also inspired to read and learn more. She also has a theme running through her entire book — one that connects to Thomas Edison’s motivation and tenacity toward learning the “whys” and “why nots” of how things worked, as well as what he could do to ‘always learn more.’”


  • What was Thomas Alva Edison’s motivation to experiment, explore, and work toward improving dimensions o the physical world?
  • How did Edison deal with the disappointment of patents that failed?
  • Why were Edison’s early school experiences clouded by people’s misperceptions of him?
  • What caused Edison’s mother to take over as his teacher?
  • What was the impetus for Edison to have an irrepressible urge to experiment?

Along with this demonstration and a few others students are then supposed to understand how compelling questions can help lead them to better topics and research.  With my two sections of advanced 8th-grade language arts it was a seamless transition from demonstration to proficient execution of the task.  For example, one of my students chose Archimedes’ Contribution to Science as his topic (on his own), his research question was “How did Archimedes inventions help him and others around the world?” This helped lead his research in the correct direction and not get distracted by extraneous details. But as I did the same process with my general 8th-grade language arts students the jump from picking the topic and the purpose/meaning behind that choice was difficult.  And it was even more difficult for them to come up with creative questions to steer their research in the right directions.  It was hard to assist them when sometimes verbalizing why they chose their topic in general was frustrating for them.  I received answers like “because I like that topic” or “it interests me” well that is wonderful but when I would push them for deeper answers I got blank stares of confusion.  My first thoughts were that these blank stares were because they were given so little choice in their topics in the past or not enough people ask them why they find a particular topic more appealing than another.  But who knows, in the end I need all my students to create compelling questions that push them to want to find the answers through research.  After reading the required resources and keeping track of it all on Google Keep I felt like I had a good grasp of the first ISTE Teaching Standard-1 and knew what I wanted to research to help answer my compelling question. 

Click to view slideshow.

Therefore, I decided to read and watch Edutopia’s article/video about Wildwood IB World Magnet School, in Chicago, Inquiry-Based Learning: Developing Student-Driven Questions”.  This Edutopia resource regarding the idea of Inquiry-Based Learning and what happens when the whole school gets behind the same idea and methodology. Students in the video embrace the idea of a questions based school. They have become the power behind most of the lessons, and the teachers are very flexible with their lessons and the direction their student’s questions take them. One example in the video is from a teacher who was doing a unit on economics and from the students’ questions she and her PLC changed directions to concentrate on billionaires and how they got so rich. Then one of the teachers pops in to comment on how the students are dealing with the question model and she states “Inquiry-based learning is just a fancy word for curiosity, right?” (Compton, 2014). Which I believe is true, and this idea is shared with ISTE specifically when Helen Crompton wrote “Creativity appears in many1 forms, from creating physical models to creating questions.  It is the teacher’s role to make students aware that there are multiple ways to get to understanding and that they need to investigate and ask questions” (Compton, 2014).  The written post includes the overall plan and inspiration behind the inquiry-based model along with some resources that teachers and students can use to help support their shift from their current model. One of the resources goes into the four phases of inquiry-based learning, Interaction, Clarification, Questioning, and Design. Which I imagine as a funnel that is ever narrowing towards a more and more focus ending.  All of this encompasses the necessity 2of “Student-led choice will encourage them to tap their own initiative, knowledge, and interests to complete the task” (Compton, 2014).  In the classroom allowing for student directed choice is so important.  I try to allow for options and variety as much as possible.  Behind it all though it requires student’s interest and excitement.  So I suppose I will keep going with the idea I started with and I will keep encouraging them to try to figure out what is the motivation behind their thought process. 


Crompton, H. (2014, May 1). ISTE standards for teachers 1: facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. Learning & Leading Through Technology – May 2014. Retrieved from

Heick, Terry. “4 Phases of Inquiry-Based Learning: A Guide For Teachers.” TeachThought. N.p., 05 Nov. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. Retrieved from

Wildwood IB World Magnet School Staff. “Inquiry-Based Learning: Developing Student-Driven Questions.” Edutopia. George Lucas Educational Foundation, 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.

Creating Podcasts: Within The Outsiders Unit – Exploring Personal Pursuits & Originality


My final blog post of the academic quarter in my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership is here, and I am eager to share my finished individual project: Creating Podcasts: Within The Outsiders Unit – Exploring Personal Pursuits & Originality. This is a topic that I previously explored in my post,  ISTE 7: Global Collaborator – Assessing Podcasts and their Creativity. I did that blog post in connection with a long-standing need to redesign the culminating project that ends the guided reading unit of The Outsiders; the unit was crafted using the backward design model. The assigned reading for this course came from Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay Mctighe. Until this project, I had never officially used this model before. It puts you in the mindset of always having the end in mind and keeping your eye on the prize if I can use some useful euphemisms.
I will not have the opportunity to implement the full unit until next year when I have the ability to restart the year and teach The Outsiders to a new group of students.  But I do have an opportunity to implement podcasting as an option in my reader’s workshop unit at the end of this year.  It will be an option for the culminating project, and at least by that point, I will have some examples to build a repository for my students to listen to and learn from.  I do love allowing student choice in projects because it gives them autonomy to explore a technology that they might be much more familiar with than I am, and usually, I end up learning something right along with them.

Creating Podcasts Within The Outsiders Unit – Exploring Personal Pursuits & Originality

ISTE – The Empowered Learner: My Hero Project

The next step in my coursework in the Seattle Pacific University, Digital Education Leadership program is to work my way through the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2016 student standards. First, looking at ISTE standard 1 – Empowered Learners, and specifically for my students I will focus on how “students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways” (ISTE, 1c). I look at professionals outside my academic or educational field and see how every job now integrates technology in some way. Continuing on that line, I am curious about ways to practically implement tech into the middle school language arts classroom.  Also, how can I help facilitate my students to see the connections between their desired field and necessary tech skills by implementing these practical units?

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 3.23.56 PM.pngAs Dr. Charles Kivunja explains in the International Journal of Higher Learning; in his piece entitled “Teaching students to learn and to work well with 21st century skills: Unpacking the career and life skills domain of the new learning paradigm” shifting workplace is changing things quickly, and students need to adapt to the new expectations. “In the 21st-century work environment, working conditions are changing at a very fast and increasing pace. As a result, employers actively seek out graduates that are not only resourceful and adaptable, but also able to be flexible and have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and environments and to welcome new ideas, and new ways of completing tasks” (2015, pg. 3).  I currently work in a district that has a pretty complete curriculum scope and sequence that I need to fit my idea within.  Therefore, I attempted to find ways for my students to use technology and still demonstrate their learning within the confines of the predetermined middle school language arts units.  Specifically, the reader’s workshop units with titles centered around themes in the district “Young Wonders” in 6th and “Courage to be an Individual” in 7th grade.   I took into consideration that the skills I wanted students to work on were “flexibility and adaptability (which) lead to success whereas the lack of these skills leads to stagnation and failure” (2015, pg. 3).  With these pieces in mind, I found a simple blog post on Edutopia, A Hero’s Journey for the 21st Century by Betty Ray from February 22, 2012.  Now she wrote it four years ago, but I think her message in this post and then the following links to the actual projects she references are certainly still relevant.  

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 4.22.51 PM.pngBetty Ray makes it clear that it might be time to put aside the Homer and the Star Wars and concentrate more on the community and who is a hero to the students.  The My Hero Project gives a chance for the students to use 21st-century skills with autonomy and the ability to deliver the project in different mediums. This project creates all kinds of new quests and outlets for expression for the young people. As we have new issues of identity and digital citizenship to combat with and educate our students about. With this project, the student’s ability to self-express becomes limitless.  For example, the 2016 Emerging Artist Award went to a young man named Trey Carlisle.  In their press release about his project and success with the My Hero project it stated —  

Since 8th grade, Carlisle has been telling important stories to fight injustice and has produced award-winning documentaries that speak out against violence and discrimination. Trey’s is a passionate voice for positive change in the world.Deeply committed to social justice, Carlisle learned about filmmaking through The Righteous Conversations Project, an organization that pairs teens with Holocaust survivors to share their important stories. When he had an opportunity to travel to Cambodia with a group called Digital Storytelling Adventures, he created the short film “Us and Us,” a documentary about dehumanization.

I also read the teacher’s guide, and I think it has a ton of great ways I could link this project to my students and the unit in the middle school classroom.  And to reference Dr. Kivunja again, “there is an increasing awareness that the skills that led to success in the 20th century are no longer sufficient to lead to success and prosperity in the 21st century. Aware of the need for change in teaching, learning, assessment and work so as to be effective participants in the 21st-century conditions” (2015, pg. 2).  I believe we need to shift mindsets to ensure we are truly created successful citizens of the next generation. 

Project Website –

My Hero Project –

Resources –

Kivunja, C. (2014). Teaching students to learn and to work well with 21st-century skills: Unpacking the career and life skills domain of the new learning paradigm. International Journal of Higher Education, 4(1), p1. Retrieved from

My Hero Educators Guide. (2012). Retrieved January 13, 2017, from

Ray, B. (2012, February 22). A Hero’s Journey for the 21st Century. Retrieved January 14, 2017, from


Autumn Ottenad’s Mission Statement & Guiding Principles


My role as a teacher is to both ready students with the skills and knowledge for a time of hyper-learning and connectedness and engage them to take ownership of their learning. And by hyper-learning, I am referring to the fast-paced educational time we are currently in spurred by the constant churn of information and media.  The following mission statement hopes to excite secondary students and educators, as it calls out and addresses crucial areas of need during the secondary years of public education. Educating students for the future is anything but straightforward, and there is increasing demand to be technologically literate.

Teachers must take it upon themselves to “refuse to harden their hearts because they love learners, learning, and the teaching life” (2007, pg 2).   Parker Palmer goes on to explain in The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life that teachers must deal with a constant “bashing (which) has become a popular sport.  Panic-stricken by the demands of our day, we need scapegoats for the problems we cannot solve and sins we cannot bear” (pg. 3).  The belief that teachers have the ability to not only teach new things but continually learn new techniques must be engraved.  Educators must learn to guard themselves against the “bashing” by keeping ahead of the curve and simultaneously admit to their critics that they are always learning new things and even if they make a mistake they will not make it again.

While this mission statement is meant to serve as a reflection of who I am as a professional and what I hope to accomplish in the months and years to come.  I believe that I can utilize the goals of Seattle Pacific University (SPU) and the Digital Educational Leadership Program to achieve my goals and promote digital readiness for my students and my fellow educators. We as educators and professionals must work together to push ourselves beyond the current status of education into the next century.

Guiding Principles

Secondary Educators will…

Build their own Digital Literacy to Ensure Functioning Students

Not only do I want students to encompass digital readiness and citizenship but I want to integrate technology into other teacher’s practices.  The words I have chosen are conscious elements of who I am and what I want to do: model, facilitate, collaborate, explore, and create.  Teachers need skills in using the equipment and integrating technology to support learning.  I see my role as a facilitator to tie technology closer to curriculum and provide teachers the support they need to change their instruction.  I want to collaborate with screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-12-24-05-pmteachers so we can tap into the potential of technology to enhance teaching and learning.  As Ribble says in, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” the current gap in technology knowledge and lack of leadership preparation related to digital literacy or the process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology. For school, environments can cause serious problems, as school leaders, parents and broader social communities are currently realizing. The author describes strategies for educational leaders to prepare their stakeholder groups for a digital future, as well as take actions to reduce technology misuse or abuse. “Educational institutions should consider this Digital Citizenship model as a potential new tool for students, faculty, and staff—both onsite and online” (pg.137). (ISTE-C, 4)

Adapt Traditional Views on Education for Digital Needs

Some in education cling to the ideals of the past when it comes to the classroom setting and curriculum of public education.  While working with the Digital Educational Leadership program at SPU, I will gain skills to sway those educators that their lives can become easier with a few technological adaptations.  Not only will their lives become more comfortable but they will be facilitating their learners in a more direct manner. As Lewis J. Perelman states in his book Schools Out that in this 21st century emerging vision of learning, “hyper-learning is not just speed and scope, but the degree of connectedness, experience, media, and brains” which is challenging the traditional take on educators (1992, pg. 22). Teachers are no longer this all knowing; students are unable to challenge, fear of mistakes ruler, and total controller of their classrooms.  Educators instead need to start facilitating students to use the tools that are available to them regarding technology.  Be that a laptop at their disposal, personal device, or online tools like Khan Academy and Big History. Not only is the ability to implement digital technologies necessary for thescreen-shot-2016-11-23-at-12-25-54-pm future of our students, but educators must also embrace the current state of our student’s online use and help them navigate the murky waters surrounding their new online life.
Teachers must begin to understand the multidimensional world of apps and social media that an average adolescent is wading through on their own.  Knowing the basics of Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube will help open a conversation between student and educator.  (ISTE-C 1)

Put Technology in a Broader Educational Context

Additionally, I want to provide support for teachers to work with student information and process data.  I want to model, and team-teach to assist teachers as they implement new strategies and create learning resources for educators, staff, and students.  Moreover, teachers need to accept the resources that exist at student’s fingertips.  We need to move towards a more global understanding of data and research, while still processing screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-3-06-57-pmcredibility and reliability.  As Rheingold references in Net Smart, Wikipedia as a prime example of this, and says, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” In the end, my goals are to inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.  (ISTE-C, 2)

Engage Students in Real-Life Activities

Educators need to start understanding that K-12 education should reflect real life more often and allow students to apply what they have learned through the use of the tools they use outside of school.  As a digital educational leader, I grasp that we must put real-world tools in the hands of students and allow them to create artifacts of learning that demonstrate conceptual mastery.  Real-world application is an important pedagogical shift as it focuses on enhancing essential skill sets—communication, collaboration, creativity, media literacy, global connectedness, critical thinking, and problem-solving. (ISTE-C, 5)

Opportunities for the Future

It is important for leaders to consistently seek out ways to improve existing programs, resources, and professional development. I plan on leveraging connections made through technology and increase opportunities to make improvements across multiple areas of the secondary school culture.(ISTE-C, 6)



Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45

Ribble, Mike. “Nine Elements.” Digitalcitizenship. N.p., 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

Perelman, Lewis J. School’s Out: Hyperlearning, the New Technology, and the End of Education. New York: William Morrow, 1992. Print.

Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life (San Francisco, Calif.: Josey-Bass, 2007), Introduction and chapter 1: “The Heart of a Teacher,”

Rheingold, Net Smart, chapters 4: “Social-Digital Know-How: The Arts and Sciences of Collective Intelligence,” 147-191

Sheninger, E. (2013, December 03). 7 Pillars Of Digital Leadership In Education. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from