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NOW Classrooms, Grades 9-12

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Part of the NOW Classrooms series.

Developed specifically for grades 9-12, this resource presents classroom-ready lessons that support the ISTE Standards for Students (formerly NET standards). Use the lessons, which focus on four essential skills (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity), to take instruction and learning to the next level using technology. Each chapter includes strategies for developing authentic learning experiences and ends with discussion questions for personal reflection.

Integrate digital learning and support ISTE Standards (formerly National Educational Technology Standards for Students or NETS):

  • Understand that real transformational change results from teaching and learning, not ever-changing digital devices.
  • Give high school students opportunities to exercise their voice, choice, and creativity using multimedia and digital tools.
  • Implement practical novice-, operational-, and wow-level lessons and tips for using digital tools in the classroom.
  • Connect each lesson to career and technical education (CTE) courses, such as entrepreneurship, culinary arts, web design, and many more.
  • Foster digital citizenship, helping students keep themselves and their data safe online and make ethical decisions on the internet.

Chapter 1: Embracing Creativity
Chapter 2: Communicating and Collaborating
Chapter 3: Conducting Research and Curating Information
Chapter 4: Critically Thinking to Solve Problems
Chapter 5: Being Responsible Digital Citizens
Chapter 6: Expanding Technology and Coding Concepts
Conclusion and Looking Ahead

Books in the NOW Classrooms series:

  • NOW Classrooms, Leader's Guide
  • NOW Classrooms, Grades K-2
  • NOW Classrooms, Grades 3-5
  • NOW Classrooms, Grades 6-8
  • NOW Classrooms, Grades 9-12

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7 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1




When students actively engage in learning, it makes creativity and innovation possible in every subject area, with or without the use of digital tools. Introducing purposeful uses for digital tools to your classroom simply gives you a means of broadening students’ technological skill set in ways that will let them produce quality products for the 21st century. Creating empowered learners is one of the ISTE 2016

Standards for Students that aligns with this chapter’s creative focus. By the time many students reach high school, they are programmed to create work based on a specific rubric. Often, the rubric defines the final project as a poster, a diagram, or a paper. As you read this chapter, think about ways you can empower learners with student voice and choice about what they want to create to demonstrate what they learned about the topic.

Using multimedia tools, like those we highlight in this chapter, gives students creative ways to demonstrate what they learn in any subject area. Think beyond the research paper and other text-heavy projects, and imagine studentcreated multimedia projects that creatively and viscerally illustrate what they have learned while also offering students more variety in how they work. For example, a group of students could plan and film a video in front of a green screen and add video to the background during the editing process. In the same class, another group might write a rap song to help them remember what they learned on the topic. Letting student groups define their final product is an


Chapter 2


Communicating and


Communication and collaboration lie at the heart of learning.

This chapter facilitates students’ abilities to work together on projects and use those projects to connect with an authentic audience. These abilities link directly to the ISTE 2016

Standards for Students skills of creative communicators and global collaborators, concepts that also come up in the four

Cs. The lessons in this chapter connect with these standards by helping students become proficient in multimodal literacies.

We define multimodal literacies as the integration of many modes of communication and expression to enhance the work that students create. For example, students must develop the ability to read and write using a screen. On-screen communication is a newer mode of literacy, and literacy specialists are still trying to determine if interacting with a screen incorporates the same skills as working with print-based text. In the journal article “School Partnerships: Technology Rich


Chapter 3



Research and Curating


The skills 21st century students need in order to conduct research and curate information are much different from the experience previous generations had. As we started to plan this chapter, one of our co-authors, Katie, shared this reflection:

When I think about the access I had to information when I was a teenager, it comes back to me in a montage of images.

I see microfiche machines and the encyclopedias from my grandfather’s company that lined my living room. I remember the smell and the feel of the library card catalog as I looked for the precise piece of literature I needed to locate. I remember the intimidation and awe I felt as I entered my first college library. When I was a teenager, the challenge came in the searching, the wading, and the finding; it did not come in the narrowing, the distilling, and the discerning. (K. Aquino, personal communication, May 17, 2017)

For 21st century students, the question is no longer, Will I find it? The question is, How will I find it? Enter information


Chapter 4



Critically to Solve


It is not enough to know how to identify reliable and valid information; students also need to know how to take that information and make it their own. What does the information mean? How can it help them? How can they analyze it from different perspectives or use it in different ways to convey alternate meanings? Answering these questions requires students to engage their critical-thinking skills to solve problems.

The process of becoming critical thinkers and problem solvers starts with a problem. Students need to know how to look at any problem presented to them and define their end goal.

Answering the question, “What am I working toward?” helps students determine which tools will best help them achieve their goal and put a plan in place to reach it. This planning should include a healthy dose of time management, a lifelong skill that students need to practice so they can fully understand the benefits of planning their work and working through their plan.


Chapter 5






Thanks to mobile devices, students have the Internet at their fingertips seemingly all day, every day. Social media, easyto-use search engines, and unlimited apps monopolize many students’ personal time. Students need to understand how to exercise good judgment when using the Internet to avoid engaging in cyberbullying and to know how to deal with it when they inevitably encounter it from others. They need to know how to use app and social media privacy settings to keep data secure and to avoid compromising their and others’ data by unknowingly accepting malicious software onto their devices.

We teach these skills at all grade levels, but as your grades

9–12 students take their final steps toward adulthood, they must be ready to exist in an online world without a net. This requires them to understand how to act as what ISTE’s 2016

Standards for Students call digital citizens. ISTE (2016) says,

“Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.”


Chapter 6



Technology and Coding


In this book, we have covered dozens of ways you can implement digital tools that will enhance your regular classroom instruction. In this chapter, we build on those lessons by exploring ways that students can continue to expand their effective technology use by creating digital portfolios, developing their technical knowledge, and strengthening their coding skills. This chapter emphasizes two key standards in

ISTE’s 2016 Standards for Students: the skills of computational thinkers and of innovative designers.

Computational thinking is a way of organizing thought processes to formulate a problem and find a solution that machines can understand (ISTE, 2016). Understanding how devices break down complex processes into simple steps is a key component in using devices effectively and troubleshooting when something goes wrong. This idea also makes computational thinking a core component of building skills in coding, a term that describes the multiple languages people use to program electronic devices to complete tasks.





Glossary of Tools and Terms

This author team has carefully curated this appendix of all the digital tools and resources mentioned in this book along with other favorites that we could not fit in the text. We provide URLs for these websites and a short description about each tool’s purpose or use. Visit

/technology to download a free reproducible version of this appendix and access live links to these sites. As you are reading the book, you can use the active hyperlinks to explore the digital resources we provided for you. Feel free to share this reproducible with colleagues who are interested in teaching and learning with technology.


N OW C L AS S ROO M S, G R A D E S 9 – 12

1:1 or one to one: Describes the number of technology devices (iPads, laptops,

Chromebooks) given to each student in an academic setting; a 1:1 school has one device per each student.

1:2 or one to two: Describes the number of technology devices (iPads, laptops,



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