Selected slides from Cherice's keynote presentation at the NNELL Swapshop Breakfast at ACTFL in November 2007 in San Antonio, Texas.

Why didn't I know?!


  • As a high school teacher, there were many important things about common issues in elementary language teaching and learning that I didn't know until I attended the NFLRC's Teacher Partnership Institute with Helena Curtain & Carol Ann Pesola Dahlberg. (Heavy student loads, teachers traveling to multiple buildings, short classes that meet infrequently, responsibility for program development and community advocacy, etc.)
  • Why didn't I know these things--especially in a district that had successful elementary programs?
  • It is easy to forget that what we do is critically important beyond the scope of our own classrooms.
  • Elementary teachers have made major contributions to the profession as a whole over the last 20 years--just look at Janet Glass!
  • Let's take a look at the next 20 years.


Montgomery, Cherice. (2007, July 4). Celebrate. Photo taken at the Meridian Township 4th of July Fireworks Display, Okemos, MI.

The National Standards: A Framework for Understanding 21st Century Literacies


  • All practice is culturally situated, so the National Standards provide a useful framework for helping us to understand 21st Century literacies.
  • Emerging technologies themselves aren't as important as the changes they are producing in the ways people around the globe are thinking, working, playing, learning, and living.
  • In order to prepare students with the literacies they need in the 21st Century, we need to take a look at some of these shifts.


Kendall, Cindy, & Kendall, Bryan. (2007, November 28). Tech Toys. Photo taken in Williamston, MI and used with permission.

A Look at 21st Century Literacy

Links to videos shown during the presentation, as well as additional information


  • The world is changing before our eyes and we must think differently about what we do in order to equip students for success within it.
  • There are a lot of other important lessons for our profession embedded in these technologies and the thinking they foster.
  • We may need to develop some new literacies in order to "read" these lessons.


Eieio1948. (2005, December 9). In giving we receive (Photo #420824). Stock.xchng. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from Image used under a royalty free, Stock.xchng 8.2 Image License Agreement.

The ABCs of Language Teaching in the 21st Century


  • A is for ADVOCATE. Now, anyone can publish--even students!
  • Show. Students are your BEST source of advocacy. Do you give them opportunities to show what they know for authentic audiences and purposes?
  • Tell. Do you encourage students to tell the "right" people about your program (family, friends, relatives) so that the news spreads "virally?" (Elevator advocacy, informal advocacy, strategic advocacy that capitalizes on social networks and web 2.0 tools, formal advocacy)
  • Make the Match. All advocacy is about listening carefully to the needs of others, looking for matches between their needs and your program, and extending invitations to participate.


Montgomery, Cherice. (2007, July 4). Hearing the Harmonies. Photo taken at the Meridian Township 4th of July Fireworks Display, Okemos, MI.

Rosenbusch, Marcia. (2006). Cherice Montgomery explains to participants. Photo taken at the PreK-12 Arabic & Hebrew Professional Development Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.


  • B is for BELIEVE. Students are not afraid to click, and they expect something to happen when they do! Little clicks add up to big results, and if 3-year-olds can do it, so can we!
  • Believe that what you do matters. Believe in your personal power to make a difference. Change happens one person at a time, which means you can transform the world through your individual interactions with every person who comes within your sphere of influence.
  • Start small. Believe that the small and simple things you do matter in big ways to your community and to the profession.
  • Empower students. Believe that even elementary students can change the world in meaningful ways. As you make assignments, think carefully about how you might empower them to advocate for and act on what matters to them in ways that will make a difference.


Barunpatro. (2007, October 11). Baby (Photo #887011). Stock.xchng. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from Image used under a royalty free, Stock.xchng 8.2 Image License Agreement.

Montagu, Ashley. In Deger, Steve, & Gibson, Leslie Ann, (Eds.). (2007). The book of positive quotations. Minneapolis, MN: Fairview Press, p. 623.


  • C is for CONNECT. Emerging technologies allow us to be constantly connected to information, which is neither static nor linear. It only becomes meaningful when it is brought into relation with other things.
  • Focus on relationships, not content. Learning is NOT about content, it is about relationships!
  • To transform students, connect them. Learning comes from shifts in perspective that cause us to literally reorganize ourselves, but you cannot internalize the world unless you are connected to it.
  • Don't teach, facilitate. Our job is to connect children to each other, to the culture, to the community, and to the world in meaningful ways through the tools available to us.


  • D is for Design. We can learn many important lessons about creating compelling experiences that have the potential to transform students by drawing on principles from fields such as digital rhetoric and composition.
  • Draw on the National Standards. As you seek to incorporate them more fully into your thinking, you will find that they add both depth and breadth to the experiences it is possible for students to have.
  • Layer the learning. Teach in 3-D! The meaning resides in the spaces within the layers and in the interactions between them.
  • Design learning environments and experiences that help create the world you want to live in . . . personally, professionally, locally, and globally.


Montgomery, Cherice. (2006). Creativity. Photo taken in the parking lot of Erickson Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.


  • E is for Envision. Emerging technologies allow us to see and to be seen. They help us to see beyond where we are and provide us with a broader vision of what is possible.
  • Imagine. “In other words, the promotion of artistry in teaching is more likely to be realized not by searching for a formula for finding out what one is doing and by imagining how it might be made even better” (Elliot Eisner, 2002, p. 49).
  • Play. Learning is inherently joyful!
  • Take a few risks. It will be difficult for you to discover what is possible unless you are willing to take a few risks.


Eisner, Elliot W. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09523-6. Available:

Montgomery, Cherice. (2007, August). Called Home. Photo taken in Provo, Utah.


  • Change can be overwhelming, especially given the daily demands and constraints within which we work.
  • So now that I’ve asked you to expand your vision, I’m going to ask you to narrow it again and focus only on, “What is the very next step?”

Block, Peter. (2003). The answer to how is yes: Acting on what matters. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. ISBN 1-57675-271-2. Available:

Montgomery, Cherice. (2004, November). Divine Paint. Photo taken outside the Administration Building at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.



Montgomery, Cherice. (2004, November). Life is in the Layers. Photo taken behind Erickson Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.


  • Take whatever you are doing and kick it up a notch!
  • If you are teaching grammar, consider teaching for communication. If you are teaching for communication, begin thinking about proficiency.
  • If you have been limiting students' cultural exposure to Culture Fridays, then consider integrating culture more fully into your lessons. If you are already integrating pieces of culture into your lessons, consider grounding your entire curriculum in culture--taking kids to the culture and bringing culture to the kids.


Montgomery, Cherice. (2007, July 4). Focus. Photo taken at the Meridian Township 4th of July Fireworks Display in Okemos, Michigan.

NNELL. (n.d.). NNELL Logo. NNELL Wikispace. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from



From Theory to Practice

These links will take you to practical ideas for using emerging technologies to facilitate language teaching and learning.

Teens 'N Tech - Materials from a 3-hour workshop Cindy Kendall & I gave at ACTFL 2007 re: the use of emerging technologies as tools for fostering the development of various kinds of proficiency in world language classrooms

The Wonderful World of Wikis: Playing with Possibility in the Digital World - Materials from a session Cindy Kendall & I gave at ACTFL 2007 re: the use of wikis in the world language classroom

LanguageLinks2006 - A host of resources for beginning teachers, methods instructors, and others interested in professional development and teacher preparation in the world language classroom

Literacy for the 21st Century Language Learner - This electronic newsletter from the National K-12 Foreign Language Resource Center provides links to pages that will help you to explore some of the ways that new technologies are changing what it means to be literate in the 21st Century, as well as to resources to help you better develop 21st Century literacies in the language classes you teach

Twenty-first Century Technologies: Tools for Transforming Language Teaching & Learning - This NFLRC newsletter outlines six key skills that students will need to thrive in the 21st Century, along with links to a variety of examples, information, and resources that will help you to use emerging technologies to support language learning in your classroom. Be sure you take time to explore the section that begins with Designing . . . .

Still Hungry for More?

Photosynth - The software in this video takes social tagging to a whole new level . . . combining architectural principles and metadata from Flickr images to yield a hyperlinked network of images that can then be spatially related to produce multidimensional renderings.

Reuters. (2007, March 25). Nintendo's wii becoming a big hit in nursing homes nationwide. Retrieved November 18, 2007, from,2933,260990,00.html

Pay Attention - Uses statistics to paint a picture of the implications that globalization and the spread of emerging technologies have for education.

Student Life & Student Technologies - A PowerPoint presentation (in PDF) that shows how emerging technologies are likely to change the way students learn and live, and the implications that has for the design of educational facilities

The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version) - A fabulous video created by an anthropologist from Kansas State University that explains how emerging technologies are changing culture, society, and each of us! - Super set of extremely thoughtful articles that combine emerging tech trends with savvy marketing principles to provide powerful perspectives on change, marketing, and a host of other topics. Much of this is extremely applicable to education.


Contact Cherice Montgomery. For more information, visit A Plethora of Projects & Practical Pursuits