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      Technology Integration Tags: Technology Integration Categories: Blog July 30, 2014 @ 9:26 PM 1 Comment    Here is a link to my tutorial about five simple ways to integrate technology into a classroom.
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“How Technology Evolves” and Montessori Education

Many people wouldn’t associate computers with Montessori education, but students in our STEM program explore the connections between technology integration and the needs, interests, and possibilities of work students in Montessori settings might do.  Here one of our graduate students explores material that dances with various considerations of how to conceptually understand today’s technology. 


After watching and listening to Kevin Kelly give his presentation titled “How Technology Evolves”, I was struck by the connections to the Montessori curriculum, specifically in the area of biology. He theorizes that technology could be considered the 7th Kingdom, in addition to fungi, plants, animals, etc. I must admit, I was skeptical at first. I thought, “How can technology, which to me seems so mechanical and man-made, be thought of as a kingdom, as something that is living?” However, as he explained his theory, it began to make sense. Organisms move toward specialization, and become more complex, diverse and social; the same is true of technology. For example, the internet is not just used for finding or posting information, but it is also used for connecting and collaborating with other people (i.e. social media, the growth of online classes).

Kelly makes another interesting connection to the Montessori curriculum when he talks about technology being a cosmic force. Hmm….seems to me that Maria Montessori had some ideas about cosmic education. In his lecture, Kelly says, “Somewhere today there are millions of children being born whose technology of self-expression has not been invented.” (2005) Furthermore, he shared a power point slide that expressed that technology provides us with options, choices, opportunities, possibilities and freedoms. As educators, can we incorporate the use of technology in our classrooms to help give children a cosmic education, one in which they can explore, discover, create and imagine?

In the You Tube video “The Machine is Us/ing Us”, Michael Wesch, an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, explains how the web has evolved from a “read only” platform to an interconnected platform where people can upload and share not just text, but also photos and videos. I learned a lot about how at first, web sites were written in HTML, and now they are written in XML. What’s the difference? With XML, data can be exported because form is separated from content, making it possible for everyday users to upload content. It’s not only text that can be exported, but also photos and videos (think blogs, You Tube).   Good thing a person can pause, rewind and replay these videos!

What is the semantic web? I found that in order to understand “A Story about the Semantic Web” by Kate Ray that I had to look up the word after I watched the video. Then I watched the first part of the video again for a second time, and it became more definitive. First of all, the semantic web is an idea that the web can be more intelligent and even more intuitive about how to best serve users. This concept is an idea of the web inventor, a physicist by training, whose name is Tim Berners-Lee. I had not known this previously, so I found it very interesting. At the beginning of the video, the narrator says, “The core problem is our ability to create information has far exceeded our ability to manage it.”   This statement expresses perfectly my conundrum with technology! How do I use it in a way that will actually make me more efficient? How can I easily incorporate technology into my classroom, without having it consume endless amounts of precious time? The idea is to transform the web into more of a database, an index of sorts. Back to tried-and-true technology, the old-fashioned index located in the back of reference books!

Kelly, K. (2005). How Technology Evolves. Retrieved from

Ray, K. (2011). A Story about the Semantic Web. Retrieved from Vimeo:

Wesch, M. (2007). The Machine is Us/Ing Us. Retrieved from

The new Master of Arts in Education: Technology Integration is featured in SCAN!

St. Kate’s is now offering a Master of Arts in Education: Technology Integration.  This new program is featured in this month’s SCAN.

“St. Kate’s new graduate-level program — which plans to offer the choice of a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a certificate — equips teachers with digital skills and an understanding of how to hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets. Class topics include computational thinking and computer coding, best practices in 1:1 (one-to- one, a setting in which each student has her or his own digital device) and ethics in the digital age.”


Cross-Curricular Arts Integration Techniques

EDUC658D: Classrooms by Design is a course that focuses on cross-curricular Arts Integration techniques. The final project for the course is a digital presentation demonstrating how a teacher can use Arts Integration methods to tranform an existing unit into an engaging, effective, and student-focused learning experience.

Stephanie Beard created a Prezi demonstrating how fine arts, music, dance, poetry and history can come together for 5th grade students studying Sea Chanteys.

Link to Presentation:  Sea Chanteys

Digital Differentiation in Physical Education

Digital Differentiation in PE by Zachary Wentz, first semester graduate student at St.Kate’s

Differentiation can be defined as “a symphony, not one particular instrument, of ongoing modifications to every facet of the learning environment in response to students’ needs, interests, and readiness” (Smith, 2005, pg. 39).  This allows students to experience learning in multiple different ways in order to help them succeed. Like Rosen (2011) stated, “providing information through a variety of modalities and sources helped students develop a richer, more complex mental representation of the material.”  Therefore, teachers are strongly encouraged to provide various avenues for students to learn content along with showcasing their knowledge.

An increased amount of digital tools are available for most teachers.  However, “the point is not to teach with technology, but to use technology to convey content more powerfully and efficiently” (Rosen, 2011).  With the numerous tools in the world, physical educators need to select tools that are designed to enhance student learning and create motivation towards the topic. In the following paragraphs, I will highlight several digital tools and how they help differentiate content and assessment.

Differentiationcan be used in three different domains: content, process, and product (Smith, 2005, pg. 39). Process refers to the “range of instructional decisions regarding not only how the teacher will present the information and organize learning, but also the thinking processes students will use to understand the content” (Smith, 2005, pg. 39).  One popular way to differentiate the learning process is the use of videos. iPads along with other video devicescan be used to capture and replay video clips.  LikeEberline and Richards (2014) stated, “teachers can video-tape student performances and then replay the video to show students the skills elements they are performing correctly and those elements that require improvement” (pg. 39).  In fact, “Banville andPolifki (2009) found a student’s ability to learn and perform motor skills increased with the use of digital video recorders” (Pyle andEsslinger, 2014, pg. 37).  Another educational use of videoscan be seen in a variety of instructional videos.  Teachers can create a wide variety of videos thatare directed towards certain skills.  For example, in aracquet sports unit, teachers can create skill specific videos that help with specific skills such as forehand, backhand, spike, or a serve. When students enter the gymnasium, they can identify an area for improvement and watch the corresponding video.  After watching the drill, students are then given practice time to work on their inefficiencies.Another way in which teachers differentiate is by product or assessment.

Differentiating assessment involves the “manner in which students will demonstrate comprehension” (Smith, 2005, pg. 39).  In the past, teachers assessed student effort by simple observation.  Today, heart-rate monitors are being used to help clearly assess a student’s exertion level during class.  Like Eberline and Richards (2014) stated “heart-rate monitors serve as one tool to objectively assess student effort” (pg. 39).  Besides heart-rate monitors, video recording devices also offer an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge.  Similar to what Pyle and Esslinger (2014) stated “students can showcase the application of their PE knowledge and skill through the creation of instructional and performance movies” (pg. 38).  Other digital options are also available besides video.  These other options include having your students digitally create “charts, diagrams, models, PowerPoint presentations, dances, and even through a song” (Smith, 2005, pg. 42).

As stated, differentiating instruction and assessment can help students have a richer experience in physical education.  There are a variety of digital tools out there and more tools are being developed each day.  Teachers should select tools that work well in their schools and help students develop intrinsic motivation towards a task.  While differentiation can take some time, it is vital each teacher “continue to learn how to design and deliver instruction that extends beyond games, gadgets, and gimmicks” (Smith, 2005, pg. 39).

Pyle, B., & Esslinger, K. (2014).  Utilizing Technology in Physical Education: Addressing the Obstacles of Integration.  Educational Technology, 80(2), 35-39.

Rosen, L. (2011).  Teaching the iGeneration.  Educational Leadership, 68(5).

Smith, S. (2005). Beyond Games, Gadgets, and Gimmicks: Differentiating Instruction Across Domains in Physical Education.Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 76(8), 38-45.

Eberline, A. & Richards, K. (2014). Teaching with Technology in Physical Education.  Strategies, 26, 38-39.

Seeking Digital Citizen Engagement

Author: Abby Morales ’15

Abby Morales, Teacher, Grad Student, Amazing Mom, Social Media Activist, and Leader #mystkates

One of my ultimate goals as an effective educator is to equip my students with the skills necessary to be a successful and productive member of society. Just as Stronge (2007) indicates, the term effective “has multiple layers and implications within the teaching profession” (p. 99). In order to be effective, an educator must care deeply, recognize complexity, communicate clearly, and serve conscientiously (Stronge, 2007, p. 100).

Stronge (2007) states that caring deeply involves providing the child with the support they need while holding them accountable for their own learning. This is done by addressing complexity in matching the skill level of the student with an appropriate task. If students are to complete meaningful tasks to a high degree, the teacher must clearly communicate the expectations and processes associated with each given task (Stronge, 2007, p. 100-102). Lastly, the effective teacher must be willing to dedicate the necessary time and energy required to make all of this possible.

Dr. Henry Jenkins of the University of Southern California discusses the role of digital media to create opportunities for civic engagement in our world. He specifically references the Harry Potter Alliance, which is a group that organizes around human right issues around the world. After reading Harry Potter, the leader of the Harry Potter Alliance, recognized evil in society, and formed an “army” to tackle the issues of our time. He used the fantasy of the book to help others understand the needs of the world. He has since used this platform to mobilize 100,000 young people to address human rights issues (Jenkins, 2011).

Jenkins states that people desperately want to share things with one another, which is also how people learn from one another. When it comes to digital platforms, people acquire skills by playing around with the media. The question he poses is, “How do we go from participating in our culture to participating in our political and civic structures?” He questions how we can get people to be as passionate about the future of our society as they are about anime, etc. Jenkins asserts that if this is not established in the classroom, many kids will be left behind (Jenkins, 2011).

Just as Dr. Henry Jenkins (2011) refers to the sense of student empowerment achieved by participation in authentic practices, each teacher should strive to guide his or her students through meaningful tasks that will also provide them with the skills needed to be successful in the future, regardless of their chosen career paths. From a traditional understanding of literacy as reading and writing, I would add creating and collaborating in a variety of contexts. As the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) recognized and established,

“Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to

- Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;

- Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;

- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;

- Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;

- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;

- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments” (NCTE, 2013).

It is my goal to help my students reach this degree of overall literacy, using technology as a way in which acquire essential 21st century skills.

NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment (2013) Retreived from National Council of Teachers of English website:

Jenkins, H., (2011, February 13). Extended Interview: Dr. Henry Jenkins. Digital media-new learners of the 21st century. PBS. Retrieved from the IPTV website:

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