The future depends on what we do in the present. - Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Edu 6714 week 8 Reflection

In the past eight weeks while taking this course, I have gained a better appreciation of what Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) means. As described by Dr. Mclaughlin (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009), UDL is an "instructional approach that opens learning opportunities for all students. It is flexible instruction," with the use of technology whenever possible. DI is an instructional method that assesses students at their current levels, and creates curriculum to fit their instructional needs. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009)

Prior to taking this class, my understanding of DI was a plethora of lesson plans individualized for each student, but now I know differently. Essentially, DI is creating lessons with built in choices, and levels of challenge, so learning is customized to fit the student. It is not necessary to create multiple assignments, you can do it with a within a single lesson. In addition to gaining knowledge about what DI and UDL was all about, I also had the opportunity to share digital resources with classmates using a social network. Searching for technology to implement DI in the classroom, and then sharing those resources with classmates on a social network, enabled my classmates and I, to “cover more virtual ground” in looking for useful technology, strategies, and techniques to help implement an effective differentiated classroom. In this instance, technology proved to be invaluable in regards to collegial professional development and collaboration. This is what I hope to model for my students in hopes that they become resourceful life-long learners.

One of the first changes that I plan to make to my instructional practice creating tiered lessons that accommodates for high, middle and low level learners. Tiered lessons will allow me to challenge all student abilities within the classroom.

This class has proved that technology is important and necessary if a teacher wants to develop an effective differentiated classroom. Technology is a customizable instructional tool that can be modified, and used to target everyone’s needs. It is patient, flexible and versatile. Before any differentiation can take place, a teacher must first get to know the students background knowledge, interests and learning styles. The most efficient and effective way to gain this knowledge is using technology. By using applications such as I can create and administer student surveys at the start of each school year that will give the information that I need in order to create relevant student based lessons and pick suitable topics. Applications such as Microsoft suites, and Adobe suites can be used by all students; whether they are beginners or experts, because the technology does not recognize knowledge levels. There is so much technology out there that can help generate student interest and help manage a classroom environment conducive to learning, but as this class has also shown, it takes a lot of research, collaboration, patience, and a whole lot of time to find it.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Universal Design for Learning. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Edu 6713 week 8 Reflection Post

Reflecting back on this course, I have learned about a new tool for setting and achieving goals called the GAME plan. The GAME plan is a way for self-directed learners, such as teachers, to increase their confidence and proficiency as they learn about new technology integration in their classrooms. The GAME plan is a process that “guides your self-directed learning activities” (Cennamo,, 2009, p1) by setting goal(s), taking action to achieve those goal(s), developing ways in which you will monitor your progress while accomplishing the goal(s), and finally reflecting or evaluating on how well you did in achieving the goal(s). The GAME plan “enables you to customize your approach to learning tasks, it helps you develop relevant skills that are important to you, and it prepares you for lifelong learning.” (Cennamo,, 2009, p4) My personal GAME plan consisted of two goals, one goal was learning how to use Voicethread so that I could use it for a student project; that goal was achieved successfully, and the other goal was creating a classroom wiki in collaboration with another school. The second goal is still in progress, and probably will not be totally complete until the next school year. Up to this point, the GAME plan has been instrumental in helping me create a written agenda of how my desired goals would be attained. It has been my "grocery list," and it has helped me stay focused and motivated to complete each step of my GAME plan. I have a tendency to "put off" learning new material because I am so busy during the school day. The GAME plan has helped me overcome this obstacle and has made it easier for me to make time for new learning. It has helped me to “outline” my target goals making them easier to complete. Going forward, I plan to teach my students this technique so that they may become better with self-directed learning.

As a result of implementing a personal GAME plan, I got to experience Voicethread as an alternative collaboration tool in the classroom. Also, while doing research for my second goal of implementing a class wiki, I acquired several new ideas of ways on how to implement Voicethread and wiki activities in the classroom. These digital tools will allow me to expand the use of technology in the classroom, as well as offer additional methods to reach diverse learners.

One adjustment that I plan to make to my instructional practice regarding technology integration as a result of this course is to explore creative ways in which to use a wiki with my classes. I think wiki’s are fun, and engaging, and I think students would like to use them as they enjoy working in groups for the most part. Before beginning this degree program, I had absolutely no idea about how to create a wiki, let alone know how to use one with a class. Now I feel much more confident about creating and implementing an assignment using a wiki.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A standards-based approach (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Using the GAME Plan (app 7)

The GAME plan is a process that helps you achieve short term, and or long term goals through self-directed learning. One way that I can use the GAME plan in the classroom with students is to model the procedure with every activity. This will create a model that students can apply to any future learning endeavor.

The implementation of this procedure can be as simple as creating a student handout that acts as an outline that each student fills out prior to beginning any assignment. For example, the handout would have multi sections labeled Goals, Action, Monitor and Evaluation. The students would have to fill out what the assignment Goal is, what their Action plan will be in order to achieve the Goal, how they plan to Monitor their progress, and what they will do in order to prepare for an evaluation, assessment, grade, or document what they have learned and what could they have done better. The evaluation section would be completed at the end of every assignment.

Getting students to complete this for every assignment would get them into a habit of thinking ahead, staying focused, being organized, and reflecting upon learning and best practices in their self-directed learning. Additionally, when reviewing the list of NETS-S standards for students, I found that I was able to align four out of six indicators with the GAME plan method.

NETS-S #1 Creativity and Innovation aligns with the Action piece of the GAME plan. Once you have established a Goal, applying creative thinking, innovation, and existing knowledge, is at times necessary to reach that goal.

NETS-S #2 Communication and Collaboration, also supports the Action part of the GAME plan. Interacting, collaborating, and communicating are all ways in which students can act together in other to problem solve an issue and "support individual learning as well as contribute to the learning of others" (

NETS-S #3 Research and Information Fluency skills link up well with the Evaluation phase of the GAME plan. Planning, strategizing, analyzing and synthesizing are all ways in which students can evaluate their progress and determine if they need to make changes in the direction they have taken in order to facilitate a successful outcome to their goal(s).

NETS-S #4 Critical thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, matches up nicely to the Monitoring portion of the GAME plan. "In collecting and analyzing data in a consistent manner; students can plan and manage their activities in such a way that will help them form a solution to realize their goal(s)." (

In closing, the GAME plan is beneficial to students in two ways, it can help students stay focused and organized when planning and achieving learning goals, and it can help them achieve the technology competencies outlined in the NETS-S standards located on the International Society for Technology in Education website (


International Society for Technology in Education (2010) Retrieved October 2010, From:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Revising My GAME Plan (app 6)

In my pursuit for a Master’s in Education with a specialization in Technology at Walden University, I have learned about a variety of digital tools that can make a 21st century classroom more engaging and help reach the needs of all students. Creating podcasts, Voicethreads, wiki’s, blog’s, bookmarking sites, student response systems, and graphic organizers, are just some of these digital tools to name a few. I have also learned that as a teacher you should offer an “a-la-carte” of options that a student can choose in order to meet class expectations and objectives. For example, to demonstrate student knowledge and learning; a student should have the choice of doing it in writing using a word processing program, or a Power point presentation. If writing is not their strong point, then they could narrate a Power point or a Voicetread. Students should be given some control over their learning, and a teacher can provide this by letting them pick the vehicle they are best at to demonstrate their learning. Up until now, in my instructional practice I only offered students one vehicle to demonstrate their learning, Going forward, I will ensure that students have at least a couple of options to pick from to showcase their learning.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working towards achieving my GAME plan goals. One of these goals was learning and using Voicethread, the second was creating a classroom wiki and partnering up with another school to collaborate with. I have accomplished the first goal, and I am still working on the second goal. I have amended the second goal as I have been unable to find a local school to partner with. Therefore, the wiki will just be for my classes for now. The GAME plan (Cennamo,, 2009) method has taught me to outline and focus on precisely what I need to do in order to complete a goal. I find that when applying this method, I can organize my thoughts on paper much better, and reach my goal more effectively and efficiently. This is yet one more thing I have learned and will bring forward into my instructional practice in order to carry out future goals.

Based on the NETS-T standards 3b – Collaborating with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation, and 3c – Communicating relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats, a new learning goal that I would like to achieve would be to have a classroom website. This website will be used to collaborate and communicate relevant classroom information with students, and parents. In creating a class website, I will be able to offer one more tool to help students reach educational expectations not only in the class, but outside the classroom as well. This tool will also provide parents with information to help guide their students achieve that success.

The learning approaches that I will use next time to improve my learning will be to continue to research online for ideas on how to use social networking applications in the classroom in a productive and creative way. I will also stay connected using my own blog to communicate with peers, as well as ask my colleagues about the ways they use social networking sites in their classrooms. If anyone out there has an idea on how to use social networking in a computer applications class, please leave my a comment.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education, (2010), NETS-T, Retrieved: October 2010, From:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Evaluating my GAME Plan (app 5)

In order to learn more about technology, and digital resources, I used the GAME plan method as an authentic approach to help myself achieve greater success learning about technology and achieving my goals. With the GAME plan method, you begin by establishing some goals that you would like to carry out, and then you set those goals into action, monitor your progress, and then evaluate your progress along the way and at the end of your personal GAME plan.

In evaluating my progress in meeting my GAME plan goals, I have been more successful with goal #1 than with goal #2. For goal #1, my goal was to learn and use an application called Voicethread. I had heard a lot about this technology and I was anxious to use it. I was successful in incorporating this technology in an activity recently with my students. What I have learned so far is that by establishing a written GAME plan, it has helped me to focus in on exactly what I needed to do in order to master the application. It also acted as a checklist of sorts, that encouraged me to complete the goal and cross it off my “to do” list.

I have not completed goal #2 yet, but that is not because the goal wasn’t achievable the way it was written, it has more to do with not being able to invest enough time into it, in order to accomplish it. What I have learned from this, is that maybe setting two goals at once is a little too much while school is in session. I should established one goal, achieve that one goal and only create a second goal a little later when the first goal is complete. As far as editing this goal to make it more achievable, a change that I would make is to remove the partnership piece with another school district, and implement a class wiki for just my students this school year, and next year revisit the partnership piece.

With this experience, I have found that I need to do more documenting. For example, I tend to print information and keep it to review later, but later never comes as I seem to never find the time to read the articles. Eventually, what I have printed off usually gets misplaced or lost. What I need to do is record the URL’s of these websites, resources, and other relevant information, preferably by category, either using Microsoft OneNote, a spreadsheet, notepad, or a digital bookmarking program such as Diigo, or Delicious, so that the information can be easily accessed later, but will not create piles of "stuff" around me. This would be a great way to make use of technology and improve upon my organizational skills. Using the GAME plan has helped me to tackle self-directed learning (Cennamo, et. al., 2009) in a much more organized fashion, without getting overwhelmed. This method has also helped me to "ask important questions for myself relevant to the discipline; design and construct investigations and research; collect, analyze, and interpret data; and apply what has been learned" (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p30) to established goals and problems.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A standards-based approach (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monitoring My GAME Plan (app 4)

The progress in meeting the goals of my GAME plan is going very well. I have done research on both my goals, and have actually been able to implement one of them already. I have found a wealth of information online, as well as from the course text. At this point I would say that I am making sufficient progress towards my goals, and that I am more than half way there. The strategies that I selected for myself are working, however, I am finding that it is taking a good amount of time to do the research and legwork to put my goals into action. I have listed my goals below along with answers to some self-monitoring questions.

Goal 1: Learn more about Voicethread, a Web 2.0 application that can be used as a collaborative and reflection tool by students, to document and reflect upon what they have learned

In my quest to master this application, I scoured the website and found excellent tutorials that walked me through how to create and set up Voicethreads. I did have to sign up for an educator account, as the free version only allowed a maximum of three Voicethreads. I also printed the step by step instructions that this website offered that showed me exactly what to do to set up a secure classroom group. This is pretty much all I needed, in order to get my class started in making Voicethreads, besides entering student names and creating passwords.

I do not need to modify my action plan in regard to goal 1, because I have already completed an activity which required my students to create a power point and then upload it to Voicethread. The assignment was a success because in the end, all students had a tread uploaded to the site ready to be shared. I was not sure how far I would get with this activity, being the first time I was using the application with my students, and how well the students would perform.  The threads were great, but they definately need more practive leaving audio commenting.

What I have learned so far is that it takes a lot of time to introduce any new technology into the classroom. I have also learned that this particular technology is not as user friendly as it is portrayed to be, but it is an additional tool that can be used to foster "active authentic learning" (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p31) in the classroom

One new question in regards to this goal would be whether or not there are any other applications similar to Voicethread out there that would allow editing after upload, and that might be better than Voicethread. Is there anyone out there that has used Voicethread and know of other application that are similar, that can be used in the classroom?

Goal 2: Research how wiki’s are being used as a learning and collaborative tool in the classroom

I am still working on this goal, but I do have some experience in creating and using a wiki from prior classes in this degree program. What I need is to determine which wiki hosting site is best to use for a classroom and is also free to use. I know about wikispaces which I have already used, but there are others such as Zoho wiki and Google wiki that I would like to check out.  If anyone reading this blog has used Zoho or Google wiki before, please leave me a comment sharing your experience.

I do not feel as though I need to modify my GAME plan for this goal at this time, but I do need to schedule some time on my calendar, so that I can focus on doing more research for this goal, and to look for another teacher who would be interested in using a wiki to collaborate between our classes.  I have made contact with a teacher from another district, but have not heard back from her as of yet.  I will keep trying.

What I have learned so far is that a wiki is very similar to a website and makes a great collaboration tool. It also provides students with real time access to classroom information, as well as "allowing them to coordinate group work much easier than on paper, or email." (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p58) I have also learned that not one of my colleagues has a wiki, or even knows how to create one.  Looks like I may have to set the bar  and show them the way.

Questions that arise for me about this goal, is whether or not students will find using a wiki a useful tool, and if it will be engaging enough for them. Another concern for me is that according to Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer, when using a wiki, it is often times very hard to figure out which student posted what to the wiki, this could be a big issue for me. I would have to create some sort of guideline for students to follow, such as assigning each student a letter or number, or avatar, and making sure they include this information on every post, in order to grade accurately and know who is responsible for posting what. If anyone can help with suggestions on how to keep track of student postings to wikis, or if you have a great idea in using a wiki itself in a classroom setting, please leave a comment below, as I am open to any advice.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.