Digital Age Learning Ecosystem






Great Blog post from Dr. Clark & the BYOT Network


My teammate, Jamie Pearson, and I teach a class for CCSD teachers each summer called “21st Century Classroom”.  We focus on PBL, Digital Assessment Tools, Learning Environments, Blended Learning, Web 2.0 tools, Flipped Learning and Screencasting, building PLNs, and much more.  After reading this blog post, I may “borrow” Dr. Clark’s naming of Digital Age Learning since it IS fourteen years… almost fifteen years into the 21st century.

The post is a MUST read… but let me list the eight elements that are highlighted in the post:

  • A Sense of Community
  • Essential Questions
  • Captivating Digital Content
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Multiple Technology Tools
  • Designs for Differentiation and Accessibility
  • Supportive Classroom Environment
  • Engaging Instructional Strategies

In order to have a successful digital age learning ecosystem, teachers may need to change the way they approach lesson planning and think more like an instructional designer.  Setting up learning opportunities, providing rich resources (digital and paper), and letting go of some control will take a different mindset and willingness to take chances.

I like the image below to help me understand teacher mindsets… and how to change…. one step at a time to embrace a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset. (Image source: @Primary_Ed – Twitter Post) 

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LINK for larger display:    fixedvsgrowthmindset


Great poster for the classroom to encourage growth mindset for students/classroom.

EDpuzzle – – Free Video Editor

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What it is:  EDpuzzle is a neat new educational site to help you better utilize video in your classroom for learning.  You can find and crop video to use only what you need, add audio notes within the video or do some voice over work for a video, and you can embed questions throughout the video to track student understanding. EDpuzzle collects data as students watch and interact with the video.  You can see if and when a student watched the video, and see the progress of all students through the answers to embedded questions.

How to use EDpuzzle in your classroom: What makes EDpuzzle great is the level of freedom given in cropping, sharing, and tracking video use in the classroom. EDpuzzle enhances the “flipped” classroom by allowing you to embed formative assessment directly into your videos. As students watch, you can check understanding and ensure active watching vs. passive watching. In a flipped scenario, this gives you the ability to completely tailor a lesson the next day based on the formative assessment results you get from homework. This is truly utilizing assessment to inform instruction (which is the point of assessment!).

EDpuzzle can be used in conjunction with videos that you have made for your students, or with videos that you find.

Tips: Don’t have access to YouTube at school?  No worries! You can still use EDpuzzle with your students. EDpuzzle lets you search for video by topic, or pull video from Khan Academy, Learn Zillion, National Geographic, TED, Veritasium, and Numberphile as well.  LOTS of incredible learning just waiting to happen!

Examples:  With documentary-type videos, EDpuzzle can be used to embed writing prompts.  Record a prompt throughout the video so that students can pause and write out their reflections and thoughts.  I find that good documentaries are often SO packed full of good things that by the end of the video, only the last 10 minutes get well-reflected on.

Have you seen Vi Hart’s YouTube channel?  She goes through math in a casual stream-of-conscious type approach.  Embed related practice math problems based on the topics that Vi is sharing in her videos.  As students get those light-bulb moments of, “oh, that is how that works!” capitalize on the new understanding by giving them a place to put it into practice and try it out.

Do you record your students learning? EDpuzzle could be a fantastic way to record audio feedback to the videos that they upload.  These can then be shared with parents and students for review.

For primary teachers, EDpuzzle could be used as part of a guided reading center.  YouTube has lots of great read-along videos. (You can also create your own based on class reading!) Use these videos along with EDpuzzle to check for comprehension.  As the video plays, embed questions to check for understanding.  Students can independently go through the guided reading (or Close reading) activity, while you work one-on-one with other reading groups.  Rotate the reading groups throughout the week so that each student gets the opportunity to go through the EDpuzzle guided reading activity, and each group gets one-on-one time with you.  This is a fantastic way to maximize your time and get valuable feedback from all student learning.

EDpuzzle could also be used in this way as a science center (with a video pertaining to an experiment or new learning), a math center, etc.

For secondary students, use EDpuzzle is a great way to check for understanding.  It is also a wonderful way for students to create and demonstrate understanding.  EDpuzzle would be ideal for sub days. EDpuzzle would give you the ability to “teach” remotely and embed the same questions and promptings you would give if you were live in the classroom.  While you won’t get to hear all of the discussion, you will have some feedback to better understand how your students were thinking.

Source: iLearnTeachnology

Here are some links of good video resources:  (Come back again… I will be adding to this list!)

Critical Past –  is a collection of more than 57,000 historical videos and more than 7 million historical photos.  All of the photos and videos are royalty free, archival stock footage.  Most of the footage comes from U.S. Government Agency sources.  All of the videos and photos can be viewed for free online and shared with others via url, Twitter, or Facebook.  The videos and photos are also available to purchase for download.

Think About the A,B,Cs…. When Using Technology Tools

When planning lesson plans and allowing students to use technology tools in the classroom, teachers AKA Instructional Designers should think A…B….C!

Here is a section from a recent blog post from  .

A- Authentic Audience
Every technology task (and every task in general) should have an authentic audience. Students should be solving problems and tackling challenges that affect real people in real ways. Not only does this increase engagement for students, but it also prepares them for future endeavors!

B- Benchmark-able
As students work through a task, they should be able to determine if their progress is increasing or not. Students should have clear benchmarks or indicators of success. In short, students should never submit something “not knowing how they did.” We can use rubrics or feedback from the authentic audience to craft these parameters with (not for!) students. Ensuring that every task assigned has these type of built in feedback mechanisms is critical!

C- Cloudy
The tasks that our students will face after they leave the K-12 system will not be clear cut. In fact, they will likely be very multifaceted, complex, and confusing. Students will have to make sense of murky problems and uncover solutions from a series of possible choices. Making our students more comfortable with work that “has no single right answer” is necessary given the demands of the modern workforce.

Using our ABCs will help prepare our students for LIFE, 
not more school. 

Six EdTech Tools for Student Products

Here is a link to a great blog post that recommends six creation tools for students.

Make sure to check out the ‘terms of service‘ before using with kids.  Be aware of CIPA and COPPA laws.











Image Source:

The Answer Pad – BYOD Student Response Option

 From iLearn Technology:

The Answer Pad is a student response system…only better!  What makes it better?  The ability for use with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) classrooms and the ability to collect student responses outside of your typical, limited multiple choice answers that most student response systems are limited to.  The Answer Pad is really made up of two parts.  1. The student response piece that lets students go interactive with outstanding drawing features.  2. The answer sheets that score and capture data from existing paper exams including full online reporting, the ability for students to show their work, and a variety of question types. The Answer Pad is available for the iPad, Android or from any web browser.  Download the TAPit Free app for the iPad!

The free version of The Answer Pad is pretty robust for teachers and students.  Premium features are available at a reasonable price that take it to the next level.

Read the blog post below to learn how to integrate The Answer Pad into the classroom: “


Teaching Writing in the 21st Century!

This is what teaching writing should look like in the 21st Century.
Check out the blog post below……

Are you able to “successfully edited every paper shared with me 2 times before the final draft was submitted.”?


Plus… this is WAY Common Core:
“Common Core Standard that requires students “develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach,” this is a wonderful way to support students in this process. You are also using “technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others,” which is another writing standard!”