Thoreau once wrote we are in danger of becoming the "tool of our tools," but it's doubtful he envisioned a day when there would be so much technology hardware and software to distract and empower us at the same time. Teachers who are grappling with iPads, laptops, kid blogs and cellphones in classrooms share their triumphs and struggles here.
Students aren’t just collaborative in our classrooms—they are connecting with others all over the world. Stephanie Affinito shares her favorite picture books to teach digital citizenship.
Bill Bass provides a range of search options for students, and encourages teachers to promote different tools in different contexts.
In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister helps fourth grader Aidan revise his writing on the computer to flesh out character development.
Matt Renwick finds there is value in connecting video games and literacy in classrooms, once he and the teachers he works with can get past their leeriness.
Jennifer Schwanke reflects upon how the iPad and other touchscreen devices have changed the way children interact with all texts, even traditional storybooks.
Gigi MicAllister gives step-by-step advice on how she set up voice-recorded response as an option in her fourth-grade classroom.
Andrea Smith concludes her series on the power of branded student blogs in her fourth-grade classroom.
Andrea Smith continues her series on the power of "branding" for improving student blogs. In this installment, students examine mentor blogs and bloggers.
Franki Sibberson uses a micro-progression of her own draft of a blog post to help her third graders improve their blogging skills.
Andrea Smith finds "branding" is a way to improve student blogs. She shares her process of presenting the concept to students in the first installment of a three-part series.
Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.
Katherine Sokolowski finds that electronic charting of learning with Padlet has almost endless possibilities for use in her fifth-grade classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder finds that tweets are a terrific quick assessment tool for analyzing student understanding of everything from nonfiction texts to character development in classic literature.
Katherine Sokolowski helps one of her fifth-grade students compose a tweet to a favorite author.
We spend a lot of time in elementary classrooms matching students to “just-right” books. Katrina Edwards uses similar principles to help her first-grade students pick just-right apps. The essay includes a downloadable chart of appropriate literacy apps for young learners.
A daunting task for teachers is to help students learn to use new tech tools, as well as understand community standards for each one. Katherine Sokolowski finds Tech Anchor Charts are a great way to provide ongoing support to students as they navigate new software and apps.
Ruth Ayres explains why filtering is one of the most important concepts writers need to understand in this social media age, and she shares a simple lesson and chart for teaching students how filtering works.
Bitsy Parks has her first-grade students record their writing as part of a regular workshop and assessment routine, and then uses QR codes to share the recordings with families and the larger community.
Katherine Sokolowski explains why she uses webcomics in her literacy workshops, and shares an extensive list of her favorite online sources.
Gretchen Schroeder finds her high school students are always eager to see the movies related to the novels they are reading in class. Yet it rarely makes sense to show the entire film. She explains how to choose clips judiciously.
If teachers are still using technology as a reward, Bill Bass explains why they are far behind their colleagues in integrating computers and applications into workshops.
Ruth Ayres finds storytelling is at the heart of social media, and describes how teachers and students might work together to find a place for social media in classrooms.
Megan Skogstad shares lots of practical advice for creating and sustaining student data binders.
Maria Caplin has suggestions for making transitions to digital literacy in reading and writing workshops.
Melanie Meehan encourages teachers to build a video collection of students at work to use with next year’s class.
Katherine Sokolowski finds Padlet is a great tool for compiling learning and building community.
Bill Bass has advice for teaching web-based search skills to students.
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