Education Trends

Excerpts From : STAO 2010 Presentation – November 12, 2010

Engaging the Digital Natives in Your Science Classroom – Luciano Lista – Academic ICT – TCDSB

A Vision of K-12 Students Today: 21 Century Learners – Intro Video – used to create billboard with funny effects

  • Research shows that we learn better when the learning environment is safe and comfortable.
    Video – “My lab’s research is aimed at understanding the biological mechanisms of emotional memory.” Joseph LeDoux – PHD
  • Neuroscience also tells us that our kids learn differently … their brains are wired differently…. in digital format-

Video – Your Brain on Google

  • Neuroscientist, Gary Small, tells CBS News’ how technology may be making us smarter.

Video – Don Tapscott – 2020 Shaping Ideas – Growing Up Digital

  • Today’s children need to be taught differently than previous generations of students.

Teaching in 1985…. Was fairly simple compared to today

eBay 1995 1995
Yahoo! 1995
Google 1998
Wikipedia 2001
Facebook 2004
YouTube 2005
Twitter 2006


10 years before

Windows 95,

The Internet,

Java Script,

DVDs, etc

20 years before




  • In 1985 – I taught my students the same way my teachers taught me!
    Did I write tons of notes on the blackboard and have students copy them in their notebooks!?? Yes I DID!
  • More notes on the overhead projector?? This is what I called Technology-Enabled learning.
  • I did use multimedia in my lessons + some VHS movies to review/introduce new concepts.
  • Lots of Demos and Experiments
  • Other activities included: Taking Up Homework, Student Projects (Individual & Groups) -Storytelling Anyone??
  • Textbook exercises i.e.: reading and answering questions, Quizzes and Tests, Blackline Masters, Hands-On … Labs, More Homework, Computer Simulations
  • The teaching/learning strategies I used in 1985 would not be as effective with today’s learners as they were 25 years ago.

Cartoon: Prelinger Archives Little Lulu: Bored of Education (1946)

  • Teachers are no longer the owners of Knowledge…

… We are probably just beginning to accept the idea that there could be more than one teacher in the classroom … i.e. teachers & students learn and teach together.

Teaching/learning tools have evolved too. Not only there has been an increase in the number of tools but also the variety as well as the complexity of the tools

Tools Available to Science Educators in Pre Digital Learning (c. 1985)

Tools available to Educators and Learners Today in the Digital Age (2010)

According to the I.S.T.E. , (International Society for Technology in Education) a new set of skill is needed by today’s learners to meet the demands of the future … our kids will face enormous challenges and problems in their adult years!

Technology Standards for Digital-Age Learning:

  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation
  • Communicate and collaborate
  • Conduct research and use information
  • Think critically, solve problems, and make decisions
  • Use technology effectively and productively

When iGeneration (Science) Students use these tools interactively, they are naturally engaged and tend to acquire critical thinking skills more readily

  • Repetition is important but making learning interactive, fun and engaging is much more effective learning.
  • We used to “learn” by memorizing. – Movie – Dan Willingham
  • “…When Learning isn’t engaging, it’s not learning”

Movie – Roger Schank – You don’t learn anything if you don’t remember it … experiences, challenges, surprises emotions … become learning moments

  • We learn when we remember and we remember when events are meaningful to us
  • Active learning occurs when students are engaged.

For example:

Starting a topic or lesson by writing notes on the overhead projector or blackboard for a long period of time is not an engaging strategy.

  • Give students options of: how, what, and when to learn. Spark their interest with something real, relevant and meaningful
  • Suggestion:

Start a lesson or concept with a short video clip or an audio file (podcast):

Activities should be: Relevant to the students’ lives,

  • experiences,
  • or current events

Use a video clip produced by the students themselves!

For Example:

Your students (and you) could create a video in seconds using the Smart Notebook Recorder – demo on SmartBoard – mini lesson the area of a square – record wmv file and save it on desktop.


Use a KWL Chart to group students according to:

  • What they already know about…..
  • What more do they want to know about….
  • What did they finally learn about……?

Movie – What is a KWL CHART?

Suggestion: Have students plan lessons and activities themselves:

  • They can use mind maps
  • The can use concept maps
  • They can use Software (Smart Ideas – OSAPAC)
  • They can display their lesson plans on a Smart Board.

Movie – Smart Ideas Tutorial

Allow students to choose IT enabled learning strategies that suit their learning style:

A few examples of possible student choices:

  • research the topic on the Web
  • report back to the class using a Power Point Presentation
  • Prepare a Smart Notebook activity – to interact with on a Smart Board
  • Use the Smart Notebook gallery to find relevant simulations or animations to explore.
  • Produce a podcast
  • Design and present a digital storytelling project


Don’t do all the work yourself. Facilitate, mentor, assist and plan so that students…. using a variety of techniques, and strategies … can:

  • search
  • filter
  • create
  • remix
  • collaborate
  • experiment
  • synthesize content

Students could start a threaded discussion or a classroom Blog.

For example, if the lesson topic is “Diffusion”:

The discussions could be about….

  • the impact of diffusion (of fluids) on society and the environment:
  • smog and pollution from factory exhausts
  • smoking in public areas
  • using fertilizers and pesticides for lawns

WordPress is one of many free blog solutions for educators and learners.

Have students design and perform their own experiments at home using safe household products

…. Examples:

Factors Affecting the Diffusion of Ink in Water (of course you would approve materials and procedures first for safety).

Students will record their own experiment using a web cam, a digital camera or a cell phone
… a SmartBoard.

Students could then post their videos on,,, the school blog or share them with others using Microsoft SkyDrive. All kids -young and old – love to be movie producers. Five minutes movies and screen capture upload using JING and Free webcasting

In place of a poster presentation students could take pictures during experiments to create a digital storytelling project. Readily available software can be used at no extra cost (Moviemaker, Photostory 3, and other open source or freeware video editing applications).

Video – “What is Digital Storytelling?”

Differentiating Learning in today’s Science Classroom…. a possible implementation solution:

Video from Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board – Delta SS

Lab groups work on different parts of an experiment.

Each group can post their own observations, conclusions, diagrams, graphs, pictures, movies, files, sound files, and answers to questions on a wiki.

Video – Wikispaces Intro

Assessment and Evaluation

Learning Skills – Organization

The student:

  • Identifies gathers, evaluates, and uses information technology, and resources to complete tasks.
  • devises and follows a plan and process for completing work and tasks;
  • Establishes priorities and manages time to complete tasks and achieve goals.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)report outlines the following three categories of competency:

A. Using Tools Interactively

• The ability to use language, symbols, and text interactively

• The ability to use knowledge and information

• The ability to use technology

Microsoft Mouse Mischief for PowerPoint

  • Something new and interactive for PowerPoint users for fun Assessment/feedback activities

In Conclusion:

  • Active Learning = Engaging Students
  • Technology can play a big role in engaging the Digital Natives in your classes
  • The teacher is the facilitator in the classroom
  • DI is the underlying pathway to student success
  • The students are the active collaborators in an engaged learning process

Movie How Many Uses Can You Think of a Paper Clip? – Sir Ken Robinson – Paradigm Shift in Education – The promise of the future?