Fairfield Educational Technology April 2017 Newsletter

FCSD - FlipGrid Challenge

Last month I shared with you the new tech tool, Flipgrid. Fipgrid was recently awarded the EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award for Best Product of 2017!

I have a challenge for you! I contacted Flipgrid about promoting their new tech tool and they sent me a ton of Flipgrid stickers. My challenge for you is to try the tool with your class. If you would like to participate, use Flipgrid with your class and copy the link of your "grid" to the Padlet page linked in the button below. Using Flipgrid doesn't have to be an elaborate lesson. It can be used a quick formative assessment at the end of class or lesson. No need to have students create accounts, etc. Provide the class a link to your grid and you are good to go! If you have any questions please let me know. I have used this with my 6th Grade Social Studies classes and they really enjoyed it!!

Flipgrid Stickers/Badges - Who wants one?

In the classroom spotlight section you can check out what teachers are using in their classrooms regarding technology. If you have any questions please contact one of the technology coaches!

6th Grade Social Studies & Math - March Madness Unit

Adobe Spark & Buncee

Students in 6th Grade Social Studies and Math had the opportunity to select their tech tool of choice for their project. The two options given were Adobe Spark and Buncee. Most of you are familar with the Adobe Spark format due to the Technology Newsletters. Buncee is a digital presentation tool (similar to Glogster). Buncee is a tech tool that could be used by all grade levels! I think Buncee is a great tool for elementary aged students. A brief introduction was given about each tool then the students were let loose to explore and learn how to use the tool. For sample projects and student work, click on the buttons below!

8th Grade Family & Consumer Science - By: Katelyn Edwards

Quizlet Live!

In Family and Consumer Sciences we have been trying new technology. We have been playing Quizlet Live where the program sorts the class into teams and they have to work together to get the correct answer. We have been using this as a review game and have gotten great feedback! It holds members accountable and keeps them all interacting. I switch groups every round and I have heard about a group of boys getting together and playing it at home.

8th Graders Reviewing with Quizlet Live!

GoFormative - FHS Math - By: Joe Kruzich

I use GoFormative for my daily work and quizzes. It allows a student to receive instant feedback on correct or incorrect answers rather than completing an entire assignment without any feedback until the following day of instruction. From an instruction standpoint, I am able to see everyone's work at once instead of one piece of work at a time. This allows me to narrow down incorrect responses and focus my attention to those students while others are able to move on.

7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in March

Check out the Google Updates!

It can be hard to keep up with all of the changes and updates that Google makes to the products that have become an integral part of many teachers' lives. Some of the changes are minor and insignificant to the average end-user while others are significant to a larger portion of end-users. Here are some of the more significant Google product updates that you might have missed in March. To read the article, click on the button below!

14 tech Tools for Grades K-5

Click On The Button Below To Access the PDF of K-5 Tools

New Tech Tool - Symbaloo

Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that makes it simple and fun to organize the best of the web. You have all your favorite websites at your fingertips. With an account you can access your bookmarks from everywhere with any device and share your online resources with others.

New Tech Tool - Flippity

Easily turn a Google™ Spreadsheet into a Set of Online Flashcards and Other Cool Stuff

Latest App Craze: Social Video-Chatting and Live Streaming

Friends, fame, and fortune could be only one stream away, but parents need to help protect privacy. This is a nice article to share with parents!

Using Technology vs technology Integration

1:1 Programs Amplify Instruction… For Better or Worse

By: Seth Denny - Cornerstone Publication

Before I started to write this article, I asked two non-techie colleagues for ideas. Both of them told me, “Write about how 1:1 programs are not improving teaching and learning.” Challenge accepted…

Technology Amplifies Instruction

Districts have implemented 1:1 laptop programs for several reasons, hoping to teach 21st century skills, compete with other districts for open enrollees, and improve student achievement (among other reasons). But we all know that there is no panacea in education. Buying technology, without changing instruction, can be very costly.

Technology is a wonderful tool, when used properly. The benefits include higher student engagement, better technology skills, and cost efficiencies. But research has shown that there is little effect on student achievement. The “reality may be that one-to-one laptop programs are only as effective—or ineffective—as the schools that adopt them” (Goodwin, 2011). Goodwin goes on to say that “one-to-one laptop programs may simply amplify what’s already occurring—for better or worse—in classrooms, schools, and districts.”

We have found this to be true. Great teachers use technology to make their instruction even better. If a teacher has great classroom management skills, computers are a welcome tool to increase engagement, creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking in their classroom. Great teachers use technology to provide responsive feedback, differentiated instruction, interactive simulations, and scaffolding to ensure that every student succeeds. Unfortunately, not-so-great teachers often use technology to add complexity, confusion, and distraction to their classrooms.

Inappropriate Use Adds Needless Complexity

In Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) TPACK model, good instruction happens when the technology matches the content and the pedagogy. Sometimes old technology, like paper-and-pencil, is the best technology for the task. For example, some teachers try to scan all of their textbooks and worksheets into Google Drive or Canvas as PDF files (which is probably a violation of the copyright laws), and then have their students complete their assignments online. Usually this means that the students have to download the PDF, use Adobe Reader or Preview’s annotation tools, and re-upload the PDF. There are hurdles and complications at every step for average students—imagine the hurdles if you have a learning disability.

Which is more important—the ability to annotate a PDF and upload files, or the ability to show mastery of the Iowa Core standards? If a paper-and-pencil worksheet can accomplish that goal, why are we adding needless complexity and frustration to our teaching and learning? Maybe a better question is, why are we still using old worksheets and textbooks?

A Lecture is a Lecture

Many teachers have embraced flipped learning, where teachers record their lectures and assign the videos as homework. Done right, flipped learning can be a powerful tool. Students can view the lecture at their own pace, and watch it again if needed. Absent students never have to miss another lecture.

In effective flipped classrooms, the teacher actively provides guided instruction to students as they collaborate and work through the content. In not-so-effective flipped classrooms, the teacher sits at their desk while students work individually through a set of problems. And if a student needs help, the teacher tells the student to “watch the video again.”

Too often, the content is front-loaded in flipped classrooms. Relevance is an essential part of learning. If students aren’t curious about a topic, the content won’t be relevant to them and they won’t want to learn about it. Student curiosity is often lost in flipped classrooms, because the pre-class lecture provides all of the material to be learned (Plotnikoff, 2013). The flipped lectures usually become a cognitive brain-dump of information, instead of a just-in-time learning scaffold that meets the students’ desire to learn.

Better Instruction

The solution to all of these problems is better instruction. Technology will never replace good teaching. And effective teachers have student-centered classrooms where technology is used to enhance instruction. Effective teachers focus on the 4Cs: Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking. The students in their classrooms use technology to construct and connect knowledge, explore and extend their understanding, and solve authentic and relevant problems.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has developed five standards for teachers. Briefly, they are:

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments

Model digital age work and learning

Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility

Engage in professional growth and leadership

The ISTE Standards for Teachers focus more on instruction than on technology. Notice that the standards emphasize inspiring students, developing learning experiences, modeling learning and responsibility, and engaging in growth. Teachers need time to reflect on their current instructional methods, collaborate with their peers, and work to transform their instruction. Rather than spending professional development time learning basic technology skills, teachers need time to collaborate, think, and create.

Technology amplifies what is already occurring in the classroom. Let’s focus on improving our instructional practice, not technology.


Goodwin, Bryan. "Research Says… / One-to-One Laptop Programs Are No Silver Bullet." Educational Leadership:Teaching Screenagers:One-to-One Laptop Programs Are No Silver Bullet. ASCD, 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Koehler, Matthew. "What Is TPACK?" TPACK.org. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Plotnikoff, David. "Classes Should Do Hands-on Exercises before Reading and Video, Stanford Researchers Say." Stanford News. Stanford University, 16 July 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

"Standards for Teachers." Standards for Teachers. International Society for Technology in Education. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Created By
Justin Copeland

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