How the Digital Generation will Change Teaching

How does teaching and learning change in a world where information is at our fingertips?

Howard Gardner, Developmental Psychologist, spoke in an Edutopia video on “The Digital Generation Project.” Gardner was born in 1943 and has spent most of his time researching multiple intelligences and education. Therefore, he comes as an esteemed and credible source in the Education sector. Below are four reasons why technology and learning will change as information becomes more readily available:

  1. Abundance of information
  2. Ease of access
  3. Global network and communication
  4. As new premises come, new challenges arise

Abundance of Information

Ease of Access

How many times have you, or someone you know, pulled out your phone at the dinner table to Google something? Howard Gardner said “whenever something makes my life easier I go right to it.” We are all guilty of this and we are seeing this in the classroom, as well. Not only is there a large amount of information out there, it is all around (most of) us. We are connected to social media, we Google things, and we communicate with the world–all from our 5 inch smartphone screens.

Global Network and Communication

It seems obvious to state, but nowadays people all around the world have internet. It is fascinating how far away we are yet how connected we remain. We are able to share information, blog, and see what’s going on in other countries. We haven’t gotten to the point yet where all areas have internet, but there are some countries out there who are making a lot of headway. Google has launched Project Loon, which carries internet access to remote areas via hot air balloons. Truly amazing! What are we going to come up with next?!

As New Premises Come, New Challenges Arise

As of 2016, Google served more than 2 Trillion searches. From its inception, that number rose from 1 billion searches in 1999 and has climbed every year (Search Engine Land, 2016). As these searches increase, we need to be weary of the information. Is it credible? Relevant? Recent? Can it be used in a research paper? These are all questions that we need to teach our students! They need to be able to evaluate their sources and decide for themselves if the new technology is helping or hurting. It could allow for a healthy debate in the classroom.

Insights from Howard Gardner

On the topic of new premises and new challenges arising, Howard Gardner had the following insights:

  • We need to understand the forms
  • Don’t let the new sources dictate what is right
  • Good education will be more difficult
  • Since information is becoming so prevalent, teachers will become more like coaches or models

Thoughts? Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts on Digital Thinkers.

E. (2010, August 03). Retrieved July 27, 2017, from

Image Source:


Video is Reinventing Education

Sal Khan, creator of Khan Academy is one of my favorite icons in the education world. Therefore, I was excited to watch Sal Khan’s TEDTalk on how video is reinventing education through the Flipped Classroom model. When I taught Sixth Grade Math, I was fascinated by Khan Academy and what it could do for my students.

After watching the 20 minute TEDTalk, there were a few key points that stuck out to me:

  1. Film concepts that will never go old
  2. Video removes the “one size fits all” classroom
  3. Videos improve the “student to valuable time with the teacher” ratio

1. Film Concepts That Will Never Go Old

old videoSal Khan started creating Math videos to tutor his cousins. He mentioned that these videos he published on YouTube were open to the public and it was content that would never go old. While I agree with him for the most part, we also need to keep in mind that certain Math methods (and teaching methods for that matter!) can change over time. Therefore, as I create videos for my classroom, I need to remain open to updating or changing my videos over the years.

2. Video Removes the “One Size Fits All” Classroom

one size may not fit all

These toe socks are not a “one size fits all” item, are they? With the Flipped Classroom model, students are watching the lectures at home which leaves more time for activities in the classroom. This is moving us away from the “one size fits all,” lecture and it allows more differentiation for our students. Teachers are having students watch videos on Khan Academy, or they are creating the video assets themselves. This is something I will set as a goal for myself!

3. Videos Improve the “Student to Valuable Time with the Teacher” Ratio

student to teacher ratio

Forget about the Student:Teacher ratio. Researchers are now focused on how the time is spent in the classroom and they have noticed that video allows the student to valuable time with the teacher ratio to improve. This is my favorite takeaway from the video–one that I will never forget!

Join in on the conversation below!

Salman, Khan. TEDTalks: Let’s use Video to Reinvent Education. March 2011. Available at:

Flipped Classroom Assignment

I am fortunate to be teaching in a classroom where all of my students will have iPads. I am so excited but I also know that it will take a lot of classroom management for it to go smoothly! Therefore, my students’ first flipped classroom assignment will be watching a video I made on obtaining a technology license.

Please let me know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions on this video. If you enjoyed it, please feel free to use it in your classroom!

Who Is Really Winning?

I could write ten different blog posts after watching the Frontline episode “Generation Like” by PBS. Therefore, I will try to stay on track with one takeaway…

Is everyone winning?

Do you remember when only one team in your soccer league got a trophy? Most likely it was the team who came in first place. If you were lucky, you were a member of that team! If you were like me, your league or coach got you a ribbon or a certificate, but the kids on the first place team got the trophies. Sure, there were some seasons where my team came in first place and we got trophies. But we had to work hard if we wanted that trophy at the end of the year!

How Things Have Changed…

Now, most leagues give out participation trophies to everyone in the league. Whether you came in first place or last place, you get the same trophy at the end of the year. You may not agree with me, but I don’t like this. What is this teaching our youth? That you can put in less effort but still be treated as the top performer? This is not how the real world works.

Flashback to 1854

In Henry Thoreau’s book Walden, he pretty much wrote about social media before it even existed. In his Chapter titled Solitude, he wrote “Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other…We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness” (Walden, 1854).

This brings me to “Netiquette.” Most people understand what this term means, but they choose to ignore it. Netiquette can be defined as the acceptable way of communicating on the internet ( For example, have you seen a cousin post an announcement of a baby on social media before the parents have even had a chance to announce it to their family? If you haven’t experienced this exact scenario, I am sure you have seen something similar!

Is Everyone Winning Online?

Don’t get me wrong…I love social media! It is basically a big online competition. How many more likes, followers, retweets, etc. can you get than your friends? Advertisers are winning by collecting data and creating demographic profiles, but are we winning?

I could go on, but I will leave you at that for now. If this topic interests you, I encourage you to check out The Netflix Original Black Mirror. Please join in on the conversation below!

Walden, Henry (1854). Solitude. Available online:


Extracurricular Empowerment

It was very refreshing to hear Scott McLeod’s TedTalk about Extracurricular Empowerment. We share a similar viewpoint–a point of view that is much different than most administrators’ opinions. I had many takeaways from Scott McLeod’s eight minute TedTalk, but I will highlight my top three below:

Starting Young

Technology is becoming more commonplace and it is getting into our children’s hands at a younger and younger age. Scott McLeod shared various success stories of children, as young as nine years old, who have established an international community of followers. These children are enthusiastic, passionate, curious, self-directed, confident, critical thinkers, disciplined, problem solvers (McLeod, 2013). These eight characteristics are qualities I would be looking for in a student, child, or employee. Technology is helping our children attain these skills.

Use it for Good

Technology is here to stay and we need to teach our children/students that it is a tool. It should be used for positive purposes such as inventing, creating, fundraising, etc. We should embrace technology in the classroom and use it as frequently as possible. It increases engagement and curiosity.

Strategic Restrictions

Teachers and parents should be careful as to how they punish or restrict their children from using technology. If you take away a child’s cell phone, they will likely find another way to communicate with their friends (i.e. iPads, computers, apps). If you don’t allow them to use Instagram, they will likely find another outlet (Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, etc).

There are so many technology resources out there and it is our job as parents and educators to teach our children how to properly use these resources. By educating them on the uses, the harms, and the etiquette, they will be less likely to abuse the privilege in the first place.

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment below!

McLeod, Scott (2013). Extracurricular Empowerment. TedxDesMoines. Available online:

Digital Storytelling: “Duck on a Bike”

A classmate and I created a digital story of Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. This readers theatre was adapted from Paige Nelson.

My classmate and I created the slides via Google Slides. We used transparent images from Google Images (labeled for noncommercial use with modification). Then, we edited the images using Pixlr. We recorded the voiceover using QuickTime Player. Furthermore, we conducted a screen recording session on QuickTime Player in which we played the audio and recorded the digital story.

Comment below if you have any questions about how we made our digital story!


Place Value No. 5

Last week, I created a video for my ED 558 class (ED 558 = Elementary Math Methods at Marymount University). It is somewhat painful for me to watch, but the students love it! They get excited to see their own teacher on the screen singing, dancing, and making a fool of herself. 🙂

Below are the steps I took to create this “music video,” with an estimation on how long each step took:

  1. Write the song (90 minutes)
  2. Plan out what videos/pictures need to be taken in classroom (60 minutes)
  3. Record voice using QuickTime Player (45 minutes)
  4. Take pictures and videos in the classroom (60 minutes)
    -This will go by quickly if you take your time on Step #2!
  5. Put together the pictures and videos using iMovie (120 minutes)
  6. Upload to YouTube and share with the world! (20 minutes)

Please comment below if you have any questions on how I created this video.

Technology Learning Projects in the 21st Century

I got a lot of great ideas from the video “Digital Media- New Learners of the 21st Century,” by the Upper St. Clair School District, which they posted six years ago. Although most of these projects are geared towards older students, I am confident I can scale some down for my First Graders.

Around minute 38:30, the video discusses a project where students had the opportunity to design, or redesign, Downtown Middleton. This is an excellent opportunity for students to embrace their creativity, collaborate with one another, and work to improve their community by communicating with their City Hall Officials.


The students are walking around the community and coming up with a plan to design, or redesign, Downtown Middleton. Then, they actually sit down with representatives from their city to discuss their findings and suggestions. How amazing!


The students are communicating face-to-face with their City Hall Officials. I am sure there was some e-mail communications prior to, but this face-to-face time is invaluable. Not to mention, it says a lot about their City Hall’s involvement in their students’ education!


Students are collaborating on this project and they are collaborating with the City Hall Officials. They are working together to come up with an action plan for their beloved Downtown area.


This project allows students to be creative in many ways. They need to design a plan, create a budget, and communicate a proposal. All of these elements require detail-oriented, creative, students.


Standard Spotlight

This semester, I will be focusing on the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) standard C/T K-2.4 A-B, reproduced below:

C/T K-2.4
Plan and apply strategies for gathering information, using a variety of tools and sources, and reflect on alternate strategies that might lead to greater successes in future projects.

A. Identify information in various formats.
• Recognize that information may be presented as printed text, electronic text, audio, video, or images.
B. Identify available sources of information.
• Be able to name and use sources of information available at school and outside the school.

Source: Virginia Department of Education Technology Standards

Integrating the Four Cs of 21st Century Learning

As a 21st Century educator, I will integrate technology into the classroom while focusing on the four C’s of learning. Luckily, my First Graders all have iPads, so we can easily achieve these.


Technology can help students and teachers communicate in so many ways. To name a few, students can: create videos, portfolios, and stories on their iPads. As their teacher, I will use QR codes to communicate which website(s) I want them to visit for a given lesson.


My students will collaborate with other students and their teachers in Google Docs. They will collaborate with one another while they are working on projects.

Critical Thinking

First Graders will be utilizing critical thinking skills when they are naming and deciding which digital tools to use inside and outside of school.


Technology fuels creativity. In my class, students will be using printed text, electronic text, audio, video, and images to embrace their creativity.

Let me know what you think–Please comment below if you have any questions!