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

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: