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Posts tagged ‘Educational technology’

Integrating Technology & the Benefits of becoming a Connected Educator

Every other year I teach a semester long World Issues course. Each year it  takes a different  shape based on the students I have and the world events going on. Once again this summer I thought about the form I wanted to take on. Firstly, as a “flipped” teacher I wanted to make sure the students were actively pursuing information and not just listening to me tell them everything I know. Secondly, I contemplated how a course on world issues could reflect the world around us: a world where information is at your fingertips, shared with social media, and commented on.

A few years ago I attended the Alta Vista-NWCSI August Event entitled “Becoming Students of our Students’ Work-Together.” There a Mount Vernon Christian Social Studies Teacher shared with me his framework for a similar course, having each student follow a country through the various issues and ending with a Model United Nations.

For each “issue” students researched its status in their own country. It was interesting to see the searching methods of students and organically, we could discuss how to vary search terms and how to evaluate the credibility of a source. Students also became efficient at citing their sources.

With the information they gathered, they had to “present” the information using technology. Educational Technology is a passion of mine so various blogs and Twitter posts have helped me build an arsenal of tools. Students used LiveBinders, Screencast-O-Matic,, Padlet, and Google Drive. Students experienced a range of emotions using all of these tools. They were frustrated, nervous, and excited. I was surprised by how uncomfortable students were using these technologies for learning. They are accustomed to entertaining themselves with technology, but creating educational products was not so easy for them. I am thrilled that they “survived” these technologies and have even used them again in other classes. Furthermore, it will be important in their future careers to feel confident trying new technologies that they must use.

The final piece of learning each issue was to share their knowledge. Not only does sharing reflect 21st Century learning, it also allowed students to see each issue from the perspective of multiple countries, not just the one they studied. Students would post their products on Edmodo and then comment on each other’s posts. In the future, I hope they will be able to share to a wider audience with Twitter and/or blog posts.

Much of this model was influenced by the C4 Framework for Social Studies education: collect, collaborate, create, and communicate. This structure is a great way to integrate technology in a regular way, it allows students to get out of stagnant textbooks and dig dynamic, relevant content.


Kaelyn Bullock, High School Social Studies teacher, Shoreline Christian School


Technology and the Changing Educational Paradigm

The March 2013 issue of Educational Leadership – EL – was devoted to Technology–Rich Learning. Of particular interest to me was an article by Will Richardson – Students First, Not Stuff: putting technology first – simply adding a layer of expensive tools on top of the traditional curriculum – does nothing to address the needs of modern learners. In this article he says that we are in what “portends to be the messiest, most upheaval-filled 10 years in education” – a time in which we need to rethink what we mean by learning, what it means to be literate, what it means to be educated, and what students need to know.,-Not-Stuff.aspx

why school

Richardson also spoke at TEDx Melbourne (2012) and wrote a TEDBook called Why School? How education must change when learning and information are everywhere. The question he asks us to address is – “What’s the value of school not that opportunities for learning without it are exploding all around us?” There is, he says an important, compelling answer to that question, but “it is most definitely not the same one we’ve been giving for the last 150 years.” (7/35)

elaine brouwer

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