Technology Gifted Child 

Cleveland State University

Technologically Gifted Child


Submitted by: Michael Shamblin


Cleveland State University


Dr. Susan Rakow


7 April 2012





            This research paper will explore the topic of the technologically gifted child.  Very little research has been conducted on this topic within the last ten years.  It is a relatively new topic that must be considered in exploring another way to be gifted in the twenty first century.  The first evidence of computer programming date back to1938 when the first programmable computer was invented.  The Z1 was originally created by Germany’s Konrad Zuse in his parents living room in 1936 – 1938 this is considered to be the first electro-mechanical binary programmable computer and really the first functional computer  (When was the first computer invented?, 2012).  Gifts and talents come in different forms, and one area of talent must be technology.  Students who are gifted in technology may not be identified as gifted with using traditional identification methods.  Schools in the twenty first century need to not only prepare students to become effective users of technology, but they also need to begin to recognize students that possess strengths in technology. 


            Schools need to recognize and develop gifts beyond what have been traditionally identified for gifted and talented programs.  It is important to recognize technologically gifted students in order to develop their talent.  Friedman-Nimz and O’Brien commented on, “If computer technology is ignored as an area of talent, one might hypothesize that a noticeable group of high-potential students are not receiving needed services to develop their potential” (O’Brien, Firedman-Nimz, Lacey, & Denson, 2005).  This research paper will try to give a better understanding of the technologically gifted child and to answer the following questions, what are the different types of technology giftedness and how to properly identify a technologically gifted child?  A review of the literature or an organized description of the research will be reviewed.  In addition, this research paper will include a synthesis of the research including connections, insights, and scholarly divergent views and any insights, questions still unanswered or newly raised, and personal connections.


Review of the Literature


Types of Technology Giftedness

            Del Siegle is a professor in gifted education and Department Head of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.  Del currently writes a technology column for Gifted Child Today.  Reva Friedman-Nimz has influenced Del’s thinking about technology giftedness.  Technology giftedness appears to manifest itself in three distinct ways.  First, the talent to write a computer code appears to be one type of technology giftedness.  A second area of giftedness involves the application of technology and these children are known as the interfacers.  The third area of technology giftedness involves those who enjoy working with technology equipment (Siegle, 2005).  O’Brien, Friedman-Nimz, Lacey, and Denson (2005) identified the first two groups of gifted technology students: programmers and interfacers.  Friedman-Nimz has since suggested the third group those who like to work with hardware and fix computers.  If students excel in each of these categories they can be considered to be technologically gifted.  “In addition to demonstrating expertise, these young people tend to exhibit passion toward one or more technology related activity” (Siegle, 2007, p.18). 


            Siegle had personally known academically gifted students that were able to begin exploring how to write computer code as early as first grade.  Some students he had noticed demonstrated a special talent with programming and others did not.  Programming for these students appeared to be a natural way of thinking and seeing the world.  Siegle suggest that it is important to expose young people to programming at an early age.  Older computer programs that were created for the Apple Computer or Atari BASIC were wonderful mediums to introduce programming in the early 1980’s.  Additionally, with the use of Visual BASIC since 1991 this has been used by students to create client applications on Windows.  Today, most educators are not aware but Microsoft has built a version of this into its Office products.  This will allow a start to more advanced programming for technologically gifted programming students.  O’Brien et.  al. (2005) found that programmers liked to work alone and students began using the computer as a toy or education tool.  Students start creating simple web pages and learn code that is more advanced.  Children also need to create web pages and this is a great start to programming as well.  The use of html, Java, and XML will need to follow from using simple web editing programs.  Children then can be further challenged with programming such as Visual BASIC, C++, or more advanced Java (Siegle, 2007).


            The second area of giftedness involves the application of technology.  These technologically gifted students excel in using software.  These students might not be able to program computers, but they can be creative with using software applications.  These students experiment with software applications and learn them without training (Siegle, 2004, p. 31).  These students not only limit themselves to computers, they may use audio and video technology as well.  O’Brien et al. (2005) found that these students were more into social interactions that resulted from helping others use technology.  These students may exhibit behaviors such as playing with technology with their free time, helping others with technology problems, able to incorporate a variety of technologies with their class assignments, and the excitement to use any new form of technology (Siegle, 2005).  The third area of technological giftedness involves those who enjoy working with technology equipment.  These students enjoy putting together a computer from spare or new parts, fixing a piece of technology hardware, or any other type of device (Seigle, 2007).  More recently Silverman had came across what seems like another type of technology giftedness that she calls “Technical Wizards” from the earliest moments of life (Silverman). 


            O’Brien et. al. (2005) discussed an effective study that was done to find out the first two types of technological giftedness.  The LearnGen Project purpose was to construct work groups consisting of field based and preservice teachers and K-12 students to learn new technology applications and new content.  A cohort was created to explore new ways to provide opportunities that are more authentic for high school students whose technology expertise challenged the district’s ability to provide fitting learning opportunities.  The cohort that was involved in this study focused on developing a website to supplement instruction for a graduate level gifted and talented class.  Conclusions had shown that students enjoyed the opportunity to learn and apply new skills to build a product that would be used in a real world setting.  Students reflected and expressed a desire to learn organizational and management skills and how to facilitate communication among several work groups.  One student felt that in the future, they could organize and distribute the work among more people.  In all, results of the project suggest that there are two subtypes of computer technology talent among adolescents: programming and interfacing. 


Properly Identifying a Technologically Gifted Child

            At this present time, a scale has been created that can help identify a technologically gifted interfacer.  The Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students includes a seven-item technology rating scale.  In studies in using this scale, teachers had identified more males than females with it.  Nugent (2001) proposed that teachers should provide girls with opportunities for play and open-ended exploration on the computer.  Nugent suggested that girls should have opportunities for girls’ computer clubs, girls only lunch, and after school periods for computer usage.  Additionally these activities will help girls gain confidence and comfort with the use of technology.  More effort is needed to find and encourage technologically gifted females in today’s society (Nugent, 2001).  Gifted students benefit from the use of technology.  Today’s teen is engulfed in a world full of information and media.  These students, whether or not they are talented in technology-specific fields, possess skills that enable them to maximize the use of current innovations (Sheffield, 2007). 


Synthesis of the Research


            The LearnGen study seemed to involve such a small number of high school students who had volunteered for a computer programming club-university joint project.  Before any generalizations can be made on the validity of this study, other age levels and school settings need to be explored further to refine profiles of high technology ability students.  The study did seem to identify the high ability programmer and interfacer.  In considering suggestions for teaching the technologically gifted child from this study, it is important to focus first on the interest and self-identified abilities of the students to shape program options, rather than relying on local resources such as teacher expertise and hardware/software availability.  In addition, teachers need to pay close attention to students that stay after school in the computer lab or continue to play with other technology devices, because they may need this information to help them to properly identify the technologically gifted child.


            Linda Silverman recently had come across what she calls “Technical Wizards.”  She feels that these children are the least likely to understand, or who we can deal with in schools.  Some children Silverman believes are natural technical wizards.  These technical wizards from the earliest moments of life are fascinated with mechanical objects and how things work.  Linda has seen several of these children that have come to the Gifted Child Development Center for testing.  A recent child that she came across who was tested at the age of five was able to draw a diode circuit and a transformer with a built in plug.  This young child’s sentence completion test said, “He thinks most about electronic circuits, dreams of electronic circuits and hates when his brother gets into his electronics and destroys them.”  Silverman suggested that to cope with a technical wizard such as this in the classroom or family, it was important to respect their passion and give them as many opportunities as possible to learn what they want to learn (Silverman). 


            In thinking about the types of technology giftedness that have been discussed, should Silverman’s classification of the technical wizard be placed as a new type of technological giftedness?  Silverman discussed that some parents have been concerned about the welfare of their technical wizards during early childhood.  One example, a mother wrote about her concerned technical wizard son to Linda Silverman.  At 2 years, 1 month, her son’s favorite gift was a Mickey Mouse calculator.  Her child would sit for an hour or more pressing buttons, adding and subtracting by one.  When her child was 2 ½ years old he was able to count to 100 forwards and from 100 to 0 backwards and then her child was able to start counting by 10’s.  Then clocks and gears entered his life and clocks were given as presents.  Her child wanted to know more about gears and was fascinated with seeing a car’s engine.  Questions arise with these technical wizards, are they born with this type of giftedness (nature), and then nurtured with objects and experiences that allow for them to strengthen this type of giftedness. 


            Siegle (2007) discussed how a technologically gifted fixer could have a positive impact on the lives of others.  Jacob Komar a nine-year-old child in 2001 noticed outdated and unused computers in his sister’s school.  With the help of his family, he started Computers for Communities (CFC).  This nonprofit organization accepts old computers, printers, etc. from individuals, schools, and businesses.  This group refurbishes and redistributes the equipment back to the community for the underprivileged.  Siegle identified a technology fixer that was able to develop a sense of prestige and accomplishment while at the same time this student was able to advance his giftedness.  Siegle suggested that to continue this talent, it was important to form after school clubs. 


Personal Insights and Connections


            I noticed that The United Kingdom features two types of computer talent design and technology  If in Great Britain computer technology is recognized as a talent, possibly this could lead into similar identification and programming in the United States.  When doing the research, a scale was created that seems to properly identify a gifted technologically interfacer, but what about the creation of other effective tools to identify the technical wizard, the programmer, or the computer fixer.  When thinking about the technical wizard how can you cope with this wizard in the classroom or family.  I believe as Silverman had suggested that it is important to give them as many opportunities as possible to learn what they want to learn.  Is it possible to educate these students to the fullest of their academic potential?  Several schools can best suit these immersion learners in which the curriculum is designed around the child’s interest; in which reading, spelling, creative writing, mathematics are brought together into the study of computers, etc.  I believe with Silverman that computer-assisted instruction and interactive computers can be used as tools to educate these students.  I disagree in how Silverman suggested that these tools are the most effective because children need to learn effective communication skills as well. 


            We are leading into a society in which websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and the use of technology devices such as the cell phone etc. are becoming the norm in how to communicate in the twenty first century.  Cross (2004) noted that social and emotional development of gifted children is clearly being affected by the use of communication technologies.  Yes, I believe with Silverman that not all children are people persons and some are much more comfortable with the world of objects, but how in fact can they become our technical leaders without developing social skills as well.  For example, if a child creates a new software application or piece of hardware that somehow becomes a part of our daily lives, how then can this child effectively describe and present this new creation to others socially.  Yes, you can do this electronically or through someone else, but this child will become the spotlight for interviews and discussions, and socially they will need to communicate their creations. 


            I do believe that technologically gifted students do need to have their gifts recognized and nurtured.  This may require someone that has more of a technological expertise rather than the classroom teacher or gifted intervention specialist unless if they have these skills.  Technological talent cannot be developed if schools lack new and updated hardware and software applications.  Schools need advanced technologies so that technologically gifted students can develop to their fullest potential.  How can this be done with the budget cuts and lack of funding for many school districts in today’s society?  Schools may need to provide elementary students access to their middle or high school computer hardware and software applications.  School districts need to continue to collaborate and communicate with local colleges so that their students can use their laboratories as well.  Administrators in school districts today need to find ways to reach to the community to find mentors and resources as well. 


            In addition, my recommendations for gifted teachers are to create a personal technology improvement plan (PTIP).  Many obstacles are faced with gifted teachers today in integrating technology into the curriculum: access to resources and continuous professional development.  It is important for gifted teachers to take time to evaluate their ability to integrate technology into the gifted education classroom.  Gifted students want to use computer hardware and software applications as a learning tool in schools today.  By creating a PTIP, gifted intervention specialist can evaluate their current ability to integrate technology into the curriculum, and help to ascertain the best method for improving their skills (Besnoy, 2007). 




            This paper tried to give a better understanding of the technologically gifted child and to answer the following questions, what are the different types of technology giftedness and how to properly identify a technologically gifted child?  Reva Friedman-Nimz has influenced Del Siegle’s thinking about technology giftedness.  Technology giftedness appears to manifest itself in three important ways.  The talent to write computer code, the application of technology, and those who enjoy working with technology equipment.  Siegle discusses how as early as first grade he has known students that have begun exploring how to write computer code.  Another type that I believe needs to be added within these categories is the technical wizard gifted child and this specific type needs to be studied in greater detail.  The technical wizard as Silverman discusses appears to be the child who within the earliest moments of life are fascinated with mechanical objects and how things work.  In fact, I believe four categories of identifying the technologically gifted child exists. 


            Additionally, identifying the technologically gifted child with little tools is a big challenge.  I believe that gifted teachers need to definitely work on an effective personal technology improvement plan and parents need to identify any possible early signs of the technical wizard child along with the ability of early computer programming.  Teachers will need to work on strengthening the application of technology for students in the classroom along with properly identifying the students that use technology hardware and software and apply this in advanced and creative ways.                                                                                                            


            The appendix section of my research paper will provide teachers with a sample scale for rating the behavioral characteristics of superior students to identify various technology characteristics.  In addition, an example personal technology improvement plan is provided as well to help teachers to further enrich their current technology skills and to provide a classroom that is rich in technology.





            Besnoy, K. (2007). Creating A Personal Technology Improvement Plan For Teachers of the Gifted. Gifted Child Today, 44-49.


Cross, T. L. (2004). Technology and the Unseen World of Gifted Students. Gifted Child Today, 14-15, 63.


            Nugent, S. A. (2001). Technology and the gifted: Focus, facets, and the future.  Gifted Child Today, 24(4), 38-45.


            O’Brien, B., Firedman-Nimz, R., Lacey, J., & Denson, D. (2005). From Bits and Bytes to C++ and Web Sites: What is Computer Talent Made of? Gifted Child Today, 56-64.


            Sheffield, C. C. (2007). Technology and the Gifted Adolescent: Higher Order Thinking, 21st Century Literacy, and the Digital Native. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from Meridian:


            Siegle, D. (2004). Identifying Students With Gifts and Talents in Technology. Gifted Child Today, 30-33, 64.


            Siegle, D. (2005). Gifted Students & Technology: An Interview with Del Siegle. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from Center for Talent Development:


            Siegle, D. (2007). Identifying and Developing Technological Giftedness. Gifted Education Communicator, 18-21.


  Silverman, L. (n.d.). Technical Wizards. Denver: Gifted Development Center.


            When was the first computer invented? (2012). Retrieved February 6, 2012, from Computer Hope:


Parallel Curriculum Model 

Cleveland State University 

Parallel Curriculum Model 


Michael Shamblin

Parallel Curriculum Model

EGT 513



            In this project, the parallel curriculum model will be researched.  This includes providing my extensive research along with any articles, website links, PowerPoint projects, that will allow for further understanding of the research topic.  “The parallel curriculum model is an integrated framework and set of procedures for designing rigorous and highly motivating curriculum that attends to important student differences” (Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM), 2011, p.1).  Information in regards to an overview of the parallel curriculum model, and an in depth look at each of the parallels, will be given on the model.


Overview of the Parallel Curriculum Model


            The parallel curriculum model allows for challenging curriculum using one, two, three, or four “parallel” ways in thinking about course content.  Parallel does not mean that the approaches should remain separate our isolated from one another.  The parallel curriculum model can be used singly, or in combination, to create or revise existing curriculum units, lessons, or tasks.  All curriculum takes its basic definition from what the model calls “The Core Curriculum” as experts in that discipline conceive and practice it.  A second parallel “The Curriculum of Connections” expands on the Core Curriculum and allows students to make connections within or across different disciplines.  The third parallel is the “Curriculum of Practice,” this guides the learners in the facts, principles, concepts that they are trying to understand in ways that allow for student growth.  The fourth parallel is “The Curriculum of Identity” and this guides students to understanding their own strengths, values, preferences and personal reflection (Tomlinson, 2002).


In Depth look at each of the Parallels


            The Core Curriculum is defined as the nature of a given discipline.  The ultimate goal of the core curriculum is for students to gain the knowledge, understanding, and skills in a specific subject area.  The use of national, state, or local standards should be used to educate students in your school/district.  The core or basic curriculum is built on key facts, concepts, and principles.  Additionally, this promotes understanding rather than rote learning and results in evidence of worthwhile student production.  All students should work with a core curriculum, but as students demonstrate advanced talent those students need to work at higher levels.  This includes using more advanced reading, resources, and research materials.  Working at greater levels of depth, designing tasks that are more open ended, developing rubrics with expert level indicators, and encouraging student work with reflection.


            The Nature of the Curriculum Connections helps students to discover the interconnectedness of knowledge.  This builds on the core curriculum and emphasizes key facts, concepts, and extends on the core curriculum.  This allows students to see connections in other disciplines.  Having the students explore connections between art, social studies, history, reading and language arts, helps build a greater amount of knowledge.  The curriculum connections help students to discover key ideas in multiple contexts and examine their similarities and differences.  Students can use ideas and information from one context and ask questions in another context.  Students can develop an awareness of multiple perspectives on different issues and problems and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches (Tomlinson, 2002). 


            The Nature of the Curriculum of Practice helps students extend their understandings and skills much like those of a professional in that area or field.  This model guides the student in the journey from novice to an expert.  Engaging in the work of professionals along with examining the habits, and ethics of their work.  Students have the ability to learn more when the doing takes on the nature of the area of work.  Curriculum of practice might ask students to function as a scholar and developing an appreciation for the individuals that are experts in the areas.  The curriculum of practice helps students to experience learning in context along with expanding their experiences in the field.  Students are able to identify problems in the field, and to think about ways to act on the problems.  Additionally the ability to monitor their thinking and problem solving strategies and using resources in the field to help them is important. 


            The Nature of the Curriculum of Identity extends the core curriculum.  This allows students to think about themselves, their goals, and to make a connection to their world.  This model allows students to explore in depth the nature of the particular disciplines as how the disciplines relate to their own lives.  This parallel helps students to think about “how their lives are shaped by the discipline, challenges, and conflicts that may exists in a field and what it means for a person to be both represent and be represented by a chosen field” (Tomlinson, 2002, p.35).  The goals of the curriculum of identity helps students to sample the diciplines in order to understand themselves in relation to it.  Students can recognize connections between their own cultural heritage and the evolution of the field.  Additionally, students can reflect on an identify their skills, interest, and talents in relating to one or more disciplines.  They can understand the excitement that people in a discipline have about ideas and problems (Tomlinson, 2002). 



Pros and Cons of the Model



 If the curriculum is effective, it is a panacea



Steep Learning Curve

Time to learn and work with the model 

Time for planning



Key Terminology


Parallel - Moving in the same general direction


Curriculum - a combination of aims and objectives, content, experiences, outcome and processes of an educational program


Model - plan or create according to a model or models






            In conclusion, I had provided research on the parallel curriculum model in regards to an overview of the parallel curriculum model, an in depth look at each of the parallels.  In addition, I am adding PowerPoint slide show projects that I found on the topic along with other research

and multimedia. 


Works Cited


     Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM). (2011, January 29). Retrieved January 29, 2011, from National Association For Gifted Children:

      Tomlinson, C. A. (2002). The Parallel Curriculum: A Design to Develop High Potential and Challenge . California: Corwin Press, INC.