Week 9 (July 22nd)

Digital Citizenship Resources

Group Social Learning PresentationsGroup 2

SMARTBoard Resources

Teachers Love SMART Boards website

 Diigo Bookmarks tagged SMART board

SMART Exchange – free and purchase lessons/Widgets/Manipulatives

SMART Notebook Express – create and view Notebook files

Intro to SMART board video by Steve and Dr. Langran

SMARTClassrooms YouTube Channel

Download SMARTboard Notebook 11 (Installation code – Marymount Students only).


Podcast PresentationsGroup 1


View on your own using VideoNot.es

1. What are specific ethical issues you see kids struggling when they use digital media?
Answer here >>> http://padlet.com/sjknight/w4y75u72gsct

2. How is our sense of identity changing in the digital world? How can adults learn from kids and guide them at the same time?

Answer here >>> http://padlet.com/sjknight/hyd8ffvaw512

3. How does teaching and learning change in a world where information is at your fingertips?

Answer here >>> http://padlet.com/sjknight/9x6jfplw0g2e


Required Reading/Exploring/Watching:

“Free Computers Don’t close the Rich-Poor Education Gap” by Gregory Ferenstein, TechCrunch, May 20, 2013

“Digital Divide is ‘Major Challenge’ in Teaching Low-Income Students, Survey Finds” by Betsy Isaacson, The Huffington Post, February 28, 2013

“Law, Software Fuel New Digital Divide'” by Alec MacGillis, The Baltimore Sun, Sept. 21, 2004

Black Girls Code: Crashing the Digital Gender Divide video


Post 1 response on your blog/class preparation:

Post at least 1 response, in the comments of this post, to the discussion on equity.



Please share with me (via Google Drive) your lesson plans, if you want my feedback, before July 27th.

Unit Plan is  due on your Google Site  by midnight July 31st.

All Professional Blog posts must be completed by midnight July 31st in order to get full credit for the Professional Blog (20%) assignment.
July 22nd is a virtual class. Login here to participate. I will be at the Rowely Hall if you prefer to be in the lab with me for tech support for virtual class and/or class projects.



  1. It’s usually assumed these days that most homes have a computer and that children know how to work them. Students without a computer could fall behind using the computer programs teachers assign in class because they have to learn the basic functions, rather than learning the information on the program. I think it’s important to make sure your students know how to use a computer without just assuming they do.

    • Good point, Morgan. I think the availability of tablets in the classroom can make it easier for teachers to assess their students’s abilities to use the computer /Internet at its most basic level. But it will be up to that teacher to take it one step farther by designing lessons that demonstrate how to accomplish learning independently when using these tools. While a teacher can be around to provide scaffolding early on, hopefully that teacher will be able to spark a student’s interest somewhere in some subject, and that will inspire the student on to independent research/learning outside the classroom.

  2. I’m sure it does create a difficulty to have so many students in your class that don’t have access to internet or technology outside of the classroom when you’re trying to implement its use. However, this shouldn’t be the end of the world or your lesson. It is reality that some people don’t have internet or computers. With that said, we should teach and incorporate the use of technology in the classroom so that they do have access while in school and will be familiar with these tools.
    I agree morgan, it is important to teach our students how to use a computer and other technological tools instead of assuming they use them at home and know how to navigate.

    • I completely agree with both of you and Morgan. We definitely can’t just assume people know how to use technology or that they have it at home, even if we’re teaching in an affluent area. We really just need to know our students and where they come from. I didn’t realize that broadband is so much more expensive in rural areas until reading the article, “Digital Divide is ‘Major Challenge’ in Teaching Low-Income Students, Survey Finds.” Our school population can come from a variety of areas and neighborhoods. We have to take the time to help those students who need to learn skills with technology, but we can’t bore the students who already know how to use.

  3. I agree with all of the above! It goes along with what we read in Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Survey- that all students are not digital natives and we should not assume that all students know how to use all forms of technology, or even that they have a computer or internet access at home. We as teachers should be getting to know our students and consistently doing formative assessments to see where they are in every subject. I think that the good thing is that technology can make it easier for a teacher to differentiate learning- while some students are using a computer program, some kids could be creating on the computer, and others with less experience could be learning how to use the computer program. It is also important to work with students to find creative ways to solve problems. If they do not have internet access at home, maybe they could go to the library or Starbucks for internet. If they do not have a computer, perhaps it is possible for them to stay after school to work on a project. A teacher must just be mindful of the fact that not all students will have computers and internet, and must try to work with each student where they are to help them grow and learn in the best way possible.

    I thought that it was really interesting that the first article pointed out that simply giving away free computers had almost no impact on schooling outcomes- what mattered more than computers was if the student’s parents were focused on education and set high expectations for their children. This went along with the article “Law, Software Fuel, and the Digital Divide” when it said that many low income schools were spending money on computer programs alone, but that the programs should not replace high quality teachers. No matter where our students come from or what resources they have (or do not have), what matters most is the educators and environment around them. We must keep them engaged, keep them questioning, and encourage them to be lifelong learners in order to help them succeed!

  4. Great points by everyone! Now that technology has become more and more relevant, a digital divide has been getting wider. As future educators, we need to work towards closing this gap. The articles state that simply giving students access to technology isn’t enough. The “Study: Free Computers Don’t Close The Rich-Poor Education Gap,” said that the problem lies in the family and environment. This is why (like stated in previous comments) it is extremely important to get to know your students. We need to meet them where they are at and set high expectations for them. The only way low income students will benefit from the school’s technology is if we give them hope and motivate them to learn about its usage and explore. If they find an interest in technology, we need to encourage them to keep this interest alive so that in the future they can have a shot at getting an information technology job. The classroom environment and student-teacher relationships must be strong and supporting to allow these students to become lifelong learners.

  5. It is important as a teacher to be able to reach all of your students. It would be a good idea at the beginning of the year to survey the students and find out which ones have access to technology at home. As well, different students use different technology. Much of the technology a teacher uses may not be the same as they use in home. For instance, some students use educational apps at home and others do not. After you have an assessment of how many are familiar with technology, you can then work with the students who need more instruction before the activity, as well as during. With proper assistance they should be able to keep pace with the other students. It is simply another way of differentiating each lesson to meet the needs of each particular learner.

  6. To me, all of these articles make the same point, while technology has boundless opportunities for making information available and for communicating with each other, it is still merely a tool. A teacher needs to be able to teach effectively first. If you are not an effective teacher, the technology is not going to help you. It’s what you do with the information and the ability to communicate that sets you and your students’ learning experience apart.

    The Baltimore sun article in particular, horrified me in two aspects, first ,a teacher was quoted as saying, . “I enjoy it. It gives us [teachers] a break during the day. It’s a little down-time,” she said. “It gives the kids a chance to work independently.” In my experience with preschoolers, giving kids a chance to work independently very important, however, a teacher still needs to be nearby offering the necessary scaffolding so that the child may reach the next level in learning. Learning is not innate.

    The second part that gave me pause was the attitude of administrators toward teachers “Camden officials say they don’t see Compass labs as a substitute for live instruction. But they say they do see the program as a better investment than hiring teachers to reduce class sizes, some as high as 34, or raising salaries, which start at about $37,000, to draw higher-caliber instructors.” Clearly a class of 34 is too large for one teacher to handle effectively. Large classes like this are nothing more than cost cutting at the expense of learning for the most at-risk populations.

    Cell phones, tablets and lap tops continue to become cheaper and more intuitive to use. However, if school districts, not just teachers can’t figure out how to harness that they are missing a great opportunity to help those who need it the most.

    • 2 things.. I agree that being an effective teacher means that you know how to get your point across first, and then you also know the best way to incorporate the technology into your teaching. Not all students are going to have the same technological capabilities, and you have to know that as the teacher.
      I was also shocked at the teacher in the Baltimore sun article! How can you just sit back and watch students do their work, there are always going to be kids who are struggling and don’t understand what they are doing, and if not, then you aren’t challenging your students enough! Teachers need to see technology as a way to challenge and help their students learn, rather than use it as a “break” for themselves!

  7. With research on poverty coming from all sides, it seems the most determining factor in student achievement is the home environment. I thought the article on giving low income children computers at home made the issue more realistic, and less simplistic than most would think.

    On one hand we seem to have a simple solution: give kids computers and they will do better in school. In reality, the research suggests students only used the computers more for entertainment, and games. So having a computer at home, may not make you any more inclined to become a computer programmer. Unless, of course, your parents already are.

  8. I’m with you, Evan. There seems to be a “haves and have nots” mentality with technology, and I just don’t think it’s that simple. The issue happens when the affluent schools have the latest and greatest in tech, and the lower socioeconomic schools get grants and money for tech…..what happens to those in the middle?

    I think we fight the same problem when teaching different learning styles as well, but in a different hierarchy. The gifted kids often don’t get lessons that are tailored to their abilities because we use a what works for the most model.

    As with everything, balance is the key and I think using tech for the GT kids and varying lessons can actually create a more equitable balance.

  9. I have been reading through the comments and do have some mixed opinions. Do you guys think that providing kids technology in school that they don’t have at home, but know their friends have, can cause even more problems? Do you think it could cause resentment for their family or their home situation? Again, I’m just curious how it could backfire! What happens when they don’t have the technology provided by the school anymore? I think there are a lot more psychological issues that need to be explored when thinking of equity with technology in the classroom!

  10. Interesting perspective from the Feinstein post. I am a little surprised the free computers didn’t show any kind of change in the gap, but I never thought about the increase in usage of non-educational services in addition to the school-related ones. It’s too bad that we still don’t have an answer to the age-old question of how to overcome family and environment at home. Some day.

  11. I got mildly confused by the instructions here (this is why I should always read everything twice) and made my contribution ONLY on my blog. Fail.

    But my response was very much related to what Alicia recently posted–except that I was not surprised at ALL that free computers did nothing to close the education gap. Computers are tools, nothing more. If you have no one around who can use the tool effectively, and who can train others in how to use the tool, then it is useless. Sure, teachers can learn over time through trial-and-error, but why should teachers go through such a laborious task on their own, when they could just as easily teach without the technology? Especially when you consider many of these teachers are already working in high-needs areas and are probably burned out by the end of the day to begin with. It’s like many problems in education–just throwing money around willy-nilly is not going to be enough to fix it.

    There has to be structure and training and practice. It’s one of the reasons I’m thankful I have this program and this class!

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