Thoughts and Tools

What's Growing in Your Classroom?

I've been thinking quite a bit about change recently.  Specifically, I'm considering what kinds of ways I want to grow as a teacher.  How about you?  Take a few minutes and come on a journey with me.  It should take less than ten minutes, unless you stop to really process along the way.  Click the play button to the right, and then use the arrows to navigate through my prezi.  It is mostly audio content, so make sure you turn up your speakers!  I'd love to hear what you have to say about it in the comments!


Prezi Transcript



First, please listen to my presentation.  Then, if you’re interested, read on to understand the research behind the message.


Sometimes the good can keep us from finding the best. (1)

There are many books and reports (see, e.g., Johnson, et al., 2015; Kolb, 2011; Murphy, et al., 2014; Staker, 2011; Grant, et al., 2015) that send one clear message: the use of technology based tools in the classroom is just getting started.  When we rely on the methods of the past without considering the new tools becoming available, we leave ourselves open to stagnation in our teaching.


What is at the core of your teaching motivation? (2)

We must avoid rushing into spending money and using cool tools just because they exist.  We must learn from the mistakes of others (Richardson, J. W., Flora, K., & Bathon, J.,2013; Lapowsky, 2015; Venezky, n.d.).  Without clear standards, strong vision and purposeful implementation, we will fail at successful technology integration.  This is why taking time to revisit your core values is so important.   


Are you willing to take some risk? (3)

After evaluating our goals and identifying clear objectives for our growth, we must be courageous in embracing change.  There are powerful tools around.  Duarte (2013) insists that good presentations call the audience from where they are into some new place. 


Replace repetition; Empower student discovery; Engage students; Vary assessment and feedback; Explore different teaching paradigms (6)

Kolb (2011) and Murphy et al. (2014) along with other reports mentioned detail many ways that technology is being used in classrooms.  The categories I suggest above seem to outline the general use of those in teaching.  Other forms of technology use are, of course, possible, but I want to try to maintain some focus.


What could mobile devices do for you? Is there an app with your name on it? (7)

Of particular interest to me personally are the uses of mobile technologies in the classroom.  I really want to spark thoughtful interest in this area of growth.


i-phone (8)

Fritschi, J. & Wolf, M. A. (2012) and Johnson, et al. (2015) help us see that mobile technologies are powerful tools.  Because of their thorough penetration into our classrooms they offer unprecedented opportunities for interactivity, collaboration and information access.

polleverywhere (9)

I have already started to integrate the use of real-time polling in my classroom to generate discussions more quickly.  It also allows for powerful formative evaluation.  Tools of this nature can be very engaging when used well.

Google apps (10)

The ability to access cloud-based document platforms opens up whole new ways to disseminate information and foster student collaboration.  These ideas and more are important to consider when examining our classrooms.



  • Duarte, Nancy. (2013). Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences   Retrieved from
  • Fritschi, J. & Wolf, M. A. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in North America. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
  • Grant, M., Tamim, S., Brown, D., Sweeney, J., Ferguson, F., & Jones, L. (2015). Teaching and Learning with Mobile Computing Devices: Case Study in K-12 Classrooms. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 59(4), 32-45. doi: 10.1007/s11528-015-0869-3
  • Kolb, Liz. (2011). Cell Phones in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Educators United States of America: International Society for Technology in Education.
  • Lapowsky, Issie. (2015). What Schools Must Learn From LA’s iPad Debacle.   Retrieved 5/3/2016, 2016, from
  • Murphy, Robert, Snow, Eric, Mislevy, Jessica, Gallagher, Larry, Krumm, Andrew, & Wei, Xin. (2014). Blended Learning Report.
  • Richardson, J. W., Flora, K., & Bathon, J. (2013). Fostering a School Technology Vision in School Leaders. NCPEA International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 8(1), 144-161.
  • Staker, Heather. (2011). The Rise of K–12 Blended Learning; Profiles of emerging models.
  • Venezky, Richard. (n.d.). ICT in Innovative Schools: Case Studies of Change and Impacts. Retrieved from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development website:
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Curtis White, M.S., M.C.E.
High School Faculty
Math, Science, Bible & Computers
Abundant Life Christian School
A Madison Christian School