Digital Leadership
Summit at ISTELive 20
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Promote Student Voice Through Elementary Technology Centers

Location: Posters; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function, Table 20

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Tuesday, June 26, 10:30 am–12:30 pm
Location: Posters; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function, Table 20

Nancye Blair Black  
Centers are an ideal way to provide differentiation and independence in the elementary classroom. Certain types of centers, like podcasting or graphic design, also promote student voice through media creation. Learn to empower and showcase students' voices through six types of dynamic centers. Lesson templates included!

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Application options for each center will be presented for Mac, PC, Chromebooks, and mobile devices.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-5
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments.
For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Whether for reading groups, Daily 5, math activities, or creative projects, centers are an ideal way to provide differentiation and independence in the elementary classroom. By integrating easy-to-implement technology activities into these centers, every student, from kindergarten to fifth grade, can enhance their learning experience while finding and developing their personal voice. In this interactive session, attendees gain first-hand experience of six dynamic voice-promoting technology centers. Each hands-on center provides samples, ideas for extended applications, how-to tutorials, adaptive lesson and rubric templates for K-2 and 3-5, and time to experiment with the tools. Plus, the session will provide best practices learned from successful implementations at elementary schools that are making substantial gains in academic achievement while still promoting creativity, media creation, and engagement with authentic audiences. With practical tools, resources, and hands-on experience, attendees will leave confident and inspired to successfully develop a classroom of Creative Communicators through these powerful learning centers.


1. Introduction to student voice-promoting technology centers a. Establish need for independent activities that develop student voice, including relevance to ISTE Standards. b. Benefits of voice-promoting centers vs. skill and drill applications. c. Shift in roles of educators and students. d. Best practices for designing voice-promoting technology centers. 2. Hands-On Technology Centers (Tools and Applications are examples and may be expanded or adapted as new resources become available). a. Voice Recording (Sample tools: Audacity, Sample applications: Reading Fluency, Podcasting). b. Video Creation (Sample tools: Windows Live Movie Maker and/or iMovie. Sample applications: Sequencing, Cross-curricular Research Projects) c. Digital Storytelling (Sample tools:,, Picture Book Maker, Sample applications: Writing skills and conventions, Critical thinking about math, expository writing in Science/Social Studies) d. Graphic Design (Sample tools: Kid Pix, Sample Applications: Infographics, brochures). e. Presentation Software (Sample tools: PowerPoint, Prezi, HaikuDeck. Sample applications: Cross-curricular research projects, animated storybooks) f. Blogging (Sample tools: EasyBlog, Kidblog. Sample applications: Cross-cultural discussion, Data collection and analysis, peer feedback). 3. Wrap-Up a. Reflection on and sharing of knowledge, skills, ideas gained through centers experience. b. Q & A.

Supporting research

Presenter's related publications: “Keys to Successful Elementary Technology Centers.” In: Find Your Path: Integrating Technology in the Elementary Classroom. Hamilton, B. Eugene: International Society for Technology in Education, 2015. “Authentic Audiences: Overcoming the myth of ‘When I Grow Up.’” Creative Educator online magazine. San Diego: Tech4Learning, September 2012. “Transforming Technology Integration for the New 21st Century Learner.” Principal magazine. Alexandria: National Association of Elementary School Principals, January/February 2012. Other Supporting research: “The Element” (Book) or “Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity” (TED Talk) – Sir Ken Robinson - Demonstrates the need go beyond rote, cookie cutter learning to tap into an transformed educational system that fundamentally values creativity and discovers potential. “Drive” (Book) – Daniel H. Pink – Demonstrates the need to motivate students for lifelong learning and develop intrinsic motivation through heuristic tasks, which are engaged for the joy and task itself. “It’s Elementary! Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades” (Book) – Boni Hamilton; “…the integration of technology with classroom content improves student achievement. Thoughtfully planned, such lessons engage students to a higher degree than traditional teaching and lead to the development of 21st-century skills such as complex thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration.” (p.19) “Study: Young Kids Better with Tech than Life Skills” (article) - Larry Magid - - Study demonstrates the early technological potential of the digital generation. “Return to Sender” (article) – Dan Gordon – “The skills in high demand now are not exclusively reading, writing, and arithmetic. Magner's organization [Partnership for 21st Century Skills] says United States schools need to fuse the traditional three Rs with the four Cs--critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity--while also making room for problem solving and innovation.” “Framework for 21st Century Learning” by Partnership for 21st Century Skills, “Meaningful Learning with Technology” by Jane Howland, David Jonassen, and Rose Marra

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Nancye Blair Black, The Block Uncarved, LLC

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