Bridging the Digital Divide

After watching BYOD to Bridge the Digital Divide by Michael Mills, very interesting.  Low income students are not being given the same opportunities as the majority of students to have access to the internet and devices in their classroom.  Mills discussed a survey that allowed students to use their devices after a test, raised their test scores by 30%.  When asked why, because they felt more connected to their teachers.  Just by allowing these students access, it helped them achieve more.

Mills talked about how we have to provide our students with access to the internet or to devices because it is their right. They should have appropriate technology available to them. All students should have access to the Internet because it Unknownleads to empowerment. Technology is an important part of our society.

Mills also talked about how we need to allow all students, including low income students, bring their own access.  This helps bridge their home life to their school life. When they have access to their own devices they get to decide on their own projects and their productivity.  They have access to being creative.

But just because we give our students access to technology does not mean we abandon them. This is the most important time that we need to guide them. We need to teach our students how to use the technology, appropriately and effectively.

If we want to bridge the gap we have to give our students the tools to be successful.  Not using technology is not the key.  Instead, everyone needs to have access. We may not be able to give our students the same tools, but giving them the necessary ones will help bridge the digital divide.


We choose to do our social media presentation on Pinterest. Pinterest is a great site that lets teachers connect together and share their ideas. I really like it because I am able to pin different teacher’s ideas and then come back to them later.

Flipped Classroom- Jamestown

I created a lesson for a fourth grade class just beginning to learn about Jamestown. I used the site PowToon to create this flipped lesson.  I found this to be a little time consuming being the first lesson I had ever created this way but one that could be useful in the classroom!

I then used edpuzzle to add questions to the video. I really liked how easy it was to add the questions and the different types of questions that were available to use.  I think this would be really effective for students, especially because you instant feedback back.

For me I found it a little bit about a lecture, which is not they way I like to teach. I am very use to asking questions while teaching and having student interaction drive the lesson. But i did like that this gives students background knowledge before coming to class.  This way you are not wasting time teaching the facts and are able to dig more into the content.

I would really be interested in seeing a flipped classroom in use in a classroom, specifically an elementary classroom. I think it can be a really effective tool and way to teach, but just wonder how younger students would do using it.

Digital Learning

Project tomorrow a national education nonprofit origination. Their vision is to ensure that today’s students are prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. One of their researcher projects is the “Speak Up Student Survey.” This project looks at students in a bunch of different learning environments to help teachers learn and figure out new uses of technology tools in the classroom. They had many key findings that were very interesting.

One being that blended learning environment holds great promise. Students who were in a blended learning environment use technology more frequently than their peers in more traditional classroom settings. In addition these students are also more likely to self-direct their learning outside of school by using mobile apps, finding online videos to help with homework or emailing their teachers. This is very interesting to me. Using a blended classroom seems to show that students think more outside the box and be more in control of their learning. They have learned the skills to find the answers or seek out help.

Another thing I found very interesting is that students who have access to technology as part of their learning. This is especially true for technology that the school provides. Almost three fourths of students with school provided devices agreed that every student should be able to use a mobile device during the school day for learning.

I think what stood out to me the most is just that technology is changing the way students are interacting and dealing with students. Having gradated 6 years ago, technology was not allowed. You could not have your phone out or it was taken. You could use computers in your classroom, but you were not allowed to bring it to school. Technology was so shunned and something we were resisting. Now only 6 years later it is something that schools are relying on and embracing. Technology is here to stay and I am glad to see schools embracing it rather than pretending it doesn’t exist.

How to Escape Education’s Death Valley

The United States invests a lot of money in our education system and trying to keep our class sizes down, but this has little to do with having success. Author and educator, Ken Robinson discusses 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish which our current eduction culture works again.

1. Human beings are naturally different and diverse.

Our current educator system is base on conformity. We focus on finding out what our students can do across a very narrow spectrum. This is necessary but not enough. A real education needs to give equal weight to all areas of eduction, including arts, physical eduction etc.

Currently 10% of children are diagnosed with ADHD.  This is not because we have an epidemic but because our students are finding work to be boring.  Students find success when the curriculum celebrates their talents not just some ranges. Arts can improve math scores and other areas or their development.

2. Curiosity

As teachers it’s our role to light the spark to be curious and then our student will learn without assistance- children are natural learners. Curiosity is the engine of achievement. Teaching is a creative profession, not where we are just giving students the information.  The best teachers, mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage and deliver an eduction. It there is no learning going on then their is no eduction going on. The main role of eduction is to facilitate learning. Our culture has become to focus on testing.  Standardized testing has a place but should not dominate the education culture. It should support learning.

3. Human life is inherently creative

We as humans create our lives and can recreate them as we go. It’s why human culture is so diverse and dynamic. When we look at Finland(who regularly comes out on top) they have a very broad curriculum and do not obsess over the standardized tests. In fact they don’t have any. They also don’t have a dropout rate. If a student is in trouble they get find a way to get them support and help them. When we compare Finland, we can’t compare them to the United States but we can compare them to an American State. They individualize teaching and learn and recognize that it is students who are learning. So they have to engage them, spark a curiosity and individualize their learning.

There are good things going on in education but its happening outside of the dominate culture. When we look at our system it is very mechanical. But eduction is not a mechanical system it is a human one.Alternative program get children back into eduction, they are personalized, support teachers and involve students outside of school as well as inside school.  If this was the norm, then there would be no need for ‘alternative eduction’.

There are conditions under which people thrive and those don’t. Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in America. One winter it rained and the next spring, the whole floor was carpeted in flowers. Death valley isn’t dead, it is dormant.  With the right conditions, life is inevitable.

When we look at our education system, it’s the same way. It is waiting for the right leadership and teacher to come in and create the right climate of possibilities.  I feel our education system is trying to come alive, but we are stuck in our own ways. We know where it needs to go, but we can’t get there. In order to have the achievement we want we have to look at these three basic principles and find a way to achieve them. This won’t require a lot of extra money, but it will require us to change the way things are done.