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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Carrying out the GAME plan (app 3)

The learning approach that I plan to take in order to master my GAME plan is to do research using technology, tap into colleague experience and knowledge, compare various Web 2.0 applications that create the same outcomes, and do some experimenting with these new Web 2.0 tools to learn “first hand” how efficient and user friendly they are.

In my initial GAME plan post, I stated that my first goal would be to learn how to use a Web 2.0 tool called Voicethread as a collaborative and reflection tool in the classroom. As a Universal Design (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p116) technology tool, a Voicethread can be used to present student artifacts when students have a hard time standing up in front of the class, or students can use the audio feature to record themselves if they have difficulty writing.

The Resources that I will need to carry out my plan are as follows:

• Visiting and reading the information I find there about the application, as well as watching “how to” video tutorials.
• Browsing pre-existing Voicethreads to get ideas on how them.
• Research reviews about Voicethread on educator networking sites.
• Ask colleagues if they have used, or are using Voicethread in their classrooms, and have them help me to get started using the application.

Additional information that I will need are:
• Whether or not students have signed media permission forms to be able to post work out on the web.
• Find out if there is a school subscription for this application already.

Steps that I have been able to take so far include the following:
• I have used the internet to research and read about Voicethread.
• I have watched video tutorials from the website.
• I have signed up for a year long educator account subscription.
• I have set up class groups and student accounts.
• Read reviews about Voicethread on professional networking sites.

The learning strategy for the second half of my GAME plan is to get experience using a wiki as a classroom tool. With this tool, a teacher would be able to offer more choices (UDL: Universal Design) to students in the type of method they could choose from to demonstrate and support their learning such as solving a problem as a group, journaling, viewing tutorials, creating tutorials, and collaborating. (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p58)

The resources I will need to carry out this part of the plan are:

• Finding out who in my school district is using a wiki, and ask to meet with them to gather knowledge and suggestions.
• Use the internet to locate pre-existing classroom wiki’s and study how they are set up and how they are used.
• Compare and contrast the various web hosting wiki sites to see if one might be better than another.

Additional information I will need is:

• To make sure that all students have a media permission form prior to using a class wiki.
• Locating a classroom teacher willing to partner up so our classes could collaborate realtime.

Steps I have been able to take so far include:

• Browsing the internet for classroom wiki’s to see how they are being used in classrooms all over the world.
• I have also located a teacher from a local district school, and sent out an invitation to create a joint wiki between our two schools as a trial. As of this post, I have not heard back from the teacher yet.


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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Using the GAME Plan

Students are surrounded with technology everyday outside the classroom.  For education to be successful, and learning to take place, we have to meet students where they are the most engaged, and that is with technology.  Bringing technology into the classroom gives students the confidence they need to take on the new challenge of learning the content knowledge.  As they come into the classroom already knowing how to use a variety of tools, and feeling comfortable using them.

I am a technology teacher, and as such, I can say that I know a bit about technology.  However, there is always room for improvement, and to help me determine where those areas are, I visited the ISTE website and investigated the NETS-T standards and performance indicators posted there. I found two performance indicators in which I can use the GAME plan (Cennamo,, 2009, p5) to improve my technology skills in the classroom.  The two performance indicators are: NETS-T #1c and #1d (2010).

1. Facilitate and Inspire student Learning and Creativity

c. Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.
d. Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face to face and virtual environments.

GAME plan for indicator #1c. – Promote student reflection.

Goal: 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.

Action: (1) Go to and read about the application. (2) Watch video tutorials provided by the site to learn how to create and use Voicethreads in a safe and effective way. (3) Sign up for a free account and practice creating a Voicethread prior to using in the classroom. (4) Browse existing Voicethreads to get ideas on how to use this application in class.

Monitor: (1) Did I do enough research about Voicethread to consider it a useful tool in class? (2) Did I learn how to create a Voicethread properly? (3) Is Voicethread user friendly and easy to use?

Evaluate: (1) Was I successful in creating a Voicethread? (2) Practice using Voicethread with a small class to debug the lesson and work out unforeseen flaws.

GAME plan for indicator #1d. – Collaborating in a virtual environment.

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

Action: (1) Use the internet to research how other educators are utilizing wikis in the classroom. (2) Ask colleagues for suggestions and example lesson plans. (3) Look for a teacher from another school district that would be interested in partnering up to create a collaborative wiki between our classrooms.

Monitor: (1) Will using a wiki engage students? (2) Was I successful in finding a way to use a wiki creatively in class? (3) Was I successful in finding a partner school?

Evaluate: (1) After using a wiki with one class as a practice test, how successful was it? (2) What worked well using the wiki and what didn’t?

The GAME plan helps to keep you focused when researching and implementing a resource.  Exploring technology and perfecting how to use it well enough to be used in a classroom takes alot of dedicaton, self-directed learning, motiviation, perseverance and time.  I am open to using any method or tool that will enable my success in this arena.


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.

International Society for Technology in Education (2010), The ISTE National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers, Retrieved September 2010, From:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reflection 6712 Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom

Alan November states that “educators can harness the power of the Internet to get their message out and to empower students to become more actively involved in managing their own learning.” (November, 2008, p3) However, like anything else, students must learn how to use this “powerful technology” (November, 2008, p2) correctly. Educators should not take for granted that students already know how to search, decode and read on-line content for comprehension. For example, one way to prepare students for web literacy is to teach and model an internet inquiry strategy called Quest. Quest stands for Questioning, Understanding, Evaluating, Synthesizing and Transforming. (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007, p.51)

The most striking revelation I experienced during this course is that information is already out there (on the internet) waiting to be accessed, and it is our job as educators to teach students how to sift through the good, the bad and the ugly. In other words, in the past we could count on the fact that the information was correct and accurate when using our class text books because the editors and publishers had already done the evaluating and validating of the information contained in the text ahead of time for us. Today, anybody can publish anything to the internet, and it is important to teach students how to evaluate and synthesize this data before they use it for personal and educational use. “All students need a specific skill set in order to interact with the abundant amount of information available at their fingertips.” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009) According to Dr. Douglas Hartman, literacy is evolving,” our past was rooted in book culture, but our future will be rooted in on-line and digital media.” (Laureate Education Inc., 2009)

Going forward, the knowledge and experience I learned by creating a unit plan that included 21st century literacy strategies such as questioning, synthesizing and communicating, will help me enhance current lessons and develop future lessons that will be much more streamlined and all inclusive. My lesson plans will be written with activities in place to focus the students at the start of a lesson, take them through searching for information more efficiently, walk them through synthesizing and analyzing the data, and then sharing the knowledge through communication. This is a workflow that can be used as a guide no matter what the lesson is about.

One development goal that I would like to pursue as a result of this class is to begin an online collaborative partnership, using a wiki, with students and teachers from another school district. I think that students would enjoy working together, and this type of learning environment will help to prepare students sharpen their collaborative skills and get them used to sharing information in readiness for a global collaborative workforce. In order to prepare for this project I will need to locate a school that is willing to partner up with me, and that has the necessary equipment such as internet access, parental permission, and netiquette safety guidelines in place. However, before going live, I would probably complete a mini assignment with just my class as practice, so students can get familiar with the wiki application, and give me an opportunity to look for loopholes or areas that need addressing before the actual school to school collaboration project begins.


Eagleton, M. B., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet inquiry. New York: The Guilford Press

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 2. New Literacies. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

November, A., (2008) Web Literacy for Educators. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reflection - Final Blog Post for Walden Class 6711

At the beginning of this class, I wrote a personal learning theory which supported Garner’s multiple intelligence model, in that every individual has their own area of strength when it comes to how they learn. Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and still others are kinesthic learners. (Lever-Duffy & Macdonald, 2008, p.24) I still believe that to be successful at teaching, an instructor needs to change their delivery style in order to reach all the multiple intelligences in the classroom. However, after reading about several different learning styles in this course, I now believe the ideal method of teaching would be to have a teaching style that is multi-faceted so as to target all learning styles, but at the same time engaging so that students buy into the lesson and become actively immersed in the learning. Dr. Orey stated in one of our DVD video’s that “people learn best when they build stuff, such as an external artifact or something they can share with others.” (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009a) Dr. Orey called this theory of “building stuff” the constructionist learning theory. (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009a) Therefore, when asked how I could modify my instructional style to make it even more effective, I would have to say that one way would be to change my personal learning theory to integrate a requirement for my students to construct artifacts that reflect their learning when appropriate.

One immediate adjustment I would like to make to my instructional practice is to use Web 2.0 technology as learning tools for students. Dr. Orey describes learning tools as digital technology such as Microsoft applications, Web 2.0, and multi-media, which students can use to enhance and support their learning. The goal is to create a learner centered environment (students are using the technology to learner) rather than a teacher centered environment (the focus is on the teacher and not on the students. One example of this is a teacher that only lectures). Two Web 2.0 tools that I would like to begin using with my students are concept mapping and voicethreads. (Pitler et. al., 2007) Concept mapping promotes long term memory by enabling students to use graphic images to represent content. Paivio calls this “dual coding” and it means delivering the same information in more than one format. According to Paivio, people can remember images better than text. (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009b) Concept maps can be used to learn vocabulary, or determine the organization of a website, similar to a storyboard. The second instructional tool Voicethreads is a tool that can reinforce and review prior learning while building something to share with others. It is a great collaboration tool as well as an alternate way to “dual code” by using graphics and text to establish long term memory retention, leading to real learning rather than memorization.

Two long term goals that I would like to make to my instructional practice regarding technology is to involve students in demonstrations rather than just having a show and tell led by me. I am in the process of ordering a student response system which will allow for continuous interactivity during classroom lecture, review and demonstrations. I am excited to have this equipment and looking forward to using it to engage my students even more. The second long term goal is to develop lessons that utilize dual coding. I would like to add “extension” sections to my lesson plans to have alternate ways of teaching the same lesson using methods other than just text. For example, having students find graphics that will reflect technology vocabulary that they are learning for a particular week, or have them select 8 out of 15 technology terms and have them write sentences reflects that true meaning of the term, and adding a graphic image by each sentence to support it visually.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Cognitive Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Instructional Tools vs. Learning Tools. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


As part of my assigment this week, I was required to create a voicethread based on a need, problem or situation that I am faced with as a teacher.  My voice thread is about the problem of inappropriate and excessive use of cell phone and ipod use during class time.  I am also asking anyone to help in coming up with a way to involve students in the solution of how to cut down or eliminate this problem altogether.
click the link to view and listen to my voicethread....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

In our resources this week, Dr. Michael Orey describes "Social Learning or cooperative learning; as the act of being actively engaged in constructing artifacts, as well as conversations in order to enhance understanding and learning from others." (Laureate Inc., 2009) Beaumie Kim writes that "knowledge is derived from interactions between people and their environments." (Orey, 2001) Connectivist George Siemens states that social learning is using technology to collaborate and share knowledge between groups of people. (Laureate Inc., 2009b) The idea of social learning is the opportunity to interact with the people around you and learn from their experiences and points of view. We are all unique, learn differently and all have different perceptions to share. "Two people looking at something together never actually see the same thing in the same way." (Orey, 2001) This is where the learning comes into play.
Pitler et al. state in their book Using Technology with Classroom instruction that Works, that because we are living in a time when society is forced to keep pace with technology, students need "to be prepared for the fast-paced, virtual workplace that they will inherit, students need to be able to learn and produce cooperatively." (Pitler et. al., 2007, p139) There are a number of technology tools mentioned in chapter 7 to support social and cooperative learning. Creating videos using multimedia, employing multiuser games, completing web based inquiries, and applications such as Keypals for communications, all can be used to promote social learning by allowing students to collaborate and create with each other.

Dr. Orey talks about how important social learning is because students reach a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which he describes as "what the child is able to learn at a given time." (Laureate Inc., 2009a) He also says that by encouraging social learning, a child gets MKD and can then continue to learn. MKD is the acronym for "more knowledgeable others" which means "a child is unable to learn at this time without help from someone else." (Laureate Inc., 2009a) ZPD and MKD are good reasons to support social learning.

Social Learning is a way for students to learn from other people's perspectives, "bounce ideas off each other, confirm and validate their thoughts, a way to give each other encouragement, and achieve confidence from knowing that they may have the same trouble learning a particular thing as the next student, or that they have come up with the same answer as a result." (Laureate, Inc. 2009a)

I believe that to be able to succeed in society today; you need to be a well rounded individual, having the ability to produce in multiple ways, using both the virtual world and the non-virtual world, in essence being resourceful in the use of both technology and human talent.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Connectivism as Learning Theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Social Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Section: Social Constructivism, Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructionism in Practice

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This week, in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, I read about an instructional strategy called "Generating and Testing Hypotheses." This strategy is a method by which students create projects (constructionism) to explain hypotheses when faced with disequilibration.

According to Dr. Michael Orey, equilibration (external reality fits to what we know) is one of the building blocks of the Constructionist learning theory, the other three are assimilation (reality is made to fit ones own belief and understanding), accommodation (current belief is altered to fit external reality), and schema (own understanding). (Laureate Inc., 2009) Dr. Orey also goes on to say that Constructionism is "simply using whatever tool you have at hand and actively engaging students to create and build stuff." (Laureate Inc., 2009)

"Technology can play a vital role in generating and testing hypotheses because new developments in probeware and interactive applets allow students to spend more time preparing the data rather than gathering the data." (Pitler et al., 2007, p.203) For example, with data collection tools such as spreadsheets and the internet, students are able to gather information much quicker, create artifacts to "analyze and synthesize" (Pitler et al., 2007, p.211) data, formulate hypotheses, and then "share and compare" (Pitler et al., 2007, p.211) data results by using collaborative internet tools. Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007) provide an example of a middle school science class who wanted to know how much acid rain they were getting in their community. Students collected a variety of water samples, tested the pH levels in the water and recorded the data in an excel spreadsheet and then generated a chart to demonstrate their results. (Pitler et al., 2007, p.210) Students were collecting data, building an artifact, and using critical thinking skills to arrive at a conclusion to their hypotheses about acid rain. This is a good example of how testing for hypotheses does correlate to constructionism, as students are engrossed in creating some sort of container or project that supports their results.

Furthermore, project based learning (constructionism) as defined by the Buck Institute of Education, is " a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning essential knowledge and life-enhancing skills through an extended, student-influenced inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks."


Buck Institute for Education. Project Based Learning, the online resource of PBL. Retrieved March 24, 2010 from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cognitive Learning Theory

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According to Dr. Orey, the Cognitive Learning Theory is a three phase learning process in which a person receives information that gets processed and stored into short term memory, and then eventually makes into long term memory. In order to get information from short term memory to long term memory when it actually becomes retainable, a person needs to be able to connect each idea to every other idea they are learning. As stated by Dr. Orey, this method of connecting with what you are learning is called elaboration. (Laureate, 2007a)

In the text, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski , present great ideas to help students achieve cognitive learning with the use of technology. One instructional strategy they recommend is cues, questions, and advance organizers. Advanced organizers are technology tools that “enhance the student's ability to retrieve, use, and organize information about a topic." (Pitler et al., 2007, p.73) An example of an advance organizer is a tool called concept mapping. Basically concept mapping is "a tool that is given to students at the beginning of an assignment to help students "make sense of the content when the information is not well organized in its original format." (Pitler et al., 2007, p.73) It is similar to an outline, except you are using graphic bubbles to design it instead of text format, comparable to a flow chart. Students can use images to insert ideas or concepts and link it to another bubble holding an idea. In essence, concept mapping helps the student connect their thoughts using graphics. Therefore, concept mapping is a great tool to use to initiate cognitive learning. The authors also provide other technology tools such as word processing, spreadsheet applications, multimedia and brainstorming software to help students organize their thoughts and promote cognitive learning.

Other cognitive tools introduced by the authors in this week’s readings were Virtual Field Trips, and Note Taking. A Virtual Field Trip is a web based tool that "provides a student the opportunity to go where they physically cannot." (Laureate, 2007b) It is a method in which students can generate an experience within the classroom, called an ”episode or episodic memory,” (Laureate Inc., 2007b) enabling students “to tie constructivist activities to that experience, giving them a base to make rich connections for information retrieval." (Laureate, 2007b) Furthermore, Note Taking is another strategy that students can use to "organize information in order to process” (Pitler et al., 2007, p.120) it more efficiently and effectively, so that it can be stored into long term memory.

In future assignments, I plan on using concept mapping when introducing a lesson. This way, my students will have an idea ahead of time exactly what they will be learning and why, because the mapping will help them answer the lesson’s essential question. The mapping will allow students the ability to focus their learning and organize the information in a way that will make it easier for them to understand, and at the same time, as a teacher, I will be able to determine by the progress made on the concept map who needs additional help with the lesson, and who does not.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2007a). Cognitive Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2007b). Spotlight on Technology – Virtual Field Trips. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Behaviorism in Practice

In my course reading this week, I read about two instructional strategies that relate to the behaviorist theory. The two strategies are called “Reinforcing Effort" and "Homework and Practice." Both these strategies integrate technology in the learning process, to give students more avenues to achieve learning and be motivate to excel.

"Reinforcing effort" is a method I already use in one of my classes. The class in which I apply this strategy in is Word processing. Students will complete various assignments and turn them in for a grade. IF a student wants to improve the grades received on their work, I allow them to redo the assignment for a better grade. I make it very clear to students that they will only receive the additional point if the rework is 100% correct the second time, and they can only earn half the points they lost the first time. (ie: receive an 84, redo the assignment correctly and receive a 92) by allowing them to do this, they are learning the concepts, getting a better grade, and it is still fair to those students who got everything right the first time around. In the text "Using Technology with classroom Instruction that Works" written by Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski,(2007) the authors state that "effort is the wisest choice for someone who intends to achieve success or maintain it, as it is within an individual's control, and is the most important factor in achievement." (2007, p155) By allowing students the opportunity to have a choice in the outcome of their success, gives them the incentive to do well. They put effort into fixing their errors, and get immediate results by getting a better grade. At the same time they are given a second opportunity to learn the skill correctly and form good working habits.

Orey states, (2001) all "behaviors can be unlearned and replaced by new behaviors." Therefore, by allowing students to take ownership in their achievement and success, this allows students to generate new positive behaviors and promote intrinsic motivation. It teaches them that when someone really does put forth genuine effort, it pays off. Additionally, I use this strategy as a data collection tool. It allows me to be able to pinpoint specific weaknesses students may have if they repeat the assignment for a better grade and still do not get it right. I then take measures to ensure that those students get the additional instruction they need to achieve that particular skill.

In regards to the “Homework and practice” strategy, my school district has formed a committee to review how much homework is given out to students, whether it is manageable, and if it should be reduced. I feel that some degree of homework is good. Homework allows students to "review and apply what they have learned" (Pitler et al., 2007, p.187) outside of class. In some cases when homework is given the night before, it allows students the opportunity to get acquainted with the material, so when they come to class the next day they have been exposed to the material and are less likely to be lost during class discussions and lecture. Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski,(2007) provide a wealth of ideas using technology in chapter 10 of their book that can aide students in doing homework. The authors provide lists of websites, software applications such as word and excel, and multimedia that students can utilize to reinforce skills and concepts. Methods of technology such as these, facilitate and increases learning in a creative and engaging way.

The key point to the strategies mentioned above and how they relate to behaviorism is to create lessons, supported by technology, that students will find value in and will be motivated to complete. Technology offers educators the means to engage students, differentiate lessons, and track their learning. At the same time, technology provides students with a means to work on skills that best meets their individual needs by using a variety of activities and tools " (Pitler et al., 2007, p.196)

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler , H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.