Thursday, September 20, 2012


Lemke, C. “Innovation Through Technology,” 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. (2011) pp. 243 – 269.

After reading Chapter 11, Innovation Through Technology by Cheryl Lemke, I understand the importance of becoming a leader for my school community. My responsibility is to ensure that my students live, learn, work, and thrive to be sync with the globalized world.

Why do our schools need to embrace the innovations of visualization, democratization of knowledge and participatory cultures of learning?

The 21st century brings us millions of visual images in multimedia through a host of mobile devices at a rapid pace. That is why we need to make our students, become informed viewers, critics, thinkers, and producers of multimedia.

Today we, educators, need to consider in using technology to capitalize on the power of visualization and build students’ visual literacy: first, to develop students as informed consumers of information; second, to engage students in thinking critically and creatively using visuals; and third, to engage students in communicating using visuals.

Cheryl emphasizes that we need to engage students fully in deep learning. I totally agree. They need to be motivated, curious learners through visualization, democratization of knowledge, and participatory learning in the classroom. Every day our children are exposed to visuals, videos and hours in front of TV with hundreds of commercials, even with interactive games.

Which of the three innovations will you be most likely to be able to address in your classroom and division?  

I think that visualization will be the innovation that I can work better in Lower School at Cedros. My students watch a lot of movies, TV adds, and play video games. So they are exposed to a tremendous amount of visuals. It wouldn’t be challenging to inform our kids to recognize visuals and to interpret media appropriately.

One way to start teaching visualization to my fifth grade students could be simply by using this link.  I can introduce the topic to make them as informed consumers of information. One of the ways to achieve this is to help students analyze how advertisers manipulate images. An informed consumer recognizes that people are impacted emotionally, psychologically, physiologically, and cognitively.

In addition to interpreting visuals, students should also understand how to create original visuals to communicate their ideas, represent their data, and tell their stories. In the following video, you can see how my students have been working to become producers of media.  I'm proud of my kids because they created their own video all by themselves.

What challenges will need to be addressed?

The main problem is access and infrastructure. Cedros doesn’t have broadband access to support the access to technology, so it’s difficult to have online learning.  If you are lucky, there can be only two or three mobile devices with internet access in the classroom.  Our connectivity is 512 kb. I have been fighting with the board of directors to invest in  to have better wireless access.

There are also other obstacles; not all educators and staff are involved with 21st century learning. There are a few teachers who have been at Cedros for more than 20 years and they are loyal to their traditional methods. They don’t like taking any risks.

To ensure my Cedros students are ready to thrive in today’s global, knowledge-based society, our school needs to embrace the innovations of visualization, democratization of knowledge, and participatory cultures for learning. This begins when I engage in professional growth and leadership through SUNY. Then I can teach old teachers new tricks. By taking these baby steps we can all modernize our teaching.


  1. Great student-made video!
    I really enjoyed watching the video your kids made. The kids are engaged, and having fun working on this project while at the same time they are demonstrating how much they learned.

    Good luck fighting the board for more broadband :)

  2. Hi Pedro,
    I can definitely see how having poor internet access can limit the extent to which you are able to bring your students into the global world. I applaud you for fighting on their behalf to get better internet access. I also like your idea for introducing visualization to your students. Let us all know how that goes!

  3. Hi Pedro and friends,
    You guys are very creative, this makes learning extremely attractive :)
    Greetigs from Jakarta