Trends and Innovations for K-12 Ed Tech Leaders



The Wikibook is titled Trends and Innovations for K-12 Ed Tech Leaders. Technology changes so fast that it is difficult for anyone who cares about education to keep up with the important changes, trends, and innovations. The book focuses on trends and innovations that are important for K-12 educational technology leaders. Under the guidance of the course instructor, doctoral students have been working on this wikibook as one of the final course projects.

  • I. Description of Trend
  • II. Rationale: Why do you think the chosen trends and/or innovations are important for educational technology leaders?
  • III. Implementation in K-12 settings (cases or major initiatives, successful stories, lessons learned…) or in Higher Education settings
  • IV. Issues: What are the key issues around the identified trends and/or innovations? (already existing or potential drawbacks)
  • V. Related Research: What research evidence have you found regarding the trends and/or innovations you are focusing on. (bulleted lists of research studies done on the trend)
  • VI. Recommended resources (blogs, webpages, twitter hashtags, infographics)

Initial Chapter Topics




What is an e-Portfolio?


An e-Portfolio is a collection of digital materials which ascertains a person's learning and understanding [1]. The items most often found in an e-Portfolio include documents recounting a student's progress such as reflections, ideas, feedback, projects, and papers [2].

Why an e-Portfolio is a current trend?


As education continues to change to meet the expanding needs of the diverse learners and the needs for success in the workforce, schools must raise student skills and find ways to embed technology into the curriculum and pedagogy. This trend allows learners to set goals, plan, and record their achievements. e-Portfolios have the ability to empower a student to collect a duration of prescribed documents, confirm accomplishments, and identify personal development planning throughout the learners lifelong journey in school, college, work, and professional growth [3]. An e-Portfolio empowers students to increase their understanding by showcasing their work and giving them the chance to reflect. It also provides a storage of work throughout their education including records of achievement, transcripts, and assessments. E-portfolios can be used in a variety of capacities including demonstrating to a perspective college or university a student's accomplishments throughout earlier schooling and for employers it can be a resource to validate skills and abilities, such as communication and teamwork skills[4]

Implementation of e-Portfolio in the K-12 Setting


As education moves towards integrating and implementing technology new visions arise, which includes e-Portfolios.

  • Education has been driven to produce more outcome-based results, increasing learning effectiveness, and being held accountable.
  • Through e-Portfolios students will be empowered in managing their achievements, work, and learning goals.
  • Implementation of e-portfolios is easy and free.
  • What is required is deciding on the container (website, blog, wiki, Google site?. Once this decision has been made teachers can, decide on how it will be organized or they can leave this process to the student. Lastly, students begin to post.
  • For e-Portfolios to work it will require:
  1. Learners to have access to computers and the internet
  2. Time - time on the part of the teacher and student
  3. Technical support to both the teacher and student
  4. Ability to have continual storage of the e-Portfolio system
  • Professional development would be required for teachers and tutors to develop new skills to train, educate, and reinforce implementation and ongoing development needs.
  • Schools would need to incorporate e-Portfolios into the curriculum.
  • When e-Portfolios are done right it can be an authentic learning device for students allowing them to view and share their accomplishments.

Key issues with e-Portfolio


Several issues to be aware of when considering e-Portfolios.

  • Availability of computer access to all students inside and outside of school
  • Technological support for the teacher and student
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Requires additional time to implement, develop, and manage for student and teacher
  • Students may not like the change

Sutherland, S. and Powell, A. (2007), CETIS SIG mailing list discussions. www. Harel, I. and Papert, S. (1991). Software design as a learning environment. In I. Harel and S. Papert (Eds.) Constructionism, 41-84. Norwood, NJ: Albex.
Beetham, H. (2005)e-portfolios in post-16 learning in the UK: developments, issues, and opportunities. Retrieved from:
Stefani, L., Mason, R., and Pegler, C. (2007). the educational potential of e-portfolios. Routledge: London.
Wenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it compute? The relationship between educational technology and student achievement in mathematics. Educational Testing Service Policy Information Center.


Flipped Classroom


What is a Flipped Classroom?


The trend of flipping a classroom is when the teacher substitutes in-class instruction with at home video instruction and utilizes class time for homework assignments and other project based learning activities. Foundation learning occurs through video presentation and formative assessment that occurs beyond the classroom.

Why is Flipped Classroom a current trend?


The design of a flipped classroom is to maximize teacher-student interaction during face-to-face class time. A flipped classroom utilizes project-based learning, integrates technology, and reinforces the classroom time to discuss and collaborate which reinforces the learning process. The initial learning of the lessons occurs at home through videos. This gives students the opportunity to learn at their own pace. When students enter the classroom, the teacher can create teaching and learning opportunities through the differentiation of content, process, assessment and/or learning environment.

Implementation of Flipped Classroom in the K-12 settings

  • Flipping a classroom is gaining a lot of momentum in teaching.
  • Professor Eric Mazur tested this style of instruction back in the 1990’s at Harvard.
  • Salmen Khan has generated over 2200 videos used for the purpose of educating.
  • The Khan Academy which utilizes this trend.
  • The idea is that students learn the lesson at home through videos and other technologies.
  • In class instruction is spent doing homework assignments and inquiry based projects.
  • Teaching is a form of blended learning which incorporates technology with face to face learning.
  • Teachers can track individual student progress and progress as a whole class.
  • Teachers can monitor time spent on specific topics by individual students.
  • When teachers notice specific students are struggling with a topic or problem they are able to work one-on-one or in small groups to conduct a mini workshop.
  • While working with those struggling students the remainder of the class is able to continue to work on other activities or project based learning.
  • This type of teaching allows instructors to use their time more effectively with students.
  • This concept takes passivity out of the classroom and the teacher becomes more of a coach or a mentor as opposed to a transmitter of learning.

Key issues with Flipped Classroom


Whenever there is the use of technology there are issues to consider.

  • Availability of computer access to all students outside of school
  • Technological support for the teacher
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Takes a lot of time to produce your lessons as a teacher
  • Students may not like the change from the normal classroom
  • Don't try to rearrange the entire class, start small and build
  • Make sure you have planned activities during class time. They need to be hands on inquiry based projects

Research shows flipped classrooms are

  • Dependent upon coordination between face-to-face and the online aspect of the learning experience (So and Brush, 2008). When these components work together a flipped classroom can be successful (Ginns and Ellis, 2007).
  • Interactive technologies make it possible for educators to qualitatively reconceptualise the teaching and learning dynamic (Strayer, p. 3, 2012).
  • In a flipped classroom teachers are afforded the opportunity to develop stable learning environments (Garrison and Kanuka 2004).

Garrison, R.D., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. Internet and Higher Education 7(2), 95-105.
Sams, A. (2011) Learning, Innovation & Tech Bombs & Breakthroughs. The Flipped Class: Shedding light on the confusion, critique, and hype retrieved from
So, H.J. & Brush, T.A. (2008). Students perceptions of collaborative learning, social presence and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: Relationships and critical factors. Computers and Education 51, 318-336.
Strayer, J. (2012). How learning in an inverted classroom influences cooperation, innovation and task orientation. Learning environments research.

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Ginns, P. and Ellis, R. (2007). Quality in blended learning: Exploring the relationships between on-line and face-to-face teaching and learning. Internet and Higher Education, 10(1), 53-64.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)


What is BYOD?


In a time of tight budget cuts, K-12 schools are looking for options to replace older technology, such as laptops and desktop computers. One option is for students to bring their own laptops, tablets,eReaders and even their own cell phones to school to replace older technology at school.

Why BYOD is a Current Trend


Students are reaching outside of their classroom walls to collaborate with each other, as well as with experts in the field. In their homes, they use their cell phones, laptops and tablets to do their schoolwork. Not only is collaboration an important component of students in the 21st century, but the research available to them is vast, requiring a good system or filing and organization to keep the student's personal work organized. But during the school day, all this material and organization of data is left at home, at a time when students should be adding even more during the school day than they do in the evening. With BYOD, students can now have the best of both worlds.

Implementation of BYOD in the K-12 Setting


There are changes that need to be made to implement BYOD, not just in terms of network preparation, changes in policy and teaching but there are ethical, social and cultural implications, as well. Harris (2012) refers to Neil Postman’s essay “Five Things We Need to Know about Technological Change” when he describes the changes he feels are important for implementing BYOD.

  • Districts need to be able to sustain the additional cost in network capacity, teacher training and the management of stolen, lost or damaged student property.
  • The district will need to be certain to meet the needs of their students, which will require purchasing the technology that parents will not be able to afford.
  • The technology will change classroom atmosphere. Schools can have classes in lounges, rather than in classrooms with desks. Will the school be prepared for this?
  • Standard assessments will be obsolete with BYOD. Students could easily find test answers with their devices.
  • Smartphones will not make students smarter unless they are used to their full potential. A smartphone to text answers to other students will not be making students smarter.

Key Issues with BYOD


Benefits of BYOD Norris and Soloway (2011) describe the benefits of BYOD in this way: "…via BYOD, each student has direct access to the entire world’s information, to events, to places, to organizations, to people— in particular, to fellow students. With their computers, students can manipulate whatever they access and can create new content that they can contribute to the world’s information base"(p. 114). Yet in their article, they stress that the devices are merely tools to be used, not the answer to all problems in education today. In the hands of a skilled teacher, using curriculum developed for BYOD, a student will be able to learn and create. BYOD would allow a one-to-one scenario, so that each child would be able to research and crate individually, not merely following the teacher, but exploring information on their own at their own pace.

Puente (2012) reported success with BYOD because administration found less student misbehavior and more student involvement. But again, an important component of the success of BYOD is in teacher training and usage of the devices in a dynamic way. There are currently many lesson plans using technology online. In cases when students do not own their own personal device, students were able to share devices with each other. The school network was open to all students but sites were still secure to protect students from harmful sites.

Downfalls of BYODAs mentioned above, teachers need to be effective with technology, and often teacher training does not include technology. Many teachers, if given the option, will want to continue teaching the way they were taught, which did not use technology. Another downfall for teachers using their own devices are privacy and security issues. Teachers might download a student IEP (Individualized Educational Program) or personal student information on their iPad, the iPad might be stolen while still containing information that should not be shared. Also, how would the IT department get secure information back from a teacher's device if the teacher leaves the district?

Security and network capability are great concerns for the IT department in districts that are using BYOD. Harris (2012) states the importance of reviewing school policy and "Acceptable Use Policies (AUP). The school network will need to prepare for a huge jump in usage. The school will also have to have a detailed understanding of financial student responsibility, as well as insurances for theft and breakage. The IT department will need to specify what problems they will be accountable to fix when student devices do not work. And until there is functionality common to all devices, district personnel and students will need to patiently work together to resolve sharing issues.


Abaffy, L. (2011). Does anyone have an idea for a manageable, bring-your-own-device policy?. ENR: Engineering News-Record, 267(18), 18.

Harris, C. (2012). Going Mobile. School Library Journal, 58(1), 14.

Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). BYOD as the catalyst to transform classroom culture. District Administration, 47(9), 114.

Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). From banning to BYOD. District Administration,47(5), 94.

Puente, K. (2012). High school pupils bring their own devices. District Administration, 48(2), 64.

Puenta, K. (2012). Leadership for mobile learning. District Administration, 48(2), 64.


BYOD Resources[5]

iPads in Education Apps[6]

Blogs, Resources and Articles about BYOD[7]

BYOD Lesson Plan Integration[8]

BYOD/BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology[9]

83 (and Growing) BYOD/BYOT Resources for Use in the Classroom[10]

Free Agent Learners


Who are Free Agent Learners?


Free Agent Learners:

  • Students who take learning into their own hands
  • Students who use a vast range of technology tools, applications, learning resources, outside experts and even each other to make a personalized learning experience
  • Students who are self-directed in their learning and include information sharing and gathering on Facebook, as well as online assessments and tests to gauge their own status in knowledge about a particular topic.
  • Student who use their cell phones/mobile devices for both organization of their gathered information and for increased productivity.

Why Free Agent Learners are a Current Trend


Since 2003, a survey has been given to students, teachers, administrators and parents, by Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization striving to see that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders and engaged citizens. ” …the 2009 Speak Up National Findings provide compelling evidence that our nation’s K-12 students are increasingly taking responsibility ofor their own learning, defining their own education path through alternative sources, and feeling not just a right by a responsibility for creating personalized learning experiences. This ‘Free Agent Learner’ student profile is not a future persona for students that are beyond the current purview of today’s schools, Rather, the Free Agent Learner characteristics accurately depict the way many of today’s students are approaching learning.” ("Speak up 2009”, 2010, p. 2).

Free Agent Learners in the K-12 Setting


The term, “digital native” has been changed to “free agent learner” by Project Tomorrow, believing that the term “free agent learner” more accurately describes a part of a generation that is interconnected through the internet, and not tethered to traditional educational institutions (Waters, J. K., 2011). These free agent students know that the schoolhouse, teacher and textbook are not the only ones with a monopoly on knowledge or the educational process. Instead, these students are leveraging a large range of tools, applications, learning resources, outside experts and even each other to make a personalized learning experience.

The technology-based experiences the free agent student uses are self-directed by the students themselves, and include information sharing and gathering on Facebook, as well as online assessments and tests to gauge their own status in knowledge about a particular topic. The student uses their cell phone for organization of their gathered information and for increased productivity. A free agent learner will take an online class for knowledge, but not necessarily for a grade. They will access podcasts and videos to help them in classes they have difficulty in, and they contact experts (as well as other students) online to share new ideas and explore content. Using emerging technologies, these students are taking their educational destiny and future into their own hands, and are adapting technology tools for a lifetime of learning. ("Speak up 2009”, 2010)

With the use of technology and the internet, classrooms are being transformed. Instead of the “I teach” mentality, the classroom becomes “we teach”. The teacher is never a barrier in learning because the teacher does not know the answer, but both students and teacher can access the internet for questions they have. Students have the information of the world at their fingertips.

Key Issues with Free Agent Learners


The potential difficulties or risks would be allowing students to be online without any safeguards in place. If the student brings in mobile devices in the classroom, and the school network is used, the students’ online searches would be protected. However, unless there are parental filters in place, a student could go very quickly to a place online that is not safe, and material that is inappropriate could be seen. Also, the student would need to be very careful to verify the site’s validity and ownership so as not to record false and inaccurate information.

In an article in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, DeSilets asks this question, “Are you ready to start designing rich, enabled learning activities for intentional learners so they can discover what they need to know to be successful health care professionals?” (DeSilets, 2011, p. 340). Will middle and high school teachers in all subject areas be able to design rich, enabled learning activities for their students to help them discover what they need to know to be a successful student and citizen? What would be the result of a class room of free agent learners in a traditional setting, unable to search on their own?

"In many ways, that Free Agent Learner is every teacher's dream. Nvertheless, that learner is challenging and disruptive of the order of authority of the classroom that has been comfortable to us...more and more of these learners...must find the traditional classroom more constraining and even less relevant every year." (Mardis, M. & Howe, K., 2010, p. 9).


DeSilets, L. D. (2011). Are You Ready for the Net Generation or the Free Agent Learner?. Journal Of Continuing Education In Nursing, 42(8), 340-342. doi:10.3928/00220124-20110722-02

Dualeh, A. (n.d.). A student vision for digital learning. Retrieved from

Free agent learners and career and technical education. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mardis, M., & Howe, K. (2010). STEM for Our Students: Content to Co-conspiracy?. Knowledge Quest, 39(2), 8-11.

Nagel, D. (2009). Students as 'free agent learners'. The JOURNAL, Retrieved from

Speak up 2009: Creating our future. (2010, March). Project Tomorrow, 26. Retrieved from

Waters, J. K. (2011). Will the real digital native please stand up?. Campus Technology Magazine, 25(2), 26-31.


Speak Up 2009[11]

Project Tomorrow[12]

Knowledge Quest (Expanding Capacity for Classroom Integration of Digital Resources, p. 54)[13]

Free Agent Learners[14]

Resources for Free Agent Learners, K-12[15]

Defining the Emerging Role of Social Learning Tools to Connect Students, Parents & Educators[16]

Mobile Learning: The use of tablets, One-to-one initiatives, & E-textbooks


What is Mobile Learning?


Mobile learning in both formal and informal environments continues to grow as technology evolves. “Just as the college students of 2010 do not remember a time in their lives when the internet did not exist, the young children of today will not remember a time when there was not pad-based mobile devices and smart phones” (Geist, 2011)[17]. Because of this, three trends are emerging collectively as a means to increase student productivity and engagement, while at the same time, reducing educational cost for school leadership. Tablet PCs, one-to-one initiatives and e-textbooks, when used together, can help teachers and students by incorporating the basics of mobile learning for each student in a format the student thrives using. Learning is no longer confined to the traditional classroom constructs allowing a variety of experiences to be academically saturated.

Over the last 50 years, many trends have claimed to be an idea that would change the teaching and learning process. However, few have offered the capabilities of the Tablet PC. Tablet PCs are traditional wireless notebook computers with the ability to produce digital ink by writing with a stylus or utilizing a touchscreen. Tablet PCs are lightweight, startup quickly, and may include removable keyboards or rotating screens. With many of the capabilities of a traditional computer, tablet PCs are effectively limiting the items a student needs for class by providing the opportunity to access documents and e-textbooks, take notes, and participate in interactive applications all from any location. The cost of an average tablet PC is between $200 and $500, which includes the entry level iPad, yet basic tablet models can cost less than $200. The cost of this device makes feasibility of a tablet PC initiative possible for many schools.

In education, many leaders have considered implementation of a one-to-one initiative which provides each student with a computer to support learning. Specifics details for this initiative are typically defined by the program manager at the local level deciding on whether students take devices home, possible internet restricts, memory usage , and other external factors. The primary component of any one-to-one program places technology in the students’ hands to use as a tool daily. In a study conducted by Penuel (2006)[18], research shows that “in order for technology to make a powerful difference in student learning, students must be able to use computers more than once or twice a week in a lab at school” (as cited in Kozma, 1991). Many educational readers understand the benefits of this trend, yet face barriers prior to implementation. One of the biggest obstacles for this program remains the cost. Yet with rapid advances in technology and the onset of the tablet PC movement, cost is decreasing as a hindrance. Many researchers argue that implementation of a one-to-one initiative supports equalization of learning opportunities for students of varied socioeconomic levels (Penuel, 2006).

While e-textbooks were a new trend ten years ago, this trend is currently rising because of the popularity of e-readers and tablet PCs as well as changes made by publishing companies to increase user-friendliness. “According to a recent sales report from the Association of American Publishers, adult e-book sales rose 49.4% in January 2012, more than triple the growth in mass market paperback sales (Miller, et al., 2012)[19]. With more people familiar with consuming textbooks digitally versus paper formats (McCarthy, 2011)[20], the sales of e-textbooks is predicted to also grow. Advantages include “widespread accessibility, interactivity, increased visual appeal and dynamic linking to supplemental materials” (Murray & Perez, 2011)[21]. These changes can help students actively engage in the reading for all content areas.

Why Mobile Learning is a Current Trend


Educational technology leaders should find the use of tablets, one-to-one initiatives and e-textbooks as important trends for many reasons. Many schools face a budgetary obstacle when pursuing technological advancements. However, the impact of these three initiatives together could prove more affordable for districts and more beneficial for students. Tablet technology is rapidly becoming an accessible and affordable method of utilizing many programs in schools and businesses. One-to-one initiatives have gained popularity as device costs have decreased. Additionally, one-to-one programs provide each student with the capability to utilize technology without isolation to one classroom or teacher. The student can utilize similar technology throughout the school day increasing familiarity and user understanding. Finally, e-textbooks are additionally appealing because of the cost of replacement books. In a school or district where a one-to-one program is already employed, using e-textbooks would be a logical solution considering each student would already have a device.

Besides the economic benefits, the use of tablets in a one-to-one program could also prove beneficial for student engagement and learner motivation. “The old model of pedagogy— teacher focused, one-way, one-size-fits-all— makes no sense to young people who have grown up in a digital world” (Tapscott, 2008)[22]. Students are likely to enjoy utilizing tablets which will allow for further investigation into topics related to lessons based on learner preferences. Tablets have a variety of functions which benefit students related to assistive technology tools, yet at times this singles out students with learning disabilities from the rest of the students. Implementation of this trend would help a population of students because they would no longer be singled out as the only student able to use the tablet in the classroom based on his or her need for assistive tools. By incorporating e-textbooks, learner interactivity improves.

Implementation of Mobile Learning in the K-12 Setting

  • Morrisville, North Carolina's Program:
  • Cardinal Community School District, Eldon, Iowa:
  • Maine Learning Technology Initiative:
  • Newell High School Tablet Program, Newell, South Dakota

Key Issues with Mobile Learning


While there are many benefits to implementing these trends, several concepts must be considered prior to and throughout implementation.

  • Infrastructure and electrical updates to support the facility needs
  • Professional development and support for faculty members
  • Best practice strategies regarding appropriate instruction for authentic learning
  • Technical support must be available and a protocol for addressing issues with student machines must be established prior to device deployment
  • User agreement policy is drafted and explained for all students

Akhavan, A. (2012). "Should tablets replace textbooks in k-12 schools?" ProCon.Org

Chi, M. T. H. (2009). Active-constructive-interactive: A conceptual framework for differentiating learning activities. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1, 73-105. DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2008.01005.x

El-Gayar, O., Moran, M., & Hawkes, M. (2011). Students' acceptance of tablet PCs and implications for educational institutions. Educational Technology & Society, 14 (2), 58–70. Geist, E. (2011). The game changer: Using iPads in college teacher education classes. College Student Journal, 45(4), 758-768.

Johnston, P. (2011). E-Texts come of age in the United States. Seybold Report: Analyzing Publishing Technologies, 11(4), 2-4.

McCarthy, D. (2011). Mobile perspectives: On E-Books. E-Reading--The transition in higher education. EDUCAUSE Review, 46(2), 20-22,.

McKenzie, W. & Franke, K. (2009). How are Tablet PCs transforming the learning experience in higher education? [PDF Document]. Retrieved from

Miller, J. R., Nutting, A. W., Baker-Eveleth, L., & Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. (2012). The determinants of electronic textbook use among college students. Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Retrieved from

Moran, M., Hawkes, M., & El Gayar, O. (2010). Tablet personal computer integration in higher education: Applying the unified theory of acceptance and use technology model to understand supporting factors. Journal Of Educational Computing Research, 42(1), 79-101.

Murray, M., & Pérez, J. (2011). E-Textbooks are coming: Are we ready?. Issues In Informing Science & Information Technology, 849-60. Retrieved from

Penuel, W. R. (2006). Implementation and effects of one-to-one computing initiatives: A research synthesis. Journal of Research On Technology In Education, 38(3), 329-348. Retrieved from

Tapscott, D. (2008). How to teach and manage 'generation net'. BusinessWeek Online. Retrieved from tbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice


Geist, E. (2011). THE GAME CHANGER: USING IPADS IN COLLEGE TEACHER EDUCATION CLASSES. College Student Journal, 45(4), 758-768.

Goldberg, A. (2012). Windows 8 facilitates classroom tablets.

Kessler, S. (2011). School tech: 6 important lessons from Maine's student laptop program.

Lytle, R. (2012). Tablets trump laptops in high school classrooms.

Steinweg, S., Williams, S., & Stapleton, J. (2010). Faculty Use of Tablet PCs in Teacher Education and K-12 Settings. Techtrends: Linking Research And Practice To Improve Learning, 54(3), 54-61.

Van Oostveen, R. R., Muirhead, W., & Goodman, W. M. (2011). Tablet PCs and Reconceptualizing Learning with Technology: A Case Study in Higher Education. Interactive Technology And Smart Education, 8(2), 78-93.

Adaptive Learning


What is Adaptive Learning


Adaptive learning is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices. Computers adapt the presentation of educational material according to students' learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions and tasks. The motivation is to allow electronic education to incorporate the value of the interactivity afforded to a student by an actual human teacher or tutor. With the promise of personalized learning, instruction and quizzes aimed at a student’s specific needs and skills, adaptive learning is poised for widespread adoption, both at the K-12 and higher education levels.

Why Adaptive Learning is a Current Trend


Shrinking budgets combined with higher expectations and more rigorous standards put increasing pressure on schools and teachers to do more with less. Adaptive learning technologies build on great teaching in the classroom by providing students with an individualized learning environment that is engaging and responsive to their own needs.

It is also an important trend in educational technology because as learners and instructors move online, adaptive learning is a more sophisticated solution for developing meaningful online relationships. If developed and used correctly, intelligent e-learning systems will clearly have a positive impact on the accessibility, affordability, and quality challenges that now confront global education and training. Adaptive learning is also important because it will enable learners to select their own learning components to customize their personalized learning environments. Secondly, it enables them to offer more varied solutions that can adapt content to fit their own individual educational objectives.

Finally it is an important trend for educational technology due of the four aspects to adaptive learning: content management, access to instructors, system security, and tracking student activity. The leader who wants to implement this trend must have a strategy in place to address all four issues before an educational institution or organization can successfully implement an adaptive learning solution.

Adaptive Learning in the K-12 Setting


Currently, there are three major Adaptive Learning programs used by K-12 and Higher Education: LearnSmart, Power of U, and ALEKS.

  • LearnSmart is a study tool for higher education that adaptively assesses students' skill and knowledge levels to track which topics students have mastered and which require further instruction and practice
  • The Power of U is a digitally rich personalized middle school math pilot program that uses real-time assessment data to group students in ways that allow them to learn at their own pace, in their own style, using the medium that works best for them (i.e. teacher-led or small group instruction or virtual tutoring).
  • ALEKS is a web-based assessment and learning system created by the ALEKS Corporation and currently is used in colleges and universities enjoyed pass rates of 76 percent, versus 51 percent for students in different sections of the same Algebra class who did not use ALEKS.

Key Issues with Adaptive Learning


Understanding these adaptive learning technologies is also important because they may soon begin to change the face of education as we know it. The tailored curriculums that come with these technologies provide four things for the students:

  • Instant feedback
  • Personalized learning
  • Supporting different learning styles
  • Reflection and self-awareness

Concerns for Adaptive Learning

  • Does the technology offer only a few paths with student-directed pacing or does it offer a multitude of learning paths?
  • Does the technology only focus on practice or does it offer a rich environment for developing conceptual understanding and problem solving?
  • Does the technology appeal to a narrow range of students or does it empower all students with choices and personalized challenges that help them take ownership of their learning experience?
  • What is the cost factor for implementing this technology and would it cost positions in the end?

Derrick, K. (n.d.). 4 ways adaptive learning technology can improve education. Retrieved from

Kelly, D. (2008). Adaptive versus learner control in a multiple intelligence learning environment. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17(3), 307-336.

Magoulas, G., Papanikolaou, K., & Grigoriadou, M. (2003). Adaptive web-based learning: accommodating individual differences through system's adaptation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34 (4), 511–527.

Papanikolaou, K., Grigoriadou, M., Kornilakis, H., & Magoulas, G. (2003). Personalizing the interaction in a web-based educational hypermedia system: the case of INSPIRE. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, 13, 213-267.

Papanikolaou, K., Mabbott, A., Bull, S., & Grigoriadou, M. (2006). Designing learner-controlled educational interactions based on learning/cognitive style and learner behavior. Interacting with Computers, 18, 356–384.

Schiaffino, S., Garcia, P., & Amandi, A. (2008). eTeacher: providing personalized assistance to e-learning students. Computers & Education, 51, 1744–1754.

Sessink, O., Beeftink, H., Tramper, J., & Hartog, R. (2007). Proteus: a lecturer-friendly adaptive tutoring system. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 18 (4), 533-554.



The Power of U[24]


Dreambox Learning[26]

Adaptive Knowledge Management of Project Based Learning


What is Adaptive Knowledge Management of Project Based Learning?


Adaptive Knowledge Management (AKM) of project-based learning (PBL) is a two-stage process with the first stage designed “to intensify subject study through guiding, inducing, and facilitating development knowledge, accountability skills, and collaborative skills of students” (Tilchin & Kittany, 2016, p. 139) and the second is focused on developing knowledge gained. While PBL includes critical thinking, collaboration, knowledge, and communication, according to the Buck Institute (2010), AKM in a PBL environment requires feedback to guide improvement to a higher level for which each student is individually capable. PBL is linked to creative output and long-term memory (Scoppio & Covell, 2016).  At any point throughout the project, formative assessments need to be communicated to either close the gap or to expand the project based on the abilities of the student.  As part of Tilchin and Kittany’s (2016) seminal work, they state that the “purpose on this stage is promoting development of higher-order knowledge” (p. 138).

Why is Adaptive Knowledge Management of Project Based Learning a Current Trend?


This topic is important for educational technology leaders because of the overarching benefits of individualized learning. PBL translates to student-centered assignments and independent thinking; however, adding formative assessments to adapt the process allowing it to grow beyond the original limits, promotes knowledge development (Tilchin & Kittany, 2016). HarvardX is adopting adaptive learning in their “massive open online course (MOOC) that can tailor course material in response to student performance” (Milano, 2017, para 1).   The trend of individualized feedback in AKM through PBL is heavily based on constructivism, which means students learn through doing (Savery & Duffy, 1995).

Implementation of Adaptive Knowledge Management of Project Based Learning in a K-12 Setting


“A comprehensive PBL environment is characterized as student-centered, knowledge and skill-centered, community-centered, assessment-centered, accountability-centered, and computer support-centered” (Tilchin & Kittany, 2016, p. 139).  To add AKM, formative assessments are recommended at any stage to propel the student’s growth to the next plateau. Tilchin and Kittany (2016) state the following are areas to approach AKM in a PBL environment:

·        Organize a subject study as a two-stage PBL

·        Determine conceptual framework for AKM

·        Find a balance for personalization and collaborative learning

·        Inducing, guiding, and facilitating knowledge acquisition

·        Includes a know-what level (cognitive knowledge), a know-how level (problem-solving), a know-why level (cause and effect relationships), and a care-why level (self-motivated creativity) (p. 139).

It is evident that AKM of PBL can be conducted from K-12 if it includes the creation of an individualized project based on the student’s abilities, and modified feedback drives improvement.

Key Issues of Adaptive Knowledge Management of Project Based Learning


Tilchin and Kittany’s (2016) work establishes three key issues: complexity of assessments through knowledge base, collaboration skills and accountability skills.  Students must identify knowledge by creating a sample project demonstrated by the teacher which will later prepare them for the foundation of summative assessments. However, the instructor must adapt assessments at the second level. “Its complexity lies in the aggregate of teacher accountability phases” (Jamal & Tilchin, 2016, p. 422). The next issue is in assessing collaboration skills as they work in groups, and the third is the accountability in accomplishing their individual or group goals.


Buck Institute for Education. (2010, December 9). Project based learning explained. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Jamal, A. H. & Tilchin, O. (2016). Teachers’ accountability for adaptive project-based learning. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(5), 420-426. doi: 10.12691/education-4-5-10

Light, G., Cox, R. & Calkins, S. (2009). Learning and teaching in higher education: The reflective professional. (2nd ed.). SAGE: Los Angeles, CA

Milano, B. (2017, February 2). Adaptive learning featured in HarvardX course: Prototype explores technological feasibility, implications, and design of such systems for massive open online courses. Harvard Gazette: Science & Health/Engineering & Technology. Retrieved from

Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (1995). Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework. Educational technology, 35(5), 31-38.  Retrieved from

Scoppio, G. & Covell, L. (2016). Mapping trends in pedagogical approaches and learning technologies: Perspectives from the Canadian, international, and military education contexts. Canadian Journal of Higher Education Revue, 46(2), 127–147. Retrieved from

Tilchin, O. & Kittany, M. (2016). Adaptive knowledge management of project-based learning. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(6). Retrieved from


Baysal, Z. N. (2017, February). The problem-based learning process: Reflections of pre-service elementary school teachers. AcademicJournals, 12(4), 177-188. Retrieved from

Caukin, N., Dillard, H., & Goodin, T. (2016).  A problem-based learning approach to teacher training: Findings After Program Redesign. , 25(2), 26-32.  Retrieved from

Jamal, A. H. & Tilchin, O. (2016). Teachers’ accountability for adaptive project-based learning. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(5), 420-426. doi: 10.12691/education-4-5-10

Tilchin, O. & Kittany, M. (2016). Adaptive knowledge management of project-based learning. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(6). Retrieved from

Zaim, H., Tatoglu, E., & Zaim, S. (2007). Performance of knowledge management practices: A causal analysis, 11(6), 54-67, doi: 10.1108/13673270710832163

Natural User Interfaces


What are Natural User Interfaces


A natural user interface (NUI) is a system for human-computer interaction that the user operates through intuitive actions related to natural, everyday human behavior. Natural User Interfaces may be operated in a number of different ways, depending on the purpose and user requirements. Some examples of Natural User Interfaces are motion-sensing equipment such as Microsoft Kinect, the touchscreens of tablets and phones, and voice-activation technology.

Why are Natural User Interfaces a Current Trend


The idea of a natural user interface can be considered a trend in educational technology because of the amount of space that will be needed to use these emerging technologies as well as the change in hardware and software that will need to accompany the use of this technology in the classroom setting. Teachers will be able to incorporate the technology into lessons in math, reading, social studies, science, music and physical education. For example, as students could simulate playing darts, count their tosses and hits, then calculate fractions, percentages and decimals. In physical education, students won’t realize they’re exercising as they mimic digital dancers. For the special education students, playing virtual games by using themselves as the remote or interface could help with fine-motor skills.

Natural User Interfaces in the K-12 Setting


An example of how NUI’s can be incorporated into the K-12 setting is the Loudoun County school system which has been experimenting with the Kinect since last year. Students essentially act as their own remote controls to power the device, which has powerful sensors that capture the user’s movements. The games display on a TV or projector screen and the teachers incorporate the technology into lessons in math, reading, social studies, science, music and physical education. For example, as students simulate playing darts, they count their tosses and hits, and then calculate fractions, percentages and decimals. In physical education, students barely realize they’re exercising as they mimic digital dancers(Mellon, 2012). Loudoun County has seen particular success in using the gaming system with special education students, particularly those on the autism spectrum, who struggle with social skills. The students create avatars and then articulate a story about one of their social challenges and their plans for coping with it in the future(Mellon, 2012). As the student speaks, so does the avatar, projected on a screen a few feet away. The teachers and parents say the children embrace the task because they see it as a game and are less fearful because they are speaking through an avatar. Autistic students, tasked with navigating a virtual raft down a virtual river with their classmates, practice cooperation, social skills and overcoming obstacles(Mellon, 2012).

Key Issues with Natural User Interfaces


NUIs are attractive tools for education and training because of the potential to create(Rees, 2010):

  • A sense of immediacy and immersion in the learning environment
  • A sense of individualized engagement
  • An adaptive learning environment that responds as the learner interacts with it
  • Collaboration environments that respond quickly to users’ intentions (e.g., via gestures)
  • A virtual lab experience (e.g., allowing users to interact with virtual models and other objects)
  • Educational tools for learners who learn differently (e.g., learners with autism)
  • Educational tools for learners with physical challenges (e.g., learners with mobility challenges might use text commands to drive computer interactions)

There are also concerns over NUI’s:

  • Cost-benefit ratios (very device/application specific)
  • Mobility of a particular platform/device(for items like the Kinect and Wii)
  • The learning curve needed to optimize use of the tool(professional development)
  • The ability to integrate the device into natural learning (and work) flows

Antle, A., Wise, A., & Nielsen, K. (2011). Towards utopia: Designing tangibles for learning. IDC, Retrieved from

Ballmer, S. "CES 2010: A Transforming Trend -- The Natural User Interface." The Huffington Post, January 12, 2010, from

Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Cummins, M. (2012). NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

Mellon , E. (2012, September). Gesturing to learn. District Administration, Retrieved from

Norman, D. (n.d.). Natural user interfaces are not natural. Retrieved from

Rees, D. (2010, November 15). Natural user interfaces as natural learning tools. Retrieved from

Salat, L. (2011). Multitouch & natural user interface: Opportunities for a bottom-up approach. TACTINEO, Retrieved from

Xie, C. (2012, August 21). [Web log message]. Retrieved from


NUI videos on vimeo [27]

Microsoft Research: New Natural Interfaces [28]

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


What are Geographic Information Systems?


GIS is a desktop visualization tool that incorporates geographical features with tabular data in order to map, analyze, and assess real-world problems. The data is linked to locations on the earth, and coupled with attribute data—additional information about each of the spatial features—then represented on electronic maps that users can interact with to understand and address real-world problems. [29] [30]

Why GIS is a Current Trend


Until recently, GIS systems were both expensive and complicated to use, limiting their use to government, businesses, and universities. As information technology has advanced, and prices have come down, GIS is beginning to catch on in K-12 Schools. GIS systems are increasingly being used to help students learn more about the world around them. [30] Reasons for this include:

  • Growing acceptance of computer graphics as an effective means of demonstrating student learning
  • Teachers are better able to communicate with students using the graphic power of maps
  • Flexibility: GIS can be used to teach numerous subjects including geography, history, math, science, and interdisciplinary studies
  • Students develop real-world job skills in areas such as business, marketing, advertising, healthcare, public safety—any field that relies on data to enhance efficiency and effectiveness
  • Students work with real information and address critical issues that involve their school, their community, and the larger world outside their classroom

Implementation of GIS in the K-12 Setting


Because the mastery of GIS systems requires substantial amounts of time, its use has been limited in K-12 settings. However, some universities, including James Madison in Virginia, and Wayne State in Detroit, Michigan, are offering dual enrollment courses to help train both students and teacher how to develop data sets and master the technology [29] [31] Additional training is being provided through various other channels, and the user interface in many GIS systems has become more intuitive and user friendly.

The result is that the use of GIS is expanding across all grade levels. In Students at Cass High School in Detroit work with Ford Motor company to analyze demographic data in India and China. [31] Sixth grade students in Syrcause, Utah are using GIS to make recommendations to the state on how best to utilize an island in the Great Salt Lake [30] In addition, students at the elementary level in North Carolina are using GIS to help students develop basic mapping skills.[29]

GIS is being used in a growing number of schools across a wide variety of disciplines and all grade levels. Many students and teachers might be unaware that they have used GIS in class, but Google Earth is a powerful GIS tool that has many of the capabilities and features of other GIS tools. [32] With this knowledge, it might be easier for them to begin to explore some of the other tools available for purchase or free of charge on the web.

Key Issues with GIS


One of the biggest obstacles is the lack of awareness of the value of using GIS among educators and students. [29] Many teachers are either unaware of how GIS systems can be used, or unfamiliar with how to use them, and thus reluctant to try them in the classroom. [32]

As with any technology tool, adequate professional development for teachers, and manageability for students is necessary for success. Aladag (2014) reports that teachers are hesitant to use new technologies without institutional support or other incentives, and cautions that without proper preparation, the use of GIS in classes may negatively affect students’ learning. [33]

In order to overcome obstacles such as these, ArcView, a Redlands, California company, and one of the largest manufacturers of GIS software in the country, sells special “education” bundles of its product to school districts with several levels of performance, based on students’ skill levels, and partners with a nonprofit organization to provide professional development to teachers [32]


Aladag, E. (2014). An evaluation of geographic information systems in social studies lessons: Teachers' views. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 4(5), 1533-1539. DOI: 10.12738/estp.2014.4.1804.

Hagevik, R., Hales, D., & Harrell, J. (2007). GIS Live and Web problem solving. Online Submission, Retrieved from:

Höhnle, S., Schubert, J. C., & Uphues, R. (2013). What are the constraints to GIS usage? Selected results of a teacher survey about constraints in the school context. International Research In Geographical & Environmental Education, 22(3), 226-240. doi:10.1080/10382046.2013.817662

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010). Virtual Expeditions: Google Earth, GIS, and Geovisualization Technologies in Teaching and Learning. Teacher Librarian, 37(3), 81-85.

Lisichenko, R. (2010). Exploring a web-based pedagogical model to enhance GIS education. Journal Of Stem Teacher Education,47(3), 49-62.

Michelsen Jr., M. W. (1996). Geographic information systems. Multimedia Schools, 3(1), 26.

Rød, J. K., Larsen, W., & Nilsen, E. (2010). Learning geography with GIS: Integrating GIS into upper secondary school geography curricula. Norwegian Journal Of Geography, 64(1), 21-35. doi:10.1080/00291950903561250

Snyder, Jeffrey W.; Hammond, Thomas C. (2012). So that’s what the Whiskey Rebellion was: Teaching Early U.S. History with GIS. History Teacher, 45(3) 447-455.

  • ArcGIS Online Instructional Activities--free online GIS activities for K-12 teachers [1]
  • Digital Library for Earth System Education--by the National Science Foundation [2]
  • Geographic Information Systems--from the North Carolina State University with lots of links [3]
  • Geographic Information Systems: The Missing Educational Technology-from the National Geographic Education Blog [4]
  • GIS Lounge--lots of free information on GIS and careers in GIS [5]
  • US Geological Survey GIS Lab--classroom activities from the US Geological Survey [6]
  • A List of Free GIS Sites on the Web:
  • Quantum GIS--a popular, free online GIS [7]
  • UDIG--a user friendly Desktop Internet GIS [8]
  • Open JUMP GIS--an open source Java based GIS [9]
  • GRASS GIS--another open source GIS [10]
  • OS GEO Live--a bootable GIS application with many options [11]

Learning Management Systems (LMS)


What are Learning Management Systems?


An LMS, or Learning Management System is defined as the infrastructure that organizes and controls the instructional content, tracks student progress, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of an organization as a whole.[34] In K-12 settings, Learning Management systems often provide access to data for parents, and communication between parents and teachers. In short, a Learning Management Systems is the infrastructure that handles all aspects of the learning process for an educational institution.

Why LMS is a Current Trend


Virtually all schools and universities use information systems for administrative functions, and most use course management software to deliver and support online and blended learning. A learning management system does all of the above, and integrates these various functions, yet few universities and even fewer K-12 school have successfully combined both systems into a fully integrated Learning Management System.[34] Successful integration can pay handsome dividends for an educational institution. As Herold (2014) explains, “The goal is to build a one-stop shop for teachers to take attendance, distribute assignments and tests, grade student work, examine detailed reports of student progress, and find tailored instructional resources from a variety of sources—all within a single platform. Such interoperability can pay large dividends has become a priority for districts with the advent of large amounts of data available to them.[35]

Implementation of LMS in the K-12 Setting


Although course management systems such have been used extensively since the 1990s, fully integrated Learning Management Systems are less common. Both Moodle and Blackboard are popular in K-12 education. Moodle is an open source CMS, that is freely distributed in over 120 countries. Blackboard is the leading commercial CMS used in the US and in Europe, but as mentioned neither is an LMS.[36] Numerous commercial, open source, and online Learning Management systems are available, many are listed in the resource section.

Key Issues with LMS


There are several obstacles to a fully integrated Learning Management system. First, there are no agreed upon standards for how the various components of an LMS should talk to each other. Consequently, course management software may not be compatible with grading programs, or with the software to communicate with parents. This makes the goal of one fully integrated learning management system using various products impractical.[37] Another issue is that commercial providers are generally unwilling to integrate their products with those of others, or allow IT professionals to “tweak” their products to fit the needs of the school. Additionally, the cost of a commercial product, both initially and for continuing support must also be considered. For institutions that might opt for an open source or cloud-based LMS, exposure to advertisements should be considered. Particularly in K-12 environments, educators might consider exposure to advertising unacceptable in an educational environment Finally, transitioning to a new system and training for faculty and staff is important for success in implementing a learning management system. According to Beatty, a transition plan must be created and carried out, and professional development should be thoroughly adequate.[38]


Arevalillo-Herráez, M., Moreno-Clari, P., & Cerverón-Lleó, V. (2011). Educational knowledge generation from administrative data. Educational Technology Research & Development, 59(4), 511-527. doi:10.1007/s11423-010-9185-y

Carvalho, A., Areal, N., & Silva, J. (2011). Students' perceptions of Blackboard and Moodle in a Portuguese university. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 42(5), 824-841. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01097.x

Gautreau, C. (2011). Motivational Factors Affecting the Integration of a Learning Management System by Faculty. Journal Of Educators Online, 8(1), 1-25. Retrieved from:

Gutiérrez-Carreón, G., Daradoumis, T., & Jorba, J. (2015). Integrating Learning Services in the Cloud: An Approach that Benefits Both Systems and Learning. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 18(1), 145-157. Retrieved from:

Raths, D. (2009). States consolidate on learning management. KM World, 18(5), 12-13. Retrieved from: Selwyn, N., Banaji, S., Hadjithoma-Garstka, C., & Clark, W. (2011). Providing a platform for parents? Exploring the nature of parental engagement with school Learning Platforms. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(4), 314-323. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00428.x

Watson, W. R., & Watson, S. L. (2007). An Argument for Clarity: What Are Learning Management Systems, What Are They Not, and What Should They Become?. Techtrends: Linking Research And Practice To Improve Learning, 51(2), 28-34. Retrieved from:


Commercial Learning Management System providers:

Open Source LMS resources:



What is Webcasting?


Webcasting is the use of audio and visual tools to broadcast presentations, speeches, or even engage in conversations in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. Its popularity has grown with the advent of distance learning courses, and is frequently used in professional development capacities for conferencing and training purposes.

Why is Webcasting a current trend?


Webcasting allows educational content to be broadcast across long distances – and delivered in both a ‘real-time’ and ‘on-demand’ manner. Webcasts can be found in a wide variety of formats - ranging from real-time 'screencasts' and teaching presentations, to pre-recorded videos that are hosted on a website. With an increasing shift towards more personalized forms of learning, webcasting serves to provide material to students at a pace and frequency appropriate for their needs – permitting more authentic forms of education and 'just-in-time' learning opportunities. In addition, webcasting serves as a constructivist model of learning, since students can actively create their own podcasts or video content to share with the class – and beyond. In this way, educational dialogue is not limited to just between the teacher and student, but also to the members of the wider community, and society at large.

Implementation of Webcasting in the K-12 settings

  • Professionals and scholars in the field can remotely network with students in the classroom to provide guest lectures and other types of collaborative learning opportunities.
  • Students in multiple classrooms can communicate with one another via webcasting technology – permitting engaging lesson plans that favor collaboration.
  • Can potentially play a critical role in flipped-classroom efforts – where teachers upload a pre-recorded webcast onto an online server for students to access at home.
  • Webcasts are ideal for tutorial sessions to help students learn new software or applications.
  • Potentially valuable for students who have special needs – who may benefit from being able to pause, replay, or slow down progression of the lesson.

Key issues with Webcasting


Certain factors are important to keep in mind when considering the use of technology:

  • Bandwidth caps at the institution, which may hinder or prevent the use of video transmission. In these cases, audio-only webcasts can be used (podcasts).
  • Connectivity issues due to internet or technology failure.
  • Students may not have internet access at home to access pre-recorded webcasts online.
  • If information is duplicated on webcasts, student interest and attention in class may decline.
  • Potentially can be expensive due to the requirement of devices and screens, technical issues may arise due to lack of familiarity.
  • Budget status of institutions as well as backlash from traditionalists in the field.
  • Baecker, R., Moore, G., & Boudreau, A. Z. (2003). Reinventing the lecture: Web casting made interactive. Faculty Scholarship (COE), Retrieved from
  • Giannakos, M. N., & Vlamos, P. (2013). Using webcasts in education: Evaluation of its effectiveness. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(3), 432-441. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01309.x
  • Kear, K., Chetwynd, F., Williams, J., & Donelan, H. (2012). Web conferencing for synchronous online tutorials: Perspectives of tutors using a new medium. Computers & Education, 58(3), 953-963. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.015
  • Riedel, T., & Betty, P. (2013). Real time with the librarian: Using web conferencing software to connect to distance students. Journal of Library & Information Services In Distance Learning, 7(2), 98-110. doi: 10.1080/1533290X.2012.705616
  • Wilson, B. G. (2001, October). Trends and futures of education: Implications for distance education. Retrieved from
  • Yunus, A. S., Kasa, Z., Asmuni, A., Samah, B. A., Napis, S., Yusoff, M. Z., Khanafie, M. R., & Wahab, H. A. (2006). Use of webcasting technology in teaching higher education. International Education Journal, 7(7), 916-923. Retrieved from



What are Simulations?


Simulations refer to a wide range of visual and exploratory tools that students can use to model, visualize, and represent their learning. Some of the potential benefits of using simulations include: learning how to manipulate models to qualitatively and quantitatively represent information, being able to visualize relationships between different variables, and learning how to utilize models to predict outcomes. Simulations also provide a valuable resource to encourage greater collaboration among the class, since lesson plans can be tailored around the simulations - especially in tandem with learning approaches such as problem-based learning. Simulations can range from simple visualizations of complex phenomena, all the way to more intricate 'sandbox' environments, where students can actively manipulate objects and fields to observe the effects.

Why are simulations a current trend?


Simulations allow students to explore authentic forms of learning by engaging with material in meaningful ways. Simulations can be of two general varieties: physical and process simulations - which focus on helping students increase their understanding about a given topics, and procedural/situational simulations - which focus on explain step-by-step processes. As a result, simulations are an effective tool in helping to explain 'how' to do certain tasks. The advent of 'virtual labs' has also been a significant innovation in the world of simulation. This allows individuals to explore create artificial environments outside the confines of the classroom, and experiment using lessons from class.

Implementation of Simulation in the K-12 settings

  • Using a graphical and visual simulation of scientific or mathematical principles, and using this to supplement in-class learning.
  • Game based environments that students can use to replicate real life phenomena.
  • Activities students can use at home to connect to the tasks they complete in class.
  • Collaborative project-based activities that students complete together in groups.
  • Activities where students need to actively seek out information on their own, via 'just in time' learning.

Key issues with Simulations

  • Design is critical: Often times, many simulations feature too much writing and essentially convert a text-based experience into the virtual realm. This is ineffective, since the primary advantage of simulations is in allowing students to explore, make mistakes, and redefine strategies as appropriate.
  • Simulations must be user-friendly to be effective. Students (and other users) must be able to easily access help resources and tutorials, and be able to navigate the various options without too much difficulty.
  • Focus should be on conveying models and sticking to the 'facts' - rather than putting too much analysis and interpretative materials for students to read inside the simulation. The goal of simulations is not to explain concepts like a textbook, but rather, to provide a 'playground' for students to interpret from.
  • Students may have a tendency to want to use the simulation platform before learning or understanding the theoretical basis of it. It is important for teachers to be certain that students have a basic understanding of the material before using the simulations.
  • Teachers may not effectively tie simulations into the curriculum. The value of a simulation is in how well it connects with other aspects of instruction, rather than as a stand alone tool.

Project-Based Learning


What is Project-Based Learning (PBL)?


Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a method of instruction where students learn the content by solving problems or performing activities rather than strictly learning through lecture and other traditional forms of instruction. PBL is a learner-center approach to instruction, which empowers students to integrate learning theory into practice and apply the knowledge learned to real-world programs[39].

Why is Project-Based Learning (PBL) a current trend?


PBL has been used in the field of education for many years, originating in medical schools in the 1960’s. Since then, PBL techniques have been incorporated into traditional college and university settings as well as in K-12 educational institutions[40]. The growing body of literature and books published in the field of problem-based learning is an indicator that this trend will continue in K-12 settings. Advancements in technology allow for contemporary application of PBL techniques to evolve in innovative ways. PBL prepares students by fostering the collaboration and problem solving skills necessary in the workforce. PBL is a key component of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education, which is gaining popularity within K-12 educational institutions. Furthermore, STEM education has gained substantial support from the Obama Administration. The U.S. Department of Education[41] estimates a steady increase in jobs relating to the STEM fields, thereby perpetuating the trend of project-based learning.

Implementation of Project-Based Learning (PBL) in the K-12 Setting


Within PBL classrooms, the teachers take on the role of a coach or guide and allow students to take ownership of the problem and formulate a solution. By allowing students to take possession of their learning, both basic and 21st century skills are nurtured. Students use fundamental skills, such as reading, writing, and mathematics and build upon new skills which will be necessary to solve real-world problems. Critical thinking, interpersonal, decision making, collaboration are skills fostered while students creatively solve complex problems which may have more than one right answer.[42]

Key Issues with Project-Based Learning (PBL)



  • Fosters problem solving skills
  • Promotes collaboration and communication among peers
  • Increases research and analysis skills
  • Engages students
  • Prepares students for real-world experiences
  • Promotes life-long learning
  • Builds confidence[43]


  • Requires new roles for teachers and students
  • Difficult to assess learning outcomes
  • Time consuming
  • Access to technology/technology skills needed

Bowden, W. R. (2015). Collaboration, pedagogy, and media: Short-term summer programs emphasize project based and social emotional learning. Journal Of Media Literacy Education7(1), 72-76.

Edutopia. (2007, October 17). Why is project-based learning important? Retrieved from

Gallagher, S. A. (1997). Problem-based learning. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 20(4), 332-362.

Hung, W., Jonassen, D. H., & Liu, R. (2008). Problem-based learning. Handbook of research on educational communications and technology, 3, 485-506.

Sahin, A., & Top, N. (2015). STEM students on the stage (SOS): Promoting student voice and choice in STEM education through an interdisciplinary, standards-focused, project based learning approach. Journal Of STEM Education: Innovations & Research16(3), 24-33.

Savery, J. R. (2006). Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1), 9-20.

Stanford University. (2001). Problem-Based Learning. Speaking of Teaching, 11, 1-7.

U.S. Department of Education (n.d.). Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Education for Global Leadership. Retrieved from

Wood, D. F. (2003). Problem based learning. British medical journal, 326(7384), 328.


Buck Institute for Education (BIE)

University of Delaware



Project-Based Learning in Higher Education


What is Project-Based Learning?

“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand” (Railsback, 2002). This ancient Chinese proverb provides insight to a current trend in education called project-based learning (PBL). Project-based learning provides a learner-centered environment that focuses on each student’s use of concepts, tools, experiences, technologies, etc. to help them answer questions and solve problems (Lee, Blackwell, Drake, & Moran, 2014). In addition, “PBL is an instructional (and curricular) learner-centered approach that empowers learners to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a defined problem.” (ed, Walker, 2015, p. 7).

According to Edutopia (2007b), project-based learning can be summarized into the following elements:

  1. A guiding question posed by the educator directs students to collaborate and experience major principles of a specific discipline;
  2. There are multiple ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge because there is often no one correct solution/answer;
  3. Students are encouraged to explore, make individual judgments, share their interpretations, and synthesize information in significant ways. This mirrors learning outside of the classroom, which helps to build critical thinking skills for learners.

Why Project-based Learning is a Current Trend in Higher Education

According to Railsback (2002), project-based learning is a current trend in education because educators are recognizing the many benefits it offers, including increased engagement and knowledge retention. In addition, PBL helps to prepare learners for the workplace by connecting learning at school with reality. Students’ problem-solving skills, social skills, and communication skills are all strengthened through the PBL process.

Furthermore, PBL is related to flipped classrooms, which is another current trend in education. Interactive technologies make it possible for educators to qualitatively re-conceptualize the teaching and learning dynamic (Strayer, p. 3, 2012). And, online project-based learning allows for collaboration across geographic areas and grade levels. If students from different age groups are working together, the opportunity for mentor relationships is also afforded (deCarvalho, 2014).

Implementing Project-based Learning in Higher Education

A lot of research on project-based learning is focused on primary and secondary education environments. However, this concept of allowing students to drive their learning process in order to strengthen critical thinking skills is really what higher education is trying to provide for students. Project-based learning encompasses many of the characteristics that higher education aims to strengthen in students, based upon the following:

  • Students are responsible for their own learning
  • Lack of structure in problems allows for free inquiry (which mirrors the real world)
  • Collaboration is essential
  • Learning should be integrated from various disciplines to encourage solutions that are developed through a better understanding of the issues (Walker, 2015).

In addition, PBL has been shown to support students’ self-regulated learning; this is important for helping students take responsibility for setting goals, monitoring their progress, reflecting on their learning, and sustaining their motivation throughout each project (English & Kitsantas, 2013). According to Boss and Krauss (2014), another benefit to incorporating project-based learning in higher education comes from instructors having to re-learn material as they map their journey in the classroom setting. They are re-thinking how to teach, how to assess, how to collaborate with other educators, and how to motivate students in the classroom. All of these things help educators see the learners’ perspectives, which is a good thing.

Research shows that schools where PBL is practiced have higher attendance rates, increased cooperative learning skills, and improvement in overall student achievement (Edutopia, 2007c). The impact on these outcomes in higher education could lead to additional government funding, grant awards, and even an increase in enrollment levels based upon building a positive reputation in the industry.

Considerations with Project-Based Learning in Higher Education

Although there are many benefits to incorporating project-based learning in a higher ed environment, there are some challenges to consider as well. For example, students who are not comfortable participating in classroom discussions and activities will likely find this model to be frustrating or disconcerting. If only a few instructors in a college are employing this teaching method, it can be hard for students to switch between learning passively (i.e., lecture) and active learning in a PBL model. Another consideration for using PBL at the collegiate level comes when requiring students to complete multiple projects at the same time for different classes (during the same semester); this could impose a significant workload on students, which could lead to other downfalls for the learning process.

Vega (2015) suggests the following considerations when determining if project-based learning is right for your higher education institution:

  • The level of teacher and student commitment
  • Buy-in from administration at the school is important for success
  • Planning for project completion should incorporate a 20% overrun to accommodate learning differences, mistakes, and questions for application.
  • Group work can often become split-up or even individualized. The PBL process requires true collaboration and active listening among group members.
  • Presenting students with numerous resources that represent different perspectives is essential; as is giving sufficient time for students to investigate, apply, discuss and revise their conclusions after reviewing all of the resources.

The George Lucas Educational Foundation has identified several suggestions in order for project-based learning to be successful in higher education (Edutopia, 2007a):

-Create a schedule

  • How much time will be allotted for each project?
  • How many days will be devoted to the entire/complete project?
  • Will this project be conducted during the entire school day or during dedicated blocks of time?

-Incorporate these tactics to guide students effectively

  • Help students who may not perceive time limits
  • Set benchmarks
  • Give students direction for managing their time
  • Teach them how to schedule their tasks
  • Remind them of the timeline
  • Help them set deadlines
  • Keep the essential question simple and age appropriate
  • Initiate projects that will let all students meet with success

-Provide ample time for self-monitoring and self-reflection

  • Encourage students to self-assess throughout the project
  • Allow time for reflection at the conclusion of the project
  • Encourage students to share their observations of what worked well and what should change for similar future projects. Share ideas that could lead to new questions and new projects.


Boss, S., & Krauss, J. (2014). Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age (2nd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from

deCarvalho, C. V. (2014). eCity – Virtual city environment for engineering problem based learning. Retrieved from

English, M. C., & Kitsantas, A. (2013). Supporting Student Self-Regulated Learning in Problem- and Project-Based Learning. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 7(2). doi:10.7771/1541-5015.1339

Lee, J. S., Blackwell, S., Drake, J., & Moran, K. A. (2014). Taking a Leap of Faith: Redefining Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Through Project-Based Learning. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 8(2). doi:10.7771/1541-5015.1426

Railsback, J. (2002). Project-based instruction: Creating excitement for learning. Northwest Regional Educational Lab Series. ERIC: ED471708

Strayer, J. F. (July 2012). How learning in an inverted classroom influences cooperation, innovation and task orientation. Learning Environments Research, 15(2), 171-193. ERIC Number: EJ977852

The George Lucas Educational Foundation. (2007, October 19a). How does project-based learning work? Edutopia. Retrieved from

The George Lucas Educational Foundation. (2007, October 19b). What is project-based learning about? Edutopia. Retrieved from

The George Lucas Educational Foundation. (2007, October 19c). Why is project-based learning important? Edutopia. Retrieved from

Vega, V. (2015, December 1). Project-based learning research review: Avoiding pitfalls. Edutopia. Retrieved from at

Walker, A., Leary, H., Hmelo-Silver, C., & Ertmer, P. (editors). Essential Readings in Problem-Based Learning. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. Retrieved from

e-books and e-readers


What are e-books?


E-books are books “formed with digital presentations, including text, graphics, video, animation, and/or sound[44]” that presents content on a screen of a mobile device using e-ink technology [45] that does not have the backlit glare typical of computer monitors to make sustained reading more analogous to paper.  The handheld devices which store and display e-books are called e-readers.  Examples of e-readers include Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and the Sony Reader. E-books may also be viewed on devices like laptop computers and smartphones via applications designed to retrieve and display e-books.

Why are e-books a Current Trend?


As early as 2011, Amazon reported selling more e-books than print books [45]. In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that 34% of young adults (age 18-29) have read at least one e-book in the past year [46], and DigitalBookWorld added that approximately 54% of U.S. children (age 2-13) report reading e-books [47].

Because of their cost, eco-friendliness, storage capacity, and ability to sync with multiple mobile electronic devices, schools have begun experimenting with e-books as a replacement for textbooks[48]. Perhaps this move makes sense, as digital natives already do much of their reading on screens; e-books are a natural extension of this. In fact, a study by Hsiao and Chen (2015) found that elementary children were confident in their mobile learning self-efficacy using e-books and intended to use the format going forward [44].

Easy access to books [49] and the possibilities of providing learning supports within the text [50] are perhaps the most attractive features of using e-books in K-12 classrooms.

Implementation of e-books in the K-12 Setting


Educational leaders who are considering the use of e-books in K-12 classrooms should consider the following curricular, technical, and practical items prior to implementation:

  • Navigation of e-books and manipulation of added features like highlighting, note-taking, and bookmarking are specific skills that will need to be taught and learned for effective use of e-books in the classroom [51][52]
  • E-books are often easily adaptable for learners’ needs, including the ability to change font size and to overlap audiobook applications so readers can follow text as it is read aloud to them [51]. Many of the features of e-books and e-readers are compliant with Universal Design for Learning frameworks [50].
  • E-books are an evolving technology and are thus not yet standardized; features like returning to the beginning of the story, the appearance and method of page turning, sound capabilities, animations in illustrations, embedded external links, and interactive games change from e-book to e-book and may be based on the e-reader device’s capabilities[48][51]. Teachers must be equipped to assist readers in transferring the skills and strategies needed for a familiar reading environment to new situations [51]
  • Built-in dictionaries have received mixed reviews from teachers. Some teachers feel the tool is helpful, and can function as supplementary vocabulary instruction; others point out that vocabulary is best taught through context and explanations, which a dictionary does not do [49]
  • Durability may be an issue. For example, if a print book is dropped, no harm is done. If an e-reader is dropped, significant data loss (including multiple texts, notes, and supplementary documents) may occur.

Key Issues with e-books


Despite their growing popularity in school-based settings, educational leaders must be aware of and prepare to deal with the following research-based issues with e-books and their adoption in classrooms and schools:

  • Research has shown that reading e-books requires different physical, brain-based skills than reading print [52]
  • Screen reading is more physically and mentally taxing than reading paper [44][53]
  • The tactile experience of a print book may aid in comprehension and recall [53]
  • A 2011 study revealed that people are less engaged in metacognitive learning regulation [53] during screen reading
  • The dynamic nature of e-books (including animated illustrations, embedded external links, and interactive games) can be distracting [50]
  • Access to e-books and e-readers continues to be a consideration for widespread adoption and implementation in K-12 schools. Though the costs of both devices and individual texts have decreased markedly, neither is free[49]
  • E-books of texts available in the public domain can often be downloaded for free or very little cost; however, according to Zauha and Ragains (2011), some texts available on the Web at no cost are simply wrong [48]

Barron, P. (2011). E-readers in the classroom. Transformations, 22(1), 133-138,143. Retrieved from

Behler, A., & Lush, B. (2011). Are you ready for E-readers? The Reference Librarian, 52, 75-87. doi: 10.1080/02763877.2011.523261

Brown, S. (2016). Young learners' transactions with interactive digital texts using E-readers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(1), 42. doi:10.1080/02568543.2015.1105887

Boudo, L., Cavallaro, D., Hurtado, D., Pisano, K. R., Rutkowski, P., Smayda, S., Chase, P. (2014). Children's early literacy development and adults' positive disposition toward reading through e-books and apps. New England Reading Association Journal, 49(2), 23-32,111. Retrieved from

Dalton, B. (2014). E-text and e-books are changing the literacy landscape. The Phi Delta Kappan, 96(3), 38-43. Retrieved from

Goodwyn, A. (2014). Reading is now “cool”: a study of English teachers’ perspectives on e-reading devices as a challenge and an opportunity. Educational Review66(3), 263-275. doi:10.1080/00131911.2013.768960

Griswold, M. (2013). Soft(a)ware in the English classroom. English Journal, 103(2), 101-104. Retrieved from

Hessman, R. (2011). Does the use of kindles improve the reading abilities of sixth graders?(Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Central. (Order No. 3486880).

Hsiao, K.L., & Chen, C.C. (2015). How do we inspire children to learn with e-readers? Library Hi Tech, 33(4), 584-596. doi:10.1108.LHT-04-2015-0038

Jabr, F. (2013, April 11). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from

Javorsky, K., & Trainin, G. (2014). Teaching young readers to navigate a digital story when rules keep changing. The Reading Teacher, 67(8), 606-618. doi:10.1002/trtr.1259

Tanner, M. J. (2014). Digital vs. print: Reading comprehension and the future of the book. SJSU School of Information Student Research Journal, 4(2). Retrieved from

Wright, S., Fugett, A., & Caputa, F. (2013). Using E-readers and internet resources to support comprehension.Educational Technology & Society, 16(1), 367.

Zipke, M. (2013). Teachers' thoughts on e-readers in the elementary school classroom. Education and Information Technologies, 18(3), 421-441. doi:<10.1007/s10639-012-9188-x


10 Tips for Using E-Readers in the Classroom:

3 Tips for Implementing E-Readers in the Classroom:

2015 Guide: The Best E-Readers for School:

Proposing the Use of E-Readers in the Classroom:

Going Digital: Using e-Book Readers to Enhance the Reading Experience (lesson plan):

Teaching with Interactive Picture E-Books in Grades K-6:

Amazon Education (information on Kindle, Fire, Whispercast, and Direct Publishing)

How English Teachers Can Use e-books in the Classroom:

E-books and E-readers in the K-5 Classroom (Pinterest board):

Cloud Computing


What is Cloud Computing?


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. [54] Cloud Computing allows for individuals to access applications residing at locations other than their computer or other Intemet connected devices.[55]

Why is Cloud Computing an innovative trend in technology?


Anywhere Computing[56] Any type of device can be utilized to access information from any location at any time

Professional Learning Communities

  • Training - professional development opportunities and experiences can exist from any location at any time.
  • Pooling resources[57] - educators can share resources, especially with the implementation of the Common Core curriculum
  • Administrative presence - sharing of knowledge and information can be accessible and delivered without delay or reason for a meeting

Benefits to a school district[58][59]

  • Low cost - school districts have noted savings which could be utilized to enhance other areas of technology
  • Flexibility - many users can utilize technology devices at the same time
  • Accessibility - resources are readily accessible at any time
  • Simple - cloud training is brief and simplistic to deliver
  • Fast and Easy
  • Sustainable - computing ability exists everywhere

Implementation of Cloud Computing


Types of Cloud Computing[60]

  • Public - unsecure data, off site server
  • Private - can be managed by organizaiton; data is more secure
  • Hybrid - combination of public and private; both clouds can be utilized for different purposes

Key Issues with Cloud Computing[61]

  • Security of data - primary concern; vulnerability to be compromised
  • Redundancy - one server responsible for many organizaitons - if a crash occurs, it will effect all organizaitons
  • Cost when under attack - Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection
  • Variance in performance - usage limitation, although not common, is possible

Bhatt, D. (2012). A Revolution in Information Technology - Cloud Computing. Walailak Journal Of Science & Technology, 9(2), 107-113.

Bildosola, I., rio-Belver, R., Cilleruelo, E., Garechana, G. (2015). Design and implementation of a cloud computing adoption decision tool: Generating a cloud road. PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134563

O’Hanlon, C., Schaffhauser, D. (2012). Diving into the cloud. T.H.E. Journal, 26-31.

Pirie, C. (2012). TECHNOLOGY + LEARNING = INSPIRATION. T+D, 66(12), 38-41.

The Help Desk, LLC. The pros and cons of cloud computing. Retrieved from

Yan, H. (2010). On the Clouds: A New Way of Computing. Information Technology & Libraries, 29(2), 87-92.


What is Cloud Computing?,2817,2372163,00.asp

What is Cloud Computing? You Tube

Five Tips for Cloud Computing Security.

5 Tips to Keep Your Data Secure on the Cloud.

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing is Changing Education.

Cloud Computing for Beginners.

Cloud Computing. What is Cloud Computing?

Mind Mapping


What Is Mind Mapping?


Mind mapping is a technique to organize one’s ideas in an organic, visual, and creative way. Ideas branch out from a central concept into categories and sub-categories. The modern term “mind mapping” was coined by British author Tony Buzan, although the concept of webbing ideas has been around for centuries. There are five essential characteristics all mind maps have in common [62]:

  1. The main idea is in the center.
  2. Main themes radiate, or branch out, from that center.
  3. The branches each have a key word or image on their lines.
  4. Other topics further branch out from the main themes as “twigs” or smaller branches.
  5. The entire structure is connected with pods of ideas.

Why Is Mind Mapping a Current Trend?


Mind Mapping is becoming an increasingly popular trend in education. Consider the following:

  • recognized mind mapping as a trend that has been used for years in education [63].
  • identified mind mapping as one of seven “must-know classroom technology trends that are changing education.” [64]
  • Many new apps and sites offer mind mapping programs and software, such as, Coggle, iMindMap, Mapul, Mind42, Mindet, Mindmap, MindMeister, MindNode, Mindomo, Popplet, Scapple, SimpleMind, Stormboard, and XMind. [65]
  • Several recent articles have examined the effectiveness of mind mapping in the classroom, and educators’ perspectives on the process [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71]

Implementation of Mind Mapping in a K-12 Setting

  • Implementation will be individual to each subject and grade level, although the basic mind mapping technique will be the same.
  • Technology and software in schools is required.
  • Students can use mind mapping to brainstorm writing assignments or projects.
  • Students can use mind mapping to guide inquiry-based research.
  • Students can work collaboratively or individually on mind mapping; teachers can facilitate class-wide mind maps.
  • Small groups of students can work on separate branches of larger mind map, and combine information when finished.

Key Issues with Mind Mapping


"""Benefits of Mind Mapping"""

  • The use of pictures, colors, and technology in the creation of mind maps makes it an engaging tool for learning [72].
  • The creative flow of ideas helps students generate fruitful connections.
  • Mind mapping gives an overview of a large topic, while displaying a large amount of information on that topic [73] .
  • Through the branches and labels, students can keep their ideas organized.
  • The combination of words and pictures makes it six times more easy to remember information rather than words alone [74] .
  • Mind mapping lends itself to collaboration among students to generate even more ideas.

Potential Obstacles with Mind Mapping

  • Schools must have access to technology.
  • If expected to work on mind maps outside of school, individual students must have access to technology at home.
  • Although some mind mapping software is free, most of the higher-quality versions are not.
  • Teachers should be given training in using mind mapping software.
  • Balim, A. G. (2013). Use of technology-assisted techniques of mind mapping and concept mapping in science education: A constructivist study. Irish Educational Studies, 32(4), 437-456.
  • Hallen, D., & Sangeetha, N. (2015). Effectiveness of mind mapping in English teaching among VIII standard students. Journal on English Language Teaching, 5(1), 45-50.
  • Ismail, M. N., Ngah, N. A., & Umar, I. N. (2010). The effects of mind mapping with cooperative learning on programming performance, problem solving skill and metacognitive knowledge among computer science students. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 42(1), 35-61.
  • Pollard, E. L. (2010). Meeting the demands of professional education: A study of mind mapping in a professional doctoral physical therapy education program. ProQuest LLC.
  • Sabbah, S. S. (2015). The effect of college students' self-generated computerized mind mapping on their reading achievement. International Journal of Education and Development Using Information and Communication Technology, 11(3), 4-36.
  • Zipp, G., & Maher, C. (2013). Prevalence of mind mapping as a teaching and learning strategy in physical therapy curricula. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching And Learning, 13(5), 21-32.



What is Gamification?


Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to different classroom tasks to make them more fun and engaging. The idea is to use the typical game system of providing challenges, rewarding winners, then providing harder challenges with equally bigger rewards.

When you win at a game, your mind releases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that triggers motivation and pleasure. This makes learning a positive experience, one that you won’t have to force students to enjoy. So the main concept is to challenge the students, let them feel good about overcoming the challenge, then challenge them more. [75].

Why Gamification is a current trend?


Gamification allows teachers to bring more positive reinforcement to the classroom, whether subject-related or not. [76]. Students become more engaged when the idea of winning is dangled above them like a carrot. RPGs (Role Playing Games) can allow students to fine-tune their soft skills, as well, which is a transferable skill that can be taught in any subject.

Game mechanics are part of game theory. Most attempts at gaming in education fail, because educators believe that if you give out a badge or adhere points to the game, you've gamified. [77].

Implementation of Gamification in the K-12 Setting


As education moves towards integrating and implementing technology new visions arise, which includes Gamification.

Minecraft is a perfect fit for Common Core, as it has various dedicated resource sites available to teachers to apply the video game to lessons. [78]. Games are the gateway for most students into computer programming and can promote STEM programs to girls through the use of games. Portal 2 is being used to teach physics and calculus, as well. [79]

Key issues with Gamification


Several issues to be aware of when considering Gamification.

  • Availability of computer access, as well as plug-ins such as flash to all students inside and outside of school
  • Technological support for both the teacher and student
  • Professional development and training for teachers
  • Requires additional time to implement, develop, and manage for student and teacher
  • Teachers may be resistant to games in the classroom

Bruder, P. (2015). Game on: Gamification in the classroom. Education Digest, 80(7), 56-60.

de-Marcos, L., Garcia-Lopez, E., & Garcia-Cabot, A. (2016). On the effectiveness of game-like and social approaches in learning: Comparing educational gaming, gamification & social networking. Computers & Education, 9599-113. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.12.008

Dicheva, D., Dichev, C., Agre, G., & Angelova, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 18(3), 75-88.

The Popularity of Gamification in the mobile and social era. (2015). Library Technology Reports, 51(2), 5-9.

Toyama, K. (2015). The looming gamification of higher ed. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 62(10), 17.


3D Printing in the Classroom Setting


What is 3D Printing?


3D printing, also known additive manufacturing, is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. A three-dimensional object is created using additive processes where successive layers are laid down until the object is created. [80].

3D printing allows for considerable customization and everything that is printed is protected by copyright. 3D printing in the classroom allows students to move from a passive role in learning to a more active role. Teachers can use products of 3D printing as visual aids, capturing the interest of students. Students who use 3D printing will be engaged in hands-on learning and have a chance to be more creative through interactive classroom activities. [81].

Why is 3D Printing in the Classroom a current trend?


Although 3D printing appeared more than 25 years ago, the interest related to it has increased in recent years. 3D printing can bring many benefits to the field of education. Students are exposed to new learning possibilities and can access learning in a different way. Students are excited to use 3D printing and become engaged in the work. Creativity and innovation are used, as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills. Since students are able to make a visual connection, they are able to retain more of what they are learning. Additionally, 3D printers are more affordable than ever. [82].

There is support for 3D printing. A community of tinkerers, programmers, and students are fostering makerspaces, local labs that have 3D printers and fabrication tools, all over the country. [83].

Implementation of 3D Printing in the K-12 Setting


The field of education, especially in the K-12 setting, is always implementing new technology. Using technology in lessons allows students to stay motivated and engaged in what they are learning. 3D printing is a concept that is sure to catch their attention. It encourages creativity and innovation and promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into the classroom is becoming increasingly important. Using 3D printing in school allows students to see how the objects they create can actually be used in the real world. [84].

In order to implement a 3D printer in the classroom, the teacher will have to research which printer fits their needs, consider the cost of the printer, decide which software and tools will accompany the printer, and develop routines and procedures for how the printer will be used in the classroom.

The maker movement has gained momentum and the price of 3D printers has been dropping, leaving educators curious. These 3D printers are putting the power to create anything, even real-world designs, into the hands of anyone, including young students. [85]

Giving the students the opportunity to try 3D printing allows them to share and expand upon their incredible ideas. Students will see connections to other subjects, such as math, when creating products. Students have the chance to engage in more collaboration as a result of creating something from their designs. [86]

Key issues with 3D Printing in the Classroom Setting


As with any technology, there are benefits and drawbacks with 3D printing. The benefits of 3D printing are endless; students are given the opportunity to learn in a different way, using hands-on experience. Students are engaged when they are learning and almost any age can participate.

Some issues to be aware of when considering the use of a 3D Printer in the Classroom:

Cost: Costs are coming down, but this still may not be an affordable option for many classrooms. In addition to the initial cost of the printer, there are ongoing costs associated with software, tools, and materials.
Accessibility: The printer may be kept in a place where students cannot use it with ease or frequency.
Understanding: Teachers need to learn how to use the technology and implement it successfully in the classroom. They cannot teach students if they are not familiar with 3D printing themselves.
Special Circumstances: Different barriers may inhibit successful 3D printing, such as special education students with disabilities that do not allow them to use the printer.


Buehler, E., Kane, S. K., & Hurst, A. (2014). ABC and 3D. Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility - ASSETS '14. doi:10.1145/2661334.2661365

Buehler, E., Easley, W., Mcdonald, S., Comrie, N., & Hurst, A. (2015). Inclusion and Education. Proceedings of the 17th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers & Accessibility - ASSETS '15. doi:10.1145/2700648.2809844

Eisenberg, M. (2013). 3D printing for children: What to build next? International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 1(1), 7-13. doi:10.1016/j.ijcci.2012.08.004

Kostakis, V., Niaros, V., & Giotitsas, C. (2015). Open source 3D printing as a means of learning: An educational experiment in two high schools in Greece. Telematics and Informatics, 32(1), 118-128. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2014.05.001

Lipson, H., & Kurman, M. (2013). Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing. Indianapolis: Wiley.

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Mcmenamin, P. G., Quayle, M. R., Mchenry, C. R., & Adams, J. W. (2014). The production of anatomical teaching resources using three-dimensional (3D) printing technology. Anatomical Sciences Education, 7(6), 479-486. doi:10.1002/ase.1475

Ostashewski, N., Reid, E., & Reid, D. (2014, June 23). Introducing 3D Printing to the classroom using inquiry: A case study describing implementation, challenges and successes. Retrieved from

Schelly, C., Anzalone, G., Wijnen, B., & Pearce, J. M. (2015). Open-source 3-D printing technologies for education: Bringing additive manufacturing to the classroom. Journal of Visual Languages & Computing, 28, 226-237. doi:10.1016/j.jvlc.2015.01.004


International Research Collaboration


What are international research collaborations for research?


Researchers in different countries are collaborating at all levels of research: post doctoral nanotechnology (Bai, [87]), undergraduate engineering classes (Randall, [88]), elementary music classrooms (Young, [89]). Nobel prizes are often granted to collaborations between international scholars (Nobelprize, [90]). Web conferencing, wikis, document sharing tools, and other electronic platforms have created opportunities for international research collaborations among colleagues who are at different locations.

Why are international collaborations for research a trend?


As globalization increases and the capacity to share information more sophistically and exactly through electronic tools increases collaborating internationally for research is more common and increasingly more important. Collaborating with researchers from other countries is desired for many reasons.

  • The synergy of multiple and diverse perspectives leads to more scientific discoveries (Committee, [91])
  • Researchers find that the process of communicating their ideas and explaining process to collaborators of different cultural backgrounds forces them to identify their assumptions instead of taking them for granted and in doing so they have clarified their ideas not only for their collaborators, but for themselves (Committee, [92]).
  • Collaborations internationally in research can be especially helpful to developing nations (Oldham, [93])
  • Developing nations seek to maintain ties of international collaborations (Kuzhabekova, [94])
  • Collaborations between international colleagues leads to better mutual understanding among internationals and more peace in the world. (U.S. Dept of State, [95])
  • Nations recognize that other countries have problems like their own and collaboration with researchers in those countries will lead to results. (Oldham, [96])

International collaborations and higher education

  • Research on international higher education continues to increase. A growing percentage of published articles are done with collaborators from at least two different countries (Kuzhabekova, [97])
  • International collaborations in higher education create a synergy that leads to insights, productivity and creativity. (Fell, )
  • More than 30% of non European and more than 55% of Europeans academics involved in research work with international colleagues. (Rostan, [98])
  • Interest and development of international collaborations has led to integrated, interdisciplinary, distributed graduate courses (IDCG) which give students the opportunity to collaborate on projects produced for publication with classmates in different countries. (Wagner, [99])

Key issues with international collaborations

  • Understanding across cultures is always difficult (Rostan, [100]; Brew, [101]).
  • even basic assumptions of ones research need to be explained as they may not be assumed by the other culture, or even if they are may not be recognized (Rostan, [102]; Brew, [103]).
  • Researchers are in different locations and therefore have different constraints and processes not only limited by their institutions, but by their governments (Brew, [104]).

Bai, X. & Liu, Y. (2016). International Collaboration Patterns and Effecting Factors of Emerging Technologies. PLoSONE 11(12): e0167772. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167772

Brew, A., Boud, D., Lucas, L., & Crawford, K. (2013). Reflexive deliberation in international research collaboration: Minimising risk and maximising opportunity. Higher Education, 66(1), 93-104. doi:10.1007/s 10734-012-9592-6

Committee on International Collaborations in Social and Behavioral Sciences Research. (2008). International Collaborations in Behavioral and Social Sciences: Report of a workshop. National Research Council of the National Academies. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

Fell, D.W. & Kim, K. (2012). Developing international collaborations in physical therapy academia: A case example emphasizing education and scholarship. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 26(1), 6-12.

Kuzhabekova, A., Hendel, D. D., & Chapman, D. W. (2015). Mapping global research on international higher education. Research in Higher Education, 56(8), 861-882. doi:10.1007/s11162-015-9371-1 (2017). All Nobel Prizes. Nobel Media AB 2014. Retrieved at

Oldham, G. (2005). International scientific collaboration: a quick guide. SciDev.Net Retrieved at

Randall, D.C. & Moore, C. (2012). Innovative practice papers: An international collaboration to promote inquire-based learning in undergraduate engineering classrooms. Campus-Wide Information Systems 29(4), pp.259 – 271. doi:10.1108/10650741211253859

Rostan, M., & Antonio Ceravolo, F. (2015). The internationalisation of the academy: Convergence and divergence across disciplines. European Review, 23, S38-S54. doi:10.1017/S1062798714000763

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Promoting Mutual Understanding. (n.d.) About Fulbright. [Website]. Retrieved from

Wagner, H. H., Murphy, M. A., Holderegger, R., & Waits, L. (2012). Developing an interdisciplinary, distributed graduate course for twenty-first century scientists. Bioscience, 62(2), 182-188. doi:10.1525/bio.2012.62.2.11

Young, S. & Perez, J. (2011). ‘We-research’: Adopting a wiki to support the processes of collaborative research among a team of international researchers. International Journal of Music Education 30(1), pp. 3 –17. doi:10.1177/0255761411410144


1:1 Computing


What is 1:1 Computing?


One to one (1:1) computing is a technology initiative where access to computers, laptops, iPads, etc. is not shared, but rather where teachers and students each have access to their own individual device. [52]

Why is 1:1 Computing a current trend?


While the idea of one to one computing is certainly not a new idea, the idea continues to grow. Consider the following:

  • In 2003-2004 around 4% of the schools in the United States were implementing 1:1 computing.[44]
  • By 2006, that number grew to nearly 25%.[44]
  • Futuresource Consulting Ltd., showed that by 2016 roughly 54% of United States public schools would have one to one computing implemented.[45]

Another consideration for why one to one computing is a current trend is its impact on test scores and student achievement.

  • One to one computing has shown to have a positive impact on student standardized test scores. [45]

One to one computing has shown an increase in [45]:

  • Student technology usage.
  • Genre types used in writing.
  • Student-centered and project-based learning.
  • Parental involvement in their child's school work.
  • Student motivation and persistence.
  • Technology problem solving skills.

Implementation of 1:1 Computing in the K-12 setting


One to one computing has spawned a belief over the past decade that teaching and learning, better efficiency, and development of skills in students will improve with its implementation. [52] A key component of implementing a 1:1 initiative is the idea that putting a device in every students hands can only be effective if the technology is used to enhance learning and is not simply there for passive consumption or memorization. [53] With that being said, professional development becomes a key component of implementation in the K-12 setting.[53]

To effectively implement a 1:1 program schools must determine if they have:

  • Administrators and teachers who embrace technology changes and the role technology can play in the classroom.[53]
  • Teachers who are opposed to 1:1 or student centered learning.[53]
  • Teachers and staff who are technology literate.[53]
  • Professional development in place that will allow for teachers to be successful with a 1:1 initiative.[53]
  • The proper infrastructure in place such as enough bandwidth to handle the internet demands. [105]
  • A plan for funding the 1:1 initiative. [105]

As for the pros and cons of 1:1 technology in the K-12 setting there are numerous points on both sides.

To begin on the positive side, 1:1 initiatives bring uniform technology into the classroom, which allows for teachers and students to have the same software in front of them.[105] Another positive of a 1:1 approach when compared to say a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach is that 1:1 avoids the "digital divide" seen with BYOD.[105] The "digital divide" is when students have varying types of devices in the classroom, such as a laptop for one child, a smartphone for another, and possibly no device for others.[105] The division in who has what kind of technology can lead to very apparent advantages for those with the more advanced technology, but is a problem that is avoided when implementing a 1:1 program.[105]

On the other side, the one drawback for a 1:1 initiative at the K-12 level is the cost. While the upfront costs are high a district must also be thinking long term because devices will need to be changed out every few years as technology changes.[105]

Key issues with 1:1 Computing

  • Research is still limited on the impact of one to one computing.
  • One to one computing is an expensive option for schools.
  • Schools become fixated on the tool becoming the focus of learning and not how the students use that tool.[106]
  • Simply adding a 1:1 computing device to a classroom without fundamental change in culture and teaching will likely not lead to more positive academic results.[106]
  • Leadership is a key component for implementation. Leaders must understand how to manage the transition to a 1:1 learning environment.[106]
  • There is a gap between the youth and their expertise with technology and some teachers lack of experience.[107]

Bebell, D., & O'Dwyer, L. M. (2010). Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment,9(1). Retrieved from

Grimes, D., & Warschauer, M. (2008). Learning with Laptops: A Multi-Method Case Study. Journal of Educational Computing Research,38(3), 305-332. doi:10.2190/ec.38.3.d

Lei, J., & Zhao, Y. (2008). One-to-One Computing: What Does it Bring to Schools? Journal of Educational Computing Research,39(2), 97-122. doi:10.2190/ec.39.2.a

Penuel, W. R. (2006). Implementation and Effects Of One-to-One Computing Initiatives. Journal of Research on Technology in Education,38(3), 329-348. doi:10.1080/15391523.2006.10782463

Richardson, J. W., McLeod, S., Flora, K., Sauers, N. J., Kannan, S., & Sincar, M. (2013). Large-scale 1:1 computing initiatives: An open access database. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology,9(1), 4-18. Retrieved from

Silvernail, D. L., Pinkham, C. A., Wintle, S. E., Walker, L. C., & Bartlett, C. L. (2011, August). A Middle School One-to-One Laptop Program: The Maine Experience. Retrieved from


Online Assessments


What are online assessments?


Online assessments are tools teachers can use in the classroom to help assess students but with the motivation of technology. Online assessments can be used for both formative and summative assessments.  As we continue to be a society that uses and relies on technology, online assessments that could help change the way we assess our students (Davis, 2015).  Teachers adjust their lessons and teaching based on what their students know, and by using online assessments it can be quicker and easier to determine what skills the students have mastered and what skills they still struggle with.  Many of the online assessment tools can provide teachers with immediate feedback on student responses, many are user friendly, flexible, able to be used on iPads, tablets, phones, computers, and they add a great variety to the ways in which you assess your students.

Why are online assessments a current trend?


·        New and Innovative Products – Capabilities of doing more than the traditional paper and pencil assessments

·        Formative assessments can easily be done through online assessments.  This approach to assessment provides quick feedback for teachers in which they can then determine what and how they will teach [108].  Online assessments provide a quick means for determining student success, and in turn helps to shape the curriculum [108].

·        Provide a learning-centered approach such as eportfolios[108]

Implementation of Online Assessments in the K-12 Setting[109]


·       Provide each school with internet connections

·       Develop a system to track each student

·       Active communication channels – meetings among staff members for professional development

·       Provide staff with training to plan and implement best practices for assessments

Key issues with Online Assessments


·       Schools need to determine how they will store, manage, and report the data[108]

·       Plan to help make learning more transparent [108]

·       Schools will need to develop plans to be sure students have places to take exams, identify the student taking the exam, and determine how assessments will be submitted


Johnson, M., & Green, S. (2004). On-line assessment: the impact of mode on student performance. 

Jeong, H. (2014). A comparative study of scores on computer-based tests and paper-based tests. Behaviour & Information Technology, 33(4), 410-422. 

Paek, P. (2005). Recent trends in comparability studies. Retrieved July, 12, 2006. 

Rovai, A. P. (2000). Online and traditional assessments: what is the difference?. The Internet and Higher Education, 3(3), 141-151. 

Shen, J. (2005). Collaborative examinations in asynchronous learning networks: Field Experiments on collaborative learning through online assessments. New Jersey Institute of Technology.


Socrative -

Kahoot -

Quizizz -

Google Forms -

Study Island -

Virtual Reality for Learning


What is Virtual Reality for learning?


Virtual Reality (VR) is defined as a whole simulated reality, built with computer systems using digital formats, requiring hardware and software powerful enough to create a realistic immersive experience. [110]

Simulations as an supplemental education tool make it possible for students to acquire essential skills outside of the availability and pressures of real-life situations where those skills are to be applied. Virtual Reality, a fully immersive simulation, could ultimately move simulations from simply supplementing instruction to wholly replacing traditional teaching methods. Often, in using VR, especially as a tool in training, the sensation of immersion is vitally important and supported through connectivity devices. [111]

Why VR is a Current Trend


Simulations through the use of virtual worlds such as Second Life have already proved a significant benefit by providing an effective learning environment for distance education students at the post-secondary level. [112] Until recently, though, an important limitation in the development of widespread immersive simulation applications was the cost of devices allowing the technology to be utilized practically. [111] However, entertainment companies, especially those in the gaming industry, have invested in expanding VR technology, resulting in considerably lower device costs. [111] VR headsets have become readily available to consumers with the advancement of affordable smartphone-compatible attachments and applications, and, as these devices become commonly accessed in society, applying this technology in the classroom setting opens a whole world of possibilities. [112]

The following loosely lists categories for VR experiences requiring different types of equipment to produce the immersive environment:

• cabin simulators, like a cockpit or a car, outfitted with computer screens in place of windows;

• projected reality, using a moving avatar visualized on a wide screen;

• augmented reality, requiring immersive glasses or a mobile device to overlay objects on the surrounding real environment;

• telepresence, operating something that is real at a different location, like a drone or laboratory equipment;

• desktop VR, interacting with a virtual world through a traditional computer screen; and

• visually coupled systems, using screens at a user’s eye level and connecting the user’s head and/or eye movement with the displayed image. [110]

VR in the K-12 Setting


The feeling of being anywhere makes VR attractive for learners, and creating content, the next frontier for VR users, also increases the potential of VR in classrooms.[110] Yet, with the great variety of VR categories and vastly different hardware and software requirements for each, adding VR solutions to the classroom starts with an in-depth analysis of the planned immersive application.[111] Moreover, no dominant vision of how to concisely integrate these technologies into the educational process has yet emerged due to factors such as resistance to educational innovations from teachers and the costs involved with implementation.[110] As VR technologies begin to flood the consumer marketplace, however, making access for schools and students more economically feasible, it is now relevant to understand implications of using VR in educational environments.[110]

Five major advantages of using VR in education are (a) increasing students’ motivation and engagement, (b) allowing a constructivist approach in learning, (c) improving affordability and accessibility, (d) allowing more interaction than conventional learning materials, and (e) helping institutions remain competitive by providing a consistent learning experience with distance education courses.[110] [112]

Although the sample size is admittedly small, many early studies have been found to report an improvement in student achievement against control groups when VR applications are used in learning activities. [113]

Key Issues with VR


Reviews of the limited research on VR in education point to a limited variety of pedagogical approaches and ineffective design for usability considerations as current concerns.[113] Similarly, the present marketplace for VR materials contains limited availability of quality content, although the quantity of professionally produced content is quickly growing. [114] The cost for implementing VR in education also represents a key issue for the technology. Not only can there be significant expense involved with acquisition, installation, and maintenance of VR equipment, but the available educational content can also come at an ongoing subscription cost. [115]


Buń, P. K., Wichniarek, R., Górski, F., Grajewski, D., Zawadzki, P., & Hamrol, A. (2017). Possibilities and determinants of using low-cost devices in virtual education applications. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 13(2), 381-394. doi:10.12973/eurasia.2017.00622a

Gregory, S., Scutter, S., Jacka, L., McDonald, M., Farley, H., & Newman, C. (2015). Barriers and enablers to the use of virtual worlds in higher education: An exploration of educator perceptions, attitudes and experiences. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(1), 3-12. Retrieved from

Ludlow, B. L. (2015). Virtual reality: Emerging applications and future directions. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 34(3), 3-10. Retrieved from

Martín-Gutiérrez, J., Mora, C. E., Añorbe-Díaz, B., & González-Marrero, A. (2017). Virtual technologies trends in education. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 13(2), 469-486. doi:10.12973/eurasia.2017.00626a

Miller, R. (2014). The application of virtual reality in higher education distance learning. Journal of Applied Learning Technology, 4(4), 15-18. Retrieve from

Saltan, F., & Arslan, Ö. (2017). The use of augmented reality in formal education: A scoping review. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 13(2), 503-520. doi:10.12973/eurasia.2017.00628a


Collective Intelligence


What is Collective Intelligence?


Collective Intelligence is the result of a synergic and cumulative channeling of efforts built by several people who participate to find out answers to challenges. It is the outcome of a social production and knowledge acquisition. Members of a learning community add value in contributing via the internet to organized issues and arguments [116] [117] broadly define collective intelligence as “groups of individuals acting collectively in ways that seem intelligent” (p. 2, [118]).

Why is Collective Intelligence a trend?


Collective intelligence allows human interaction in ‘cyberspace.’ Knowledge and information change so rapidly that the lengthy publication schedule for textbooks means that textbooks may include information that is outdated. Students have no active role in the knowledge construction of a text itself which is totally against the current focus on active learning. Collective intelligence, on the other hand, allows students and other authors to compose course text using platforms such as wiki [119]

Collective Intelligence and K-12 education


By working together to cultivate their collective intelligence and experience, teachers create units that are richer and more powerful than if they work alone. There is a positive impact when teachers work across district and state lines to better serve students [120] Collective intelligence makes it easy for people to share interests and ideas, to easily monitor their collective progress, and to see how ideas have evolved throughout the process [121]. Collective intelligence communities may involve teachers posting lesson plans and activities that can be purchased and revised by others, whereas in other online communities, educational professionals engage in mentoring and discussions [122]

Key issues with Collective Intelligence


Collective intelligence ultimately allows the integration of intellectual forces, multiplying their imagination and experience, while stimulating the real-time negotiation of practical solutions for complex problems. However, peer production” models may succeed only when they are aimed at focused tasks and coupled with incentives to harness the work of the best contributors[123] Success of Web-based tools for teachers depends on teaching experiences, technology comfort levels, an whether or not they received professional development on the tool.


Boss, R. & Spicer, A. (2015). Unleashing the power of teacher collaboration. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved from

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Recker, M., Yuan, M., & Ye, L. (2014). Crowdteaching: Supporting teaching as designing in collective intelligence communities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning,15(4), 138-160. Retrieved from

Servan-Shreiber, E. (2012). Intelligence is collective (pp.1-14). South Orange, NJ: Lumenogic, LLC. Retrieved from


Your suggested website list.

Google Classroom


What is Google Classroom?


Google Classroom is a learning management system that integrates with the Google Suite Applications (Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets) and other third-party applications and websites. Google Classroom offers teachers the ability to facilitate digital production, workflow, and communication with students.[48]

With one click of the mouse, the students are provided multiple learning strategies through the classroom teacher’s creativity using online and offline interactive materials.[48] The teacher can create groups for differentiated instruction, or the teacher may assign a particular assignment to a few students. Also, the teacher may write real-time feedback for the students or grade their work with feedback provided in the class section of Google Classroom.[49] Finally, the teacher can view and make changes to students' work in real time with particular students. Students also have the capacity to work together on one or more projects shared by the teacher or a student.

Why is Google Classroom a current trend?


Google Classroom is a featured application in the Google Apps for Education. It provides a collaborative work environment for students and educators.[49] Google Classroom runs like a learning management system. The interactions and communication processes engage learners in a social constructivist and connectivist environment.

Google Classroom adds to the growing demand of blending learning classrooms in education. Within the recent ten years, the introduction of the new technological innovations filled the gap between traditional face-to-face learning and distributed learning environments. Many researchers have reported on blended learning since it flourished in 2000.[50]

Implementation of Google Classroom in the K-12 setting


Google Classroom transforms K-12 classrooms into a flipped classroom. “A flipped classroom is an approach to teaching and learning activities where students watch a video lesson outside the class through distance learning and have hands-on activities in the class.”[124]  The share option in Google Classroom allows the teacher to share Google Apps for Education and any video that correlates within the given lesson. The teacher also can share website site links to third party tools for integrating technology into the classroom.

Students may share their assignment with other students for peer-to-peer editing. The share feature allows for students to have a real-time educational conversation about their content.

Google Classroom’s differentiated instruction feature occurs in the one-to-one computing environment when teachers assign individual students a choice of multiple, computer-based resources to communicate their learning.[125]

Students and educators may communicate with each other using private comment boxes within an assignment. The teacher may also interact with the whole class by using the announcement feature in Google Classroom.

Finally, Google Classroom allows a teacher the ability to create a paperless classroom with daily assignments (worksheets, exit tickets, exams) and projects.

Key issues with Google Classroom


First-time Google users may get confused as there are several buttons with icons familiar only to Google users. Additionally, despite enhanced integration between Google and YouTube, which significantly helps video sharing, support for other traditional tools is not built in, and you may find it frustrating that you will need to, for example, convert a simple Word document to a Google Doc to work with Google Classroom. All in all, you will only find yourself comfortable in the Google Classroom environment as long as the tools you are using align with Google's services.[51]

Learners cannot share their work with their peers unless they become the “owners” of a document, and even then, they will need to approve sharing options, which will create chaos if they want to share a document with their, say, 50+ classmates.[51]

Learners have trouble editing a document when they resubmit a document to make changes on an iPad.

The iPad offers limited options on the Google Classroom app and the Google Suite Apps.


Dalton, B. (2014). E-text and e-books are changing the literacy landscape. The Phi Delta Kappan, 96(3), 38-43. Retrieved from

DiCicco, Kathleen M., "The effects of Google Classroom on teaching social studies for students with learning disabilities" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. Retrieved from

Güzer, B., & Caner, H. (2014). The Past, Present and Future of Blended Learning: An in Depth Analysis of Literature. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences,116, 4596-4603. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.992

Kumka, A. (2014). The paperless classroom. The Mathematics Teacher, 108(3), 226. Retrieved from

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Zipke, M. (2013). Teachers' thoughts on e-readers in the elementary school classroom. Education and Information Technologies, 18(3), 421-441. doi:10.1007/s10639-012-9188-x


What are Educational Interactive Games?

Educational Interactive Games are “digital games that are user centered, that promote challenges, cooperation, engagement and the development of problem solving strategies” (Gros, 2007, p. 23). Educational Interactive Games can lead to growth and development in collaboration, discussion, debate, in tandem with other communication/language skills, and technological literacy strategies/skills (Seals, Hundley, & Montgomery, 2007). Moreover, due to the early introduction of game systems into children’s play activities, Educational Interactive Games may be changing the means through which students acquire knowledge (Gros, 2007).

Why are they a current trend?

According to Reiser and Dempsey (2009), “transformative digital learning tools support the development of skills across a range of critical educational areas… well designed games have the potential to support meaningful learning across a variety of content areas, and domains” (p. 321). The initiative of interactive online, educational games to enhance learning within the typical classroom setting demonstrates great importance, and gravity to render the results of increased learning achievements (Reiser & Dempsey, 2009). According to Willis (2006) “multiple stimulations means better memory” (p. 4). Willis (2006) also attests that the more senses that are involved in learning, such as in interactive online, educational games (sight, sound, and touch), the more pathways are created, increasing the memory of the newly introduced content, and connecting it to prior knowledge. Elkind (2007, as cited in Reiser & Dempsey, 2009) affirms his theory that there are “three instruction drives that are the root of all human cognition, and behavior throughout a person’s lifetime: love, work, and play” (p. 323). Moreover, Elkind argues that as children increase in age, and elementary years, love, and play are eliminated from the learning process, and schools only focus on placing academic demands on children, rendering a lack of novelty, and new learning experiences, replaced with rote routine, and repetition (2007, as cited in Reiser & Dempsey, 2009). Similarly, Willis (2006) concurs that “relational memory takes place when students learn something adds to what they have already mastered,” (p. 14), strengthening the justification for more interactive online, educational, games through which students can enhance their skill sets, and improve memory of the current knowledge. Implementation of Educational Interactive Games? Game Based Learning has been steadily increasing, within the last 30 years. There are many means through which Interactive Educational Games can be introduced and implanted within the typical classroom setting. Simulations games are often utilized within classroom lessons, and can enhance many diverse areas of study, specifically business related classes, in higher education. Due to the increase of gaming used within the classroom, educators are becoming well versed with the diversity of games. The diversity among the games available can be used for a variety of differing lesson. The specified categories include: action, adventure, fighting, role playing, simulations, sports, and role-playing, which include skill sets such as strategy building, increasing reactions, problem solving, and goal achieving (Gros, 2007). As a result, this mode of learning, via digital media software, can increase student engagement, and build upon skill sets in which they already are developing, due to increased gaming activity in nonracemic settings.

Key Issues with Interactive Educational Games:


• Increased engagement

• Differentiated instruction

• Multi-sensory learning tasks

• Strengthened memory

• Collaboration

• Language Skills

• Literacy Skills


• Training for educators

• Lack of resources

• Educational v. Non-educational games

• Maintaining learning objectives

Related Research:

Gros, B. (2007). Digital games in education: The design of games-based learning environment. The journal of Research and Technology in the Classroom, 40(1), pp. 23-38. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/Devon/Downloads/out%20(1).pdf Seals, C., Hundley, J., & Montgomery, L. S. (2007). Game design and development: Using computer games as creative and challenging assignments. International journal of teaching and learning in higher education, 19(1), pp. 53-63. Retrieved from: Ryu, D. (2013). Play to learn, learn to play: earning language through a gaming culture. ReCALL: The journal of EUROCALL, 25(2), pp. 286-301. Retrieved from: Willis (2006). Research based strategies to ignite learning: Insights from a neurologist classroom teacher. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Recommend Research:


Gros, B. (2007). Digital games in education: The design of games-based learning environment. The journal of Research and Technology in the Classroom, 40(1), pp. 23-38. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/Devon/Downloads/out%20(1).pdf

Seals, C., Hundley, J., & Montgomery, L. S. (2007). Game design and development: Using computer games as creative and challenging assignments. International journal of teaching and learning in higher education, 19(1), pp. 53-63. Retrieved from:

Reiser, R. A. & Dempsey, J. V. (2009). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Ryu, D. (2013). Play to learn, learn to play: earning language through a gaming culture. ReCALL: The journal of EUROCALL, 25(2), pp. 286-301. Retrieved from:

Willis (2006). Research based strategies to ignite learning: Insights from a neurologist classroom teacher. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

3D Printing in Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education Settings


What is 3D Printing?


3D printing is an additive material process that creates a physical, solid, 3 dimensional object from a digital design. 3D printing technologies and materials vary; however, all create a solid object by adding materials layer by layer. [126].

3D printing is often used by businesses to create prototype designs for products, reducing the time from conceptual stage to production. This is known as rapid prototyping. Rapid prototyping can save a company significant time and money when attempting to bring a product to market. [127]. 3D printing and rapid prototyping are revolutionizing manufacturing, and will require a skilled workforce.[128]

Why is 3D Printing a Current Trend in Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education?


3D printing is rapidly expanding the way manufacturing is performed. 3D printing is revolutionizing creation in a number of fields outside of manufacturing. Arts, robotics, architecture, and health care are just a few of the industries benefiting from this technology. The skills needed for implementing 3D printing technologies can be acquired in vocational technical schools, adult continuing education programs, and colleges & universities. [129].

3D printing and associated technologies allow users to design from scratch, or utilize 3-dimensional scanning technologies to create digital models. In the fields of science, such as anthropology, 3D printed models may be constructed by scanning fossil finds and creating replicas to be studied. 3D models may also be created to represent items too small, delicate, or expensive to manipulate in their natural states. [130].

Implementation of 3D Printing


A basic 3D printing environment consists of a means to generate or manipulate digital models and a 3D printer. Creation and manipulation of the digital models can be performed via a computer or other computing platform such as a tablet. 3 dimensional scanners may also be used to provide digital imagery for output to a 3D printer, but are not necessary to their function.

3D printers comes in a variety of sizes and capabilities. Most printers function through a process called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), which extrudes heated materials and deposits those materials layer by layer, constructing the final design. Typical 3D printers are designed to use this process. The typical materials are thermoplastics. [131].

Instruction in a classroom setting typically includes the creation of 3D digital models, the manipulation of digital models, 3D printing basics, and the appropriate application of 3D printing technology. A number of manufacturers as well as 3D printing communities have produced basic curriculum documents. [132]

Key issues with 3D Printing


3D printing presents a number of challenges in an educational setting: Some issues to be aware of when considering the use of a 3D Printer in the Classroom:

Standards: There are currently no widely accepted standards for 3D printing. Differences in usability vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Cost: The cost of 3D printing is dependent upon a number of factors: the type materials used, the finished product size, the printer manufacturer, and the software manufacturer are typically determining factors in overall cost. While 3D printing has become more affordable, higher quality tools are generally available at a higher cost.
Skills: 3D printing requires special skills, especially for design and manipulation. 3D printing can be self-taught; however, structured lessons with a knowledgeable instructor is the best approach. These skills may come at a high cost to the school.


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Loy, J. (2014). ELearning and eMaking: 3D printing blurring the digital and the physical. Education Sciences, 4(1), 108-121. doi:10.3390/educsci4010108

McMenamin, P.G., Quayle, M.R., McHenry, C.R., & Adams, J.W. (2014). The production of anatomical teaching resources using three-dimensional (3D) printing technology. American Association of Anatomists, 7, 479-486. doi:10.1002/ase.1475

Petrick, I.J., and Simpson, T.W. (2015). 3D printing disrupts manufacturing: How economies of one create new rules of competition. Research-Technology Management, 56(6), 12-16.

Rengier, F., Mehndiratte, A., von Tengg-Kobligk, H., Unterhinninghofen, R., Kauczor, H.U., & Giesel, F.L. (2010). 3D printing based on imaging data: Review of medical applications. International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 5(4), 335-341. doi:10.1007/s11548-010-0476-x

Scalfani, V.F., & Sahib, J. (2013). A model for managing 3D printing services in academic libraries. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. doi:10.5062/F4XS5SB9


Design Thinking in K-12 Education


What is Design Thinking?


Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. This type of thinking teaches students in a human-centered approach to problem solving. Leaders in the educational system can use this process as pedagogy. Design thinking starts by imagining alternative futures, new experiences, and new norms. Design thinking will help educational leaders prepare students for what the future will hold for them. “A design mindset is not problem-focused; it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer)” (Brown as cited in Creativity at Work, 2017). This type of thinking has been used in the traditional business research arena and social justice for years. However, schools have started to see the benefit of using the design thinking process (Coleman, 2016).

Why is Design Thinking a Current Trend in K-12 Education?


Many successful businesses embrace design thinking to improve their products and enhance their customers' experiences to great effect (Riddle, n.d.). It is important for educational leaders to experiment with design thinking to improve daily operations as well as enhance both the in-class and out-of-class experiences for teachers, students and parents. This type of thinking teaches students in a human-centered approach to problem solving. Leaders in the educational system can use this process as pedagogy. Design thinking starts by imagining alternative futures, new experiences, and new norms. Design thinking will help educational leaders prepare students for what the future will hold for them.

Design Thinking in the K-12 Setting


Design thinking is gaining a lot of momentum in the K-12 setting. There are changes that need to be made to implement Design Thinking. According to the Stanford d-School process guide, Design Thinking begins with four phases (George Lucas Educational Foundation, 2016): (1) Empathy -What do your students consider important? -Which topics spark their curiosity? -How might they want to engage with this specific content? -How might they choose to demonstrate their learning? (2) Define -In K-12 Design Thinking begin by defining a problem. -This could be a curricular unit, set of skills, or a broader community challenge. (3) Ideate -When the problem is articulated, start generating ideas. -The goal might not be readily apparent, so many ideas will turn into prototypes. -This is the time to experiment without concerns of failing (4) Produce -When students are ready they can produce the final lesson -The process shifts from the teacher’s practice to fostering a culture of innovation

Key Issues in Design Thinking


Whenever there are new initiatives, there are issues to consider. Design Thinking requires a breadth of knowledge and experience from various disciplines, which is not present in most K-12 students given the stage of their cognitive development and education background (Morrison, 2013). It requires one to think of a problem from unconventional, even unlikely perspectives that lead to a collection of insights—insights that will ultimately produce a unique solution, which might be difficult for a K-12 student (Morrison, 2013). Design Thinking has also been described as using a “close, almost anthropological observation of people to gain insight into problems that may not be articulated yet” (Korn & Silverman, 2012). Some might say that K-12 students do not have the educational background to engage in Design Thinking.


Carroll, M., Goldman, S., Britos, L., Koh, J., Royalty, A., & Hornstein, M. (2010). Destination, imagination and the fires within: Design thinking in a middle school classroom. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 29(1), 37-53. doi:10.1111/j.1476-8070.2010.01632.x

Gobble, M. M. (2014). Design thinking. Research Technology Management, 57(3), 59-61. Retrieved from

Fontichiaro, K. (2016). Inventing products with design thinking: Balancing structure with open-ended thinking. Teacher Librarian, 44(2), 53-55,63. Retrieved from

Li, M. (2002). Fostering design culture through cultivating the user-designers' design thinking and systems thinking. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 15(5), 385-410. Retrieved from

Orthel, B. D. (2015). Implications of design thinking for teaching, learning, and inquiry. Journal of Interior Design, 40(3), 1-20. doi:10.1111/joid.12046


Creativity at Work. (2017). Design thinking as a strategy for innovation. Retrieved from

Coleman, M. C. (2016). Design thinking and the school library. Knowledge Quest, 44(5), 62-68. Retrieved from

Design thinking in schools (n.d.). Retrieved from

George Lucas Foundation (2016). Design thinking and pbl. Retrieved from

Korn, M., & Silverman, R. (2012). Design thinking concept gains traction as more programs offer problem-solving courses. Retrieved from

Morrision, D (2013). Why design thinking doesn’t work in education. Retrieved from

Riddle, T. (2017). Improving schools through design thinking. Retrieved from

Social Media and Higher Education


What is social media?


Social Media and Higher Education


The concept of the classroom is no longer something that is bound to a physical space or even to synchronous meetings. On-line learning environments like distance learning and social media are changing the way people learn- especially Millennials and those belonging to Generation Z. This shift of using social media and other technologies is taking the old concept of ‘group work’ and making it digital and in some cases, global. Social media has shifted the paradigm from passively consuming material on-line to students creating their own learning. This paper will focus on the trends of using both SNSs and ESNSs (Educational Social Networking Sites) in higher education from both a marketing perspective and recruitment tool as well as a tool for learning and collaboration.

Description of Trend


The role of social media in education is an important trend for educational technology leaders to understand. According to the Pew Research Center (2010) the Millennial generation is poised to be the most educated generation in history and has been dubbed the first “constantly connected” generation (Sessa, 2014). This means that Millennials are constantly connected to a mobile device and Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) need to evaluate the ways they are implementing social media and its effectiveness. The plan to complete this assignment is to research to find out what are common social media sites that IHEs use, how they are used, and if there is any research on their effectiveness. Further, drawbacks and advantages of using social media in IHEs will be examined.

Social Media and Higher Education: Recruitment and Marketing


Today, 100 percent of colleges and universities use some form of social media (Sessa, 2014). One way that social media is being used is as a marketing and recruitment tool. According to a study conducted in 2010-2011 by the Center of Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the most common social media sites used by IHEs are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging and podcasting sites, (Sessa, 2014). Research indicates that social media plays three key roles from the perspective of an admissions officer; locating information about students, recruiting students, and monitoring the “buzz” about their institutions (Sessa, 2014). Some advantages of using social media sites for this purpose are that students and other individuals can quickly find out information about the school or program, however a downside as identified through research is that often the social media sites only allow one way communication and do not offer a way for stakeholders to have meaningful conversations about the content (Sessa, 2014).

Best practices: Social media and recruitment


Best practices have been identified for the implementation of social media for IHE’s, such as utilizing video to deliver information, linking social networking sites from the schools main home page and vice versa, soliciting input from a variety of perspectives, allowing visitors to interact with the page, tracking site visitors and updating the site frequently with new content (Sessa, 2014).

Implementation of SNSs and ESNSs


What are they?

Educational Social Networking Sites (ESNSs) are customizable social networking sites specifically designed to support learning and collaboration while traditional social networking sites (SNSs) are sites that support communication but not necessarily collaboration. These sites all are possible due to advances in Web 2.0 technology.

What are some examples? Common examples of ESNSs are Elgg, Edmodo, MyBigCampus, Challenge yourself to blog, The Global Read Aloud, TedEd, Google+, Vimeo, Word Press, Blogger, Skype, Pinterest, YouTube and Teacher Tube are among popular social media sites used for educational purposes. Common examples of SNSs are Word press, Skype, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

How are they used? ESNSs and SNSs offer different features so it makes sense that they are utilized differently. Further, each ESNS offers unique features making it an important choice of educators. Some like Edmodo, MyBigCampus and Google+ provide a platform for teachers and students to connect and work collaboratively. The cost for these are low or free and can take the place of more expensive course management systems like Blackboard Lean or Desire to Learn which carry hefty price tags. Others like TedEd, Vimeo, YouTube, and TeacherTube provide videos to watch and discuss or platforms to create upload and share videos. Yet others like Pinterest provide a bookmarking service where teachers and students can create and share resources or save and compile resource lists. More information is needed on this topic to complete the assignment.

What are the benefits/ drawbacks?


The use of SNSs and the development of SNSs for optimal learning or ESNS (Alkhathlan & Al-Daraiseh, 2017) will vary depending on the indented learning outcomes of the course or that of student goals. For example, SNSs like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have had a positive impact with helping students make a good choice for attending college. These particular SNSs are used heavily by nearly all IHE’s and a thorough investigation coupled with networking with current or former students allows prospective students with a unique insider knowledge that was not available before. According to the University of Minnesota (2009), benefits to students are an increase in creativity and collaboration as well as improved communication skills. For some students demonstrating what they have learned through a traditional paper can be challenging but they can be successful writing for a blog. Another benefit is that the use of SNSs can increase motivation and therefore increase student usage which will have a positive impact on developing their technological literacy through the additional practice. SNSs offers ways for people to interact and connect with content and the possibilities are endless.

Additional positives of using social media sites in the classroom are that teens use social media heavily and this can promote student-student, student-teacher, and student-content interaction since the tool is something they already value and use (Drake, 2014). Some studies have noted a positive correlation between time spent on social media for a specific class and GPA and browsing links shared and reading updates yielded greater academic gains (Alkhathlan & Al-Daraiseh, 2017).

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) must be understood by faculty and students before Social Networks and online learning occur since the distinction between personal and professional lives can become blurred. Students and educators must understand that nothing is private on the internet. Best practices using social networks have been identified by Anderson (2013): • Get student consent before sharing a picture where they are identifiable • Never post information about students grades or performance on a social media site • Never initiate one-on-one personal communication on a social media site • Don’t make students give any personal information about themselves, schedule, or academic standing While FERPA does not forbid instructors from using social media in the classroom common sense guidelines should be implemented to protect students’ privacy. An additional drawback or issue is the likelihood that SNSs will distract students. Therefore, discussions about time management as well as how to stay safe and be a good digital citizen are encouraged (University of Minnesota, 2009).


Keeping up with technology is not an easy task and requires one to remain invested in being a lifelong learner. The reference list in this paper is a great place to start to investigate recent, relevant research pertaining to IHE’s implementation of ESNSs and SNSs. Recommended resources are investigating popular SNSs like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Teacher Tube, LinkedIn and Google+. There are several valuable YouTube videos about this trend as well and can be accessed by the following citations:

Duke University. (May 5, 2014). Using social media effectively in higher education. [video file]. Retrieved from Stroller, E. (May 20, 2014). Use and impact of social media in higher education. [video file]. Retrieved from University of Minnesota. (October 2, 2009). Social networking sites have educational benefits. [video file]. Retrieved from

References Alkhathlan, A.A., & A-Daraiseh, A.A. (2017). An analytical study of the use of social networks for collaborative learning in higher education. I.J. Modern Education and Computer Science, 2(1-13). doi: 10.5815/ijmecs.2017.02.01 Anderson, M. (2014, December 3). Navigating privacy laws in higher education social media.[Web log post]. Retrieved from: laws-in-higher-education-social-media/ Cheser, L. (2013, November 15). 25 Awesome social media tools for education. Retrieved from: Daniels, L. (2014, March 29). Ten social media sites for teachers and students. Retrieved from: media-sites-for-education/ Drake, P. (2014, February 24). Is your use of social media FERPA compliant? [Web log post].Retrieved from education-social-media/ EDUCAUSEreview. (2014). Retrieved from Orlanda, J. (2011, February 7). FERPA and social media. Retrieved from social-media/ Sessa, W.L. (Fall 2014). Targeting millennials: Social media strategies within higher education. College & University, 90(1), 2-11. University of Minnesota. (2009, October 2). Social networking sites have educational benefits. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Digital Citizenship


What is Digital Citizenship?


Digital citizenship, a growing trend in educational technology, requires educators to teach individuals how to use technology appropriately, to interpret and understand digital content, to evaluate the credibility of digital sources, to research and communicate digital content, and to evaluate the credibility of digital sources (Isman & Gungoren, 2014). Digital citizenship also focuses on thinking critically about the ethical use of technology in order to make safe, responsible, and respectful choices in online environments (Isman & Gungoren, 2014). Nine themes emerge within teaching and learning digital citizenship in a classroom that focuses on various issues that arise with incorporating technology into the classroom (Ribble, 2017). The nine themes include digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security (Ribble, 2017). Educators need to incorporate the nine themes into their lessons to help students use technology appropriately and responsibly (Ribble, 2017).

Why digital citizenship is a current trend in education?


Educational leaders need to provide support and resources to help educators incorporate digital citizenship into their classroom. Incorporating digital citizenship skills into a classroom allows teachers to educate students about living successfully in a digital age (Gazi, 2016). Technology enables the increasing globalization of society, and to be successful in society, students need to know how to appropriately use technology, communicate and collaborate in online environments, and maintain safety in online environments (Gazi, 2016). Many schools deal with issues that arise from technology use by students who do not know how to use technology appropriately (Ohler, 2011). Many schools deal with issues of cyberbullying and sexting; however, schools do not address the problem that causes these problems, a lack of students’ digital citizenship skills (Ohler, 2011). Implementing digital citizenship skills into school curriculums can help prevent students from participating in negative technology behaviors (Ohler, 2011). Educational leaders need to make incorporating digital citizenship into their education institutions a priority so that student become aware of the consequences of their actions (Ohler, 2011). Students often seem unaware of how their actions online can affect their safety or may be illegal, and education on these issues can make students aware of consequences for their actions (Ohler, 2011). Incorporating digital citizenship into educational institutions will develop students prepared for modern society (Common Sense Media, 2017). Educational leaders need to ensure students leave school prepared to use technology appropriately in the world in which they live (Common Sense Media, 201&). Technology rapidly changes society, and educational leaders need to change schools to reflect the needs of society (Isman & Gungoren, 2014). Students need to enter society capable of understanding human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology, of practicing legal and ethical behavior, by engaging in the safe and responsible use of technology, and capable of demonstrating a positive attitude towards technology and collaboration skills when using technology (Isman & Gungoren, 2014). One way to accomplish these goals would be for educational leaders to incorporate digital citizenship skills into education institutions.

Implementation of Digital Citizenship

  • Educators need to address with students the concept of a digital footprint and the forming of a digital reputation (Common Sense Media, 2017). Everything students do online establishes their digital footprint, and individuals can follow the actions they have executed online (Common Sense Media, 2017). Educators want to create a culture of sharing where students analyze and reflect on their online actions (Common Sense Media, 2017). Before posting anything online, students need to reflect on the perception of the post by others and how their actions will affect others (Common Sense Media, 2017).
  • Students need to create a positive self-image and identity online (Common Sense Media, 2017). Students should be encouraged to be the same individual online as offline and develop a self-image of an individual with high character (Common Sense Media, 2017). Educators should discuss the similarities and differences of presenting themselves offline and online, and avoid participation in actions that can harm themselves or others (Common Sense Media, 2017).
  • Cyberbullying needs to be addressed by educators in classrooms by equipping students with the skills necessary to avoid cyberbullying and the steps they should take to prevent or stop cyber bullying of others (Common Sense Media, 2017). Students need awareness of the way cyberbullying can negatively impact individuals and cause pain (Siegle, 2010). Educators and students should be taught that if individuals show obsessive internet usage they may be a cyberbully or a victim of cyberbullying, and an intervention may be needed (Siegle, 2010). Educators should also incorporate special cyberbullying lessons, assemblies, and discussions to raise awareness of cyberbullying and help students know what to do if they are a victim or witness of cyberbullying (Siegle, 2010).
  • Communication lesson should focus on identifying the appropriate types of communication with regard to the audiences and individuals (Common Sense Media, 2017). Online etiquette should be incorporated into communication lessons, and students should practice reflecting on the motivations, feelings, and intentions of others when communication online (Common Sense Media, 2017). Students should be taught to use words wisely and communicate in a positive manner (Common Sense Media, 2017).
  • Educational leaders should incorporate Internet safety lessons into the curriculum to address the dangers of sexting and online predators (Common Sense Media, 2017). Students should be made aware of a misconception that exists concerning online predators, that older individuals make up the majority of online predators (Common Sense Media, 2017). In reality, teens or young adults make up the majority of online predators, so education must be provided about relationships formed online (Common Sense Media, 2017). Elementary level students need to be educated by using real life, age appropriate scenarios, and middle school and high school students should be educated through discussions and not fear based messaging (Common Sense Media, 2017).

Key Issues with Digital Citizenship


There are nine main issues that need to be addressed when developing digital citizenship programs to fully educate students on how to be successful digital citizens in a globalizing world.

  • Digital Access - Not all individuals have access to technology in their homes, and steps need to be taken to provide technology to all individuals (Ribble, 2017). Students with lower socioeconomic status, special needs, and those who live in remote physical locations can exist in a digital divide because they have limited access to technology (Godfrey, 2016). Educational leaders need to ensure that all students have access to technology in the classroom so that they can be successful in a society dependent on these tools (Ribble, 2017).
  • Digital commerce - Many products can now be sold online, and students need to realize the risks associated with buying and selling products online such as illegal sales, identify theft, and fraud (Ribble, 2017). Students should be educated in order to be effective consumers in a digital age, the protections needed to buy and sell online, and negative affects on their credit that can occur (Godfrey, 2016). Lessons should provide information on safe internet transactions and purchasing legal products (Ribble, 2017).
  • Digital Communication - A great deal of communication occurs in a digital environment, and students need to learn how to interact appropriately in these environments (Ribble, 2017). Many students act differently online because of the absence of face-to-face interaction; as a result, some individuals will harass individuals or create alternative identities for themselves when using communication technology (Common Sense Media, 2017). Educational leaders should urge educators to create appropriate lessons so that students can learn appropriate ways to communicate and collaborate with people online (Ribble, 2017).
  • Digital Literacy - Educators, educational leaders, and students need to be educated on the effective use of technology. Technology constantly changes, and teaching technology literacy skills will provide individuals with the skills needed to use technology effectively and appropriately (Ribble, 2017).
  • Digital Etiquette - Many times students do not consider that their actions online come with consequences, and misbehaving online becomes much easier because of a type of anonymity exists in a digital environment (Common Sense Media, 2017). Without proper digital etiquette, students may not know how to effectively communicate or collaborate in digital environments (Common Sense Media, 2017). Educational leaders should provide their educational institutions with a code of online conduct to develop etiquette when using technology (Ribble, 2017).
  • Digital Law - Many ways exist to use technology in illegal ways, such as theft, damaging others work, identity theft, or hacking (Ribble, 2017). Students need to be aware that they can be held accountable for their actions online, and understand how to interact legally online
  • Digital Rights and Responsibilities - Students need to realize that all individuals have basic rights online that they can not infringe upon (Ribble, 2017). With rights such as free speech and privacy, students also gain responsibilities to maintain these rights for others and use technology appropriately (Ribble, 2017). Educational leaders need to discuss with students their rights and responsibilities online to help them make appropriate decisions (Ribble, 2017). Students should be made aware of their technology responsibilities in and out of school, how to cite sources, and requesting permission to use other’s work (Godfrey, 2016).
  • Digital Health and Wellness - Overusing technology can damage eyes and stress joints in the body (Ribble, 2017). Educators should teach students ergonomic practices so that the negative effects of overusing technology do not damage the body (Ribble, 2017). Educators should also discuss technology addiction and ways to overcome these addictions (Godfrey, 2016).
  • Digital Security- Online environments can be populated by people who cannot be trusted; these type of digital citizens can steal from others, harass others, or try to lure individuals into unsafe situations (Ribble, 2017). Incorporating digital citizenship into schools’ curriculums would allow educators to teach students how to protect themselves online and help other individuals to protect themselves (Ribble, 2017). Educators need to ensure students know how to protect their privacy online (Godfrey, 2016).

Hill, V. (2015). Digital citizenship through game design in minecraft. New Library World, 116(7), 369-382. Retrieved from

Isman, A., & Gungoren, O. C. A. N. A. N. (2014). Digital citizenship. TOJET : The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13(1) Retrieved from

Gazi, Z. A. (2016). Internalization of digital citizenship for the future of all levels of education. Egitim Ve Bilim, 41(186) Retrieved from

Godfrey, R. V. (2016). Digital citizenship: Paving the way for family and consumer sciences. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 108(2), 18-22. Retrieved from:

Ohler, J. (2011). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 25-27. Retrieved from

Richards, R. (2010). Digital citizenship and web 2.0 tools. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 516. Retrieved from

Searson, M., Hancock, M., Soheil, N., & Shepherd, G. (2015). Digital citizenship within global contexts. Education and Information Technologies, 20(4), 729-741. Retrieved from

Siegle, D. (2010). Cyberbullying and sexting: Technology abuses of the 21st century. Gifted Child Today, 33(2), 14-16,65,4. Retrieved from


Get Safe Online:


Media Literacy:

Cyber Crime:

Digital Citizenship Skills:

Net Addiction:


Common Sense Media: Common Sense Media. (2017). For Educators - Common Sense Media. Retrieved from

Digital Citizenship: Ribble, M. (2017). Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from

Open Educational Resources (OER)


What are OER?


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (2016) describes Open Educational Resources (OERs) as “high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose” (para. 1). Reiser and Dempsey (2017) elaborate, “OERs can include a wide range of educational materials ranging from full courses to singular learning object such as videos or images” (p. 180). Wiley (as cited in Reiser and Dempsey, 2016) elaborates further by explaining that for a product to be considered and OER, outside parties need to be able to legally retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the content as they so choose. (p. 319)

Why are OER a current trend?


OER are customizable depending on teachers’ purposes. The accessibility and versatility make them significant in today’s K-12 educational environment where teachers are working with diverse student bodies with varying interests, strengths, and needs. Dr. David Wiley is an active and vocal proponent of OER and the “Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to increasing student success, reinvigorating pedagogy, and improving the affordability of education through the adoption of open educational resources by schools, community and state colleges, and universities.” (Wiley, n.d., para. 1) In a blog post, Wiley (2013) elaborates further: “OER are,

  • Free to access
  • Free to reuse
  • Free to revise
  • Free to remix
  • Free to redistribute” (para. 2).

Due to their lack of cost and adaptability, OER have multiple implications for today’s educational realms including access to manipulative high quality materials, cost effectiveness, and enhanced teacher input and collaboration.

Below, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (2015) discuss problematic publishing issues: …stakeholders are identifying a number of problems with the dominant publishing model. In the United States, textbook costs are rising rapidly while quality suffers, particularly in the K–12 market in terms of alignment with the latest educational standards. In the developing world, there are often shortages of high-quality materials, and many students cannot access the existing materials due to cost barriers and copyright issues that prevent translation. Across all countries, teachers feel bound to rigid curricula that are not tailored to their students’ needs and local contexts. OER may be able to solve these problems. (p. iiij)

School districts throughout the nation are facing budget restraints that make OERs an important consideration for no-cost, current, high quality teaching and learning materials. The United States Department of Education quotes Open Education Advisor, Andrew Marcinek, “Switching to openly-licensed educational materials has enabled school districts to repurpose funding typically spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning” (U.S. Department of Education, 2016, para. 6).

Furthermore, “As the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics are implemented, school districts will be looking for instructional material to meet the new standards. Open Educational Resources (OER) may help fill that need” (Access Washington, 2017, para. 2). Kramer (2015) explains another factor that make OER important in K-12 and higher education. He states the OER enhance teachers’ expertise: “Openly licensed materials empower teachers: unleashing their creativity by enabling them to customize courses in ways that deepen both their own engagement and that of their students” (para. 3).

Finally, “These tools facilitate self-organization among educators and learners, providing a bottom-up option for collaborative learning to complement existing centrally organized and designed learning networks” (Martinez, 2010, p. 75).

Implementation of OER in the K-12 Setting


“Teachers are self-organizing to share curricula through open educational resources” (Martinez, 2017, p. 74). This collaboration and access to resources is evolving into abundant repositories of searchable K-12 content, often organized and searchable. Tonks, Weston, Wiley, and Barbour (2013) describe a high school in Utah that relies solely on OER. The author’s quote the school’s charter documents when they explain, “This approach allows unprecedented levels of individualized instruction with a highly responsive curriculum” (Tonks, Weston, Wiley & Barbour, 2013, p. 258). The Knowledge Hub, developed in 2001, is just one example of a warehouse containing open resources for K-12 education developed in 2001. The philosophy of the organization is, “Empowerment through Technology Integration” (Kembhavi, n.d., para. 4).

Without doubt, technology is a mighty force that elicits massive transformation in the education sector. However, it is not enough to simply have the technology in our hands. It is more imperative to identify the right tools and resources that will address specific needs of every school and be able to utilize it in such a way that will be adequate and suitable to the different learning requirements of every child. Correspondingly, it is indispensable to have technology that is sustainable, making sure that technological advancements used in every classroom are effectively utilized, correctly implemented and strongly supported. With that, we are certain that learning will not be futile, but instead, will be meaningful. (Kembhavi, n.d., para. 6)

The field of open educational resources for K-12 students is growing (Martinez, 2010, p. 74), and additional resources can be found in the section of this Wiki section entitled Related Research and Additional Resources.

Key issues with OER


Waters (as cited in Welz, 2017) explains that “Because OERs are digital, teachers and students cannot access them without computers, tablets, or smart mobile devices” (p. 66). Underfunded systems will still lack access to these powerful resources; and, consequently the digital divide stands to grow. Funding, support, structure, and planning by educational leaders and stakeholders across the globe is necessary if K-12 schools are to utilize these resources responsibly and effectively for all students.

There exists extensive content with access to Web 2.0, and a great deal of that content falls into the definition of OER. However, quality educators who are ready and willing to embrace OER are essential if the movement is to continue expanding. Hashey and Stahl (2014) explain that the growth and acceptance of online learning resources have not eliminated the need for teachers when they explain: “The teacher remains a key factor in a child’s education” (p. 71). In order to use OER effectively and efficiently, competent, thoughtful educators must retrieve, filter and store materials. “Because open learning environments empower local teachers and staff so significantly, quality assurance in these environments requires more active involvement by local teachers and staff” (Tonks, et al., 2013, p. 262). Due to the way in which educators, schools, and districts have come to rely on copy written educational materials, Reiser and Dempsey (2016) explain that a educators will need to think more broadly of how OER can replace or be included in current curricula in ways that enhance teaching and learning. “When you strip away the constraints of copyright, as open educational resources do, what new kids of educational practice, instructional design, assessment strategies and pedagogies become possible” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2016, p. 321).

Districts that have digital access will need to examine and adjust firewalls that impede educators from accessing some OER. This shift may make it necessary for schools to adopt digital citizenship courses or lessons so students avoid content that might be objectionable.

In addition, assessments are currently lacking on OER spaces and Wiley states, “Now that the OER snowball is rolling down the hill and growing in size every day, at least some people in the field need to turn their attention to the creation of Open Assessment Resources (OAR)” (Wiley, 2011, para. 6). If a K-12 educational community commits to using OER to teach the current generation of students, they will need effective ways to assess learning.


Annenberg Learner:

Achieve the Core- ELA/Literacy Lessons and assessments:

Achieve the Core: Mathematics Lessons and assessments:


Edutopia- Open Educational Resources:

Federal Resourcs for Eucational Excellence:


Kahn Academy:

OER Commons:




Access Washington. (2017). Open educational resources. Retrieved from

Distance Learning, 14(1) Retrieved from

Hashey, A. I., & Stahl, S. (2014). Making online learning accessible for students with disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 46(5), 70-78. Retrieved from

Kembhavi, S. (n.d.). Knowledge Hub. Retrieved from

Kramer, L. (2015, December 9). Sharing the benefits of open educational resources with everyone. Retrieved from

Martinez, M. (2010). A new generation of teachers will change schools. The Phi Delta Kappan, 91(7), 74-75.

Reiser, R.A, & Dempsey, J.V. (2016-2017). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. New York: Pearson.

Giles, B.L. (2013). Unleashing Your Harnessed Potential.

Tonks, D., Weston, S., Wiley, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2013). "Opening" a new kind of school: The story of the open high school of Utah. International Review of Research in Open and

U.S. Department of Education. (2016, February 26). U.S. department of education recognizes 14 states and 40 districts committing to #GoOpen with educational resources. Retrieved from

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Brain-Based Devices


What are Devices for Brain-Based Technology?


Devices for brain-based technology are realistic brain models that control a robotic device while is performs a behavioral task (The Neuroscience Institute, n.d.). These brain-based devices (BBDs) contain simulated brains that takes signals from the environment and perform actions (Krichmar and Edelman, 2003, p. 940). BBD’s are seen as neurally, related to the nervous system, controlled robots, but unlike robots who perform actions from programmed directions and artificial intelligence, BBDs take information from the environment without prior instruction which allows them to adapt to their environment (Edelman, 2007, p, 1103; Fleischer and Edelman, 2009, p. 33; Krichmar and Edelman, 2003, p. 940). According to Krishmar and Edelman (2003), BBDs operate within four principles that allow them to change with their environment (p. 940). Frist, the device must be involved in a behavioral task (Krichmar and Edelman, 2003, p. 940). Second, the device’s behavior must be regulated by a simulated nervous system that is comparable to the brain (Krichmar and Edelman, 2003, p. 940). Third, the device’s actions can be changed by a reward or value system directly related to the environmental cues in the BBD’s nervous system (Krichmar and Edelman, 2003, p. 940). Finally, the BBD must be located in the real world (Krichmar and Edelman, 2003, p. 940). Two early examples of BBDs from the Neuroscience Institute are the Darwin VII and Darwin X. The Darwin VII was able to see, hear, taste, and move with its “brain” to explore and track in the environment though it did not have a long-term memory (Edelman, 2007, p. 1103). The Darwin X was designed to have a longer term memory that allowed it to find a hidden platform using clues, similar to a rat in a maze finding a place to rest (Edelman, 2007, p. 1104). The Neuroscience Institute created 10 versions of Darwin over a period that extended beyond 20 years. BBDs are now incorporated into robots with engineering principles (Edelman, 2007, p. 1105).

Why Devices for Brain-Based Technology are a Current Trend?


BBDs are a current trend in education because of who they can be tied to STEM activities through coding and various types of robotic creations. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Groome and Rodriguez, 2014, p. 1; Karp and Maloney, 2013, p. 39). The math skills that students engage with include number sense, measurement, and space and shape (Francis and Poscente, 2017, p. 312). The STEM workforce makes up more than 50% of the nation’s sustained economic growth therefore it needs to be a part of the K-12 education system (Groome and Rodriguez, 2014, p. 1). One way to build STEM interest and academic proficiency is to introduce the ideas at an early age (Groome and Rodriguez, 2014, p. 2). Educational Robotics is a growing field that can be used to develop students’ cognitive and social skills with hands-on, fun activities that feed the interest and curiosity of students (Alimisis, 2013, p. 63; Datteri, Zecca, Laudisa. And Castiglioni, 2013, p. 29). Essential life skills and 21st century learning and work skills, such as, research skills, creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and teamwork, are introduced and encourage with these robotic activities (Alimisis, 2013, p. 64, p. 69). Students engage in real-world activities (Mikropoulos and Bellou, 2013, p. 7).

Implementation of Devices for Brain-Based Technology in K-12 Setting


There are a variety of coding and robotic sites that can be explored to show how they can be used in K-12 settings. Below are a few examples of how some schools are implementing their use in classrooms.

  • Cotton Creek Elementary, Greenwood Village, CO:

  • A robotics competition organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology):

  • Jersey Shore Area School District, Jersey Shore, PA, Robotics Competitions:

  • Jersey Shore Area School District, Jersey Shore, PA, integrating library, literacy, and technology (coding) into 3rd and 4th grade:

  • Robotic resources that can be used in schools:

Key Issues with Devices for Brain-Based Technology



  • Students are introduced to coding.
  • Critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, communication, collaboration, and other 21st century learning skills are used with this type of technology.
  • STEM and STEAM activities actively engage students.


  • Price and ability to obtain materials (grants and funding outside of school district budgets may be possible).
  • Time in today’s test prep curriculums that are seen in some school districts could make implementation difficult.
  • Often a special activity for a short period of time or an after school program, which may limit the number of students who can participate.



Alimisis, D. (2013). Educational robotics: Open questions and new challenges. Themes in Science & Technology Education 6(1). Retrieved from

Datteri, E, Zecca, L., Laudisa, F., and Castiglioni, M. (2013).  Learning to explain: The role of educational robots in science education.  Themes in Science & Technology Education 6(1).  Retrieved from

Edelman, G.M. (2007). Learning in and from brain-based devices. Science 318(1103). Retrieved from

Fleischer, J.G and Edelman, G.M. (2009). Brain-based devices: An embodied approach to linking nervous system structure and function to behavior. IEEE Robotics & automation Magazine. Retrieved from

Francis, K. and Poscente, M. (2017). Building number sense with Lego robots. Teaching Children Mathematics 23(5). Retrieved from

Groome, M. and Rodriguez, L.M. (2014). How to build a robot: Collaborating to strengthen STEM programing in a citywide system. Afterschool Matters 19. Retrieved from

Karp, T. and Maloney, P. (2013). Exciting young students in grades K-8 about STEM through an afterschool robotics challenge. American Journal of Engineering Education 4(1). Retrieved from q=robotspr=on&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_2013&id=EJ1057112

Krichmar, J.L. and Edelman, G.M. (2002). Machine psychology: Autonomous behavior, perceptual categorization and conditioning in a brain-base device. Cereb Cortex 12 (8), 818-830. Retrieved from

Lee, J. (2016). Brain-computer interfaces and dualism: A problem of brain, mind, and body. AI & Society, 31(1), 29-40. doi:10.1007/s00146-014-0545-8

Mikropoulos, T.A. and Bellou, I. (2013). Educational robotics as mindtools. Themes in Science and Technology Education 6(1). Retrieved from

The Neurosciences Institute. (n.d.). Brain-Based Devices. Retrieved from


Growth Mindset Theory


What is Growth Mindset Theory and How is it Enhanced by Technology?


Growth Mindset Theory is the ideology that through hard work and determination in oneself a student is capable to increasing their intelligence (Kosterlitz, 2015). It is the belief that the brain is malleable and has the capacity to expand and grow (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007). The term growth mindset was first introduced by Carol Dweck (2010), when she refuted the notion that intelligence was a natural occurrence that effected individuals differently. Additionally, growth mindset is considered by academics to be the opposite of fixed mindset, which transpires when an individual does not believe that they are capable of learning something (Kosterlitz, 2015). According to Kazakoff and Mitchell (2016), growth mindset is best paired with digital technologies such as a discussion board. Discussion boards are accommodating when attempting to implement a growth mindset within the classroom because they are shown to challenge the student while creating an environment of personalization (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016).

Why is Growth Mindset Theory with an Emphasis on Technology a Current Trend?


According to Gray, Thomas, and Lewis (2010), 97 percent of schools have the ability to access a remote portal while outside of school. Thus the ability for most students to access a discussion board is high. When students are on their own they are more willing to challenge themselves in extreme ways then if sitting in a classroom in front of their peers (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016). This also takes into consideration the matter of different being on different levels (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016). When a student masters a particular element of the discussion, they can delve deeper into the subject, continuing to learn, without the fear of being held back (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016). Moreover, utilizing a technology such as a discussion board is a current trend in promoting growth mindset because it allows the student to monitor the pace in which they progress, as well as observe their development first hand, ultimately leading to a growth in intelligence and self-esteem (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016).

Implementation of Growth Mindset Theory with an Emphasis on Technology


Although online discussions are most often controlled by the student when attempting to implement a growth mindset within a classroom the teacher should have some influence. Blackwell, Trzesniewski, and Dweck (2007), conducted a study in which the student was in control of problem solving and critical thinking, but the teacher was there to assist in the advancement of their learning. Occasionally, a student will get stuck when working out a problem and subsequently give up, believing that they are incapable of assessing the situation on their own (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007). If this situation arises Blackwell, Trzesniewski, and Dweck (2007), suggest that the teacher ask the student to explain their pattern of thinking. Upon obtaining the answer from the student, the teacher should then encourage them to use a different way of thinking in order to better understand the problem (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007). The result showed an overall increase in the students’ grades (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007).

Key Issues with Growth Mindset Theory with an Emphasis on Technology


Research shows success when utilizing a discussion type technology combined with the implementation of growth mindset in the classroom (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016). It has benefits that include the enhancement of self-esteem, the growth of intelligence, and the increase in one’s willingness to take risks and utilize critical thinking skills (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2016). However, not all criticism is positive in regard to growth mindset theory when combined with technology. According to Sparks (2013) it is often easy for students who are academically more successful to fall behind as the teacher is more focused on the development of the struggling student. Moreover, successfully implementing discussion board type technology is not possible for all classrooms across the United States (Gibbs, Dosen, & Guerrero, 2008). According to Gibbs, Dosen and Guerrero (2008), there is currently a digital divide within the country due to differing socioeconomic statuses, making it often difficult for some students to access the internet at home.


Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246-263. Retrieved from

Dweck, C. (2010). Even geniuses have to work hard. Giving Students Meaningful Work, 68(1), 16-20. Retrieved from

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Gray, L., Thomas, N., & Lewis, L. (2010). Teachers' use of educational technology in U.S. public schools: 2009. First look. NCES 2010-040. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from

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Kosterlitz, A. (2015). The four traits of confidence: Growth mindset, courage, grit, and self-compassion. Woman Advocate, 21(1). Retrieved from

Sparks, S. D. (2013). Growth mindset: Gaining traction as school improvement strategy. Education Week, 33(3), 1-21. Retrieved from


I. Online Schooling Trend Online education has been a growing educational platform since the 1990’s in what Glatthorn, Boschee, and Whitehead (2016) referred to as the Technological Construction era. Online schooling goes by many different names. Some examples are virtual education, e-learning, distance learning, and cyber school. Implementing technology in the traditional classroom was important in the 21st-century (Glatthorn et al. 2016). There were many issues occurring in the traditional classrooms that parents were concerned with which caused growth in the online school movement. Some reasons for choosing online education are to avoid bullying, school shootings, physical distance, flexibility, and disabilities (Ilgaz & Gulbahar, 2017; Glatthorn et al. 2016). There were 15 independent cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and many school districts have created online options for students living in their districts (PDE, 2017). There are many online platforms available for meeting places for leaders and participators to collaborate live from their own individual locations. Blackboard Collaborate will be used as an example for this chapter. II. Rationale The growth of distance learning speaks to why educational leaders must start paying more attention to online learning. Funding of programs and training are important factors for leaders to consider. The growth of virtual public charter schools mentioned above uses tax money to operate just like the traditional brick and mortar public schools. Therefore, it is important for educational leaders to ensure the best options for schooling is made available to each student. Ultimately student growth and doing what is best for each student is the priority regardless of the school setting. Teachers and leaders need to learn the technology platforms and ins and outs of online learning so they can help students reach their fullest potential. Leaders in technology have many reasons to find a user friendly online classroom that meets their needs to instruct students. Most online platforms can be used at any age level and allow for both collaboration and independent work. Learning and applying the basic features are not difficult for leaders to use and learn. Typically the leader is known as the moderator and can effectively teach content of any subject matter. The moderator can facilitate discussion easily. III. Implementation Blackboard Collaborate Example Having a virtual classroom where students and teachers can meet and discuss course content is needed for online schooling. As stated above, more and more schools are using the virtual platform for courses from elementary school to higher education. There are many virtual platforms to meet and collaborate with classmates and teachers. Blackboard Collaborate is an online classroom where teachers can present class content and interact with students. Students can raise their hand, move and draw material on the white board, answer questions with poling tools, type in the chat box, talk on a microphone and use a webcam. Teachers can give and take away any tools, share documents and content with participants, create private or small group breakout rooms, set timers, publish or share poling responses and record sessions. The educational leader can also share websites live, create a PowerPoint of subject matter to teach and record for self reflection or for viewers who may have missed the session. Blackboard allows for the moderator to assess learning in many different ways. The leader can assess both private or small group breakout rooms for mastery. The moderator can use private or public poling tools as well. The facilitator can asses learning by hearing answers on the microphone, seeing them typed in a public or private chat box, and watch students work live on the board. There is also a quiz feature that can be used to have participators complete to show mastery of content. Participants have different modes of sharing their thoughts and ideas and participating in class discussion. This benefits the leader and participants for many reasons. By writing directly on the board, typing in the chat box or talking on the microphone learning can be shared and mastery of content can be shown. This variety also allows for participants who may be having technical difficulties to still participate and engage in the lesson and discussion. Blackboard Collaborate allows for many opportunities for engagement and learning. IV. Issues

        There are certain aspects to distance learning that are drawbacks compared to being face to face with students. Firstly, the younger students can't learn everything on line. There are certain things like holding a pencil and writing on paper that are beneficial for students. Although there are technology tools that make it as authentic as possible like the bamboo pen, there is still something missing compared to actually holding the pencil and writing. Another example is how to hold a book and turn the pages. If you haven't taught kindergarten or pre-K you may have never thought about how important that is. Teaching a child the right way to hold a book and turn the pages is important. You can show a child how to do that online but you can't actually do that virtually. The older students have more they can do online and less drawbacks. 
        Online education often comes with additional independence. It is important for the learner to acknowledge this.  Time management is another important skill needed for online schooling. While this skill is a wonderful asset to many distance learners, if it is not possessed, online learning may not be a success.  It is important for online learners to have self-discipline and a drive to succeed.

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