Teacher Tap


Sensible Nests: Connect, Communicate, Collaborate, Create

Explore realistic applications of technology in teaching, learning, and leadership while focusing on ways to connect, communicate, collaborate, and create. Learn to support the integration of technology throughout the curriculum, motivate teachers, and bring back the joy to learning.

Making Sense of Technology

The Big No-NoIt's easy to get caught up in the excitement and fun of technology. However as a school librarian, it's essential to step back and consider practical and realistic applications that make sense for teaching, learning, and leadership. This is particularly true for the current generation of online tools known as Web 2.0.

Technology is more than computers. Use a wide range of technologies including ebook readers, digital cameras, whiteboards, and audio devices to actively involve young people in learning through activities such as Lego Robotics.

Example. An elementary class read the award-winning graphic story by Geoffrey Hayes called The Big No-No, then used the online Cartoon Maker to write their own story. Using the graphic story provided a new format for reading, while the cartoon making tool providing scaffolding for a story writing assignment. Technology made writing easy and enjoyable.

Let's explore four areas where technology can have a positive impact on education. These tools and resources allow you to connect, communicate, collaborate, and create.


Explore ways that information and technology can be used to make professional, teacher, and student connections; share announcements, documents, calendars; as well as, brainstorm, organize, and share ideas.

Explore. Go to Project Planning Wallwisher page. Read the title and topic. Add a posting. Notice that you can add a YouTube video or a link to an image file if you wish.

Model. Think about other technologies that can be used to connect people for the purpose of sharing, brainstorming, or organizing ideas. Also, look for quality educator websites and blogs to use as models for your own work.

Integrate. Tools like Wallwisher can be used for student sharing. Try it with a couple teachers and spread the word.

questionBrainstorm ways of using Wallwisher, TodaysMeet, or AnswerGarden.


The ability to communicate with others is one of the primary benefits of technology use. Use social networking tools to design virtual spaces for blogging, information sharing, and discussions.

Explore. Go to Teacher Librarian Ning. Comment on a blog post or participate in a discussion. Use this environment to explore the possibilities.

Model. Think about other technologies that can be used for communication and interaction. Try one.

Integrate. Go to Civil Rights Ning for an example of how young people play roles related to the Civil Rights movement. Show teachers an example and discuss ways that students can use tools such as Ning for class discussions and projects.

One of my online friends (Nancy Bosch) shared a pirate unit. They were able to connect to standards across the curriculum and used a variety of technologies. Students read the Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson. Students participated in online discussions using a Moodle. Go to the official website. Be sure download the teacher discussion guide. Check other discussion guides: 1, 2, 3, 4. The class also created a wiki on the topic of pirates. Students enjoyed dressing as pirates as they worked on their research.

questionWhat three tools will you spend time exploring this summer? Why? How do you see yourself using the tool for communication?


Go paperless! One of the most important features of 21st century technology is the ability to easily collaborate online. Team building, peer editing, grant writing, and the synergy that comes from people working together are all examples of the power of collaboration.

Explore. Use an online word processor for collaboration. Let's write about a day in the life of today's digital child. Go to the Digital Child Titanpad. Add additional entries. Change some formatting. Let's use Bubbl to brainstorm ways that school administrators can promote digital citizenship, 21st century learning, and engaged learning.

Model. Explore the wide range of tools that can be used for online collaboration. Select tools for particular needs.

Integrate. Work with a teacher to build collaborative tools into classroom activities. Focus on the role of collaboration and why team building, peer editing, and synergy are important. For instance, use MyWebspiration. Explore the Civil War Project as an example.

Get started at Wikispaces for Teachers (Ancient Greece, Build a Kingdom, Read Write Wiki, WikiLit, The Wright 3). Learn more about integrating wikis into the classroom at Read Write Wiki! Check out Grandma's Feather Bed, Great Fuzz Frenzy, Kick in the Head, and Poke in the I .

questionWhat collaboration project will you try in the Fall?
How tool would be most effective for this collaboration?
Brainstorm teachers and tools you could connect.


From audio and video recording to the production of comics, technology tools provide adults and young people a wide variety of tools for creating and sharing products.

Explore. Explore the animations at GoAnimate. Use Wordle to review some of your favorite ideas related to technology in learning.

Model. Explore tools for research, production, and sharing.

Integrate. Explore public service announcements from the Ad Council. Use technology tools to create and edit your own audio and video productions.

questionConnect standards to a project-based approach.
Describe a project that would use research, production, and sharing tools.

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