Teaching Tish From sage to guide

This is my friend, Tish.

She's the Waldo in the back middle.

Tish is a fantastic teacher

She's currently taught at our school, El Rancho Charter School in Anaheim, CA, for the past seventeen years. She's dedicated, passionate, and wants to see her students succeed. Plus, she was a Quartermaster in the Navy, so she could probably beat me up if I said anything mean.

See? Don't mess with her.

But even Tish will admit that she's probably not the greatest when it comes to technology.

"Well, you picked the right person..."

-Tish, on her inclusion in this project.

Teaching has undergone a severe paradigm shift in the past twenty years, since internet usage has become widespread in classrooms throughout the world.

So how do educators adjust? Here are just a few ways to help Tish (and others) in the transition from 20th century "sages" into 21st century "guides"


Tish uses DOL, or Daily Oral Language, to help test grammar skills. And while it can be beneficial to review grammar skills, teaching grammar in isolation may not be the most effective method.

Grammarly, Hemmingway, and NoRedInk

Grammarly (left) and NoRedInk (right)

Instead, programs such as Grammarly and NoRedInk can be used to provide teachers with a much more data drive approach to grammar. Grammarly is able to analyze students' writing and give them feedback not only on grammar mistakes, but clarity as well. The Hemmingway App, named after the acclaimed writer, analyzes students' writing for clarity and phrasing, color coding words and phrases that may be dense or hard to decipher. NoRedInk is more closely related to D.O.L., but is far more adaptive. Lessons are branched and geared toward mastery, and change based on the level of the student. Teachers are able to see results much more quickly and can tailor lessons based on the needs of the individual students.

Essay Writing

The essay is a dreaded, yet wholly necessary part of the English curriculum. But all too often, teachers use it as a summative assessment, with little guidance short of an outline and some discussion. How can technology make the essay process more student driven, collaborative, and above all, easier?


Padlets are collaborative discussion spaces where questions can be asked about the material and answered by classmates or the teacher to assist in writing the essay. This not only assists students in writing their essay, but makes the entire process more collaborative as well.

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere, a polling service that can be used to make presentations more engaging, can also be used during the brainstorming phase. Here students are using adjective to describe characters in The Diary of Anne Frank, which will lead to an essay topic.

Pear Deck

Pear Deck allows a discussion space for presentations and an intuitive responder system. Here students are examining evidence in the writing of their essays comparing real-life gangs and gangs in the novel The Outsiders


Often, the voice that students are using to write an essay in their heads vastly differs from what ends up on the typed page. With Screencastify, students could practice reading their essays and making revisions before submitting, and attach the video to a post as one element of their assignment. It would also benefit English Language Learners, by helping them to practice their speaking skills (a component of several EL competency tests)


Teaching is still reliant on summative testing, knowing if a student has learned the material taught to them in a given unit. However, formative testing, or testing that is done continuously throughout the unit of study, has become more common. Formative testing allows for teachers to adapt lessons, rather than becoming mere information distribution machines.


Tish would certainly benefit from an application called Plickers, a hybrid of low and high tech that allows the camera of a cell phone to be used as a scanning device.


Kahoot tests for knowledge, albeit it in a much more "gamed" way that Kahoot. Students answer questions within a time limit, and are engaged through the process. Teachers also have the ability to vary the game style, with other versions having students put answers in sequential or chronological order.

Accelerated Reader

Tish, like other teachers in our department, uses Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader is a program that many districts use to test their students reading abilities. Students are given a placement test at the beginning of the year, after which they are assigned a point total that they need to work toward. While it is a system that works, and can improve grade level reading scores, it really only functions as the base level of the Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid.

What if instead students could create content to show what they've learned, and demonstrate some of the themes of the story, thus moving toward the top two levels of the SAMR Model (modification and redefinition)?

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark Video, part of Adobe's creative suite of web based software, allows students to put together short videos not only to showcase knowledge, but also create and analyze. Below is an example of a student putting together a recruitment video for the International Fleet organization in the novel Ender's Game.


iMovie, a program available for both the Mac oS and ioS, allows students to easily and quickly edit video. From the same project, these students put together a video recruitment video.


Touchcast serves as an interactive broadcast that students can produce on any given topic. Students create what is essentially a "broadcast" on their devices, but can add several widgets and other features to make the video fully interactive and explore true depth of knowledge. Students could do book reports as opposed to taking AR tests, or cover an author's life while adding a Twitter feed explaining their current relevance along with Google Maps showing points of interest.

Change is never easy

Especially when it comes to education. The past two decades have seen a seismic shift unlike anything that has come before in education, and it's difficult for many to upend their entire pedagogy. Yet in order to prepare students for the future, it's necessary. The change cannot (and probably should not) be attempted all at once. But dedicated technology leaders can offer guidance in helping teachers like Tish shift into the 21st century and beyond.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.