Creating Edutopia


Creating Edutopia

IMG_0254cross posted at

New Things, New Ways

In his article Shaping Tech for the Classroom, Marc Prensky outlines what is considered to be the typical process of technology adoption.

1. Dabbling – doing what we’ve always done, pretty much how we’ve always done it

Example: I recall a conversation I had with my Grandma, shortly after my Uncle set up her e-mail account. She was fascinated with the new ‘electrical mail’, and explained how she had already written several letters to us. Thinking I had missed something, I checked my e-mail account again…nothing.

“Gram, I don’t think we received them.”

“Oh, I haven’t sent them, yet. I just typed them and need to figure out how to get them out so I can put them in envelopes.”

2. Doing old things in old ways – communicating and/or exchanging information digitally

Example: Seven other teachers and I taught at the same grade level, in the same building, but on different schedules. To support our communicative efforts, we constantly shared ideas, lesson plans and other resources using email, googledocs & wiki pages.

3. Doing old things in new ways – video & animated demonstrations; writing on blogs, wikis, etc.

Example: One of my 3rd grade students taught himself how to use Scratch, then used the software to create an animated video about a particular aspect of energy conservation

Example: Students use Inspiration or another graphic organizer to create story webs of selected anthologies

4. Doing new things in new ways – creative & innovative, ‘next-step’ teaching

Example: Students chose to create blogs to develop and strengthen their understanding of a particular topic. They used the blogs to host links to articles, videos, images and podcasts that supported their learning. One way the new,new component surfaced was through student investigations of professionals in various fields. Students identified professionals, invited them to ‘speak’ on their blog, respond to their posts and become members of their learning network. By “reaching out and pulling in”, exchanging ideas, questions & resources with so many experts beyond the walls of their classrooms, students were doing new things in new ways.

Example: Teachers use digital tools to reach outside our immediate circle of experience and knowledge, and to engage in significant discourse about a wide variety of professional topics.

Our goal by the end of the year is to have a range of things that fit into stages 3 and 4

Working with your partner, please consider and respond to each question below. As always, you are welcome and encouraged to use any tools at your disposal to share your thinking (audio or text responses, links to student work, or other examples).

1.  What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 3?
2.  What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 4?
3.  Are  there any activities or projects that might qualify as a 3.5?

59 comments to Creating Edutopia

  1. Ma Ste Mo says:

    1. Digital Portfolios (Explain Everything) include a wide range of options to pull in resources instantly.

    2. Drones create opportunities expand their learning boundaries. Example: study erosion down by the bayou, or fly into a storm cloud.

    3. SeeSaw activities where students the can collaborate students, parents and community with just a click of a button.

  2. Debbie & Andres says:

    1) Instead of hand-written papers for the publishing component of ELA units, we are utilizing writing tools such as Google docs, Publisher, and Book Creator.

    2) Instead of merely having teachers create tutorials, we have had students create and publish tutorials for their peers using tools such as screen casting, Explain Everything, and teacher webpages.

    3) Student products are created and published in formats that allow peer feedback in addition to the more traditional teacher feedback.

  3. Margie, Megan and Olga says:

    It has to start with planning and teachers not being the authorities, but sharing control with the students.

  4. Dianne and Jo Ann says:

    How might this translate to individual pratctices of students/teachers?
    Jo Ann compared the four levels of typical processes of technology adoption to Bloom’s Taxonomy. So, if we stay down on levels 1-2, we will not grow; we will cut ourselves off from creativity and the evolution of the learning process as it is being created now via technology.If we spend our time in levels 3-4, we will enrich our lives (meaning teachers’/students’lives), becomig creative thinkers, fully engaged learners, innovative problem solvers – doesn’t that sound amazing, fun, inspirational, and desirable???? I want a ticket for that ride!!!!!!!

    • Curtis and Michelle says:

      It’s been asserted that beginning at the higher levels of Bloom’s will naturally incorporate the lower levels of Bloom’s as students investigate the tools required to support their creations. Does the same apply to the levels 1-4 described above? Can the use of level three and four replace the need for levels one and two?

  5. lena says:

    Key Elements between levels

    1. Isolated and really not implemented. More for personal comfort with a new technology.

    2. More collaborative, but it’s using technology to replace an every day task. Nothing new or innovative.

    3. Using technology to create things in a new way, but it’s still confined to the classroom.

    4. Innovate and gloabl. Connecting to the real world–not confined to the classroom. Very collaborative. The thinking required is insigtful and the results are unpredictable.

    It gives a framework/rubric with which to view lessons/planning/ and implementation. Refines the goals setting process through this lens.

  6. Dianne and Jo Ann says:

    Key elements:
    1. Isolated, playing around, thinking about trying without really trying too much
    2. Predictable, cooperative but not collaborative, might share – not as isolated as dabbling.
    3. Using new apps, new technology tools to speed up a process or streamline files; share, collaborate.
    4. Creating new ways to think about; being innovative, unpredictable, collaborative, evolving.

    • lena says:

      I agree with all points, but 3. I think a level 3 is more than speeding up a process. It may require thinking in a different way. For example, writing a blog is different from writing a paper. There is a public aspect to it which might make the assignment more relevant to a student.

  7. sewilkie says:

    How might this translate to the individual practices of students and teachers?

    • Michelle and Curtis says:

      You need to diagnose your current level, making sure to scrutinize technology implementation. Are the instructional activities possible without technology? Or is technology expanding the possibilities. For typed essays, for example, the product may be better, but the technology may only be partially responsible.

    • Krystal & Lauren says:

      Students will have to become advocates of their own learning–coming up with their own ideas, their own learning goals, and their owns ways to show how they met their goals.
      Teachers will have to also become advocates of their own learning–finding ways to redesign their lessons to bring in global ideas, finding ways to share their ideas and to reflect on them with a community outside of their building, and finding ways to break free of the box.

    • Erika and Deana says:

      Encouraging teachers to take risks and be tolerant of failure, while relinquishing control of the learning to the students.

  8. sewilkie says:

    What are the key elements that help define each level?

    • Curtis and Michelle says:

      The key points are “old” and “new” which describe both instructional practice and method of presentation. The challenge of reaching the new/ new level is similar to the difficulty in reaching “redefinition” in the SAMR model

      • Krystal & Lauren says:

        We discussed SAMR as well, and that it doesn’t match exactly. Level 4 would be the redefinition stage for sure.
        We are a little fuzzy on what “old” and “new” are–sometimes we thought that something was new, but the author described it as old, like google docs and wikis.

      • Dianne and Jo Ann says:

        Today’s new will be tomorrow’s old!

    • Krystal & Lauren says:

      Key element for level 3 is: creation with new technologies.
      Key element for level 4 is: interchange of ideas globally.

    • Erika and Deana says:

      1. You are thinking about doing it. Not much action, or extreme measures to fully implement.
      2. Doing things within your comfort zone. The basics like email and Googledocs.
      3. Instead of paper and pencil, we are using computers and blogs to document learning. Intentionally using technology to enhance our lesson.
      4. Trying something completely foreign to us and implementing it to the fullest possible extent.

    • Margie, Megan and Olga says:

      We feel that the key elements that define level 4 are a real-world unpredictable problem (preferable student chosen) and a student generated solution and implementation of that solution.

      • Curtis and Michelle says:

        Do we need to specify how technology fits into the student generated solutions? We agree that the use of real world unpredictable activities is generally new in any classroom or on any campus, regardless of the platform students use and this may be enough to make heads spin.

  9. Sally Janacek says:

    1. The old skill and drill of worksheets has been replaced with on line activities such as Manga High and Think Through Learning.
    2. New things in New Ways – students are creating lessons on Educreation . For example, my students orally and visually explain how to multiply 2X2 digit multiplication , or how the water cycle works using Educreation and it is posted on my blog for others to learn.

  10. Cecelia says:

    I am so impressed that your kids have the opportunity to Skype with your school’s architect! That is a very valuable activity not only for their learning but also for our whole T-2-4 focus! Fantastic!

    Melissa, wouldn’t your activity of blogging on a particular topic be more of a 3? (In other words, it’s reporting on a topic (old thing) in a new way.) I would say that it probably is UNLESS the students are also actively seeking input into those blogs from outside of your school in a way that invites collaboration and learning together.

  11. Lisa and Melissa says:

    I love your idea to collaborate with another group in another state. We’ve skyped with several professionals and groups in the past. Early Adopters has taught me to really focus on students understanding of the topic or concept you are collaborating on, not necessarily the bling of “skyping” in itself.

  12. Mario Romero says:

    1. We are going to have students tech research constructive and destructive forces of the Earth (Volcanoes).

    2. Students will build their volcano models in 3-D form. They will connect land-forms affected, plant and animal life, and rock cycle activity.

    Students will gather all their data, and make a Glog, Blog, Stupeflix, or …PowToon to represent their Project Chronicles in real-world connections.

  13. Lisa and Melissa says:

    1. What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 3?
    Melissa–I am having my students maintain blogs to encourage creative writing and to practice revising and editing.
    Lisa–I created a Screencast of how to use an Edmodo group for Bluebonnet books.

    2. What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 4?
    Melissa–Some of my students are already focusing on developing their blogs on one particular topic.
    Lise–My students are working on Building a New School model and Skyping with the architect of our actual new school. I have asked the architect to post his reflective thoughts on the idea of planning on a blog.

  14. Cecelia says:

    1. What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 3?

    Students will create videos that present different topics focused on composer or musician biographies and/or instruments from other countries. Videos are uploaded onto SchoolTube or other similar venue.

    2. What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 4?

    I am trying to come up with a project where my students engage with students in another state to collaborate on a unit/topic.. I have not come up with an appropriate topic/project yet, but I think once I do, this will likely be in category 4.
    3. Are there any activities or projects that might qualify as a 3.5?

    How about this one?

    Students made videos of themselves playing a rhythmic accompaniment that they themselves wrote specifically to accompany the melody “Simple Gifts”. Those videos were then rendered together in the style of Eric Whitacre’s virtual choirs for the purpose of being presented as one single video performance.

  15. Jennifer Brown says:

    We really enjoyed reading your ideas. I would just add that the students should also be commenting and giving feedback to each others posts. I love your 3.5 idea!

  16. Veronica and Christina says:

    1. Using Wallwisher (or something similar) to have students post an exit activity; is also something that can be used for students to respond to a question or hold a discussion; taking quizzes, surveys, and tests on Edmodo
    2. Creating blogs for students to document their own learning throughout the year; using Epals for students to communicate globally
    3. Create a webquest for students to research given websites and find information to later be used to write (print or computer) summary of new learning.

    • Krystal says:

      Hey gals, are these things 3? I’m seeing 1 & 2 as a level 3 because there isn’t any thing “new, new”. I think that the relevance is much higher when these things are incorporated. I love these ideas, especially backchanneling. A great way to check for understanding!
      What type of webquest are we thinking? I’m wondering if a typical webquest might still be a 3, but if it were an “expert” webquest where the students are finding experts in a field to collaborate with, it would be a 4.

  17. Krystal says:

    Right now I’m working with Pre-K on their parts of trees units. Today we took the iPads outside to take pictures of the parts of trees. I think this is a 3, instead of drawing the parts, they are taking a picture. The next step is to take the pictures and create a video explaining the parts of trees. I would count this as a 3.5 because it is quite a bit different from the old making a poster and labeling the parts. I think to push it to a 4 we could find a companion class and share those videos as part of a lesson where my Pre-K kids are teaching the other Pre-K kids this lesson.

    • Ronald Castro says:

      I like that you could raise this to a 4 by sharing with other students. I would suggest that you not only do that but share with students in other areas of the world or country because your trees might all be the same. The students could compare the kid of trees that are around their geography and why they are different.

  18. Ronald Castro says:

    1. We have posted notes on Evernote and Edmodo to share with students.
    2. We will plan to use students to drive the content to create the content to be learned especially with new content courses that can be created in the high school social studies spheres like Latin American studies and Women studies.
    3. With students repost original thoughts and links on the web 2.0 tools to share with the classmates to dig deeper in the content.

    • lena says:

      I like this idea, especailly #2 about student input driving curriculum and courses, which would definitely make them relevant. I’d like specific examples of what kinds of comments you would expect students to make, or how you would get them to move beyond surface level comments, such as “Cool!” “I like this class!”

  19. lena says:

    1. Yes, having students write their journal reflection on a blog using blogster and the ipads available in her room.

    2. This teacher above eventuallly wants her students to take ownership of their blogs. One of her students would like to create a travel blog–a space where people will come read his comments about his travel experiences to different countries. He could post images from photographs that he’s taken, interview from other traveler that he’s met, etc.

    3. The above blogger could invite other readers/travelers to comment on his blog, incorporate video, images, etc. Or even by inviting other “travel guides or professionals” to comment or adding links to their blogs

    • Krystal says:

      1. I think that commenting on one another’s comments would make this a 3.25 to a 3.5. Often when we “reflect” in the classroom everyone shares a reflection and we move on, there isn’t time to have a discussion about the reflections. Giving students the chance to discuss their ideas and reflections definitely makes the learning more meaningful to them.
      2. I think that this is a 4. Allowing the student to take complete ownership of his blog–doing all of the research, talking to others, and sharing those ideas with others is exactly the student owned learning that we are looking for!
      3. Moving from blogging for their own reflection, to blogging for community reflection I think will move all of the activities with blogs up from a 3. To incorporate the ideas of others, especially those that are not a part of their immediate community–pushing it out globally.

    • Veronica and Christina says:

      Creating a blog is a great idea! Maybe have him create a travel website instead of a blog that actually has places that can be visited with a link to the blog about people’s experiences.

    • Sarah says:


      How does the beebots work? It definitely sounds like a problem solving activity that must be done online…definitely a 4!

      I agree that Khan Academy is in between a 3 and 4. Helping kids understand how to access it and having them access it when they need it on their own bumps up the relevance.

  20. tori moxley says:

    1. A number 3 I am doing is Lemonade Day. It teaches economic TEKS through a real life business. The old system was Junior Achievement which was teacher directed. Lemonade Day applies their knowledge in a real time business.
    2. My BeeBots is computer programming. The students try to program the bee to do what they want.
    3. Using Khan academy to teach them math and then have them reflect as math homework.

  21. Blake and Winston says:

    2. Each student has their own blog and are connecting globally with one another.
    3. Having students comment and critique each others blog posts.

  22. Cristina Gossett says:

    1. We plan to create a class blog.

    2. We also plan to use skype to integrate into our lesson by asking guiding questions to other classes in other school districts based on a certain topic.

    3. Inviting other classes into our edmodo page to see our videos we have uploaded about our lesson. Students teaching students

    • tori moxley says:

      On number 2, what are some of the skills the students need to be successful at asking questions? When do you teach those?

  23. Tiffany Gless says:

    Category three examples- Students used Educreations to solve a story problem.
    The students also set up an Edmodo account.
    Category four examples- The students tweeted to talk to another kindergarten class in Great Britain. Have also blogged with other teachers and shared ideas.
    Category 3.5- Having students create a share screen video for others students to watch.

    • Tiffany Gless says:

      I think blogging with another class would bring more relevance.

    • Cristina Gossett says:

      Your 3.5 was along the same lines as my idea. We really enjoyed reading about the kinder idea and tweeting to a class in Great Britain. We would like to know more about it please. How did you find the class? Did you create a twitter account for your class? What else do you use Twitter for?

    • Blake and Winston says:

      I like your thoughts!

  24. Jennifer Brown says:

    1.What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 3?

    I created a classroom blog wherein students post reflections from their own learning.

    2. What have you done or planned that you think would fit into category 4?

    Having another 4 grade classroom from another school or district to blog with…Read each others reflection posts and comment on their learning. You could also use Skype to reflect.

    3. What have you done or planned that you think will be a 3.5?

    Sharing the class blog with other grade levels at the same school.

  25. Brittany & Karen says:

    1. Taking writing prompts that are normally done on paper and having them post their thoughts on Edmodo.

    2. See bullet three. In addition have students research and pull from things outside their immediate circle of experience and knowledge.

    3. Students will create a tutorial video that teaches a concept that can be posted on Edmodo for other students to watch.

  26. Blake and Winston says:

    1. Changing old lessons by using new apps to have students create animations over specific topics. Example: Using GoAnimate and Puppet Pals 1 & 2. Students create a movie that demonstrates physical and chemical changes that take place in their life.
    It was quite a tricky..but enjoyable experience!

    • Jamie Flint says:

      If you do not already teach them about physical and chemical changes that occur outside what take place in their life then you could have then research and this would bring it to a 3.5 or if you already teach this it would keep it at a 3 still but an extension. Good idea.

  27. Jamie Flint says:

    1) have students watch videos at home of lessons and letting students make science experiment videos.
    2) posting the videos students made to the web so scientific professionals can make comments, and answer questions for them
    3) posting the videos that students made to goggle apps to share them with other students and the other students would be able to give them critical feedback.

    • lena says:

      Perhaps adding a student created rubric (or one that incorporates a lot of student input) before students evaluate their videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *