Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

What’s Your Digital Age?


social mediaMy theory is that age is just a number, so quite frankly I don’t really fret too much about it. But when I happened across this nifty graphic on Twitter the other day, I was definitely interested in knowing if I act my digital age. And now I bet you are probably wondering the same!

Well, now you can find out the answer to one of life’s burning questions from The World According to Mr. N infographic, which calculates a person’s digital age according to the social media addiction you may have. Check out the image shown below to determine how technology habits can say a lot about who you just might be! Warning: Get ready to say “yikes” to yourself. Just sayin’…

photo (20)

Click here for a full screen version of this interesting image.

A shout out to Darin Nakakihara, a fifth grade teacher from Laguna Niguel, CA, for giving me the thumbs up to use his creation on my blog. It’s been great to connect with you on Twitter. (Don’t worry—neither one of us has an abnormally high opinion of ourselves.)

And in case you might be wondering—I was hoping for the “Hipster” label, but after reading that description, I can honestly say I’m glad I don’t really use Instagram all that much! I’m also happy to report that I’m not a Friendster junkie either. However, I must get back to my endless searches for cool music on iTunes. I wonder what age bracket that obsession places me in—ha!

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What Type of Technology Integrator Are You?


multimedia iconsSo, when it comes to technology integration, how would you classify yourself—as a leader, a sharp one, the wood, a ferrule, an eraser or maybe you’re one of those hangers-on? What. The. What? Yeah, if you’re wondering what in the world I’m referring to, then you definitely want to check out the Pencil Metaphor graphic shown below—one that outlines six ways educators typically react to the utilization of technology for educational purposes.

tech pencil metaphor

I realize the graphic is rather small, so if you’re having difficulty reading the details, here’s the scoop (or you can click on the image to view a larger version):

» The Hangers-On: Hangers-on know all the right lingo, attend all the right seminars, but just don’t do anything.

» The Erasers: These people endeavour to undo much, if not all, of the work done by the leaders.

» The Ferrules: These people hang on tightly to what they know. They keep a strong grip on their traditional practices, and feel that there is not a place for technology in their classroom.

» The Wood: These people would use technology if someone would just get them the gear, set it up, train them, and keep it running. All they need is help from some sharp person, and they would be doing it too. (Love the play on words here! Ha!)

» The Sharp Ones: These are the people that see what the early adopters have done, willingly grab the best of it, learn from the mistakes of others, and do great stuff with their students.

» The Leaders: These people are the first to take on the technology, the early adopters would usually document and enthusiastically share what they have tried, warts and all.

A shout out to TeachThought for sharing this interesting graphic. Click here for additional commentary about teachers and edtech as well as the origin of the Pencil Metaphor.

Classroom Connection:

Knowing where you stand in terms of integrating technology into instruction is a good thing—especially if there’s room for improvement.

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From the Flintstones to the Jetsons: Creating a Blended 21st C. Classroom


social media icons2Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube—and the list goes on and on and on… Did you ever wonder what in the world people ever did without all of these social media sites in their lives? If you’re one of these individuals, then be sure to check out the graphic shown below, which explains the “old school” ways of locating and sharing information.

Heck, if you’re a veteran educator (OK, old person) like me, you’ve probably utilized all of these “technologies” in your day—and some of us fossils probably still do! The scariest and most amusing thing for me is always the moment when I realize that many of my students have no clue what some of these vintage “technologies” are! If you don’t believe me, just ask them what a flash cube is! The response is always “Whaaat?” And to think I was so excited one year at Christmas when Santa put a bunch of these in my stocking—ha, ha!

So, what does all of this have to do with an edtech blog? Well, besides the obvious tech-related humor, my point in sharing this particular cartoon is this: The ways in which today’s students learn and communicate information is entirely different from what many of us experienced in the traditional school setting. That said, it’s important for educators to create a classroom that fosters the acquisition and/or honing of 21st Century skills through the use of real-world tools. Of course, I’m not suggesting that all other instructional strategies be abandoned. However, like it or not, there’s a place for technology in every classroom. When used properly, tools and applications will help students acquire and/or hone the skill set they need to thrive in a complex, high tech, knowledge-based society.

Not sure how to incorporate tools into your classroom—or how to develop a technology-rich lesson, project or activity? Then stay tuned for my upcoming post on setting integration goals for 2014!

Until then… It’s time to put that old-fashioned Rolodex away!


A shout out to artist John Atkinson for creating and sharing this awesome cartoon! Like what you see? Then be sure to check out the Wrong Hands blog for additional comics.

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Infographic of the Week: Did They Learn Anything?


learningEver get to the end of a lesson or semester and find yourself asking, “Did my students really learn anything?”

Yeah, me too! I think we, as educators, have all experienced this feeling!  That’s why you shouldn’t miss this awesome infographic containing 20+ ways to assess understanding during and/or after a lesson.

Be sure to use the embedded tools to zero in on the details.

Thanks to Mia MacMeekin who created this useful visual and for sharing these great ideas! Check out her blog here!

Classroom Connection:

The formative assessment process provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are still happening. Use the strategies on the infographic to collect evidence of student learning so you can make informed decisions about future instruction.

Image attribution:

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12 Must-Have Skills of Modern Learners


So, did you ever wonder what kind of skills some educational experts believe that you and/or your students need to thrive in the 21st Century—a.k.a. the modern, global and highly technical society in which we live?

What tops the list? Is is problem solving? Critical thinking? Collaboration? Or “D”—all of the above?

If I’ve peeked your curiosity at all, then you must check out this cool visual from User-GenerDated Education to compare your current skill levels to those you should aspire to attain.


Classroom Connection:

So, now that you’re aware of the attributes needed to be a hip member of the 21st Century, you can use this info to strengthen your own skill set as well as those of your students. How you say? Well, besides becoming a member of a PLN, enrolling in coursework, participating in webinars and/or reading blogs and books to learn more about 21st Century teaching and learning, develop lessons, activities and/or projects for your students that combine academic rigor with components that hone these other skill areas.

Oh, and did I mention that you definitely need to get yourself one of those capes!

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Infographic of the Week: 20+ Ways to Increase Student Participation


hands1As all educators are aware, motivating students to get focused and on task at the beginning of class can sometimes be quite the challenge. Equally problematic, is watching them zone out once you have them locked into a lesson. And of course, getting students to participate in classroom discussions and activities can sometimes be a subject unto itself.

There are varying opinions as to why the attention span of our students is very short. However, regardless of the reason(s), unless the learning tasks are appealing to them, they often times tune out before you get things rolling.

So, what’s the solution? Check out the chart below for some interesting suggestions regarding capturing student interest and keeping them actively involved in lessons from start to finish.

Be sure to use the embedded tools to zero in on the details.

Thanks to Mia MacMeekin who created this useful visual and for sharing these great ideas! Check out her blog here!

Classroom Connection:

Use one or more of these engagement strategies to capture and maintain student focus in your classroom.

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

Be sure to add this awesome tool to your tech-box!

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