Note: Friends Dr. Dawn Wilson and Dr. Katie Alaniz were kind enough to share a book they authored in collaboration with Joshua Sikora, Digital Media in Today’s Classrooms: The Potential for Meaningful Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.

Listen to Dr. Katie Alaniz, one of the authors, share about the book

In the space below, I’ve included some of my take-aways from the book, stuff that struck my fancy in Chapters 3 and 4, and included my reflections/comments in square brackets [really? that’s unbelievable!]. Feel free to swipe the images highlighting key points and repost them everywhere! Read all blog entries relevant to this book.


My Notes from Chapters 3 and 4:

  1. Chapter 3 – Essential Considerations in Using Digital Media
    1. Media literacy–applying skills to media and technology messages, learning to skillfully interpret, analyze, and create messages–empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of messages using image, language, and sound (NAMLE, Ellis, 2005).
    2. Media education seeks to mae school more student centered.
    3. “We were educated to read actively, yet we’re conditioned to view visual images passively,” observes Steve Apkon.
    4. Now is the time to change “English” classes into “Communication” classes in which students study the grammatical rules of graphic arts, film, and music, in addition to learning the rules of English grammar.”
    5. Ubiquitous access to tech suggests the focus must now shift to identifying and applying the most fitting tools and resources for meeting students’ needs and reaching learning goals.
    6. [This chapter focuses on several key ideas, such as COPPA, copyright, terms of use, keeping track of acceptable use policies/responsible use agreements. I heartily disagree with the portion that suggests schools track the paperwork. This is an antiquated perspective. Now, most districts take advantage of opt-out clauses in their Student Handbooks. If you want to opt-out, then you have to do so. Otherwise, this grants teachers the right to use third-party systems with students, acting in loco parentis].
  2. Chapter 4 – Planning for Digital Media: Settings, Groupings, and Platforms
    1. Key questions:
      1. Under what circumstances should teacher consider integrating digital media within classroom settings?
      2. How should digital media be integrated within classrooms settings?
      3. Who should be utilizing the media–teachers, students, or both?
      4. For what purposes should digital media be used within classroom settings?
    2. Curriculum Design models:
      1. The Understanding by Design Framework
        1. Effective curriculum planning involves a process of “backward design”
        2. Educators must also initially determine a set of learning goals for their students. They should identify certain enduring understandings.
        3. Specific strategies for measuring students’ learning need to be reflected upon.
        4. Teachers should begin with the end in mind, designing a road map.
      2. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Model
        1. Offers students various modes of content representation.
        2. Encourages teachers to provide students with multiple means of expression, including both physical and communicative action.
        3. Promotes numerous methods of engagement.
      3. Bloom’s Taxonomy
      4. Classroom Instruction That Works: Identifies nine categories of instructional strategies that hold tremendous potential for enhancing student achievement for all learners:
        1. Summarizing and Note taking
        2. Identifying similarities and differences
        3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
        4. Homework and practice
        5. Cooperative learning
        6. Nonlinguistic representations
        7. Setting objectives and providing feedback
        8. Generating and testing hypotheses
        9. Questions, cues, and advance organizers
    3. Digital media enables teachers to vary their methods of representing content through a diversity of media, including print, video, audio, hands-on modeling, interactive applications, and much more.
    4. Digital media to practice and receive feedback on their own content knowledge with online flashcards, games, and simulations. Examples include:
      1. Online quizzes and educational games provide students with the opportunity to test their remembering and understanding skills using interactive media such as Quizlet. 
      2. Students can enhance their content knowledge through playing online games associated with the concepts taught in class.
      3. Digital media simulations allow students to apply, analyze, and evaluate the ways in which content elements interact.
        1. Math and Science simulations (PhET)
        2. Social Studies simulations
        3. Interactive multimedia games warehouse provides teachers with a multitude of games and simulations to support students.
      4. Authoring tools:
        1. Audacity
        2. Voicethread
        3. Kidblog
        4. Digital storytelling via Little Bird Tales (littlebirdtales.com) and Storybird (storybird.com)
        5. Draw.io and Bubbl.us
    5. A teacher should 
      1. focus on the content that should be delivered and the learning goals that are being sought. This allows them to harness digital media as a tool to serve educational objectives.
      2. consider the type or types of devices with which students will learn. 
      3. think about the online tools, resources, and software options students will have access.
    6. Ready, Set, Learn! Model
      1. Ready: This involves preparing students, from lesson’s start, to meet and act on content. 
        1. Teacher-centered: Should I create my own digital media or use an already-created resource to grasp students’ attention and ready them for learning?
        2. Student Use: How can I ensure that content is delivered in a variety of ways for diverse levels and varying learning modalities?
      2. Set: Establishing the content in the students’ mind. 
        1. Teacher-centered: Should I create my own tool for the students to use in developing content knowledge, or should I identify an already-created tool?
        2. Student Use: How can I be certain to provide students with opportunities to interact with content, check for understanding, and receive formative feedback in a variety of methods using an array of online tools and targeting a mixture of learning modalities?
      3. Learn:  Students demonstrate their learning with independence. Students are challenged to create an original product that demonstrates their learning through the use of multimedia tools. 
        1. Teacher-centered: Should I create a resource to assess student learning or use an already-created assessment?
        2. Student Use: How can I provide students with meaningful and applicable opportunities to demonstrate their learning by independently creating a digital media product? Should I assign specific tools to students or leave assessment choices more open-ended?
    7. In curriculum design, content is king.
    8. Effectual planning begins with the end in mind, and teachers ask, “What do I want my students to be able to accomplish?”
a counter-question…too much control  in teacher’s hands limit students’ freedom to take ownership of their learning and creations.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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