Digital Learning & Common Sense Media

Below you will find my certificate illustrating my completion of the Online Digital Citizenship Curriculum Training.  I found this video as well as the Common Sense Media website to be very helpful in providing resources to help educators teach children how to use social tools and technology responsibly and safely.  I like how Common Sense Media provides lessons for different grade levels and spirals their topics.  I will definitely use this in the future.

Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum – Certificate of Training _ Common Sense Media


Inquiry Based Learning

Below is my certificate of completion for the Library of Congress Inquiry Based Learning Module.  I found this module to be remarkable and learned that the Library of Congress offers teachers access to primary sources. I will definitely use the Library of Congress as a resource. While watching this video, I realized that I do use inquiry based learning almost every day with students.   In my classroom, I provide opportunities for students to wonder, question, investigate, construct, research, express, reflect, and connect what they learn. By doing this, students are engaged and improving their critical thinking skills.

LOC Certificate

Bridging the Digital Divide

Bridging the Digital Divide by Comcast

We cannot achieve academic excellence without equity. Every student needs adequate access to technology, resources, and support services. The term digital divide refers to the gap. It is the gap that exists between high-income and low-income families as it relates to those who have access to modern information and communications technology. According to Comcast (2014), “30% of the population do not have access to broadband at home.” Additionally, “3 percent of low-income students have access to the internet at home, in contrast to 50 percent of higher-income families” (Isaacson, 2013). This is a big difference and impacts students and their learning.

“Bridging the Digital Divide, a you tube video provided by Comcast, explains that there are three barriers to broadband adoption. These three barriers are 1) people do not understand the significance of the internet, 2) people cannot afford to purchase computers or computer equipment, and 3) people cannot afford to purchase internet service. “Students who come from low-income families with no access to the internet are going to free wi-fi public places such as Starbucks and McDonalds to complete their schoolwork” (Isaacson, 2013). Internet is now a necessity for everyone as it is a big part of communication to others around the world, research schoolwork, etc.

With the rise of the internet all over the world and teachers assigning work or research on the internet, it is important to close the gap. Comcast is assisting in closing the gap by providing less expensive internet service (Internet Essentials) to low-income families. Currently, Internet Essentials has connected connecting more than 1.8 million low-income Americans, or more than 450,000 families, to home Internet and free digital literacy training (Internet Essentials, 2015). Internet Essentials also provides affordable computers to low-income families with free internet training. By doing this, individuals are becoming about how technology can help as well improve themselves.

This alone is not enough to close the gap. We need to contact other internet service providers as well as retailers who sell computers to create a “close the digital divide” plan similar to what Comcast is doing. Additionally, as it relates to the classroom, the following is a list of some of the possible ways in which teachers can help:

  • Provide students and parents with take-home technologies
  • Provide computer time whether it be at stations or everyone in a computer lab for a certain amount of time.
  • Increase students’ and parents’ access through the use of community centers
  • Allow students to bring their own devices
  • Allow students to lease a device
  • Teachers need to be open to technology and not fear it
  • Allow for digital textbooks – this may help the school save money and use the money to improve the technology in the school

Schools as a whole, can assist with closing the digital divide gap in the following ways:

  • Increase the number of dedicate internet access lines
  • Provide teachers with the necessary training they need on computers and software and providing them with adequate hardware and software support
  • Focus on integrating technology into the current curriculum

By embracing technology and the internet and exposing more people to technology and the internet, we can have a huge impact on closing the digital divide and achieve equity.


Bridging the digital divide. (2014, September 7). [Video File] Retrieved from

Internet essentials. (2015, March 1). Retrieved July 12, 2015, from

Isaacson, B. (2013, February 28). Digital divide is ‘major challenge’ in teaching low-income students, survey finds. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from


Pinterest as a Social Learning Tool

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that allows you to find ideas for all projects and interests. This tool is great for teachers and students at all grade levels. For teachers, they can get a variety of teaching methods, strategies, and crafts. Students can also have get ideas for projects. Both teachers and students can use collaborative boards allowing multiple resources to pin ideas and resources together. Images, links, and videos can be pinned and organized into separate boards. Teachers and students can follow each other and one another. Both men and women are using it and using it just as much as Instagram. So why not use it?

Ocean Pollution Flipped Classroom

Check out my flipped classroom video on Ocean Pollution!

Before watching the video, here is some background information.  My unit plan is on ocean pollution for fourth graders. Students in the beginning of week are becoming experts in ocean and ocean pollution to help them prepare for their online PBL presentations by the end of the week.

The attached video is a sample of my flipped classroom approach as well as the start of my jigsaw activity. For this assignment and the PBL activity, students have been divided into three groups with each group watching a separate PowerPoint presentation created by the teacher.  With this, each group becomes an expert in a certain aspect (types of ocean pollution, effects of ocean pollution on marine animals, and clean up efforts) of ocean pollution. To conclude my jigsaw activity, the following day, the “experts” will share what they learned with “experts” from other groups.

This presentation illustrates how I would incorporate technology, flipped classroom, and jigsaw all with one assignment. By using PowerPoint, Google Docs, and YouTube I am incorporating the UDL principles (multiple means of engagement, multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression).  By doing this, students here are able to improve their technology skills and their collaboration skills. This enables students to get the instruction at home with differentiation and doing the activity in class.  It provides a way to differentiate your lesson.

I enjoyed creating the flipped classroom with showing a YouTube video with me providing short and simple instructions on what to do and where to find their questions, etc. Doing this, I learned more about screen capture and Google.  I did find it troublesome to learn that when you add sound to a PowerPoint presentation, the sound does not carry over to Google Docs or YouTube.  I tried many things and so far the only thing that worked was SlideBoom,   Doing a flipped classroom is also a great way and/or supplement to help students understand difficult concepts.

Digital Learning 24/7

In April 2015, Project Tomorrow published the article Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology— Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today’s Students which documents the findings from the 2014 Speak Up Survey. The survey was given to over 400,000 students in over 8,000 schools across the United States (“Digital Learning”, 2015). The survey focused on the experiences of students and their digital learning experiences. Some of the key findings were as follows:

  • A blended learning environment that incorporates traditional instruction and online self-paced learning has great promise.
  • Students with access to technology as part of their learning, establish a deeper use of the digital tools.
  • Students using digital tools during learning have a greater value on the importance of technology.
  • Students use the technology tools to connect with the development of college, career, and citizenship skills.
  • Students using technology in a learning environment are engaged in active learning.

This article confirmed what I have been learning in my technology class and that is technology is a key element for educators to use in the classroom as well as outside if they are to engage their students and provide a rich learning experience. It showed how students viewed technology as well as how they completed their learning goals. Additionally, it showed how students using technology felt more comfortable texting their teachers than those in a traditional classroom setting.

Two things surprised me while I was reading this article. The first is that only 21% of elementary students are watching videos developed by their teachers (“Digital Learning”, 2015). This surprises me because I feel with technology integrated into our daily lives that more educators would integrate technology.

Being that I am certified in STEM, the second fact that surprised me is the declining interest in computer programming or coding. Computer programming and coding is an opportunity to maintain STEM interest. This is surprising as from personal experience I have seen significant interest with second grade girls in computer programming with the introduction of Lego Robotics. Additionally, I know several females who are pursuing careers in engineering.

As a believer in the blended learning environment, this article has showed me more ways that I can incorporate technology into my instruction. For example, I can have students take online tests, read online textbooks, watch videos and answer questions online, create online presentations, perform online research, take notes, and write reports. I can incorporate STEM into hands-on activities and have students reflect about the activities on their blog or I can have students work with various STEM activities online and increase and/or maintain the interest of STEM.

The use of technology in our daily lives is constantly increasing and as a educators, it is our job to take advantage and use technology in the classroom to help our students be better prepared for the real world.

Digital learning 24/7: Understanding technology — enhanced learning in the lives of today’s students. (2015, April 1). Retrieved July 7, 2015, from

Brain Rules – John Medina

I just watched a fascinating seven minute video about brain rules by John Medina.  In this video, John is being interviewed by Jean Enersen.  John tells us that the brain doe not pay attention to boring things, it wants 3-D moving objects.  The eyes provide the most important sense as approximately 1/2 of the brain is devoted to visual processing. With that said, every brain is wired differently, but in order for academic success to happen we all need emotional stability. Additionally, all brains need rest as rest is when we process the information we learned throughout the day.  However, rest is different for different people as some younger people function better at night.   As all experts have said, exercise boosts brain power and cognition.  So having a treadmill in class would not be a terrible thing.   He also confronts some myths such as we only use 10% of our brain.  That is not true! We use a lot more than 10%.

Furthermore, by taking a look at John’s website:, you can find the different brain rules listed such as Rule #7: Sleep Well, Think Well. They also have Brain rules for baby, videos, audio books, and an online store where you can buy items.

I found this all very fascinating.  Some of the items he talked about I knew already from past experience, but other items I did not know.  As a teacher, it helps me to understand what students need such as engaging activities, exercise, 3-D objects, a quiet environment, and emotional stability.  While I can provide these things,  this also has to be supplied at home by the parents.  I do believe that environment is very important to a child’s academic and emotional success.