Introduction by Tyler Wood


Bringing Education into the 21st Century

The world is changing fast. Students today are increasingly preparing for jobs that don't even exist when they are in school. The world of innovation has depleted the need for factory-style repetition and instead seeks creative, critical thinkers capable of living in the 21st century digital world. Educators shouldn't shy away from technology. We need to develop new strategies for utilizing these innovations to make a more dynamic and relevant classroom experience. 

Below is a link to my Personal Learning Experience (PLE), where I keep links and tools that can be useful in a classroom. I hope it can help others as it helps me. In this ever-changing world, my PLE will be ever-changing as well. 

I have used many of these tools in class and still more are tools and sites I hope to implement more into my class. Below is a link to my in-depth summaries of my top five tools and sites that I plan to implement in class. 

Summaries of my Top Five


As I grow and learn myself, so too will my classroom experience. This is a constantly evolving site for a constantly evolving educator in a constantly evolving world. I hope you can glean something useful here. Thank you for joining me on my journey. 


Know Thy Learner by Tyler Wood

It might seem clear that I am supportive of implementing new technology into the classroom by now, but I don't mean to say that we should just throw technology at the classroom blindly. We should, like anything, figure out what technology will work the best. 

One way to help figure this out is to understand the learners you are teaching. I used a learning style survey to help me figure out what kind of learners I am teaching in class. The numbers are in percentages based on the survey results. Click below for the results in my class of 4th graders.

Tyler's 4th Grade Learning Survey Results

If you would like to do your own quiz with your class or for yourself, just click the button below.

So what does it all mean? My class breakdown is pretty evenly distributed. I have 5 students that have multiple strong learning styles, and many more that have a few different fairly strong styles. The biggest group is 6 students that are in the 'musical' category. So what can we do?

Diversity of learning techniques is usually an essential way to organize a class, and my class is a perfect example of just why that is. I don't have a real dominant learning style represented in my class, so I will need to really try and take that into consideration as I teach. Here is a run-down of the types and some potential technology that can be utilized in class for these learners.

Linguistic - For the students that were high on the linguistic score, they will want to use the language. This group will probably stay engaged with writing assignments, perhaps story writing or writing a journal. We can use story making apps, like Storybird to help make a storyboard and interact with the story they create.

Logical - mathematical - These students will want to solve problems, experiment, or otherwise think critically and scientifically to figure things out. We can utilize fun quiz games from Sporcle to engage the minds of this group. 

Visual - Spacial - This group is the 'artist' group. They want to see things represented like graphs in math or pictures in science. This group can be engaged with fun videos from BrainPOP, youtube, or make their own on Animoto.  

Interpersonal - This group prefers to understand others' motivations and emotions. They would prefer to work in groups with other students. Working on an Animoto video or putting together a Dipidy timeline as a group would be a way to introduce technology into the learning style of these learners.

Intrapersonal - This group are the 'internalizers'. They take information and use it alone, study alone, or like to read. This group would probably enjoy a flipped classroom the most because they would be able to work out problems at their own speed and on their own terms. Khan Acadamy or utilizing BrainPOP videos and activities at home would be an effective way to use technology for these learners. 

Musical - This group loves music, of course! Trying to incorporate musical activities would be  great for these learners. Youtube offers many educational songs that could be used to teach concepts like The Water Cycle and The Solar System, or you could have the children create their own music on Nat Geo's Music Mixer or Classics for Kids' create your own music game. 

Naturalistic - These learners want to understand the living world around them. They prefer to observe and record what they see. Maybe they could create a living system. Perhaps using some software like Cyber Science 3D where you can view the living things in many different ways and interact with it would be useful for these learners.

Bodily-Kinesthetic - These learners want to move. They want to incorporate their learning into movement. You could put on a play and film it for Animoto, or they can act out stories written on Storybird by the linguistic learners. Also, use of touchscreen technology might be helpful for these students so they can get their hands on something. 

The future continues to change and we should be trying to catch up. One day we might even be making our own supplies and sharing physical objects with the world. The possibilities are endless, so let's start looking for a way to adapt to better serve our students' learning styles rather than serving the convenience of those that remain in the past and don't want to change.  For more info watch the following video.


The New Framework by Tyler Wood

The new framework of education is a shift in the paradigm toward new technology. It's the ability to look at the way you teach with the three main components working together. We should be able to put ourselves in the middle of the technology, the pedagogy, and the content. This is the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework. For more information click the button below. 

We all have a chance to reconsider what we are doing in the classroom. We can fundamentally change the way our classrooms function. If we can integrate technology at the core of the lesson and teach the content in a more engaging and interactive way, we are fully utilizing the technology. Below are some ways I have noticed could be better thought out in my classroom using TPACK. 

Tyler's TPACK Ideas


Koehler, M. (2011, May 13). What is TPACK? Retrieved from

Implementation by Tyler Wood

After organizing my ideas for TPACK and understanding the learning abilities of my students I need to start to implement my ideas. This stage of the process I will briefly go over some ideas for each of the 21st century fluency ideas. For more about the fluencies, click the button below. 

Below are my ideas for implementing technology into the classroom to address each fluency for a given standard. 

Tyler's Fluency Ideas


I am going to focus on the learning of the words and definitions stage of solution fluency - define. I thought this might be one of the hardest stages to get the kids motivated in. We have implemented into the curriculum. It was a collaborative effort with other teachers in my school, but we are creating a study guide for our Life Science book here.

Memrise screen-shot of the material.

The students use this software to study the words from each chapter. On the last test, the students missed the most questions in the vocabulary section of the test, so we decided that this would be the best area to try something new. This software will allow them to study easily, with picture examples, the words at their own pace and at their own leisure. They also have a leader-board to see how they compare with other students in the class and out of the class. The software also reminds them to study after a certain amount of time since they first learned the word helping them refresh and reengage with the material. 

Memrise screen-shot of an example word for studying.


The students need an email account and access to a computer and/or a smart phone to study. It can take a lot of work uploading all the information to the site to get it up and running, unless it has been done already. We have noticed that there should be some oversight on the message boards and uploading of the 'mems' (pictures) to watch out for bullying or inappropriate uploads.

Our students have all submitted their email addresses for this implementation. We have just introduced the students to it, so we haven’t seen the full results of the implementation yet, but the kids seemed very excited to use it upon seeing the preview of how it works and how they will use it. I’m in high hopes that this will be a successful implementation of technology into the classroom. I have been using the software myself to learn and I enjoy it, so I am confident that the students will enjoy it as well. 

As we move forward, we plan to upload all of our books onto the site for their ability to study them and there are already thousands of uploaded books that the kids can learn from outside of our curriculum, and in the attempt to get more points, I hope perhaps they expand into them one day, but only time will tell.



Common Core State Standards initiative. (2013, March 29). Common Core Standards. Retrieved from


Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is Not Enough. (first ed). 21st Century Fluency Project Inc.: 21st Century Fluency Project. 

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words by Tyler Wood

We have evolved over millions of years to use our eyes to survive. Our brain uses visuals to understand the world around us. According to Professor Mriganka Sur of MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, "Half of the human brain is devoted directly or indirectly to vision, (as quoted by Thomson, 1996)" so why do we reduce using visuals to teach as the students get older? In kindergarten, it is common to use visuals to teach, books have large pictures and a small amount of words. As the children grow the ratio from words to pictures switches until we are reading textbooks with little to no pictures at all. Our brains are still able to process visuals faster and with an emotional connection that words don't for many learners. Students are inundated with visuals in the world around them, visuals trying to sell them shoes or cereal, telling them what to do with their time and money, visuals showing them who to be or how to dress. Why is it that visuals aren't utilized more in the classroom? The marketing agencies know the power of visuals, why don't schools?

In this section I will be utilizing visuals to help bring to life a lesson. I will be targeting information fluency that is challenging the students to incorporate various sources in their work. I will also be targeting Creativity fluency by using those various sources to gain inspiration for their work.

Utilizing the TPACK framework I will be using two types of visual media to diversify my methods of instruction to reinforce the content knowledge. 

The first visual will give a slide by slide presentation of the events in the process of a predator (cheetah) hunting prey (Thomson's gazelle). This will break up the process into chucks we can discuss in depth to better understand a predator and it's adaptations for hunting and to compare and contrast the adaptations of a prey animal’s adaptations to flee and stay alive. This will boost the understanding of the vocabulary (predator, prey, adaptation) by creating visuals and a storyline the students can follow. The slide show is utilizing best practices for visual presentations based on cognitive load theory by not over-crowding each slide with words or charts. Keeping it simple with a few words helps the audience retain the message better because we can only process a limited number of things at a time in our short term memory (Soloman, 2013). Click on the button below to see the first visual made at

I am paring the slide show visual with a video so the students can compare and contrast the visual media. We will discuss how they are different and what each one gives us in the form of a visual source. The students will also be able to see the same scenario in two ways in order to better understand the order of events (slide show) in relations to the real-time speed of the events (video) in order to help them prepare and get inspiration for their work to follow. Click the button below to view the National Geographic video showing the process of a predator hunting and catching it's prey.

After reviewing the two media sources and discussing the differences between predators and prey, as well as the two forms of visual media, the students will use this information to write about the interactions between predator and prey. They will consider how they relate to the larger food web and what effects they have on each other.



Soloman, H., (2013) Cognative Load Thoery (John Sweller). Instructional Design. Retrieved from

Thomson, E. (Dec. 1996) MIT Research Brain Processing of Visual Information. MIT News. Retrieved from

Visual Literacy by Tyler Wood

Students' eyes are witnessing more man-made visuals everyday than at anytime in human history. Most of those visuals are trying to convince them what to think, buy, feel, or do - many without them knowing it. To ignore this part of reality in the classroom is to not prepare our students for the world at large. If education is to prepare students for their future and life, then how can we ignore something so front and center as the visuals they see everyday?

Visual literacy is to learn how images work, what they mean, and how to 'read' them like they would a piece of text. More and more communication in the modern world is visual and it would be in the best interest of the students that they learn about this medium in the classroom. We don't expect our children to pick up reading in the streets, why would we expect them to pick up visual communication?

For this section, I have posted below six ideas for utilizing visual literacy in accordance to the Common Core Standards. After reviewing my ideas, I will choose one to implement in class. Click below for my ideas.

Tyler's Visual Literacy Ideas


For class I made a list of 100 interesting and more precise verbs for use in story-writing. I wanted to get the kids using more variety in their verbs to spice up their writing. I added the words onto and printed out the sheets so the kids could look at them closely. I had them pick out four verbs they had never used before (or don't remember using before) and circle them. 

A students wordle sheet after their search.

After they chose their four words, I explained their meanings and how to use them in a sentence. They could also look them up on the translator to get the Korean definition for better clarity. After they understood the meaning of the words, they used them in a sentence each. Then, they were to draw a picture that matched the action. This way I was able to assess their writing and whether they fully understood the word meaning with the picture corroboration of the sentence. 

An example of student work

Successes and Challenges

During my explanation, the kids were already curious and excited to get their hands on the Wordle sheets. They really enjoyed looking at the words in a different format, I think it resembled a game more than work for them. Hunting for words was more like a word search than vocabulary practice. The kids were quietly engaged searching for words they hadn't used and were interested in trying. Making the process of using words you don't know part of the task relaxed them about having to know everything and try something different. When most of the kids in my class only use words they know and keep it simple to avoid errors, it was refreshing to see the students really active about picking words they didn't understand. I could tell this easily because they were all raising their hands impatiently to get the explanation of their words. With the exception of one student, they were all very engaged and focused. 

One student wasn't too interested in this task and was visually bored after doing her search. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with this particular lesson, or something unrelated since she has been on and off like this since the beginning. I won't claim to know what is the source of the problem, but I will continue to try and engage her in other ways throughout the year. 

The writing part was much less exciting for the students but they had a good head of steam after the word search, so they moved into the writing more excited than a 'normal' writing assignment. Many of them finished one or two sentences then slowed down noticeably. I think next time I will take a break between the two parts of this assignment or even cut it down to two sentences at a time and then do the activity more often for vocabulary building. 

All in all, I thought the activity worked well, and with a few tweaks on timing and shortening the writing, this will show up in class again in my room. 

Creating a 21st Century Learning Environment by Tyler Wood

This section has been about how to start to implement the 21st century fluencies into the classroom. There is no need to wait for it to be policy, many of these ideas are ready to implement today. I am also working on implementing these fluencies into my classroom. Below is a link to my lesson plan for my implementation. 

Tyler's Lesson Plan

My lesson plan involves a few different resources, so I am embedding these resources for you to look at, use, or get ideas from below.

Keep in mind that the presentation I have made was for the entire chapter. I only used a little piece of it for the lesson being discussed and shared here. Below is the PDF link to the worksheet the kids used in the lesson. 

Design an Animal Worksheet


So how did it go? I will start with my use of the TPACK framework lesson plan. I think the lesson plan was good because it forces the thought process in planning. It helps build the framework by making sure each section was filled in and thought about. Everything educators plan should have a reason and using this lesson plan puts that at the forefront of the planning stage. 

Armed with a good lesson idea and plan I was confident it would go well in the classroom, but you never know how it will go for sure until you do it. The lesson went fairly smoothly at first. The kids liked the Prezi presentation and were mostly paying attention. Several students seemed to actually look forward to the presentations because they like the visual learning I have been implementing previously and they know there will be pictures and video coming soon. It is good to see the technology piquing their interest in learning in the classroom.

I managed to get through two of the four vocabulary words when a flood of questions began to spring from the mouths of the curious class. It was a bit of a pickle for me because I had a plan on time and needed to give them a decent amount of time to write out their ideas on the worksheet, but I didn't want to stifle the curiosity of the kids or pass up a teachable moment when the kids were actually really interested in a certain subject. The class began a small discussion of animals and survival. This was great because I know that "students generally appreciate having casual conversations with their teachers (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013)." We talked about camouflage and why it helped prey animals survive, but also how camouflage helped predators. We talked about variation in human genes as well as other animals and what it looks like. The brown-eyed Korean children always enjoy pointing out my blue eyes, but they were also delighted to know that my hair was much lighter, almost white, when I was a child. The kids were shocked to learn about the terrible fate of the Western Black Rhino and I didn't want to gloss over the very important lesson of protecting wildlife. Extinction is a very real possibility in our lives, it wasn't just the dinosaurs a long time ago. After many other questions we managed to finish our vocabulary introduction and watched a short video on one particularly interesting adaptation in the sea - the cuttlefish. One of the greatest living adaptors on Earth (see prezi for video). 

After watching a few minutes of the video, I explained the worksheet and got the kids started on creating their own animal with an adaptation that would help it survive. 

What I thought went well was engagement. The kids seemed to be engaged and interested in the content and the technology used to relay that content, evidenced by their eagerness to ask questions and engage in a discussion about the topic. They were conversing knowledgeably and thoughtfully on-topic. I think the visuals were making the vocabulary easier to understand and conceptualize. For example, we were able to see an animal's camouflage and discuss how the animal uses it, rather than spend the time trying to explain what camouflage means. They moved quickly from acquiring the vocabulary to applying it in discussion very swiftly moving up Bloom's digital taxonomy from understanding to applying and analyzing (Crocket, Jukes, & Churches, 2011, p. 91). 

What I thought did not go well was the timing of the lesson. I would have liked to have more time to implement this lesson more in-depth. It felt a little rushed, partly because I wasn't expecting so many actively engaged students asking so many questions. This is the kind of time problem I like to have though. However, those questions made it difficult for the students to have enough time to really get into the animal worksheet and apply their new content knowledge. I may even have to revisit this assignment to get the ideas fully formed on paper. They were trying their best to get the ideas out and we ran out of time. My planning was a little too time rigid or perhaps I was bitting off more than we could chew. Either way, next time I would allow for more time to teach this lesson.

I would definitely teach this lesson again, however. It was engaging and the students liked it while at the same time being pushed to think outside of the box and be more creative than they are usually expected to. As I mentioned before, I would allow for more time, though, for the writing. This would be better implemented on a day I have a double block class of science and I can use the break between classes for the kids to let the ideas sink in. They can come back after break and be ready for designing and have plenty of time to flush out their ideas. We would even have time to share our ideas and let the kids hear what their classmates came up with. 

The technology used in this lesson was nice and easy to use. I have been implementing Prezi into my lesson a lot more lately and it has, as I alluded to previously, a response in expectations from the students. They have begun to get accustomed to it and enjoy the use of it in class. I also like Prezi because I can keep all the visual material in one location. All the photos and videos I want to use for a lesson is in one place so I don't have to be searching the web or opening more than one window. It makes the visuals cleaner, the lesson go smoother, and helps eliminate any slow internet connection breaks in the middle of class when opening a new window can kill the flow of the class. 


Student Analysis

The students, for the most part, responded well to the lesson. They were actively engaged and offering up their ideas and insights almost from the beginning of class. As I mentioned before, we made it through two vocabulary words then the questions came tumbling out. The questions were not the type of questions kids can offer up in order to stall, but were actually very interesting questions. For example, one student asked what might happen if an animal was born without their camouflage and the student sighted an example of a shrimp not being the correct color for blending into their surroundings. I think the students enjoyed the content of the lesson overall.

This is an improvement in the engagement with the content that I have witnessed thus far. I have a few students who seem engaged most classes, there are a few that seem to never be engaged, and many in the middle who are engaged sometimes and not engaged other times - a bell curve of engagement.  This lesson brought out the middle group more and even the group that usually doesn't seem engaged was more interested. I believe the rest of this chapter, using this technology, will really be the test to see how engaged they are, but as of now, their interest has been piqued. 

click to enlarge

The students didn't have enough time to really finish the worksheet in the way I know they could have, but they were trying their best and I thought they did a great job. When most of my students were actively writing for the final 12 minutes of class and all the questions were about the lesson content, then I feel the students were achieving what I wanted them to achieve. The goal is to unlock their critical thinking skills for this assignment, and even though we were short on time and many students didn't finish what they wanted to finish, I was happy to see them thinking critically about how their animal would survive with the adaptation they gave them or what adaptation would fit into their environment. The worksheet may not have been fully finished in the end, but the assignment's goal was being accomplished.  Posted here is an example of what one student came up with.

click to enlarge

I planned on going through the vocabulary quickly at first and spending more time watching videos and showing them how this content relates to the outside world, and us. I was surprised that the students were perfectly satisfied having a discussion in class rather than watching more videos. More often than not, the students want to watch a video and stop talking to me or asking questions, but this time it wasn't really the case. They wanted to watch a video, but they were also interested in asking questions and getting to know the ideas better. I was also surprised at the engagement because this was being taught the day after their placement quizzes. On a day where we usually go light on the content for the students, they were more engaged than ever. 

This student response has proven to me that this idea of designing a visual presentation that follows along with the textbook is a really great way to allow the students reading time from the book, but supplement it with a visual stimuli that makes those neural connections stronger. The students are able to use different learning styles in each class this way maximizing the engagement with all the students. 


Future Application

Moving forward I would like to implement technology into each lesson in some way. Even if it is a small thing for that lesson,  just to make sure the students are getting multiple methods for gaining the content knowledge. This offers the students alternatives for learning the content and keeps them engaged with the material more than just reading or having a discussion alone. 

I already have access to the internet in class and the kids have access to internet at home, but I would like to have a touch-screen in the class to get the kids some hands on interaction with the technology. I can move forward without it, however. I would really like to have student interaction outside of the class more as well, so student access to mobile technology would be nice. Most have access through their parents phones, but it would be nice to see them with phones or tablets where they could access school work or content for class outside of class easier. 

The obstacles I face are two-fold. The first obstacle I face is the technology itself. I have most of the technology I want, but sometimes they aren't working properly or they are too slow because we have older computers. My computer I work on in the office is constantly shutting down making it very hard to design technology for class at times. Also, with a big screen that isn't a touch screen, I am limited on what I am able to use for the students. I would like the technology to be more hands on and let the students use it more, but I can't with only one computer in class and no touch screen. The second obstacle is the parents and what they will allow or accept. It is understandable that parents don't want their children to own or constantly use a cell phone, so trying to push for more student internet access outside of school is an uphill battle. They are worried about the children playing games and not studying, and rightly so. Students can, and do, get distracted from schoolwork when they have access to games. However, if there are no games allowed on the device and they had easier access to study materials on that device, they would be more focused and more engaged in class, even when not in class. It will be a tricky sell for parents, but I would like to see them have more access because I would like to teach a flipped class-room in the future. That will only happen if the parents are accepting of their children having nearly unlimited access to the internet outside of school for schoolwork. 

To overcome these obstacles I have already begun to show how the technology I, and my coworkers, are implementing is working. The parents have seen a few new ideas pop up this year and they have taken to it quite quickly. As we implement more and more ideas of this nature, and they see it working for their students, I think they will be more inclined to accept a change in the school dynamic. As the parents accept, and even request, these technologies, the administration will adopt them and support them more. They currently support the use of technology, as long as they don't have to buy anything new for now. That will no doubt change if the parents are requesting more innovation in the school. Also, I have piqued the schools interest in getting rid of the expensive textbooks and going paperless. The best thing I can do to overcome these obstacles now is continue to add more innovation into the classroom and demonstrate it's worth and effectiveness and let that speak for itself. I plan to push for more use of mobile devices as well. 

As I continue to implement more my colleagues have been doing the same. We have been sharing ideas and adding new things all year long. This has been a great sight to see. After I implemented ClassDojo into my class, I saw three other teachers start using it in class. This school is ready and willing to change and try new things, so as we do that we are sharing with each other. I have given all of my information to the other teachers to use and try and many have been experimenting with it already. So far, sharing with my colleagues has been easy and met with open minds. I have been lucky in that regard. 

As the school begins to get the ball rolling on change it will only get easier and easier to continue the implementation of technology and innovation into the classroom. As the results start to come in on the students scores and abilities, the acceptance will grow and we will be able to add more innovation. 



Brookhart, S., (2008) How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from


Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2013, March 29). Common Core Standards. Retrieved from


Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is Not Enough. (first ed). 21st Century Fluency Project Inc.: 21st Century Fluency Project. 


Goodwin, B., & Hubbell, E. R. (2013). The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Everyday. Retrieved from


Marzano, S.,(2013). Marzano's Nine Instructional Strategies for Effective Teaching and Learning. Newark Teachers Union. Retrieved from