Sunday, September 18, 2016

Leveraging Technology For Quick Effective Feedback

I love harnessing the power of technology. My students learn to critically think as they use technology and I get to see what they truly know (and don't know) when they create with their iPads in Biology.

This year, it is my goal to use technology for quick effective feedback. I want my students to know where they are in learning, and what they need to do next to improve and ensure they can achieve mastery. Here's a quick video explaining how technology can provide quick effective feedback.

How do you provide quick effective feedback, especially with over 100 students? I would love to hear from you!

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Reflection of Tools in My Technology Learning Environment

I have been in a 1:1 iPad learning environment for four years (going on my 5th). There are times when I think to myself, “I really don’t think I could go back to the old ways of teaching.” I think those exact same things about my own personal use of technology on a daily basis; how did we make it without smartphones? Well, we did make it-but personal devices really do make things easier and fun! In hindsight, I feel very fortunate to have been in two schools that are 1:1 iPad schools. When I was first introduced to iPads in the classroom, my training began with the app first and application second. Oftentimes my professional development and conferences would discuss the “really cool new app” first and showcase all of its bells and whistles. After a while, I felt burned out; I had too many apps and used them in a shallow manner. I began to think more about the design of my class and how I wanted to shape my learning environment and over the last few years I have been doing that.

The NMC Horizon Report K-12 Edition highlights trends in technology that align with collaborative learning, deeper learning through PBL and inquiry, students as creators instead of consumers, and blended learning (New Media Consortium, pp. 10-16). These are things that I have strived for in my learning environment over the last few years. These are how I make decisions about using (or not using) technology in my classroom. In addition, one of the great things I have leveraged technology for is feedback; "technology helps teachers to gather, analyze, and act upon student feedback more efficiently" (Vega, 2013). The use of technology has given me real-time information about where my students stand on a lesson, saves me time in receiving this information, and helps to guide my next steps in the lesson.

Watching this video can give you a small glimpse into my students’ learning environment. This video was created for my application to the Apple Distinguished Educator Program, Class of 2015, but it felt most appropriate to show here.

iTunes U and Google Classroom give me the opportunity to blend my learning environment. Students can access our course at home and come prepared to interact with each other during activities and experiments, rather than listening to a full class period of lecture.

My students have the opportunity to collaborate with each other using Google Apps for Education, Padlet. We can brainstorm ideas and work together to design and analyze experiments on and off campus using these platforms. ClassCraft gives my students a competitive edge as they are collaborating with each other as well.
Picture of Characters from ClassCraft Platform
My favorite use of technology is when students have the opportunity to become authors instead of consumers. Oftentimes students use their devices for consumption. In my class, we often use them for creation. Apps like iBooks author, iMovie, and Spark Video give my students this opportunity. By creating content, they are critically thinking, learning to be researchers, perfecting their communication skills, and taking a risk by publishing work to make an impact on others.
Students created "Built to Run" as they studied adaptations of sled dogs. They had the opportunity to talk to a Iditarod musher. The "Life Cycle of a Chick" is a compilation of stories created by 2nd graders, and edited by 7th graders as we hatched eggs and learned about genetics.
I want to see my students dig deeper, collaborate, and be creators in their own learning. As I attend conferences, such as ISTE in Denver this summer, these are the things I look for when I am attending workshops, looking at new vendors, and having conversations with other educators. Having a personal learning network is powerful. Being accepted as an Apple Distinguished Educator has opened doors to learn so much about using Apple products in my 1:1 iPad environment. Attending the Apple Educator Institute in the summer of 2015 gave me the gift of some of my favorite ADEs. We have presented together as well as group chat frequently when need to bounce ideas off of each other.
Myself, Dr. Layne Morcsh, and Maggie Mabery at ISTE in Denver leading a poster session on student created science videos in science 6-Higher Ed.
In addition to reaching out to my teacher community, I contribute to my network by speaking at conferences on occasion as well as publishing work on iBooks, iTunes U, and for online web articles. This gives me a platform to share my own experiences in a technology infused learning environment and hopefully spark interest for others as well!


New Media Consortium. (2015). NMC Horizon Report 2015 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from

Vega, V. (2013, February 5). Technology integration research tools programs. Retrieved from

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wrapping Things Up on Digital Citizenship

I've just wrapped up a course for my Master's Program (through Lamar University-in Education, Digital Leading and Learning) on Digital Citizenship. It has been a very interesting and important topic to spend time on. We have spent time considering Mike Ribble's nine elements of digital citizenship and I appreciate the way he breaks down this very daunting topic into tangible issues that our students and our schools are facing daily. It has provided a framework for my thinking and how it is possible to implement digital citizenship for K-12 students. 

The one thing I found very interesting and the most useful about digital citizenship was surprisingly copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons licensing. I have been using Creative Commons licensing for a few years now, and have also been teaching my students to use it when we "create awesome things online" (my current mantra for digital citizenship!). At first, copyright is very daunting and scary, but the resources provided to understand this topic made it easy to understand. I see the importance of all teachers modeling fair use and proper citations of the work they create and show for students (and obviously the importance for students too). What I find very important now that I know this information is that using authentic learning experiences by having students create content to publish online or for an outside resource is a powerful way to teach students to consider copyright law and licensing. This information will be most useful in my classroom as my students continue to create content online (we will be publishing a few books this year, so this is obviously perfect!).
My biggest accomplishment and best work in this course would probably be the cumulative project I have put together that shows my understanding of digital citizenship. You can find this multitouch book here. 
I decided to take the essay we wrote and turn it into a book. I felt that it was important to do so, that way I could share this book with others to get the ball rolling on implementing digital citizenship into our schools. The book is a great introduction to understanding digital citizenship, and also has quick tips that teachers an administration can consider for easy ways to implement. Resources are also provided for schools to dive deeper into their implementation as well. I felt that I was able to take the skills I learned about copyright and Creative Commons licensing and directly use those skills while creating my book.

It was challenging at times to take in a lot of the resources provided for us to understand the elements of digital citizenship. This was a bit time consuming to complete and some aspects were repetitive. Some elements of the weekly assignments were redundant as well, but these assignments also helped me in the long run with the multitouch book and essay I created.

While digital citizenship is important in school, it's also something to consider outside in my personal life. I have been mindful about what I post on social media prior to this course, as well as protecting my personal information. The course provided more information about why I should be mindful of what I post and the things I may say "digitally." Growing as an educational leader, I find digital literacy important. As technology changes, it will be important for me to stay ahead of the curve on digital tools so that teachers and schools can be prepared and ready to learn about advancements that could impact the classroom or impact students and families. While some teachers are not plugging into current technologies and applications, I do because I want to learn and be prepared for what is to come.

I probably enjoyed the conversations this course had together during weekly chats the most. It was a great opportunity to express what we had been learning throughout the week and to bounce ideas off of each other. I would suggest that other students taking this course join the weekly chats to glean wisdom off of others. I would also recommend using Ribble's nine elements as a guide to categorizing all the information that digital citizenship can bring. There is a lot of broad information that can feel overwhelming, but by framing and categorizing it as one topic verses another, that can help to refocus the information so you can begin to draw conclusions. 

If I were to change one thing about the the activities in the course, it might be some of the tasks in the weekly assignments. Some of the tasks felt redundant or did not specifically tie to one of the nine elements of Ribble's work. It's a minor thing though. Overall we did a lot of reading in the course (required and supplemental readings were time consuming), but holistically helped us with the cumulative project. I have told many of my friends and colleagues great things about this course and how it has helped me to understand my role as an educator to model expected digital citizenship for my students in the classroom. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

How Should Schools Combat Cyberbullying?

According to a study of cyberbullying in 2014 from, 52% of reporters say they have been cyberbullied, of those- 33% report the bully threatened. A little over half of those reported that they see bullying on social media, and a whopping 95% ignore the behavior (Cyberbullying Statistics). 

We have a problem that most of us really aren't aware of. Cyberbullying is a silent problem that many of our students are aware of, and some could even be dealing with on a daily basis. According to Hinduja and Patchin (2015) in their book, Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying, cyberbullying is a “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices” (p. 11). Simply put, it is a form of bullying in the digital world. Oftentimes the bullying is done by young people that would not typically engage in bullying in the real world and is sometimes anonymous to distance the bully from the victim (Brewer & Kerslake, 2015, p. 2). Forms of cyberbullying come in the following: flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, outing, trickery, exclusion, and cyberstalking (Siegle, 2010, p. 2). Those that are affected by cyberbullying could be any student and often the perpetrator are those that have low self-esteem and empathy (Brewer & Kerslake, p. 4).

Students do not often see cyberbully for what it is, but rather, they call it “drama,” which is a “protective mechanism to save face” (iKeepSafe, 2012). In a way, students feel they are joking around and not participating in cyberbullying. The consequences from this “drama” can be difficult to deal with. Some short term consequences are depression and anxiety (Brewer & Kerslake, 2015, p. 1), while some cyberbullying episodes end in suicide (Essex, 2016, p. 110).

As institutions, it’s important for schools to infuse anti-cyberbullying and digital etiquette into curricula as well as adopting very clear policies on the matter (Ansary & et al, 2015, p. 2-3). These policies can help guide the actions that administrators and teachers take to support students in cyberbullying situations. It’s important for schools to tie in already existing school initiatives that support a positive culture for students (iKeepSafe, 2012). For example, the school I teach at is an IB school. We have “approaches to learning” and the “IB Learner Profile” that would easily support an anti-cyberbullying campaign. In addition, it is important for schools to provide a positive climate, as this is the most effective change agent for cyberbullying problems (Ansary & et al, 2015, p. 3). An easy way to positively influence students, I have found, is to use my “teacher” Instagram and Twitter accounts to be a positive influence on students and teachers that I follow. Teachers forming relationships with their students and even finding ways to be positive on social media via the school or teacher accounts a help to shape the culture of the school.

We have a huge opportunity to engage our students in a positive culture on campus, and online. Lecturing students about NOT bullying each other and "being nice" just doesn't speak their language. Getting them involved in positive campaigns and changing the culture themselves is more impactful than teachers and administrators doing it. Our job is to be the foundation they can rely on when they are in trouble, and to support and guide them as they help shape the culture of the real and digital landscape of their personal and educational lives. 


Ansary, N. S., Elias, M. J., Greene, M. B., & Green, S. (2015). Best practices to address or reduce bullying in schools. Kappan, 97(2), 30-35. Ansary_Elias_Greene_Green_Bullying.pdf

Brewer, G., & Kerslake, J. (2015). Cyberbullying, self-esteem, empathy and loneliness. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 255-260. Brewer_Cyberbullying_Self-esteem_Empathy_Loneliness.pdf

Cyberbullying Statistics. (2014). Retrieved from

Essex, N. L. (2016). School law and the public school: A practical guide for educational leaders. (6th ed.) (pp. 107-110). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.  Essex_Bullying.pdf

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

iKeepSafe (2012, February 29) Generation Safe Quick Tips, Episode 4 -Digital Drama, Guidelines for Teachers [Video file]. Retrieved from

Siegle, D.(2010). Cyberbullying and sexting: Technology abuses of the 21st century. Gifted Child Today, 32(2), 14-16, 65. Siegle_Cyberbullying_and_Sexting.pdf

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How Do We Start Teaching Students About Copyright?

Copyright can be very scary for many teachers, because of many unknowns about the topic. As educators, we may not always create our own content from scratch. If you think about it, our knowledge is a collective body of information that has been brought in by thousands of years of work put onto paper, into movies, and now into the digital world. It is almost impossible to create something entirely from scratch.

Because we are using information from others in the classroom daily, it’s important to teach and model for students appropriate use of all content in our classes. The purpose of copyright is not for owners of work to make a ton of money. According to the Copyright Act, the purpose of copyright is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings" (Crash Course, 2015). While that sounds like educators do not have permission to use work, we do, but we must be responsible and lead by example.

Fair use opens the doors for teachers to use copyrighted materials in a fair manner in the classroom. It gives teachers “conditional rights” (dschrimsher, 2010). For work to qualify for fair use, the four conditions must be met:
  1. The purpose and character of use must be considered (most educators qualify on this condition since the work is more than likely for non-profit).
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. How much of the work is being used?
  4. Does the use affect the market or value of the copyrighted work?
Are the resources that are being used in your classroom for lessons or for students being used in a transformative way?

What are some easy ways to start teaching students proper use of copyrighted materials?
  • Ask a librarian-the school librarian is trained for this exact topic and they LOVE to teach others about it! I have brought my biology classes into the library and let the librarian be the teacher on how to properly research for credible content as well as how to properly cite these works in their projects. A great starting point-you will probably learn something directly from the librarian too!
  • is an amazing tool to teach your students how to use works that already have permissions for use. Student can use this tool to search for images, music, and websites that have Creative Commons Licensing and then you can teach them how to provide proper citations on these works (to give credit because credit is due).
  • Cite your own work- when you create your lesson notes, provide citations and reference pages so your students know where you go the information. Expect them to do this on projects and teach them how to cite. This is something I've begun to do over the last few years. I've even trying to go back on previous works I have created to provide citations on those documents.
  • Curate information for your students-ultimately we want our students using credible resources. Providing students with the resources you want them to use is a great way to show them credible information (and can also save them time when they are researching). You can then use those resources to teach them how to give attribution.
Check out my Pinterest link under the "Educational Technology" tab for more resources on digital citizenship.


Crash Course (2015, April 30). Copyright Basics: Crash Course Intellectual Property 2 [Video file]. Retrieved        

dschrimsher (2010, February 7). Fair use photo story.wmv [Video file]. Retrieved from

Friday, July 22, 2016

Social Media Made me "Famous"

About four years ago a few of my coworkers and I began doing flipped lessons for biology. We created this video:

In the last few years, when I have my students watch it from my YouTube channel, they crack me up by saying "Mrs. Hahn, you're famous! Look how many hits you have on this video!" --currently, this video has over 80,000 hits.

In their eyes, they think I've "made" it (so funny!). When I look at those hits, I'm thinking "woah, what's going on here?!" Out of the bazillion YouTube videos that exist and are uploaded daily, they think I've "made it" in the digital world. :)

This is how some of our teens think. The more likes I have on my social media, the more people that like me. It's as if the "likes" are currency for students. According to the PBS Frontline Documentary, "Generation Like," these likes and comments kids are receiving on their social media platforms are instant gratification. Teens are feeling empowered through Instagram and Snapchat because they feel like they have a voice, and that their voice is being heard.
“The typical teenager sends and receives an incredible 3,339 texts a month."
Can you imagine? That's more than 6 messages every hour, and 92% of teens go on social media daily, if not multiple times a day. According to the documentary, every time they like and retweet, they create data for companies that are looking to market their products to teens. Their voices are being heard-by product advertisers and companies that are using data generated by likes on social media platforms to market directly back to young people. While young people think they are retweeting the latest and greatest thing, they are really a part of a bigger plan (sounds kind of scary, but from the marketing perspective it's smart!). 

It is vital we teach students in school HOW to operate in this digital world. We may not understand how the digital world works and why they are so connected, but it is time to stop asking young people to meet adults at "our" level. We have to get down in their world and teach them about digital communication, etiquette, health, and security. In an open-internet environment, our students now and even as adults will have the ability to innovate and create things that are unimaginable. Things that don't even exist yet. We want them to have the chance to be successful, and they may not be if they have a intentional, or unintentional negative digital footprint. Let's teach our students to be positive contributors to the digital world.

Where can you as an educator start?
  • Are you on social media like Twitter? Create an educator account, there are lots of teachers to connect to (probably right at your school).
  • Start a class Instagram. Post what fun things you've been doing in class (make sure it's ok to post students' faces). Put out study questions for students to think about-they would love to follow you!
  • Check out for resources on how to help our students understand digital citizenship.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pokémon Go and Digital Privacy

Have you been on Facebook lately? My newsfeed is buzzing with so many images of this:
That is Pokémon Go. A free augmented reality (AR) game made by Niantic. This game allows you to join a team and start hunting Pokémon in your own neighborhood! I've already seen kids running around in the 100 degree sun of Texas trying to "catch 'em all!" At the school I teach at, Pokémon has been making a comeback in it's popularity (it was a huge thing when I was like 12!). But now, EVERYONE is playing! That image above--not mine, but my husbands. :)

I thought about downloading it. But there was a small piece of me that wanted to sit back and watch and see what would happen. In less than a week it's become the most popular download in the App store, but it's also raise questions about privacy. I saw on the news a few days ago that NBC News discussed it's concerns with what information the app was collecting and sharing (it's a free app that so many kids are downloading--hello, alert!). Niantic quickly updated their policy so that information would not be shared. 

The safety in the "real world" is beginning to be a concern too. Check out this post from the Texas Department of Transportation:

Really? Oh, that cracks me up that they have to say that. And then what about scenarios where teens have been arrested for armed robbery by luring victims to them, or a teen finding a floating dead body while searching for water Pokémon?

I'm not against the game at all. I'm a technology adopter, and often try things out as soon as they come out. But when things were blowing up on Facebook and on the news about how "scary" the app was, I started thinking about the role digital citizenship plays (and how ironic, I just started a course for my Master's on digital citizenship!). 

Let's be real: technology is NOT a fad. It's here to stay. That means we (educators, students, parents, all of us) have to learn how to navigate the digital world. And really, is there a difference between the digital and non-digital world anymore? I'm not too sure, which makes it very important for us to consider digital citizenship.

Pokémon Go gets me to think about digital etiquette and safety in our growing personal lives. These are elements that Mike Ribble addresses in his Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. He also further simplifies the elements into three categories that focuses on the use of technology by the individual and the user’s responsibility toward others:
Respect: Etiquette, Access, Law- how do digital citizens respect themselves and others?Educate Yourself/Connect with Others: Literacy, Communication, Commerce- how do digital citizens educate themselves and connect to others to learn and share with.Protect Yourself/Project Others: Rights and Responsibility, Safety (Security), Health and Welfare- how do digital citizens protect themselves and others?

I think we can move forward with Pokémon Go, but the conversation and understanding of digital citizenship must take place more in schools with a proactive approach to better prepare our students and communities with protecting themselves and treating each other with respect in our blended technology lives.

Check out the resources I'll be curating on digital citizenship on Pinterest! You can also see these link via my Educational technology tab on the top of this blog.