Tech Leaders

Koppenhaver, Chelsie

Topic: Technology

Summary: In this article, School Library Journal highlights the efforts of 6 library professionals who are using technology in innovative ways in their schools. These librarians are working with kids using technology like podcasts, 3-D printers, video cameras and more, but most importantly, they recognize that the tech itself is secondary to how students use it, emphasizing creation, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration in their schools.

Evaluation: While it is a short article, I believe it is important for us as library students to see that there are librarians out there who are putting the ideas we are studying into practice in innovative and effective ways. Each of the librarians highlighted here also shows a dedication to putting their students’s voices, opinions, and learning first in their library’s design and instruction.

Citation: Snelling, J. (2019, May 3). Tech leaders: Amplifying reading and research. School Library Journal. Retrieved from


How AR and VR Can Make Students Laugh and Cry Out Loud – and Embed Them in Their Learning

Michelle Furtado


McMahon, W. (2018). How AR and VR Can Make Students Laugh and Cry Out Loud-and Embed Them in Their Learning. EdSurge, 28.

This article discusses a teacher’s experience using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) hardware and software to teach English lessons in a College class. The teacher purchased forty AR headsets and used them to create lessons in which students could experience literature in innovative ways. As an example, for a study of poetry and lyrics he had them visit a U2 site which demonstrated interaction with a worldwide community in song creation and performance. Students were then asked to share their experiences and reflect on them. Students reported a higher level of emotional engagement in their learning than they had without the technology. After the lessons, the students were challenged to create products that would be useful using the software and hardware. They had to write up their proposals and present them to a panel of venture capitalists.

The article is a useful one, given the movement toward AR and VR technology. Students are already interacting with the world through technology with such games as Minecraft and Fortnite. This article discusses the value of incorporating immersive technology into teaching. The problematic portion is, of course, the current cost of such technology. While this may not be a viable option today in most k-12 public schools, the cost will probably come down in the years to come. AR and VR will no doubt allow more lessons to achieve the Redefinition level of SAMR technology integration.

8 Examples of Transforming Lessons through the SAMR Cycle

Kinsella, Jason

(ET) Educational Theory and Practice

Walsh, K. (2015). 8 examples of transforming lessons through the SAMR cycle. EmergingEdTech. Retrieved from

Educational theory can seem abstract. In order to implement innovative ideas in the classroom, it is important to provide educators with concrete examples showing what a theory looks like in practice. This article does just that. It explains what the SAMR model is and isn’t, and provides eight concrete examples showing what an assignment would look like at each stage of the SAMR model: substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition. The SAMR model examples include writing a short paper, geography and travel, understanding Shakespeare, assessments, art and painting, email etiquette, learning fractions and  physical education–learning to hit a baseball well.

This is a helpful introduction to the concept of blended learning and the SAMR model. It provides content that teachers can take right back to their classrooms tomorrow. The practical focus on implementation will be useful to anyone who is looking to further integrate technology into their classroom.

Alan November’s Observation Suggestions for Administrators

Gould, Molly




November, A. (N.D.) Observation suggestions for administrators. November Learning.

Retrieved from:



Alan November, a thinker on the vanguard of technology in education, created this document for administrators implementing technology in schools and classrooms. A fairly straightforward checklist for evaluating the efficacy of technology in schools and classrooms, this document from the November Learning website is also useful for educators as they navigate the selection of technology for learning.



A wonderful synthesis of constructivist thought, this document reminds us that tech tools shouldn’t just become, in November’s words, the “$1000 pencil,” expensive without boosting learning; technology should also enhance learning, student voice, collaboration within the classroom and out into the larger world, and this list provides a very useful framework for assessing if we are using tech to its fullest potential.



Inna Levine

Creating our future: Students speak up about their vision for 21st century learning. speak up 2009 national findings: K-12 students & parents. (2010). ().Project Tomorrow. 15707 Rockfield Boulevard Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92618. Retrieved from


For the past 7 years, the Speak Up National Research Project has provided the nation with a unique window into classrooms and homes all across America and given us a realistic view on how technology is currently being used (or not) to drive student achievement, teacher effectiveness and overall educational productivity. Most notably, the Speak Up data first documented and continues to reveal each year the increasingly significant digital disconnect between the values and aspirations of the nation’s students about how the use of technology can improve the learning process and student outcomes, and the values and aspirations of their less technology-comfortable teachers and administrators. Students, regardless of community demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, gender and grade, tell year after year that the lack of sophisticated use of emerging technology tools in school is, in fact, holding back their education and in many ways, disengaging them from learning.  The Speak Up 2009 national findings paints a vivid picture of this continuing digital disconnect and also, advances the premise introduced with the data the previous year that by listening to and leveraging the ideas of students we can start to build a new vision for 21st century education that is more reflective of the needs and desires of today’s learners. With the 2009 year’s findings, the researchers give voice to a new genuine “student vision” for learning and in particular, the student’s experience-based blueprint for the role of incorporating emerging technologies in 21st century education, both in and out of the classroom.

When we let technology do our thinking for us

Anthony Devine

When reading The Shallows, Nicolas Carr referenced the work of Van Nimwegen & Van Oostendorp (2008). Basically, Van Nimwegen & Van Oostendorp show that the more a tech interface guides a user to do a task, the less the user actually internalizes and learns the task. In other words: the easier that technology makes a task, the less the learning “sticks” in our brains. Or, to use the term in the title and the term Dr. L. prefers: the more technology guides us in a task, the less ability we have to transfer what we learned in that task.

I think this has implications for education technology and for information literacy. When designing learning experiences for students, we should be mindful of the danger of having students do things that simply do not require much thinking, much internalization. And as to information literacy, we should be careful to let our social media feeds to our thinking for us when it comes to what information to perceive as valid/invalid.

Technology is fantastic, but we still need to think for ourselves.

Carr, N. G. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton.

Van Nimwegen, C., & Van Oostendorp, H. (2008). The questionable impact of an assisting interface on performance in transfer situations. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. Retreived from:

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain

Carr, N. G. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton.

Anthony Devine

I am a strong supporter of the idea that technology can amplify learning. From that perspective, when I started reading this book I did so very much against the grain. I had heard about this Nicolas Carr, who apparently opposed technology and the flow of inevitable progress that technology promises. However, I tried to be mindful of my bias so that I would be able to afford Carr’s ideas a fair chance. As Daniel Kahneman would say, I recognized that the information in this book might not fit into my perception of reality, so I activated my “System 2” in order to more objectively weigh the ideas Carr’s book presented.

While I didn’t agree with everything Carr wrote, I have to admit that Carr makes some very useful observations about how technology is evolving compared to how the human brain functions.

Carr’s most memorable observations:

  • Our interaction with information online is… wait for it… shallow. We don’t get deep into ideas online.
  • The web interface is distracting–it taxes our cognitive load. For example, all those notifications and ads as well as the constant influx of information, all those each add a little more to our cognitive load. Carr explains a little bit about cognitive load theory, specifically, that our ability to comprehend and evaluate information effectively becomes diminished the more our attention is divided (and the online world divides our attention significantly).
  • Technology–the online interface–rewards very shallow interactions: the share, the like, the retweet. Those shallow interactions with information are often substituted for actual understanding and evaluation. But the human brain LOVES this kind of interaction. The brain enjoys seeking patterns. And the pattern of posting or re-posting something that other people like and share and getting notifications on that behavior… our brain just loves that. Moreover, this is part of what leads us to gravitate toward like-minded people and information sources online. This is part of how we develop our social media filter bubbles. “Look how many people within my social media circle liked and shared my post! I must be right, everyone agrees! Anyone who disagrees with this idea must be a fringe, outsider who doesn’t see common sense.
  • Humans anthropomorphize technology. We have a dangerous tendency to give human-like qualities to non-humans. Without sounding too much like a paranoid conspiracy theorist: the goals of technology are not necessarily the goals of humanity. For now, technology is our tool. But if we continue to develop the ability of technology to think for itself, and combine that with our tendency to think of technology as living and thinking, then we face a future where we are the tools of technology–rather than the other way around.
  • Finally, the most alarming observation by Carr: The human brain adapts to the tools it has available. The theory of neuroplasticity says that the brain changes to better function within its environment. This is a primary reason why we developed as the dominant life form on our planet. However, Carr makes the claim that technology is causing our brains to adapt in ways that are rewarded by technology: technology encourages us to adapt to shallow interactions with information.
In my opinion, kind of scary stuff. Carr seems to recognize, though, that technology is here to stay, and it certainly isn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. His advice, similar to Daniel Kahneman’s, is to be mindful of when you are interacting with information shallowly, and to be willing to dive more deeply into a topic when it is something that is truly important. Avoid the temptation of allowing technology to “think” for you. Technology is a lot of things, but it is not a replacement for human wisdom.