March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Nick’s Picks | The Promise of Technology

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This past summer I attended my first International Society for Technology in Education conference (ISTE), and was awestruck to be among 20,000 plus educators who share the exhilarating goal of advancing “excellence in learning and teaching through innovative and effective uses of technology.”

Four promises of technology that permeated conference conversations—along with exemplar multimedia resources from that illustrate how technology enhances literacy instruction—are highlighted in this month’s column.

Promise #1: Personalized education for every student

Independent reading exemplifies differentiated instruction offering students an opportunity to explore a topic of personal interest. Adding a tech component can bring relevant insights to that experience.

For example, introduce students of World War II to Ruta Sepetys’ historical novel, Between Shades of Gray (Penguin, 2011), along with this video of the acclaimed author discussing her research on Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror, her encounters with survivors, and her book.

Promise #2: Let passion reign while delegating other tasks to machines

Sir Ken Robinson’s keynote speech at ISTE, “Redefining Horizons: Encouraging Students’ Passion to Achieve,” sparked conversations about the complex relationship between creativity, passion, and technology. While many educators expressed the concern that technology limits creativity, Sir Robinson and others encouraged its use as a form of inspiration.

Witness the work of Mélanie Watt. In this original video the author/illustrator of Scaredy Squirrel (Kids Can, 2006), shares her passion for illustrating books while demonstrating the role of technology in her creative process.

Promise #3: Technology offers all students the same learning opportunities

Thanks to the Internet and the prodigious content produced by authors, publishers, and others, our students have access to resources that would not have been available in local schools and libraries years ago.

Examples of those resources include this video, in which Toni Morrison, the Nobel Laureate and author of the Coretta Scott King Book Award winner Remember: The Journey to School Integration (Houghton, 2004), celebrates “the power and justice” of the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education.

Promise #4: Technology, like reading, crosses all academic disciplines

Though some might relegate the use of technology to science classes or assume that books are solely the domain of English and humanities teachers, both reading and technology have a place in every classroom.

While examples of book readings that can be used across the curriculum abound, here’s one for science teachers: an excerpt from Laurie David and Cambria Gordon’s The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming (Scholastic, 2007).


Nick Glass is excited to lead in the midst of an educational shift incorporating technology into learning opportunities and environments. Share your ed tech/literacy stories with him at

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This article was featured in our free Curriculum Connections enewsletter.
Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to you every month.



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