Archive for the ‘Bits and Bytes’ Category



Accessibility in Education:

-Dynavox-picture board/speaking tool

-Dragon natural speaking

-Kurzweil 3000 and Firefly

-Reader Pens

-Talking Calculators

-Alpha Smart (writing aid)


*ASK for help. LEARN about these technologies*

*As an educator, make sure your lessons are accessible for ALL of your learners….really think about WHAT is it that the students are learning*

*by emphasizing technology, we can appeal to the widest student audience.


“Identifying the problems in education and beginning the search for solutions.” -Dave Shortreed, Coordinator of Digital Technology

Today, Dave Shortreed gave a presentation on how embracing technology can help educators adapt and thrive when meething the changes that are being made to BC Education.

So how can we push forward?  (With change comes challenge)

current shift in education——-> heightened focus on tech integration, collaborative thinking, collective ideas, innovative practice

Shortreed touched on the changing the learning space: teachers are creating a more open classroom by pushing desks against windows (or taking them away) and making room for technology while providing positive atmosphere (taking preventative and proactive measures). What tools fit into an open classroom? SmartBoard, document camera, IPad, Laptop. These tools foster a more inclusive classroom.

An important point that Shortreed brought up was bridging the gap between IT and Teachers. We need to provide SUPPORTS when we bring new technology. Shortreed has even created an iBook to help teachers navigate the iPad: “21st century literacies: an IPad educational resource by Dave Shortreed.”

He suggests that student teachers become familiar with PROJECT BASED LEARNING, Interest groups outside of grade groupings, and the TPACK and SAMR MODELS:Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.

We also need to be mindful of how we use technology: it should be all encompassing.

What do you want kids to do with technology: focus on learning outcomes, not applications. Focus on pedagogy, and not on tools.

Technology should be used to: raise awareness, drive change, find answers, take action, change minds.

Shortreed concluded his presentation by posing the following questions to the class:

What are the most apparent problems in eduction?inconsistency within the teaching community (competent vs. uncomfortable)

What can you do to address these problems? (collaborative teaching)

Check out for great tech tips!

I appreciated the variety of lesson plans, units of instruction, and multiple teaching activities that were presented over the past two technology classes.  My personal favourite was the teaching of stop motion filming and editing- this is a fabulous integration of technology that is very kid friendly and fun!  I feel that technology can (and should) be seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of the classroom. Not only are we teaching and modelling flexible thinking, but we are also using a resource that appeals to our students and is an incredibly inclusive tool.

1.Cut, copy and paste information from the internet.

2.Maybe change a few words or sentences.

3. Hand in to your “unassuming” teacher.

4. Prepare to either be lectured on plagiarism, or receive misguided praise for your seemingly brilliant mind.

I do not see the value in copying and pasting other author’s work from the internet and claiming it as our own. In the primary grades, educators allow students to haphazardly copy and paste multiple author’s works and create a report or paragraph-some are even displayed in the hall! Then, once students reach intermediate grades, teachers reprimand for copying and pasting and accuse students of cheating the system and plagiarizing.  We are creating confusion! Instead, why not show students how to properly cite work, and challenge students to use their creative, intelligent minds to think about their subject and write something meaningful.



They have never known a world without Ipads, laptops, or cellphones. They are connected 24/7, 365 days a year. So how do today’s educators connect to this tech-savvy group?

We need to build rapport. relationships. respect. 

If we ban cellphones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices from our classrooms, we are taking away (almost) everything they know. Instead, we should focus on creating a progressive learning environment that respects technology and its place in the 21st century classroom.

Generation Z students need visual literacy. They enjoy stimulation, and crave constant feedback. They are also extremely skilled at using technology.

So, how can we adapt to these digital natives?

By thinking outside the box. Create a graphic novel together as a class, chronicling the year together. Instead of writing a paper, encourage students to write a wiki. Instead of a writer’s notebook, set up an online blog (such as wordpress) where students can comment on each others work.

There are so many amazing FREE online resources that appeal to Generation Z’s.  You can find some of them on my Resources page.



center for quality learning

A Universal Design for Learning allows educators to meet the learning needs of all students. By incorporating a variety of learning modalities, teachers are able to engage students, and increase comprehension.

So how do educators incorporate UDL into their teaching practice? To me, the simplest way is to use technology. Utilizing web-based technologies such as YouTube, Skype, and Kurzweil provide a new dimension of interactivity and depth to a lesson. Furthermore, by using the IPad as a teaching tool, teachers can organize lessons, download fun and educational apps for the classroom, and store presentations that are ready to go and easily accessible.  To me, this seems a lot easier than lugging around a giant resource binder!

Whole brain teaching: yes please!

This technique combines visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic learning techniques to create a rich and dynamic learning environment.

I love this! Kids can make connections and are using different senses in order to comprehend information.

Watch to see how much fun the students are having, and then watch again to see how fast the students are retaining information.