Safe Tech Use in the Classroom Starts with Training our Teachers

How can teachers model and teach ethical, safe, and legal use of digital information and technology to my students?imgres.jpg

Pairing technology with learning is increasing at rapid speeds for many reasons. A majority of working jobs and careers today require the employee to be confident with technology because today much of the work that is being done is interacting with a technology device. As teachers are preparing their students to be successful in the next level of education and beyond education, they must model and provide space for students to become competent with technology. With that, research shows that there are a large number of the benefits for students and teachers when technology resources are incorporated into the classroom. Some benefits include effective and efficient differentiated learning programs, high student engagement, efficient and organized record keeping, and technology provides many ways to include visual learning which provides deep learning and understanding.

Although there are extensive benefits with technology in the classroom, unethical, unsafe, and illegal use has been proven to be easily available. Hicks (2004) offers detailed and vital information for teachers who encourage and model technology use in the classroom. The author clearly informs that teachers who are not properly trained with technology use in the classroom can put their students at great risk that can set students up for failure. Because technology is very rapidly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury, the article makes it clear that teachers must be explicitly aware of the dangers that technology brings such as easily accessible pornographic images, internet predators, the risk of grade hacks, and much more. My colleague, ostenk, mentioned that speakers are made available to come to schools to educate parents and teachers about ghost apps that can be installed on computers, iPads, and tablets. This misuse of apps can be detrimental to student learning. The speaker informs the parents and teachers how to spot the apps, how to destroy them, and how to have a safety conversation with students about technology misuse. When teachers are professionally trained, they are more able to train their students on safe internet and technology use. This model of training will benefit all parties involved, such as teachers and students and will support teachers in promoting and modeling digital etiquette (ISTE 4). With this as a foundation, teachers and students are much free to use technology for its original intent; to create accessible communication platforms, learning opportunities, and rich exploration of information. (Links to an external site.)

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ELL Support Through Technology Resources

How can teachers use technology resources to enhance and support learning for ELL students in a classroom? 

In my current classroom, 11 out of my 22 students are English language learners and compared to the rest of the school, this ratio is considered low. Over 80% of the students at White Center Heights are ELL students. With this in mind, it is extremely important for teachers to incorporate ELL strategies into teaching so that the most learning can occur for students who did not learn English as their first language and may only speak English at school. 

I have found that my students are exceptionally engaged in learning when technology is involved. Students seem to forget they are learning and it becomes more like a game or entertainment to them. The article, Supporting English Language Learners through Technology  (2010) highlights ways to incorporate technology into lessons to specifically support ELL students. The technology resources that this article touches on are interactive whiteboards, document cameras, videos, and social networking. These resources are proven not only to be engaging, but also extremely effective. Linda expressed that, “The application of digital tools give students access to gathering, evaluating, and using what they learn to create strategies to inquire, analyze, organize, evaluate, create, process and report new knowledge.” Interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and videos not only give students access to the skills listed by Linda, but they also provide ways to include pictures so that contextual clues can support understanding of vocabulary and concepts. When teachers incorporate these technology resources in the classroom, they are modeling the use of media resources and technology (ISTE Standard 3). The article suggests that interactive whiteboards make it easy for teachers to print out lessons and notes so that ELL students can take them home or keep them to review later. Interactive whiteboards also allow teachers to save lessons or presentations and send them to parents/gardians or tutors via email or Google docs to encourage review or support at home. Manipulatives and objects can be placed on document cameras to be viewed and discussed. Incorporating visuals and manipulatives increases deeper understanding. Social networking provides a space where ELL students can type out their thoughts if they are not as fluent or comfortable with speaking. Many teachers have found that encouraging ELL students to type on computers or laptops builds vocal fluency, while also establishing fluency in technology.great_smartboard_resources_on_web.jpg

I am excited to intentionally incorporate these resources into my lessons for my ELL students and watch how they react to their growth in understanding and their new found confidence in language and in academics. 


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Creating an Authentic Learning Experience with Technology

What technological resources and programs can enhance content learning, develop knowledge and skills, create an authentic learning experience and meet the expectation of ISTE Standard 2 in an elementary classroom environment?

When students write for an authentic audience about a chosen topic or subject, the quality, motivation, and engagement greatly increases. Reaching an authentic audience can be easily achieved by online blogging. Lorrie Jackson, author of “Blogging? It’s Elementary, Dr. Watson,” explains the many learning benefits that blogging brings to learning. Blogs provide a space where students can share their writing with the public and other students in their class. The public, classmates, teachers, and family members are able to leave comments and feedback on their blog writing. When students are having conversations and discussions about the topic they wrote about, learning and understanding continues to deepen. Linda Teng also mentioned that blogging can be used as a reflective learning tool. Student can look back at their writing from the beginning of the year and reflect on ways that they’ve developed as writers. Blogs should be introduced and in early levels of education and can be continued through all levels of education and beyond.

Technological skills are strengthened by blogging. Already, these skills are expected to be mastered in high school, college, and especially in the work force.

Blogging also meets ISTE standard 2 because students are providing feedback and comments for the blog author, the author’s original work is being published, and multiple audiences are being reached such as parents, teachers, other students, and the public. Jackson (2012) offers some specific blogging programs and sites that have been used in classrooms already: Blogger, LiveJournal, Blogmeister, Kidzblog, Thingamablog

I am excited to see the level of engagement greatly increase during our next writing unit as I integrate blogging into the lessons!

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Enhancing Learing with Technology

How can technology enhance student learning in a kindergarten classroom?

Technology can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom to enhance student learning. Technology creates countless opportunities for learning to be differentiated, interactive, fun, and engaging. One of the first steps to learning is engagement. According to the article How to Use Technology to Enhance a Lesson (2011),  technology has a great advantage in learning because it creates games, puzzles, and interactive readings where students forget they are learning. Differentiated learning is also very accessible for every single student. Students are able to move through their learning at their own pace.

This provides the opportunity to spend more time on concepts they are not mastering or pushing a student though concepts that are not challenging them. These advantages can be helpful in all subjects, math and science included. Technology in the classroom can be used in the form of computers, computer games, word processing, teacher websites, digital textbooks, pod casts, blogs, and many more ways (Concordia, 2011). These platforms create space where in depth learning, debating, exploring, researching, and conversing can take place. The skills that students use from working with technology will not only benefit their learning, but will also better prepare them for life in the work force.


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Families and Community

Parent- teacher relationship is extremely important for student success. When a child sees that his or her teacher has a relationship with their parent, the student has more motivation in school. The parent teacher relationship models to the student that their parent trusts the teacher, therefore the child can also trust the teacher. This team work pays dividends in the child’s learning because when the parent and teacher are fequently communicating, the teacher is more able to let the parent know areas where the child could use even more support in their learning at home. Learning can then happens at school and at home.

Along with the gains in academic success, the parent teacher relationship can build teamwork in creating the best behavior plan for the child. If a child is having behavioral problems at school, the teacher can ask the parent what strategies work at home with the child. The teacher may also ask if any changes are going on at home that may be causing the child to react in these ways. Communication will ensure that the parent and the teacher are working together to create an environment that sets the student up to be successful socially and academically.

Contact with parents can happen in many different ways. My mentor teacher meets with each of the students’ families before the first day of school. She explained that it is important to open up time to get to know the student, their family, their culture, and their excitements or concerns about school. The conference is usually casual so that the student and family feel comfortable, safe, and excited about the school year. She also explained that this time is important because she never wants her first contact with the parents to be about a negative report of the student because it’s very difficult to build a relationship or build team work after something like that.

Communication with parents can also take place through email or phone. It is the responsibility of the teacher to be made easily available with these lines of communication. Many parents work and aren’t able to volunteer in the classroom or meet often in a conference so contact through email and phone needs to be encouraged. A weekly newsletter to parents is also helpful in communicating what is going on in class, upcoming events or deadlines, and advice about how parents can be working with their child at home. This gives parents the opportunity to feel connected and involved.

Most importantly, contact with parents should always communicate respect with an ultimate goal in supporting the child. Without this, it will be extremely difficult for the teacher to feel trusted and supported by parents who have the potential to make her job a lot more enjoyable and successful. The mutual respect between parents and teacher is the beginning of student success.

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Learning Environment

Together, positive teacher- student relationships and effective classroom management make for a learning environment that is  physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe.

An academically successful learning environment stands on a foundation consisting of clear routines and expectations, positive reinforcement, structure, and predictability. Students crave routines because it creates order and consistency. This allows students to focus on the task at hand, creates more learning time, and eliminates confusion.

Physically and emotionally safe classroom environments are a result of students being aware of classroom expectations. Without students being introduced to classroom expectations and being invited to take part in making them, there will be little ownership or accountability for their actions and I will spend too much time correcting and disciplining instead of teaching.

As a class, we created a charter that we recite every morning. We created this charter by brainstorming ideas about how we want to feel at school and then followed with ideas about how we can achieve those feelings. When students act in ways that do not align with our class charter, I ask the students if their behavior is making others feel the way that we agreed we all wanted to feel at school.

Class Charter










Positive reinforcement and questioning is used to correct the behavior or effort of a student. I will prompt my student to think about options they could have taken. I will also use positive consequences because it is usually the most effective. Positive consequences may include some sort of positive verbal recognition to the students who are doing the right thing. When I do this, the students who aren’t doing the right thing at that time usually begin to do the right thing. I have found that kids usually like to please the teacher so most end up looking around at the “good” students and chance their behavior to get noticed. A positive approach works best for me because I want students, especially at this young age, to like school, to look forward to coming to school, and feel loved and valued by their teachers. Students get overwhelmed when they are constantly being told they are doing the wrong thing. I prefer to call out the students who are doing the right thing.

Intellectually, I will encourage my students to take risks, learn how to fail, and love challenges. I will reward risk taking and show them the positive outcomes of failure when it is viewed as a temporary condition and not a permanent state. I will share examples of how challenges create growth and learning.

In order for my students to feel valued and safe, I will know them by name, strength, and need. I will get to know my students and their families on a personal level, will value each and every student according to who they are and not how they perform, encourage them to explore their interests more deeply, and partner with them to find ways to specifically support their needs.



Fay, J., & Funk, D. (n.d.). Teaching with love & logic: Taking control of the classroom.



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Course Reflection: Program Standard- Content Knowledge

Over the course of this quarter, I have learned that effective teachers use content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy, and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning. This course has deepened my knowledge about coherent instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure. I have learned that lessons or units are most effective when they have clearly defined structure around which activities are organized and the progression of activities is even, with reasonable time allocations. I am excited to implement my learning into a classroom setting.

Content area knowledge is essential for teachers in order to promote and inspire learning in students. According to the handbook, competence is the mastery in the ability to plan and deliver instruction, use technology to support learning for all students, and address the diverse needs of all students and their communities. Content area knowledge does not only refer to academic subjects, it also refers to the lesson quality based on the delivery of a lesson, including technology into lessons and activities, catering to the needs of each individual student, and incorporating and respecting all cultures in the lessons, especially ones in the local community. Content area knowledge connects and personalizes instruction for students. It also creates enduring knowledge, engagement in the subject matter, and inspiration to learn more.

Effective teachers use learning standards as a guide for their lessons. It is essential that instruction is aligned to the learning standards while also making students needs the most important priority. Learning standards should be used as a guide for instruction just like learning targets guide student learning. When students are aware of the learning targets it will make them aware of what they need to learn, will give them purpose during their learning activities, and will provide them with feedback on whether or not they are achieving that learning target. This will help guide teaching to align with standards while also giving purpose for student learning and useable information for them.

Incorporating appropriate pedagogy into every lesson will cater the learning needs of each student while also creating space for students to experience different forms of learning. Different pedagogical approaches will also maintain engagement and curiosity in learning. Appropriate pedagogical approaches are essential in the classroom because some strategies are more fitting for certain student cultures, backgrounds, upbringings, and experiences. Lastly, appropriate pedagogy will create a safe classroom environment where students feel comfortable and free to express their feelings and beliefs.

Finally, lessons and units are most effective when activities are organized and the progression of activities is even, with reasonable time allocations. Progression is very important in student learning. When lesson and units build on each other, the beginning should introduce broad, simple concepts and then slowly move toward more complex, detailed information. Along with progression, appropriate time allocations should be paired with specific information and concepts. Time allocations may vary depending on a concept’s depth of detail and how familiar students are with the concept being presented. Much of the time allocation will depend on the group of students and a teacher’s knowledge about her students and their learning strengths and weaknesses. Student learning is enhanced when progression and time allocations are present in lessons and units.

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