The Digital Teacher

by Lizzie Wilcox

So, what's this project about?

This project is meant to do two things.

First, I was interested in looking back at what I used to do when I was teaching in the high school and comparing that to the learning concepts discussed in this class. I was curious to see how individualized and student-centered I was, as I always thought my activities were unique and engaging. To do so, I took a look at my most popular assignment: The Mulit-Genre Project. Last week, a co-worker asked about the project, and I was thinking about sharing it with him. As I reviewed the project, I was happy to see that most of it was student-centered. While I did teach the basics and required some specifics, I also gave them a lot of freedom to move and choose where and what they wanted to produce. If I ever decide to share this project with another teacher, the only thing I would change would be in recommending some new technologies for students to use when they create their final products.

The second purpose of this project is to show you how I have integrated the resources discussed in this course into my teaching. I have learned so many different things, and I am really excited to start using them myself, as well as helping show other staff members how they can use the resources in their teaching.

In order to make my project more organized, I have used a repetend (recurring word or phrase); my repetend will be a quotation. When you see dotted lines followed by a quote, you will know that I am making a shift or transition to a new topic. Each topic will focus on a theme that is relevant to one of our course discussions.

So, what is this project about? Simply put, it is to showcase the tools and techniques I am using in my library in order to help make the shift from teacher-centered to student-centered instruction.




"We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it." ~Ken Robinson

The following is a link to my Multi-Genre project. I connected it to the above quote because I think what Robinson says is very true. Children enter school with so much potential, but that potential is often limited because of the restrictions we put upon them. If we, as educators, are able to put aside our archaic expectations of education, who knows what will happen! My Multi-Genre project is an example of how teachers can blend student-centered learning, while still having realistic goals and expectations.
Multi-Genre Project

I used this project with my honors junior classes. Looking at it again, I am happy to see it was mostly student-centered, and I wonder how it would have changed if I had access to the resources we learned about in this class.


"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." ~John Dewey

The purpose of the following items is to show you how I am trying to use technology in my library, as well as attempt to show others what is available to them. As Dewey stated above, if we don't change our methods of teaching, we are robbing our children of their future. I think it would be wonderful if we had more teachers willing to try something new in their classes. Some of our staff members don't embrace technology because they are afraid of failing, but who are they really failing if they don't even try?


"Yes, kids love technology, but they also love legos, scented markers, handstands, books and mud puddles. It’s all about balance." ~Anonymous

The following items show how I incorporate different types of learning into my library. I love the above quote and believe it connects with this section of my project because technology isn't just something digital. I think technology is anything we use with our hands to develop and create. My library is full of all sorts of different "technologies," and if you were to stop by and watch, you would see so much learning going on. From constructing spaghetti-and-marshmallow towers to measuring objects using our bodies, students are experimenting and learning hands-on, and it's awesome!

MakerSpace Activities

Starting in the spring semester, I plan on opening up a MakerSpace area in the library. I am currently collecting resources to use from our parents, and I am really pleased with the response they are giving me. I anticipate great things coming out of this space, and I plan on showing them off at our end-of-the-year art, music, and technology show.

Clicking HERE will take you to a document that was shared to me by another librarian who has implemented Makerspaces in her library. I plan on using this document as a reference when I begin next semester.

We 💜 Our Library Video

We Love Our Library - Genoa Area Elementary
I created this video last year to show our public why our library is important. At the time we were trying to pass a levy; if it failed, our specials (music, technology, gym, art, and library) would be cut from our elementary school. I posted the video on my website, showed it at our annual art fair, and also played it during our open house this year. I worked hard on the video and think it came out pretty good. The students still get a kick our of watching it (it's still on my website), so that makes me happy, too.

I'm putting this video into my project to show you how my library truly is student-centered. I see most classes 50 minutes a week. Half of that time is an interactive learning activity, and the other time is book checkout and center work. This has been a big hit, as students choose what they would like to do. It provides a break from the structure of their classroom; a chance to play and be kids.


"Teachers need to stop saying, “Hand it in,” and start saying 'Publish It.'” ~Alan November

I think one of the biggest challenges for teachers will be making the shift to a paperless system. Once they make the change, though, I really believe they will learn to appreciate the ease of it all. When I was teaching at the high school, I was almost to the point of being 75% paperless. For larger assignments I had students submit their papers to and their project links via email. Things that were paper-based included quizzes and tests that I wanted to stay confidential.

Two weeks ago, I gained access and started using Google Classroom with a few of my classes. I am fascinated by its possibilities, and I cannot wait until the entire school is linked to the program. (Right now, only third graders have access.) One struggle for me in the library involves creating documents for my 655 students. I have a hard time finding things to do that does not involve printing handouts. Now that I have my Chromebooks, and I will soon have all of my students synced to my Google Classroom, I will have an easier time finding things to do with my classes. As you can see in the photo, I have all of my classes set up; I'm just waiting to get started!


"Words and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully than either alone." ~William Albert Allard

Communication is very important, and the following items show my use of technology to communicate with my school's staff, students, and community. As the above quote suggests, words and pictures used together make a powerful communication tool. I think by using different media, I will be able to connect myself with all members of our district in a more visual and interactive manner. If I'm successful, and if I'm able to climb out of my introverted shell (which is one thing that frequently holds me back), I believe I can become more of a positive influence in our educational community.

Technology Calendar

Here is an image of the Google calendar I set up for our staff to use when they would like to sign up for technology. Currently, we have 17 iPads, 10 iPods, and two Chromebook carts. Prior to creating the calendar, few teachers used any of these resources in their classrooms. However, when the calendar was made available to the entire staff, it created a competition of sorts. Teachers are now vying for spots! I'm not saying that the calendar was the reason why our teachers are beginning to embrace technology into their classrooms, but I do think it helped make them more aware of what other teachers are doing. As a result, they don't want to fall behind. It's a wonderful thing!

Library Website

I don't know how I would survive without my library website. I use it to communicate and provide resources to our students, staff, and community. The site is created through Weebly, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to create their own.


I'm tweeting! I finally decided to jump into the Twitter world, and while I'm still trying to figure out it's language or code of conduct (is there one?!), I'm liking it! My twitter handle is provided below.


"I believe in me. Do you believe in me?" ~Dalton Sherman

Final Thought

In a strange way, I feel a lot like Dalton Sherman must have felt when he was giving his Keynote speech in Dallas. I have all of this new information, and I have the power to use it, but I still need our staff to jump on board. I believe in me as a resource to them, but I'm not quite sure they believe in me enough to show them new ideas or suggest alternate teaching strategies. I don't blame the staff at all, for not only is my position in the elementary school new (this is my second year - we only had aides before me), but I recall how I felt as a teacher when outsiders suggested doing something different. It is my hope, however, that as I continue to gently prod, someone will bite, and that will be just enough to spark an interest that will affect others.