Chapter 6 helps us rethink the use of tools and spaces, and ultimately refocus on how to effectively leverage them as part of a personal and authentic experience. Seen as supports in the Personal & Authentic Framework, these facets can either amplify or hinder the student experience. As such, we’ll explore issues surrounding equity, first by recognizing the gaps in opportunity and access that still exist for marginalized groups, and second by identifying ways to tackle these vital issues head on in our classrooms and schools.


Stop & Reflect / Study Guide Questions

  • What was your earliest memory of using educational technology in the classroom? What did you learn in the process?

  • Tom shares a story of a lesson where he used technology and received needed (and necessary) pushback during the post-observation conference with his principal. Can you relate to this? Have there been times that you created a lesson because of the technology and lost sight of the learning goals? What did you learn in the process?

  • What’s the best supervision conversation you’ve ever had that has helped change your mindset or alter an instructional practice? Why was it so good? How does that conversation help you give authentic feedback to your staff or students?

  • Reflect on a time when you used technology in a lesson and it did not go as planned. What did you learn from the experience? Then reflect on a time technology helped provide a more personal and authentic experience for your learners.

  • What has consumption-based use looked like in your classroom or school? How could you have taken that strategy up a level to promote deeper learning outcomes?

  • Since they’ve been a hot trend for some time, Tom shares various 3D printer examples; with some being used effectively, and others being a colossal waste of money. Reflect on a tool that you’ve seen used for very low-level learning and also used elsewhere for deeper level outcomes. What was the difference between the two experiences?

  • What equity issues have you seen in your classroom or school? What are you doing to support traditionally marginalized students to close opportunity gaps?

  • Evaluate the student demographics that participate in clubs, competitions, and other types of extracurricular activities. Is there a disproportionate representation of student participation in any or all of the groups? If so, what will you do about it?

  • Which students in your classroom or school do not have Internet access at home? What are you doing to support them?

  • Reflect on your classroom space or one in your building. Why was the space designed as it was? What does the space indicate about your beliefs about how teaching and learning occur?

  • Tom outlines three areas highlighted in research on spaces: naturalness, individualization, and stimulation. How do the evidence-based thoughts that you read correlate with your classroom or school? What’s one change you could make?

  • How do inclusive spaces correlate with Maslow’s Hierarchy? Is the space that you design inclusive for all learners? How do you know?

  • What do your learners think about your space? Have you asked? Have you leveraged the learners’ voices to improve the inclusivity of your space?

#AuthenticEDU CallOuts

Download the callout quotes from this chapter and use them as part of your book study, team discussion, upcoming presentation, to share on social media, or in any way that can support you as an educator!

Related #LeadershipMinutes

Additional Resources to Support Your Personal & Authentic Journey

How Can Schools Ensure a Return on Instruction (eSchoolnews)
16 Questions for School Leaders Going Digital (Blog)
Efficacy in Digital Learning (Eric Sheninger)
Are We Innovating, or Just Digitizing Traditional Teaching? (Edutopia)
Putting Learning First With New Tech Tools (Edutopia)
3 steps to choosing the right EdTech for your classroom (Atomi)
National EdTech Plan (US Ed)
Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning (US Ed)
300+ Digital Resources Curated and Recommended by Teachers

Technology Tools

Equity Work Should Start From the Top (Teaching Tolerance)
Equity for English Language Learners (Edutopia)
K12 Districts Work to Close Digital Divide (EdTech Magazine)
Equality vs. Equity: 6 Steps Towards Equity (Edutopia)
Ensuring Access and Opportunity; Supporting At Home Connectivity (Blog)
Digital Equity Toolkit (CoSN)
3 PD Ideas to Help New Teachers Create Inclusive Classrooms (Edutopia)
[Webinar] Closing the Gap: Digital Equity Strategies for the K-12 Classroom with Dr. Nicol Howard, Regina Schaffer, and Dr. Sarah Thomas (Future Ready Schools)
[Webinar] Equity IS Education with Dr. Rosa Perez-Isiah (Future Ready Schools)

The Architecture of Ideal Learning Environments (Edutopia)
12 Ways to Upgrade Your Classroom (Cult of Pedagogy)
How Furniture and Flexible Seating Is Turning Classroom Design Into a Fad (EdSurge)
Rebooting Industrial Era Seating (Edutopia)
Letting Kids Move in Class Isn’t a Break From Learning. It is Learning! (Washington Post)
Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment that Kids Need (Edutopia)
Cheap (Yet Valuable) Learning Space Redesign (Edutopia)
7 Tips for Moving from Decorating to Designing Classrooms (Bob Dillon)
Ending Old-School Nostalgia in Learning Spaces (AASA)
Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention and Learning In Young Children (Association for Psychological Science)
Family Star Montessori - The Environment (for Elementary Classrooms)
The Optimal Seating Plan? Letting Your Students Choose (Edutopia)
Flexible Seating Elevates Student Engagement (Edutopia)
Guidelines on Exploring and Adapting Learning Spaces in Schools (Future Classroom Lab)
Reimagining Classroom Management Through the Use of Proactive Classroom Design (Bob Dillon)
Learning Space Images (Bob Dillon)

Learning Space Tools
Classroom FloorPlanner (Kaplan)
Learning Space Toolkit
Future Classroom Lab

Additional, Relevant #LeadershipMinutes
- Placing Tasks Before Apps with Monica Burns
- Ensuring Efficacy with Eric Sheninger
- Stop Celebrating Low-Level Learning
- Technology is an Accelerant
- Equity and the Community with Dr. Beth Holland

Author’s Note: The resources contained within this page are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but are intended to provide conversation starters, pre-reading/watching, and inspiration on your journey. If you have additional suggestions, please share them so that they can be included for the benefit of others.