Technology in the Classroom: An Analysis of Digital Age Education

Technology has revolutionized and changed the way we do just about everything these days, and whether you would consider these technological advancements improvements or not depends on your deposition and involvement with tech. With current and future generations growing up using and relying on tech to an increased extent, it’s important to investigate just how much more efficient our lives are with the presence of tech.

The education system has not been exempt from a technological overhaul, either. Though a growth in technological standards and practices has moved at a snail’s pace due to the generally low amount of funding usually allocated to education, the presence of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) and full online universities are proof that our digital age is starting to really make an impact in education sectors.

What do you think? Will our grandchildren’s children be attending school virtually? Will future generations need to buy lap tops instead of text books? Check out the infographic below for a look at what technology is currently bringing to a college classroom near you.


Vera M. Reed is a writer, researcher and former educator who has recently become fascinated with the relationship between technology and education and enjoys creating content based around it. She is a frequent contributor for, where she writes on everything from Bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. She hopes you enjoy this graphic!

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Technology in the Classroom: An Analysis of Digital Age Education by Vera Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

February 18, 2014Permalink 1 Comment

Four short videos to help your language students improve their fluency

I’m planning to do a 4/3/2 fluency activity in an ESL class of mine in the near future.

If you’re not familiar with the 4/3/2 technique, the idea is that students first watch a short film or examine a comic strip, preferably without any dialog, and then tell the story in their own words three times. The first time they narrate it, they have four minutes; the second time, they have three minutes; and the third time, they have two minutes; hence, 4/3/2. (You can also do 3/2/1, 2/1.5/1, or anything else like that, as long as the time limit decreases from narration to narration.) The goal is to help students improve their fluency by forcing them to compress their narration.

I polled my PLN to get suggestions for short, silent narrative videos. After watching several, I picked out four as being especially appropriate for this activity, and I want to share them with all of you!

Ellie and Carl’s Relationship from “Up” – 4:21

This video is almost the best of all worlds. The length is perfect, it’s packed full of concrete, memorable, and reportable details, and it’s considered to be a short film masterpiece. However, it’s also famously poignant and bittersweet- it’s not unusual for people to shed some tears in watching it- so be sure your class can handle it. I know that at least one person in my current class would not be able to handle it, so I’m keeping this one on the shelf this semester.

For the Birds – 3:23

This one is a short, funny, unobjectionable, cross-cultural video which is easy to interpret with a limited vocabulary and which has many discrete, reportable, concrete events. It’s short enough to watch twice before beginning the narration portion of the activity. This is what I plan to use in my class.

Pear Stories – 5:54 (Sorry, direct embedding is disabled for this video, so I can only link to it!)

I believe that this video was specifically designed for eliciting narratives from people in the course of linguistics/SLA research. It’s very concrete and easy to understand, and students shouldn’t have trouble providing a narration. Honestly, though, it’s boring. I’ll probably use it in my class as a follow-up activity if the first activity with “For the Birds” is a success.

Paperman – 6:33

This video is a bit more difficult and abstract. At 6:33, it’s also quite long. It may be appropriate for higher-level students. I’m personally uncomfortable with the way it romanticizes the aggressive and heteronormative trope of man-chasing-down-mysterious-woman-after-brief-public-encounter, but it seems like 99% of people see it as nothing but a sweet and cute story, so I’ll try not to let ideology get in the way of pedagogy!

Do you have any suggested videos? Share them in the comments!

February 12, 2014Permalink 1 Comment


It’s been a few months since I last presented at a conference, and I don’t have any queued up for the future at the moment, so it’s high time I started sending out presentation proposals again!

The Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology (NEALLT) is holding a conference at Swarthmore University just about a month from now, and they’re still accepting proposals. I just submitted a presentation proposal, so we’ll see what happens!