Computing-Integrated Teacher Education at the City University of New York

Understanding Learners’ Digital Lives

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The Premise

This computing integration focuses on supporting teacher candidates to understand the role of tech and computing in their learners’ lives and development.

Teaching in this area could support teacher candidates to…

  • develop stances that are open and curious about their students’ digital lives
  • understand the variation in students’ tech experiences, repertoires, and attitudes
    • understand how that variation relates to students’ racial, class, gender, ability, language and other identities
  • build on what teacher candidates learn about their students’ tech experiences, repertoires, and attitudes in some aspect of their instruction or pedagogical practice


Teachers learn about the literacy, language, abilities, cultural practices, identities and development of their learners because having this context helps them develop inclusive stances and instructional practices that are relevant and meaningful to students. Today, children are interacting, using, and creating with technology from an early age. For this, considering their students’ online lives, experiences with technology, and digital media literacies can provide teachers with extra insights. But what should teachers know about learners’ digital lives? How might they learn about their learners’ digital lives? How might they apply what they learn in their instruction?

Courses that would lend themselves to this integration

  • Foundations – Childhood, Early Childhood, Secondary
  • Methods
  • Education Technology

Potential Conversations and Activities

Teaching in this area could support teacher candidates to teach and learn…

About computing/tech
  • Teacher candidates reflect on their own use of digital tools for learning and participation in online communities
  • Teacher candidates discuss / notice their own experiences with and attitudes towards technologies, and how those experiences and beliefs shape students’ learning experiences
  • Teacher candidates discuss / notice how technology plays a role in students’ lives, and how their students engage in participatory online cultures
  • Teacher candidates discuss why they might want to take up asset-based lenses on their own technology experiences and those of their students.
With computing/tech
  • Teacher candidates try out tools for participating in professional online communities (e.g. join Teacher Twitter or Instagram, the CUNY Commons, etc), reflect on the process
  • Teacher candidates develop an online survey or other activity using digital tools that helps them learn about students’ use of technology and computing in and outside of school
Through computing/tech
  • Teacher candidates create a teaching artifact to demonstrate they can support learners with varying technology experiences to participate in learning activities
  • In their lesson/unit planning, teacher candidates demonstrate they have built on learners’ experiences with technology as assets
Against computing/tech
  • Teacher candidates discuss the opportunities and affordances of participation in digital life and communities for young people and their development, as well as some of the risks and potential harms.

Summer 2022 Professional Development Workshops Related to Learners’ Digital Lives

  • Tuesday, July 12, 10am-12pm, Accessibility for All: Teaching Accessibility via Games, Hosted by Devorah Kletenik
  • Wednesday, July 13, 10am-12pm, Engaging Neurodiverse Learners Through Technology, Hosted by Haley Shibble
  • Thursday, July 14, 10am-12pm, Let Me Count the Ways! Why and How to Embed Computer Science in ELA and Literacy Methods Courses, Hosted by Tom Lynch
  • Wednesday, July 20, 10am-12pm, Artificial Intelligence and Student Data Literacy, Hosted by Julia Stoyanovich
  • Tuesday, July 26, 2pm-4pm, K12 Equitable CS: Practices, Implementation, and a Vision for the Future, Hosted by Shana White & Frieda McAlear
  • Wednesday, July 27, 10am-12pm, Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Common Sense Resources, Hosted by Tali Horowitz

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