Trends and Innovations for K-12 Ed Tech Leaders/Part IIHA2

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The Wikibook is titled Trends and Innovations for K-12 Ed Tech Leaders Part II, as a continuation of the above linked wikibook titled Trends and Innovations for K-12 Ed Tech Leaders. Both wikibooks are under review and all chapters will be reorganized by topic relevance and educational settings. This wikibook now has a mixture of topics from both K-12 and higher education. In this transition period (Spring 2018), please use this page and post your chapters here.

For your convenience, the original introduction is pasted below: The Wikibook is titled Trends and Innovations for K-12 Ed Tech Leaders. Technology changes so fast that it is difficult for anyone who cares about education to keep up with the important changes, trends, and innovations. The book focuses on trends and innovations that are important for K-12 educational technology leaders. Under the guidance of the course instructor, doctoral students have been working on this wikibook as one of the final course projects.

  • I. Description of Trend
  • II. Rationale: Why do you think the chosen trends and/or innovations are important for educational technology leaders?
  • III. Implementation in K-12 settings (cases or major initiatives, successful stories, lessons learned…) or in Higher Education settings
  • IV. Issues: What are the key issues around the identified trends and/or innovations? (already existing or potential drawbacks)
  • V. Related Research: What research evidence have you found regarding the trends and/or innovations you are focusing on. (bulleted lists of research studies done on the trend)
  • VI. Recommended resources (blogs, webpages, twitter hashtags, infographics)

Please check out the policies and guidelines for Wikibooks, especially lines about copyrights. Make sure the content you post on this page does not involve any copyright violation, and even if it is your own content, make sure it is something that you can and are willing to share through an OER format.

Spring 2018 Chapter Topics[edit]

HA2 Chapters 13-20

  • Tyrmac--Assistive Technologies (for Students with Special Needs)
  • Hillarychwiecko--Competency-Based Learning OR Digital Badges in K-12 Education?
  • JKHED643--Mindful Use of Technology in K-12 Education
  • JH--Big Data and Analytics (or one of the two) in K-12 Education
  • RF--Infographics?
  • Melba5--Virtual Dissection Platforms
  • ED643CKM--Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in K-12 or in Higher Education

Sample Chapter 1[edit]

This is a sample chapter I am posting for the purpose of sharing the format and how your chapter looks like after it is posted. I also wanted to share that not all chapters posted on the Book I page are perfect so please do not be limited by what you see in the existing chapters and feel free to develop what you would like to have by the six required section headings posted under Introduction. Another suggestion is you may want to start posting now and experience how editing the page can be done anytime and by anyone. All edits should show up under the Edit History tab, unless what you have edited is only a minor edit and if that is the case, remember to check "This is a minor edit."

Learning Analytics and Big Data[edit]

Learning Analytics and Big Data[edit]

Analytics in general involves analyzing data for various purposes or needs. More specifically it “involves collecting and exploring data sets to search for meaningful patterns” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 104). Karanth and Mahesh (2015) present several types of analytics such as cognitive, visual, graph, social, content, etc. Learning analytics (LA) is the most common form used in education and recently educational institutions have begun exploring big data. Learning analytics “ involves gathering, analyzing, and reporting of data related to learners and their environments with the purpose of optimizing the learning experience (Reyes, 2015). Wang and Wang (2015) classify this data as learning objects, benefiting the learner or learning process, and teaching objects, benefiting teachers or the teaching process. This data is typically housed locally within institutions in smaller, well managed storage systems such as spreadsheets or databases (Karanth & Mahesh, 2015). The recent move to blended and online learning settings, along with the influx and use of social media data as a source of information, has created larger and more complex datasets (Reyes, 2015) referred to as Big Data.


Learning analytics is important as it provides vital and relevant information about various aspects of an educational institution. Reyes (2015) reports at the learner level, LA allows for educators to understand how students are “using, interacting, and participating” (p. 77) in a course and the content associated with that course, to acknowledge gaps, and inform interventions and curriculum adjustments. As Wang and Wang (2015) report, there is a distinction between learning objects and teaching objects in that teaches objects inform teaching activities, instructional strategies, and effective/efficiency of curriculum implementation, while learning objects are student artifacts that are used for assessment and to inform career-oriented decisions. Wang (2016) supports the use of LA “for the purpose of improving student performance and assessing curricula, program, and institutions” (p. 382).

Big Data expands on this data repository to include user actions such as computer mouse clicks, key-strokes, tabs and swipes on smartphones and tablets, learning browser patterns, online chats, and discussion forum participation (Wang, 2016). Percell (2016) contends that big data is transforming the way we live in that it connects us to people, organizations, and locations, recording where we have been and what we have done. Percell (2016) stresses the importance of big data in decision making in business to track spending habits, in medicine to track physical activity and health conditions, and in education to monitor student online habits and activities to tailor and customize learning experiences.

Implementation in K-12 Settings[edit]

Learning analytics and big data are becoming a common practice in K-12 settings used to analyze student performance data to improve classroom and institutional endeavors. Several learning analytic resources such as Moodle, Blackboard Analytics, GISMO, SNAPP, SunGard Assessment and Curriculum Management, Desire2Learn, among others, provide K-12 and higher education settings features like open-source learning, analytics applications, social network and discussion forum analysis, data repositories, etc. (Reyes, 2015). Percell’s (2016) research focuses on the exploration of big data in course wikis, and research completed by Giacumo and Breman (2016) explores the us of big data and analytics in workplace learning.


Prevalent issues that exist with LA include educators becoming more learner-centered when analyzing data, technology, and contending with ethical concerns (Reyes, 2015). Reiser and Dempsey (2018) also point out ethical and privacy concerns and also share concerns about unintended secondary and tertiary uses of data, and the relative immaturity of the practice which leads to more time adequately collecting the data in useful forms and less time actually analyzing it to generate informed, purposeful action.

Similar concerns and issues are emerging as the use of big data increases. Wang (2016) asserts concerns around security and privacy of users, along with storage, processing and accessibility of the data while preventing misuse or abuse. Wang (2016) also shares the concern of the performance and private information gathered by one institution being used against students as they matriculate to other schools or the workplace, and also raises the matter of informed consent.

Resources and Related Research[edit]

Corbeil, M. E., Corbeil, J. R., & Khan, B. H. (2017). A framework for identifying and analyzing major issues in implementing big data and data analytics in E-learning: Introduction to special issue on big data and data analytics.Educational Technology, 57(1), 3-9. Retrieved from

Giacumo, L. A., & Bremen, J. (2016). Emerging evidence on the use of big data and analytics in workplace learning: A systematic literature review. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 17(4), 21-38,75. Retrieved from

Karanth, P., & Mahesh, K. (2015). From data to knowledge analytics; Capabilities and limitations. Information Studies, 21(4), 261-274.

Percell, J. C. (2016). Data collaborative: A practical exploration of big data in course wikis. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 17(4), 63-71,76. Retrieved from

Reiser, R. A., & Dempsey, J. V. (2017). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. New York: Pearson.

Reyes, J. A. (2015). The skinny on big data in education: Learning analytics simplified. TechTrends, 59(2), 75-80.

Rumsfeld, J. S., Joynt, K. E., & Maddox, T. M. (2016). Big data analytics to improve cardiovascular care: Promise and challenges. Nature Reviews.Cardiology, 13(6), 350-359.

Wang, Y. (2016). Big opportunities and big concerns of big data in education.TechTrends, 60(4), 381-384.

Wang, S., & Wang, H. (2015). Big data challenges for management of of teaching and learning. International Journal of Arts & Sciences, 8(5), 203-213. Retrieved from

Competency-Based Education Technologies[edit]

What is Competency-Based Education Technologies?[edit]

Competency-Based Education (CBE) is a transition from traditional factory-style school systems that focus on seat time and sorting students by age rather than successes. CBE has also been referred to as mastery-based, proficiency-based, and performance-based learning. Additionally,CBE is sometimes referred to as personalized learning, however CBE is a distinct field of education systems. According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), a leading non-profit dedicated to the study of catalyzing education transformation, competency-based education is a system in which: 1) students progress upon demonstrated mastery, 2) competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable, and empowering learning objectives, 3) assessments are meaningful positive student experiences, 4) students receive timely and differentiated support through individualized learning plans, and 5) learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include the application and creation of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. CBE organically blends with innovations in education technology due to the logistical load of planning, monitoring, evaluating, and implementing individualized learning management.

Why is Competency-Based Education Technologies a current trend?[edit]

A recent study by EDUCASE found an urgent need for flexibility and module progressions within learning management systems that support competency-based education. education is a current trend in educational technology in response to systemic shifts in thinking about the purpose of traditional education. Competency-based learning is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education as a favorable structure to encourage flexibility and multiple pathways to graduation, allowing students to progress and demonstrate mastery of content regardless of the time, place, or pace of learning. With the rise of support for competency-based learning, educational technology leaders must navigate and evaluate the sea of technology-based tracking and management programs that purport to support CBE.

The purpose of this chapter will be to evaluate existing Competency-based softwares and platforms as well as current implementations of competency-based education. Additionally, this chapter will examine case studies of districts in which CBE has been implemented in order to provide recommendations to education technology leaders.

Implementation of Competency-Based Education Technologies in the K-12 setting[edit]

The rising trend of competency-based education has led to an influx of software development companies designing and packaging digital platforms to support the logistical and instructional needs of CBE programs. A variety of CBE technologies currently exist, however it must be noted that the pool of available CBE platforms is rapidly changing as new platforms are adopted, modified, re-released, and further developed by individual districts, states, and companies.

One component of CBE platforms includes machine-graded assessments and machine-generated measurements and data-analysis. These assessments and measurements are generally connected to advanced algorithms that supply, assess, and adapt question and task difficulties based upon learner input. Some current CBE platforms include machine-grading capabilities, while others simply provide the logistical support for teachers to create and their own formative assessments like traditional learning management systems. However, CBE technology is not simply a replacement of the traditional teacher, but rather a tool to measure student performance in a highly sophisticated manner. The strength of CBE platforms lies in their ability to develop in-depth learner profiles through a variety of data inputs. The use of algorithms allows for more informative data reporting. Courseware products that utilize algorithms provide the springboard for measuring and assessing competency mastery and provide teachers and students with information about targeted competencies and levels mastered. Applied with high-quality learning environments that includes strong learner-coach rapport and trust, CBE platform algorithms can help increase learning through specific skill development through personalized pathways.
Below are brief reviews of current popular technologies that enhance the CBE instructional model.

  • Empower: Lindsay Unified School District Empower was developed by Lindsay Unified School District through their dramatic reshaping of education in rural California. Built to support the district’s original competency-based curriculum, Empower utilizes to support templated modules that direct students through a variety of hybrid assessments. Utilizing a proficiency-based learning model, Empower’s strengths lie in the product’s standards-based structure and playlist style learning units. Additionally, a value-added component allows teachers to tag concepts or terms by standards and level maximum values of assessed questions to measure student depth of knowledge. After years of success, Lindsay Unified School District has packaged Empower for sale to other districts.

  • Project Foundry: MC2 Public School, IAA, Wildlands School, TAGOS, Avalon School Developed primarily as a support for project-based learning, Project Foundry utilizes a competency-based education model with a focus on project assessment as the primary measurement tool. Project Foundry allows for facilitators and learners to develop individualized large-scale projects in order to learn and demonstrate associated competencies. Project Foundry favors a project-based rather than course-based model of education where competencies from multiple subjects can be applied and measured in one project. One advantage of Project Foundry is the meaningful inclusion of self-regulation and “learning to learn” strategy curriculum. Additionally, its ability for users to develop their own widgets allows for a more personalized experience. Project Foundry’s focus on real world skill and autonomous learning assists educators in developing personalized projects to meet the unique needs of each student’s career pathway while aligning cross-discipline competencies.

  • Slate: Building 21 in Allentown & Philadelphia Originally developed in 2008 through a partnership between Jarvus and the Science Leadership Academy of Philadelphia to support a technology- and inquiry-based model, Slate is an open-source platform that can be modified by schools and education groups to fit district needs. After receiving national attention for the platform success, Slate was released through an MIT open-source license. Started as a skills tracker, Slate turns user-input data into individual learner profiles that display statistics such as competency-mastery, skill regulation, career pathway progress, and even attendance and interests. As more schools have adopted and adapted slate to fit their own needs, slate communities of professionals have developed more open-source additions such as project plans, shared competencies, and CBE assessments.

  • Helix: Although the parent software company recently put it up for sale, Helix is an LMS specifically designed to support competency-based education. Unique from most LMS platforms, Helix includes a time management program that helps learners estimate the time required for them to achieve certain competencies based on their skill sets and allows students to develop their own course plans based upon this information. Additionally, helix enables peer to peer assessments and discussions and utilizes a social-media type structure that encourages students to “like”, “follow”, and “comment” on other student learning. Another benefit of Helix is the learner’s ability to self-select different levels of guidance within competency lessons such as the use of hints, examples, or step by step walkthroughs.

  • LoudCloud: Purchased by Barnes & Nobles Education in 2017, LoudCloud is a CBE program focused on mastery-based learning that provides “mastery certifications” based upon competencies and allows individual pathway development. LoudCloud allows students to view their cumulative time per modules in order to encourage self-regulation and time management strategies. Additionally, LoudCloud allows multiple categories of competencies to be added including content categories and occupational competencies. Barnes and Nobles Education is hopeful that LoudCloud’s advanced data analytics will allow for the open sharing of foundational data and resources within the CBE platform.

Key Issues with Competency-Based Education Technologies[edit]

A concern in competency-based education technologies lies in the power of software companies. Although Competency-based education is a current trend, some software development companies are already jumping off the bandwagon. For example, Ellucian--a major Learning Management Software company--recently announced that they would be dropping support for Brainstorm, the competency-based platform they acquired in 2015. Additionally, Helix has recently dropped support for their competency-based program within their software. Generally, this stems from the dis-use and mis-use of the platforms. In a 2016 study, the American Council on Education found that simply put, many of the 251 higher education institutions surveyed simply are ready yet for full CBE implementation. In other words, higher institutions and the software companies that serve both K-12 and higher education don’t yet see competency-based learning platforms as a top priority. Additionally, further research found that in order for many education institutions to adopt a CBE platform (especially so in the post-secondary level), thousands of students need to be enrolled in order for per-student revenues to exceed the expenditures in competency-based education. For some public school districts, the extreme price tag of advanced CBE technologies is financially inconceivable.
Critics argue that competency-based education technologies will bring a second wave of the 1970s “back to basics” movement. Due to the use of algorithms and machine grading, some educators warn about the “dumbing down” of education through a CBE technology model. This perspective is based upon the claim that content is watered down to simple competencies that students apparently master by clicking through modules. The fear is that school learning communities will turn into large warehouse style rooms where individual students are each siloed into their technology clicking through mastery achievements. In this respect, students are seem to only be able to go where the software takes them. However, competency-based education models must not solely rely on technology. Like all tech tools, CBE platforms must be implemented with high quality teaching and learning communities.

Related Research for Competency Based Education Technologies[edit]

  • Marcus, J. (2017). Competency-based education, puttothetest: An inside look at learning and assessment at western governors university. Education Next, 17(4), 26.
  • Sullivan, S. C., & Downey, J. A. (2015). Shifting educational paradigms: From traditional to competency-based education for diverse learners. American Secondary Education, 43(3), 4.
  • Weise, M. R. (2014). Got skills? why online competency-based education is the disruptive innovation for higher education.EDUCAUSE Review, 49(6), 27.
  • The rise of competency-based education: In focus. (2017). AORN Journal, 106(6), P18. doi:10.1016/S0001-2092(17)31052-9
  • Paquette, G., Mariño, O., Rogozan, D., & Léonard, M. (2015). Competency-based personalization for massive online learning.Smart Learning Environments, 2(1), 1-19. doi:10.1186/s40561-015-0013-z
  • Melekhina, M. B. (2015). Recursive model of a methodical competency formation of a high school teacher in the context of competency-based education. International Education Studies, 8(2) doi:10.5539/ies.v8n2p142
  • Ordonez, B. (2014). Perspectives in AE-competency-based education: Changing the traditional college degree power, policy, and practice. New Horizons in Adult Education & Human Resource Development, 26(4), 47.
  • Makulova, A. T., Alimzhanova, G. M., Bekturganova, Z. M., Umirzakova, Z. A., Makulova, L. T., & Karymbayeva, K. M. (2015). Theory and practice of competency-based approach in education. International Education Studies, 8(8) doi:10.5539/ies.v8n8p183
  • Nolan, J. (2016). Growing mastery in NYC: In new york city, the mastery collaborative is working with more than 40 public schools to implement competency-based learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 98(3), 41.
  • Arturo De la Orden Hoz. (2011). Reflections on competency based assessment in education. Revista Electrónica De Investigación Educativa, 13(2
  • Ritterband, V., & Heller, R. (2015). Competency education offers promise and peril for students: A performance-based education agenda in california has lifted student achievement, but even its backers worry it could be inequitable. Phi Delta Kappan, 97(2), 27.
  • Fisher, J. F. (2016). Will eliminating the "F" eliminate bad school design? Education Digest, 82(4), 47.
  • Richards, J. (2014). An old chestnut revisited: Teachers' opinions and attitudes toward grading within a competency based training framework. International Journal of Training Research, 12(3), 182-191. doi:10.1080/14480220.2014.11082040

Recommended Resources for Competency Based Education Technologies[edit]

Competency Based Education Network:
Competency Works:
U.S. Department of Ed on CBE:
Western Governors University:
Marzano Competency Research:
Center for American Progress:
Digital Promise CBE ToolKit:
Next Gen Learning:

Assistive Technologies[edit]

What are Assistive Technologies?[edit]

Assistive technologies may be best characterized as tools, innovations and technologies that allow all learners, regardless of individual challenges, to interact with rigorous curriculum. The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990 defines assistive technologies as “any item, piece of equipment or product system…used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” New and innovative assistive devices that allow students full access to curriculum have become integral parts of 21st century inclusive classrooms.

Why are Assistive Technologies a Trend?[edit]

21st Century classrooms are typically inclusive in their composition. Students with a variety of low incidence disabilities populate most classrooms. Hasselbring and Brausch ](2006) report that approximately 10% of students in U.S. schools receive some special education services. School divisions have been under increasing pressures to improve outcomes for every learner. This direction has been driven by a combination of legislative requirements like No Child Left Behind (NCLD) and a system of financial incentives or disincentives for school districts. As a response, schools and districts have taken advantage of new technologies to meet the needs of diverse learners. Assistive technologies are more frequently being employed in an attempt to level the playing field, providing access to a developmentally appropriate education for all students, regardless of disability or challenge.

Implementing Assistive Technologies in K-12 Classrooms[edit]

Assistive technologies in the classroom assist students in a variety of functional domains. These devices are largely vehicular in nature, allowing students increased communication capabilities, improved mobility, improved and innovative accommodations for physical limitations and technologies that permit meaningful engagement with rigorous curricular outcomes.

Many commonly used communication devices allow students to engage in meaningful interactions with teachers, school staff and fellow students.

Symwriter -

Augmentative and Alternative Communications -

Other uses of AT include providing equipment, devices and/or software that assist students with physical challenges to access curriculum.

Eye gaze systems -

Adaptive Switches -

Modified Keyboards -

Key Issues in Assistive Technologies[edit]

The use of assistive devices with students with special needs involves a confluence of supports to optimize the effects. Schools and districts must conduct critical research, understand the associated risks, benefits and challenges and manage unintended consequences. Some of those critical issues around meaningful implementation of assistive technologies by schools can be categorized as the following:

Cost– Specific technologies can be cost prohibitive because of their individualized nature. Some devices are custom made to the learner requirements.

IT Supports – The school must have the necessary IT supports and personnel to ensure the least disruption to the program.

Infrastructure – Since many devices require internet access, bandwidth and speed are necessary considerations to be managed effectively.

Professional Development - Competing pressures on classroom teachers to remain current in all other professional duties, implementation of new curriculum, conducting authentic assessments and instructional approaches, often make it difficult for teachers to acquire specialized knowledge in assistive technologies. School districts must ensure that all teachers have access to professional development opportunities relevant to AT, and that PD both increases their knowledge base and encourages their appetite to incorporate changes.

District Level Supports - Classroom teachers must also be supported by second level service personnel who have specialized technical knowledge in assistive technologies. District level people should be experts in identifying specific student needs and subsequently, researching and recommending appropriate technologies. They should also work with teachers around implementation ideas which allow students to access curriculum.

Related Research and References[edit]

Douglas, K. H., Wojcik, B. W., & Thompson, J. R. (2012, Volume 27, Issue 2). Is There an App for That? Journal of Special Education Technology, 59-70.

Hasselbring, T. S., & Bausch, M. (December 2005/ January 2006). Assistive Technologies for Reading. Educational Leadership, 72-75.

S.Hasselbring, T., & Williams-Glaser, H. C. (2018, March 17). Use of Computer Technology to Help Students with Special Needs. Retrieved from

Statute - IDEA. (2018, April 01). Retrieved from

McCartney-Prest, J., Mirenda, P., & Mercier, D. (2010). Using Symbol-Supported Writing Software with Students with down Syndrome: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Special Education Technology, Volume 25, Issue 2, 1-12.

Omari, J. (2018, March 29). Assistive Technology - Using Switch Activated Toys and Devices for Pre-School Children with Motor Impairments. Retrieved from

Wanjari, A., & Khode, S. S. (2014). The Eye Gaze Communication System. International Journal of Research Studies in Science, Engineering and Technology, 4-9.

Recommended Resources[edit]

especial needs. (2018, April 1). Retrieved from

Inclusive Eye Gaze - Your Essential Guide to Eye Gaze in the Classroom. (2018, March 31). Retrieved from

LC Technologies, Inc. (2018, March 17). Retrieved from

Office of the Superintendent of Public Education. (2018, March 31). Retrieved from

Special Needs Computers - Assistive Devices and Workplace Ergonomics. (2018, April 3). Retrieved from

Spectronics - Inclusive Learning Technologies. (2018, April 3). Retrieved from

USSACC - The Voice of AAC. (2018, March 28). Retrieved from The United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication:

Widget Software. (2018, March 23). Retrieved from

Development of Spatial Learning and Knowledge for Use in STEM Through Virtual Technology[edit]

Mindful Use of Technology[edit]

What Is Mindful Use Of Technology[edit]

There are two components to consider when creating a definition; technology and mindfulness. According to Collins Dictionary (n.d), technology “refers to methods, systems, and devices which are the result of scientific knowledge being used for practical purposes” (para. 1). According to Aaron (2017),

Mindfulness is, in its simplest form, an awareness and total acceptance of the present moment without judgment. This can be an awareness and acceptance of our thoughts, feelings, actions, emotions, sensations or intentions. What are our thoughts right now? What are we feeling? How are we feeling? See it, feel it, sense it but then accept it, allow it, don’t judge it (para. 21).

Based on these definitions, mindful use of technology is a technology trend that encourages the individual who is using a technological device to become aware of their present moment. It is awareness of thoughts, feelings, actions, emotions, and sensations. It is the intentional use of the technology. The purpose of being mindful of the use of technology is to not allow oneself to become lost in the technological device but to remain consciously aware.

Why Is The Mindful Use Of Technology A Trend?[edit]

There is a need for teachers to consider the mindful use of technology in their classrooms as a part of their professional obligation to support student learning through the use of technology. A first step is understanding, through education, and a next step is to implement supports that can be used to empower students to be mindful when they are engaged with technology. Rushkoff (2012) sums up this critical issue facing educators.

First, and probably most important, it's because the classroom is the one place where we are supposed to notice things. When we teach literature, we don't just teach the content on the page - we teach the historical context of the writer, the choice of medium and ways in which the medium was used. No book is just a story.
Likewise, no program is just a tool, no website is just information and no social platform is a neutral meeting place. To use any of these unconsciously in the real world is bad enough; to use them unconsciously and thus uncritically in the classroom is even worse.
So the first requirement to using any technology in the classroom is for us to be prepared to talk about it, assess its influence over our interactions and evaluate its role in an ongoing way.
Second, it's our role as educators to judge whether a given piece of technology is really going to enhance our ability to educate. Will it help us engage with our students, or help them engage with each other and the subject more meaningfully? I know that sounds like an easy one, until we consider the very real classrooms I've visited where the very opposite has been true (par. 5-8).

Implementation Of Mindful Use Of Technology In A K-12 Setting[edit]

The first step in implementing the mindful use of technology is educating students so that they have an understanding of what mindfulness use of technology is. It is important that students are informed on how not being mindful with technology can be harmful by distracting and undermining learning. Then students need to be empowered with resources that can support their mindful use of technology. This learning can then be used to create classroom norms to which all stakeholders hold each other accountable.


Students should be educated on the mindful use of technology. Through research and engaging classroom lessons that use technology, teachers can assign authentic learning activities that are specifically intended to help students understand the pitfalls of using technology without being mindful and the benefits that can be gleaned from using technology with mindfulness.


One of the best approaches teachers can use to supporting their students use of technology is to put guidelines in place on the use of technology and when and how it should be used to support learning. This should be done collaboratively with the students so that they have understanding and ownership. Tech leaders, as an example, put strict limits on the technology use for their own children. Steiner Waldorf Schools do not allow students to use technology in the classroom before the age of 12. Many technology company employees send their children to these school in both the United Kingdom and California (Flemming, 2015). The American Academy of Pediatrics (2013) discourages any screen time for a student under two years of age and recommends no more than 2 hours a day of entertainment screen time for children. It also recommends that approaches to technology should involve a team approach that encourages using technology, when it is not already in place, such as to promote student learning through online education programs for students.

Henrique’s (as cited in Stokes, 2015) strategies for mindful use of technology can be adapted to teaching objectives for classrooms.

  • Reclaiming mindfulness by increasing the focus on your intended learning goals and set limits for when you will disengage and then re-engage with technology to meet these goals
  • Old habits of being easily distracted by links, videos and connected topics that are interesting but take you off of your intended learning goals should be broken
  • Replace old habits with new habits by ensuring you have gained all that you can learn from a technology tool (game, application, Website, video etc.), document the learning, bookmark the resource if applicable, determine the intentional next step before re-engaging in the use of technology

Ducksworth (2017) offers seven practices that can be adapted and taught as a guide for students to use technology mindfully.

  • Center on why you are going to use the chosen technology
  • Examine your beliefs around how much time you will need and re-evaluate once that time has passed
  • Set a learning intention as a result of using the technology.
  • Create a personal learning vision or goal and determine how your technology interface will help you meet it
  • Introduce movement breaks into your technology time
  • Feel gratitude for the gift of learning that the technology brings.

Educators can introduce their students to the numerous applications that have been created to promote and maintain mindfulness when using technology. Some of these can be found in the section on recommended resources for mindful use of technology.

Key Issues with Mindful Use of Technology[edit]

Technology is an integral part of the life of a student and will increasingly be integrated into all aspects of daily activities, including learning. Used with mindfulness, it can enhance the learning possibilities. When used without mindfulness, it can distract a student’s learning potential and possibly even derail learning through disruptive habits. There are both positive aspects and obstacles that need to be tackled in the mindful use of technology.


There is mounting evidence that technology, used mindfully, can enhance the learning experiences in a classroom setting. Tablets and computers and the applications they run offer a learning experience that is inherently highly interactive. This creates a challenge to a child’s cognitive load, creating an optimal opportunity for learning (McEwend & Dubé, 2015, p. 9). Even smartphones, when used mindfully, have been shown to increase learning potential in young adults. This is because the technology encourages students to initiate in learning activities significantly faster than if they had been using a traditional pen and paper approach. Those who use smartphones mindfully have the ability to have higher levels of task engagement, are able to overcome external distractions and prevent disengagement that could be encountered because of the length of the learning session (Sarhandi, Bajnaid & Elyas, 2017).


There is growing evidence that technology, if not used thoughtfully, is actually a distraction to learning. As an example, when laptop computers are used in the classroom, if not implemented intentionally and considerately, they can increase off-task behaviors instead of increased student engagement (Donavan, Green & Hartley, 2010).

Dopamine Labs, named after the molecule in our brains that creates desire and pleasure, is a company that writes computer code for applications. Companies are creating applications that are intended to distract users from being purposeful and are intended to prevent the mindful use of technology and their applications. Companies want to hold a person’s attention for as long as possible and then when a distraction breaks that attention, they want to create a desire to reengage with the technology. It creates an experience that students can become lost in (Cooper, 2018). When a person checks their phone, it is like gambling or pulling the lever on a slot machine. Sometimes you get a reward, a text or social media response, and sometimes you do not. The intention is to hijack your attention and create the formation of a habit. This design component can be built into almost any technological device (Harris as cited in Cooper, 2017).

Related Research For Mindful Use of Technology[edit]

Aaron, R. (2017, January). How a more mindful approach to your mobile devices could save your life and your relationships [Blog post]. The Coffeelicious. Retrieved from

American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communication and Media. (2013). Policy Statement: Children, Adolescent, and the Media. Pediatrics. Retrieved from

Cooper, A. (2017, April). “What is brain hacking”? tech insiders on why you should care. Retrieved from

Donovan, L., Green, T., Hartley, K. (2010). An examination of one-to-one computing in the middle school: does increased access bring about increased student engagement?. Journal of Educational Computing Research Vol 42, Issue 4, pp. 423 – 441 First Published May 19, 2010

Ducksworth, H. (2017, December 15). Mindful Mondays week 7: Mindful use of technology [Blog post]. Meetingsnet. Retrieved from

Flemming, A. (2015, May 23). Screen time v play time: what tech leaders won't let their own kids do. The Guardian. Retrieved from time-v-play-time-what-tech-leaders-wont-let-their-own-kids-do

McEwen, R. N., & Dubé, A. K. (2015). Engaging or distracting: children's tablet computer use in education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 9-23.

Rushkoff, D. (2012, December 11). Computers in the classroom: a mindful lens on technology. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Sarhandi, P. A., Bajnaid, A., & Elyas, T. (2017). Impact of smartphone based activities on efl students' engagement. English Language Teaching, 10(6), 103-117.

Stokes, N. (2015). How to balance technology with mindfulness [Blog post]. Techliscious. Retrieved from

Technology. (n.d). Collins Dictionary. Retrieved from

Recommended Resources For Mindful Use Of Technology[edit]

Internet Service Providers Offering Mindful Use of Technology Tools for Parents

Plum Village: Mindfulness Practice Centre, Mindfulness Software

Spire Health Tag

Posture Improving Technology

What Is the Internet Doing to Our Brains?

Simon Sinek

Seven Week Guide to Mindful Use of Technology

Seven Ways to Take Control of Your Tech Habits

Technology and Mindfulness

The Mindful Use of Technology

Mindful Technology Use

Mindfulness and Technology

Massive Open Online Courses[edit]


What are infographics?[edit]

Infographics are not new. Data visualizations have existed for centuries. Infographics (short for information graphics) are visual representations that merge text, images, data and graphic design. Krum (2014) says an infographic is “a larger graphic design that combines data visualizations, illustrations, text, and images together into a format that tells a complete story” (p. 6). They are most often created and published digitally though many can also be found in print mediums such as newspapers and magazines. What is innovative about contemporary infographics is just how common and accessible they have become create, share and view digitally.

Why are Infographics a Current Trend?[edit]

We live in a world where information is cheap, potentially unlimited and readily available but meaning is often expensive, complicated and ellusive. Infographics have become an important part of digital and visual literacy because they are increasingly chosen as a means of presenting content in a visually due to their power encapsulating many details into one clear and precise visual (Dunlap & Lowenthal, in press).

The power of infographics to present concepts at a glance, and the fact they work best for presenting information to novices is what makes them particularly valuable as learning tools in educational situations (Dunlap & Lowenthal, in press). This ability to quickly get information across at a glance with graphics and data has also led to infographics frequently being used to spread false, incorrect or misrepresented information quickly (McCready, 2017).

The rise of easy to use online infographic creation services such as Easelly, Canva, Piktochart, and Visme amongst others has undoubtedly led to more users creating and sharing infographics which has in turn contributed to their ubiquity online (Carlson, 2017).

Implementation of Infographics in a K-12 Setting[edit]

  • Implementation will be individualized to each subject and grade level though the basic design principles will remain consistent.
  • Technology, software and/or a browser with an internet connection is required to create infographics.
  • Educationally infographics “may be used as job aids, advance organizers, mind maps, content summaries, and study tools” (Dunlap & Lowenthal, in press, p. 4).
  • Infographics should be viewed and created to develop digital and visual literacy (Farrell, n.d.).
  • Completed infographics can be printed or viewed digitally.

Key Issues with Infographics[edit]

Benefits of Infographics[edit]

  • Infographics allow creators to combine different modes of still visual content into engaging, informationally dense representations.
  • “People learn and remember more efficiently and effectively through the use of text and visuals than through text alone” (Dunlap & Lowenthal, in press, p. 1).
  • When “visuals are used effectively, they serve to help people understand abstract, complicated, and complex information, especially when people are unfamiliar with the concept and do not have a pre-existing mental model to assist with the comprehension of new information” (Dunlap & Lowenthal, in press, p. 2).

Potential obstacles with Infographics[edit]

  • There is little research supporting their use in education
  • Research is beginning to emerge about what makes a “good” infographic but as yet there is no consensus about what criteria, how much or how these criteria should adapt for different needs.
  • Infographics can be time consuming to create.
  • They are much more challenging to create, share and view without access to technology.
  • The Terms of Service for many infographic services do not permit those under 13 years of age to sign-up for their service.
  • As with any online service that holds data about its users; privacy and local regulations may limit which services can be used and how they can be used.

Related Research for Infographics[edit]

Abilock, D., & Williams, C. (2014). Recipe for an infographic. Knowledge Quest, 43(2), 46-55.

Carlson, A. (2017, June 21). 32 stats & facts that prove infographics aren't dead. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from

Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (in press). Getting graphic about infographics: Design lessons learned from popular infographics. Journal of Visual Literacy. Retrieved from:

Elena Gallagher, S., O'Dulain, M., O'Mahony, N., Kehoe, C., McCarthy, F., & Morgan, G. (2017). Instructor-provided summary infographics to support online learning. Educational Media International, 54(2), 129-147.

Farrell, T. (n.d.). Integrating Visual Literacy Skills into PK-12 Education by Teresa Farrell. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from

Krum, R. (2014). Cool infographics: Effective communication with data visualization and design. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.

McCready, R. (2017, August 10). How writers use misleading graphs to manipulate you. Retrieved from

Nuhoglu Kibar, P., & Akkoyunlu, B. (2017). Fostering and assessing infographic design for learning: The development of infographic design criteria. Journal of Visual Literacy, 36(1), 20-40.

Sudakov, I., Bellsky, T., Usenyuk, S., & Polyakova, V. V. (2016). Infographics and mathematics: A mechanism for effective learning in the classroom. Primus, 26(2), 158-167.

Tufte, E. R. (2001). The visual display of quantitative information (2nd ed.). Cheshire, CT: Graphic Press.

Recommended Resources for Infographics[edit]

  • Infographic creation services:,,,
  • 7 Common types of infographics
  • Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age