AoP Tech News December 2017

Tech News, Support, and Information for AoP Educators!

New Digital Apps = New Digital Acquaintances

by Aaron Heintz, Technology Integration Coach PreK-12


Welcome to December’s edition of Doug Belshaw’s 8 Pillars of Digital Literacies. With the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week it is fitting that the pillar we will be focusing on this month is - The Cognitive pillar.


In the October edition of the AOPTech Newsletter, I referenced Pope Francis’ 48th World Communications Day letter. I would like to include another quote from that letter. Pope Francis says, “The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.” As we learn to use more digital tools, we grow our ability to comprehend and connect with a greater community within that digital world. As you explore the Hour of Code activities with your students, you are not only helping them learn 21st-century skills, but you are also helping them connect with more digital communities. In short, Hour of Code activities directly supports the Cognitive pillar because through those activities we are expanding our student’s minds. We also see a connection between the Cognitive pillar and a student’s opportunity to develop new social and community interactions.


As we move on from the Hour of Code activities, remember that each time you introduce a new app, site or digital tool you are immersing your students in new digital spaces. It is not just about the content, but also the tool used to access and interact with that same content as it helps students develop into effective digital global citizens.

Questions for consideration:

  • What does Pope Francis mean by “lose our bearings”?

  • Why is exposure and interaction with new digital communities important?

  • What are the pro / cons of introducing a new digital tool to my class?

  • How will this new digital tool help expand my students’ minds?


December Challenge: Take part in the Hour of Code activities with your students. Taking the time to be a student can increase your own understanding of these new technologies and models a strong Growth Mindset. Let us know what discover. Share it with us on Twitter @aoptech
Hour of Code Resources

Did you know December 4th - December 10th is the annual international Hour of Code week? Register your classes, access the resources, and CODE! Your students will put their critical thinking and problem solving skills into practice!

Leadership Feature: Ms. Patricia O'Donnell

"Currently, I have 2 favorite tools. The NEWSELA program is excellent for current events, class discussions, and wonderful opportunities to write and reflect. My 2nd tool is Google Expeditions. The virtual reality learning opportunities are engaging and exciting. I teach 2 Social Studies classes so integrating these tools has increased active learning in my classes. It can sometimes be intimidating but I ask the students to be patient with me as I figure it out - they are always very understanding and helpful!"


Ms. O'Donnell is the principal of St. Patrick School in Malvern.

AoP Tech Team

Bill Brannick, Director of Technology

Alissa DeVito, Associate Director of Educational Technology

Aaron Heintz, Technology Integration Coach

Annabel Dotzman, Technology Integration Coach