Friday, March 21, 2014

MACUL 2014

Last week, I attended MACUL 2014 and I wanted to say that it was a pretty amazing time. For those of you who are reading this and don't know what MACUL is, it is educational technology conference held annually and this year it was held in Grand Rapids, MI. I had the opportunity to attend three sessions or workshops, two of which were amazing so I want to share what I learned.

Session 1 | 4-Dimensional Teaching: Engage Your Students Like Never Before
Presenter: John Kissinger (Dominos Pizza Franchise Manager Trainer)

Engaging Students Through Storytelling
I went to this presentation because as an educator, I want to learn as many techniques, practices, and strategies that will help me to engage students more effectively. Especially teaching in an urban school that specializes in the arts, getting students engaged in learning mathematics is an upward battle. In my graduate studies, I have learned that increasing the perceived value and lowering the perceived difficulty of a topic increases students' motivation to learn, but I have found that it is nearly impossible to get every student engaged in a lesson. When I went to this session, I didn't know what to expect. The presenter, John Kissinger, has never taught students in a school in his life. However, he does teach outside of a school setting. He is a trainer of new Dominos pizza franchise managers. He has taught topics such as food safety precautions to new employees and managers. It was through teaching such boring and dull topics like the proper temperatures for maintaining food that led him to think about new ways to deliver more engaging instruction.

He talked about the four dimensions of teaching with each dimension increasing in effectiveness of retaining/mastering content. The first three dimensions in order are "Tell", "Show", "Do". You can tell students information or explanations, show students visuals using different representations, and have students do an activity to practice or explore content. I think most of us can agree that having students do work, do thinking, etc. and having students construct their own knowledge is a more effective method of learning than just telling or showing information. So what is the fourth dimension of teaching? It is emotional engagement. According to the presenter, getting students invested emotionally in instruction or a lesson is the most effective way of engaging students and getting them to learn the content.

He asked the audience to think about the most engaging lesson they could remember experiencing when they were in school. After giving the audience some time to think and a chance to respond, almost every response involved something a teacher did that made the lesson engaging. He shared a story about a chemistry teacher he had and on the first day of class when discussing lab safety rules, the teacher washed his hands with hydrochloric acid. The acid wasn't strong enough to cause major harm, but it was enough to cause open wounds and scars. The presenter stated that none of the students would ever forget that lesson on safety. He talked about the passion for teaching and for the content we're teaching is infectious to the students. How can we expect students to learn something or pay attention to a lesson that we don't find interesting or we do not want to learn ourselves? We have to pick topics and design lessons in ways so that if we were the students, we would be excited to participate in that lesson. Therefore, he mentioned that we should not perceive the content as "king" anymore. Instead, we should put the context first. This means to spend less time giving instruction about the what, but more about the how, and even more about the why. He suggested that the main focus of a lesson should be to make a topic relevant, and contextualize it whenever possible.

This was an analogy he presented. Sell the light, not the light bulb. Instead of starting off a topic on light by describing and explaining the mechanics and components of a light bulb, the topic should begin with a discussion about the impact light has had on civilization and what it would be like if everything was still being done by candlelight. Once students are engaged and see the topic as relevant, then they are ready to learn about the mechanics and components of a light bulb. What the presenter suggested next was something I had never thought about doing, but would like to incorporate it into my future practice. What he suggested to do is to teach lessons through storytelling. This really intrigued me because it made sense. Many of us educators have watched TED talks and I think I can say that we have found most of what we have watched to be inspiring and informational. When you really think about it though, what do most of those TED talks have in common? The presenters are telling stories with visual aids. I can't be sure that every TED talk is a story or incorporates visual aids, but the ones I have seen have these elements.

The presenter gave another analogy. Imagine you want to teach a young child to not touch a hot frying pan. There are three things you could try to go about it. First, you could let the child discover it on their own by actually touching the hot frying pan. The child might learn the lesson, but then you would have to deal with the burn. Second, you could just tell the child to not touch a hot frying pan. The child might remember, but how likely is that the child will remember? Third, you could tell the child a story about another child named Billy. One day, Billy went camping and his parents were cooking dinner over a fire using a frying pan. He wanted to help his parents so he went over to the fire, and grabbed the frying pan to bring it to the table. However, he didn't grab it by the handle. He screamed, dropped the frying pan, and cried until his parents ran over to him. He was badly burned with blisters and red marks. His parents rushed him to the hospital where he spent several hours getting treated with medicine and had to get a needle put into his arm. Which method of teaching this lesson do you think would be the most effective?

From the year 2000 to the year 2012, the average human attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds (a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds). As educators, we should expect students to hold their attention no longer than 90 minutes, and only 20 minutes for one topic. Our job is to create an attention-holding experience for the students, so why not try out some new methods of engaging students. Here are some suggestions the presenter gave about storytelling. The first thing you have to do is to get the students' attention by using emotion to set a hook. This can be accomplished by starting with a shocking fact, a thought-provoking question, or an engaging story. All great stories have certain characteristics. They have a beginning (call to action), a middle (trials and rewards), and an end (resolution and return). They have scripts, and they have great characters. For example, a teacher in the audience suggested beginning a lesson on electricity by talking about the pure hatred and competition between Tesla and Edison. Then the lesson could transition into what happened before their fighting started. The presenter suggested that we should try to end stories with a cliff hanger so that you leave open holes to fill later. Therefore, students are left anxious for the next lesson.

I found this idea of storytelling to be really intriguing. Teaching at a school where students care so much about the arts has made me think about how I can integrate academics (especially math) with the arts. After attending this session and as I am currently in a relationship with an illustrator/designer, it is inspiring to start thinking about how I can incorporate art and math to create stories to hopefully make instruction more engaging and effective. I'm hoping to try to turn one of my future lessons into a story and see how it works.

Making Slideshow Presentations More Effective
At the school where I am teaching, I have been using PowerPoint presentations to teach many of my lessons. I have been trying to think of ways to design the presentations in more engaging ways, but have not been able to come up with anything. After attending this session, I was able to gain a lot of useful information on how to make my presentations more effective and more engaging. I mentioned about TED talks and how the speakers would typically tell a story with some sort of visual aid. That is what the presenter suggested that a slideshow should be, just a visual aid. He talked about how many college professors teach lessons using PowerPoint presentations that display boring text in hierarchical styles, which results in the students' preoccupation with note-taking competing for their attention to the actual lesson. He isn't discouraging the use of PowerPoint or other presentation/slideshow design software, but he warned that PowerPoint can get in the way of instruction if used incorrectly. Therefore, he recommends the proper use and design of the presentation to maximize its effectiveness in supplementing your instruction.

Peter Norvig, head of research at Google wanted to display the improper use of a PowerPoint presentation. In order to show this, he created a Ghettysburg Address PowerPoint presentation to be used as a visual aid while the famous speech is being delivered. Try reading the Ghettysburg Address out loud while going through the slides, and you will notice that the PowerPoint presentation does little to nothing in increasing the impact of the speech. You might even say that the presentation takes something away from the speech. Instead of the PowerPoint created by Peter Norvig, imagine showing an image of an American flag that is torn, ripped, and waving in the wind on a battlefield while the speech is being delivered. That would be much more effective at increasing the impact of the speech.

Here is some advice for improving the design of a PowerPoint presentation for those of you who currently teach using them, or plan on using them in the future.
  1. Use only one point per slide. It doesn't cost anything to create another slide for another bullet point, so put only one point per slide. This makes it easier to focus on one simple message making the point more meaningful. Also, students aren't in a rush to copy down a hundred words into their notes before you advance the slide. More slides means less clutter.
  2. A picture is worth 1000 words. It has been found that words supported by pictures enhance the meaning and impact of the words. Include a picture that is relevant to what you are talking about at that point. If you want to teach give a presentation about Hurricane Katrina, don't show pictures of Typhoon Hainan. Incorporate the "Rule of Thirds" to make the pictures more dynamic and increase the impact they have. Having images take up the entirety of a slide increases its dramatic effect. Leave out the cheesy clipart!
  3. Got data? Leave out complex tables, charts, and graphs of data. Only include the information that you find important for your students to know.
  4. Don't make backgrounds foregrounds. Keep your backgrounds simple. Don't let the background of your slide overshadow the content.
  5. Put data into context. If you want to talk about something that impacts one billion people in the world, show an image of the earth with one fifth of it cut out. This way, students can visibly see how big of an impact that topic has. This YouTube video does a good job at contextualizing income inequality in America.
  6. Contrast. Put light text on dark backgrounds. Put dark text on light backgrounds.
  7. Fonts. Use Sans Serif fonts for presentations. These are the fonts that have letters without curved endings. Use Serif fonts for typing papers.
  8. Animations/Transitions. Use animations and transitions within and between slides sparingly. They can be pretty cool to watch, but it takes away from the content of the presentation and distracts students from the lesson. The presenter mentioned his dislike of Prezi because it is nothing but overhyped transitions. He did like its holistic style of organizing the presentation though.
  9. Less words, more story. Although there are many students who many not like listening, it is important that most of the content in a lesson is from spoken words, and not from the PowerPoint presentation slides. The slideshow should support your lesson, not serve as your lesson.
I learned a great deal from this session and it was a great way to start my first MACUL experience. I wanted to write about the other session I found to be really useful, but I'll save that for my next post as I feel that I have written way too much already in this post. I hope you find something I wrote helpful or interesting to you. Thank you for reading!

Additionally, here is a list of books that inspired the first session and also some that were recommended by the presenter:

Books about methods of learning
Design for How People Learn - Julie Dirksen
Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story - Kendall Haven
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School - John Medina

Books about presentations and using visuals
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences - Nancy Duarte (download this for free using iBooks from her site)
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations - Nancy Duarte
Multimedia Learning - Richard Mayer
Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire - Cliff Atkins
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery - Garr Reynolds (also has a blog site with the same name)

Coming in my next post:
Session 2 | Using Photography and Video to Support Math Learning
Presenter: Andrew Shauver (Pennfield High School Mathematics Teacher)
If you can't wait for my post, go to and click on "MACUL 2014 Presentation" on the right hand side to check out his presentation.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quizzes vs. Projects: Words of Wisdom from an Edublogger

I was searching through different blogs of edubloggers when I finally came upon Frank Noschese's site. I was intrigued by the following post:

In this post titled "Quizzes vs. Projects (Mass & Weight Edition)", he writes about how he has seen examples of students demonstrating their ability to explain conceptual topics such as the difference between weight and mass in a fair amount of detail, especially when they are presenting work they've completed as a project. One of the things he wonders though, is if these same students would make mistakes similar to the ones his students had made on his summative assessments. The possibility is that they could.

One of the main points of emphasis during my graduate studies has been thinking of ways to engage students in meaningful learning experiences, and one of the methods that we learned to accomplish this is project-based learning. Standardized tests, written exams, and pretty much any type of assessment similar to these have been under much criticism and disapproval from the public as well as students. Therefore, using projects as an alternative form of assessment is appealing. Using projects as a form of assessment could also promote equity in regards to assessments as there are students who may perform better on projects than on tests.

The most important thing to consider though, is tailoring the objectives of the project to meet the purpose of the assessment. As Mr. Noschese mentioned, do we want students to simply recite Wikipedia definitions from a Powerpoint, or something else? I suggested to him that using backwards design could help him to get students to meet the objectives throughout the construction of the project, perhaps through the use of the rubric. One part that he wrote really stood out to me. He said, "What I’m trying to say is that I feel that teacher-generated questions and experiences (quizzes, labs, whiteboard problems, etc.) are important because they challenge students to think and apply in ways they probably wouldn’t if we just left them to their own devices." I like how he gives a valid reason as to why test and written assessments still serve a purpose in the classroom.

I agree with Mr. Noschese when he says he understands that "projects let students be creative and allow them to demonstrate their understanding in ways that quizzes simply can’t" but as he suggests, "Perhaps the answer is just 'all things in moderation.' Projects are great and all, but I feel that there should be a balance of the methods that we assess our students. We really need to keep in mind what we want our students to be able to do. Then we can decide which type of assessment will best serve our purpose.

Webinars and Their Place in my Future Practice

For my technology in education course, I worked with a group of two of my peers to create a webinar. If you don't know what a webinar is, think of it as a online and interactive web conference. You can present real-time presentations online through voice or video with others attending and participating in the presentation. The topic of our presentation was Cmap Tools, which is a program that creates concept maps. It's a pretty simple and useful program and if you're interested, you can check it out at this site: My group and I created a screencast giving a basic tutorial on how to download and use it. You can find that here: That's enough I'll say about that.

I wanted to take the time to post an idea I had about using webinars and incorporating it into my future practice. We conducted our webinars through the website Blackboard Elluminate, but I'm not too familiar on the specifics for registering or using that site on a regular basis. However, I did think about how webinars could be really useful when I start teaching my own classroom. We as educators always complain about how there isn't enough time in a day to teach all of the material we would like to get through. I personally have a sense of guilt every time I see a struggling student and there just isn't enough time to help that student in one class period. We all want our students to succeed (well I hope we all do), so in order to help accomplish that, I feel that we need to provide plenty of opportunities to the students to receive additional support (especially the ones who need it).

The idea I have is to use webinars not as a means of web conferencing or teaching entire lessons, but as a review session which will be held periodically maybe each week or weekend. I could get feedback from the students on which topics they were having the most difficulty with, or have students generate a list of questions they may have whether it was a particular problem or a part of the material. I could then spend this review session addressing these difficulties. I could also use the webinars as a review session for any upcoming exams they may have, or as an after school ACT or SAT preparatory session. Yes, this would make a lot more work for me, but if it will help my students and especially those who are behind or struggling, then I would be more than happy to take on that extra work. Students who frequently miss class could attend these sessions. Students who can't afford tutoring can get free tutoring from me. The possibilities are endless. The major problem I foresee with this is the students' access to technology and the equity issues that may arise from that. Perhaps, some of you have suggestions for me to get around that. I was thinking I could always record the webinar session, and give the student a flash drive or burn it onto a dvd for them. I know I can record the webinar using the mentioned website. I'm not sure if I'm able to download them, but there are always ways around that.

Let me know what you think about my ideas in the comments, or have any input or suggestions. I appreciate any feedback I can get.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Technology and The Classroom: To Flip or Not To Flip

This past week I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation given by Jon Palmer (Website) on "flipping a classroom." What is involved in this model? In a "flipped classroom," students are given video lessons to watch at home that pretty much take the place of traditional lectures, and when they are in class they work on worksheets, projects, and other activities based on the lesson they learned at home. So in this kind of model the student gets the information at home, and the student does work in class. The logic behind this is based on the idea that traditional style lectures are uninteresting and disengaging so a lot of students have difficulty paying attention to it. Also in traditional classrooms, students are given homework, usually on a regular basis, where they are expected to do it at home on their own even if the homework assignment is difficult. In a "flipped classroom," students are just expected to watch a video at home instead of having to work on difficult homework, and when they are in school they can work on activities or problem sets like the ones they would originally do for homework but this time, they would have the teacher with them to provide any help or support they need. So in short, lecture at home, homework in class.

The idea of it sounds really appealing. Making students only responsible for watching a video at home on a lesson, which isn't too bad considering students probably spend countless hours watching television or YouTube. Students also get more support while working on problems in class, and have access to immediate help and feedback from the teacher. Now instead of students trying to figure out difficult problems or activities at home, they have the teacher there with them. The model sounds really interesting after hearing about, and I can see the potential it presents as it addresses several prominent issues in schools such as getting students to be engaged in lectures and also encouraging students to complete their homework. However, I know from my own experience that there are a lot of possible problems that need to be addressed before this model will produce any results.

First, I'd like you to watch one of the presenter's created lesson videos.

Pretty amazing stuff. As one of his hobbies has been video editing, he above average skills when it comes to producing videos such as these. He created a video where he is able to have three people (all played by him) in the video at the same time interacting with each other. Here's where one of the problems exist. In order for the "flipped classroom" model to work, you have to create these lesson videos that are as engaging to students as the ones Mr. Palmer has created here. He informed us during his presentation that he spends over 200 minutes of planning, recording, and processing for every one minute of the finished video. How many of us has the motivation, skills, and time to put into creating these types of videos for each lesson in a curriculum? Is this really feasible for an average teacher? This also made me wonder about something else. If I were to invest 200 minutes of my time in planning each minute of a lesson, I think it would exponentially increases the quality of my lesson to begin with and students might be more engaged as well as learn more in a traditional lecture.

Another problem that arose during the presentation was the context in which this "flipped classroom" was used. Yes, Mr. Palmer mentioned that he saw improvement in attitudes and engagement of the students as well as quiz grades. However, he used this model to teach an AP physics class. The problem with this context is that most students who elect to take AP courses tend to be highly motivated students who have more than not proven themselves to know the basics of what is takes to be a successful student. In other words, the student for the most part knows how to be responsible for his or her own learning. This translates to these students having a higher likelihood of actually going home and watching the videos on their own. Now consider using this model in an urban "high need" school where students are lower achieving students to begin with who are not motivated in the first place. You really can't assume that the majority of these students will actually watch these videos at home on their own. Even for many who do watch the video, they won't have the necessary knowledge or skills to process that information. How do I know this? Well at my current placement at the Detroit School of Arts (DSA), we are currently using a "flipped classroom" model and these are the problems that have arose during the course of this semester. There are other issues such as students not having the proper technology such as computers or internet access at home.

Mr. Palmer taught at a suburban school which was probably comprised of mostly students from middle class to upper class families. He also said that when he started this model, there was no technology issues either such as students not having access to a computer or internet. In this kind of context, I can see how a "flipped classroom" could produce inspiring results. However, in a context like the one I mentioned previously, I'm just not sure if it's working. I did learn some things I could try in regards to activities, tests, and how to make better and more engaging videos, but I'm not convinced that a "flipped classroom" is the model I want to use in my future practice.

Adding to My Web 2.0 Toolbox

Over the past several weeks in my Technology in Education course, I have been learning about several Web 2.0 tools that could be useful in improving instruction, and they also provide opportunities for innovative activities and methods to engage students. What is a Web 2.0 tool you might ask? According to, it is defined as: "a second generation in the development of the World Wide Web, conceived as a combination of concepts, trends, and technologies that focus on user collaboration, sharing of user-generated content, and social networking."

Web 2.0 tools come in many forms (Blogger is one for example) and it goes beyond static web pages and more towards user interaction and collaboration. I want to talk about one of the tools that I had the opportunity to learn about, and share my thoughts and reflections about its uses in a classroom, and how it might benefit my future practice. The Web 2.0 tool I will be sharing in this post is a popular and widely used tool that goes by the name of Prezi.

So Prezi is essentially a website that creates presentations with pretty cool animations (Link). In other words, it's PowerPoint on steroids. The most distinguishing feature of Prezi that differentiates it with PowerPoint is the implementation of the transitions between slides or "frames" as it's called in Prezi. You upload your images, videos, text, etc. into these frames, and you can select what kind of transition you want to have. The most interesting transition to me was the ability to set a small image in a frame within a large image in a frame. So say you choose your preset background as a giant world map, you can set smaller frames with information within different countries or locations, and when you click on that location the Prezi will zoom in on your image or information. The transitions can also rotate or move along a set path, thus making the transitions with Prezi much more animated and cooler to look at than the ones with PowerPoint.

As I was listening to a presentation about this Web 2.0 tool along with how it can be used for different disciplines, I began to think about how this tool might be more useful for me than using just regular slides from a PowerPoint. One specific thing that I thought about using it for was using the world map background, and then setting frames in different countries that when clicked on it would show videos of mathematical practices or instruction that are unique and specific to those countries. For example, I could put the following YouTube video of children in China learning multiplication and addition of very large numbers using an abacus, an ancient tool that was used for computations like a calculator.

I have always been interested in the different ways math is being taught around the world, and I feel that using Prezi to show these things to students could be a really engaging way to introduce or teach math. Overall, I really like the tool. Even though it's based off a website, you can also download it and create Prezi's offline. The Prezi's you create will also save online for you to have access to at any time. Although I still have some confusion on how exactly to create one as I haven't played around with it yet myself, I can see the potential it has in making my presentations more engaging.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Technology at Detroit School of Arts

My classmates and I were asked to find out what kind of technology was present at the schools we are placed. I'll be describing the technology that is available at the Detroit School of Arts (DSA). In order to obtain the information, I first asked my mentor teacher to answer as many questions as she could. I knew she would have knowledge about most of the available technology at the school for teacher use. I then went to the media specialist, who is also the librarian, as she is responsible for most of the technology in the school. I recommend seeking out your media specialist at your placement for most of your technology related questions, unless your school has a technology specialist.

The most interesting finding about the technology at my place is that every classroom has a with a cart loaded with 30 netbooks. One of the administrators of Detroit Public Schools received a grant promising that every student at DSA would have one-to-one access to a netbook. In total, there are about 700 netbooks available at the school and each student is allowed to sign them out to take home for use throughout the semester. This provided to be very useful as my classroom is implementing a "flipped classroom" where students watch lectures and take notes at home, and do homework during class time. In this current day and age, many people overlook the fact that there are still many students who don't have access to computers at home. Having these netbooks has provided my class with a solution to this problem.

Some other pieces of technology in my classroom includes a document camera which is owned by my mentor teacher, and a LCD projector. It seemed that most classrooms only had a document camera if the teacher had bought one with their own money. It also seemed that not all classrooms had LCD projectors. Although the school has 3 projectors that teachers are able to sign out, I'm curious to know how many teachers in the school don't utilize teaching with a projector and still teaching using the traditional whiteboard/chalkboard.  There is a smart board in my classroom that doesn't work. My teacher informed me that they ran out of money before installation was complete so she just uses it as a part of her whiteboard.

DSA is a special school where students major in an arts field (e.g. vocal, instrumental, dance, visual arts, radio/television). Having "Arts" in the name of the school, the arts program at the school is well equipped in terms of technology. The school has 30 video camcorders for student use and several computer labs loaded with Adobe and editing software. The school has a green screen room with television recording equipment, a fully operational radio station, and a theater with sophisticated sound equipment. I thought about the implications of having this kind of equipment and integrating it with academics. Before this school year started, there was an emphasis by the administrators around focusing on the integration of the arts and the academics. In other words, balancing the student's life as an artist and a scholar. I have yet to put that much though into the kinds of projects that I could do with the students, but I can see great potential for some amazing results.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Digital Literacy in the Classroom

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has been a hot topic in the field of education and is at the center of much debate as to whether or not every state in the U.S. should adopt the same set of standards. I recently learned something about the CCSS that seemed a little troublesome to me in regards to the level of expectations of the standards. For example, the CCSS shifts the content at each grade level down two grades. To give you an example, the content for 12th grade math in the old standards is the content for 10th grade math in the CCSS, which means that students will be expected to master what was previously the 12th grade math content in the 10th grade. In a country where educational systems are being criticized for students not performing at their expected grade levels, people are adopting standards which will increase the expectations of the students thereby increasing the difficulty of the content. Maybe I'm just confused or my perspective is off, but I feel like the CCSS is moving backwards in addressing an education that is equitable for all students.

Another interesting topic to consider is the development of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This is an assessment designed to measure student proficiency based on the CCSS. I took a look at some of the sample problems on their website ( and from what I saw, this is going to be a very challenging test for students. Of course, I don't have much knowledge regarding the level of competence per each grade level, but it took me a little more time than I thought when figuring out how to solve some of the math problems and I majored in mathematics. The even more troubling thing is when I attempted to solve one of the English sample problems, I managed to get one correct out of four questions. Just when we thought our future jobs as educators couldn't get any more challenging...

One of the major problems that this new assessment presents is that it is a computer-based assessment. Why does this present a problem you ask? Well, believe it or not, there are still many people in this country who are what we consider to be "digitally illiterate". In other words, they are not proficient at typing, are unfamiliar with how to operate computers, and are unable to navigate through programs and applications. In a 5th grade math sample problem from the assessment, it not only required an answer to the problem, but it also asked the student to type the reasoning behind the answer. I didn't learn how to type until I was in middle school so how can people expect a student in the 5th grade to be proficient at typing? How long would it take an average 5th grade to type the answer to this question?

Some of my peers in my class suggested some ideas in order to address this issue of digital literacy without teaching directly to the test. My fellow math majors and I decided to try to put an emphasis on writing out full sentences of answers including reasoning when solving problems. We also decided that we might provide students with additional practice outside of the classroom that required the use of computers and maybe involved typing. The most interesting idea I heard came from the English group. They suggested a day where students would not be allowed to talk to each other with their own voices, but instead they would have a class where they only conversed through a chatroom using computers. This seemed like an amazing idea that could be applied to all of the disciplines. Imagine a math class where students could only explain their answers and their reasoning by typing out the answers. This would force them to be able to express their answers in a clear and concise where so all students would understand. The incorporation of ideas like these are key to providing a creative learning environment that will help students learn and also help students in improving their digital literacy.