Browsing "Instructional Technologies"
Mar 31, 2013 - Instructional Technologies    Comments Off on Week 11 Blog Reflection: New Technologies

Week 11 Blog Reflection: New Technologies

The mini projects are posted in week 9 and 10.  The NASA home and city was extremely interactive and informative.  I was quite impressed with how much NASA has contributed to what we take for granted on a daily basis.  Who would have thought the ear buds we use today were a result of the technology that allowed Neil Armstrong to talk to NASA control from the moon.  The technology used to deliver the information was very impressive with 3D, interactive (popup message & audio) communications.  Additional information provided by the tabs at the bottom was informative and allowed you to continue to pursue your exploration of the topic by linking to the spinoff database.  I did a quick search for paint and was provided adobe files on heat resistant and space paint.

BrainNook was much better than I first thought it would be by viewing the opening screen.  It offered 3D interactive games for elementary students where they could play games geared toward learning a variety of subjects.  I though it was rather elementary until I went to the maps and selected multiplying fractions.  This game was extremely challenging.  The game appeared to be extensive and the limited time per event keeps thing moving along.  Earning badges and stars give the player an incentive to keep going.  I will most likely use this as one of my 3rd grade class activities.

The technology presented by Pattie Maes on TED was very interesting. I have mixed emotions on the effects of this invention relative to the current educational system.  Not sure how it would be specifically implemented but I do think the refined product would have a huge impact on how we educate our students.  It appears it will provide instant access to a wealth of information dramatically increasing the exposure to new information not previously used in the classroom.

Cell phone etiquette for kids and webwisekids offered numerous tips and strategies for both students and parents.  To me it appeared the best rule for etiquette is for the parent to lead by example.  The cell phone tips were very good and appeared to provide an excellent roadmap for using cell phones.  While reading through the tips and recommendations I kept thinking how important it is for parents and teachers to understand the technology their children are using.  As I continued to explore cell phone technology I downloaded kaywa QR code scanner and scanned a few codes.  While surfing a bit I discovered QR codes for educators which can be found at:

At this site I generated a QR code linking to my professional web portfolio provided below:

QR code for web portfolio

I scanned the code using the kaywa reader and my web page immediately showed up on my cell phone.


has a QR code treasure hunt generator for teachers.  I was impressed at how quickly the kaywa scanner worked.  With a few smart phones in the class I can see many opportunities for lessons using this technology.  In addition to using in the classroom, QR conncectivity to the students provides an opportunity for the teacher to receive and provide information while on the go.


Byrne, R. (2011). Free Technology for Teachers. Retrieved from:


QR Codes for Educators, Retrieved from:

Week Nine Reflections- Mini Projects

This week we continued to expand our technical capabilities by introducing more tools to incorporate into our educational practice.  For this week I focused on the Voki & Comic life mini projects.  Voki was quite a bit of fun and it went rather smoothly although I was somewhat disappointed you are unable to edit the file once published.  For my Voki project I did a short clip on providing a tool for students who may get stuck on their nine multiplication  tables.  I will make a few adjustments to the script and then try it out on my class to see how they respond.  I expect they will be quite taken with the Avatar and since it is short, they will remain extremely attentive.  A link to my Avatar is provided below.


Link to Voki:

I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the digital story telling and found the articles quite informative.  By focusing on “living in the story”,  you can safeguard against simply telling a story and proper planning will allow you to discretely unfold the intent or lesson of the story.  Creating tension will take some effort as will delivering the story as concise as possible.  One huge bonus of digital story telling is the use of media where the photograph, audio, or video can provide a focal point and the story can reinforce the theme.  At first I was somewhat overwhelmed with all the tools available to use for digital story telling but after reviewing them it appears that once you decide how you want to deliver the story picking a tool would become straight forward.  I will be creating my digital story next week as the second part of my mini projects for this week was to create a comic on the water cycle.  I am not sure if it was just me or if others had the same issues with the 30 day free trail of comic life.  Many of the functions were not activated.  I could not use spell checker and I could not change the images to look more like a comic.  That is unfortunate as I think this effect will have an impact on its overall presentation.

My water cycle comic is provided below.

ws1 ws2 ws3

All images were obtained from:
The Pics4Learning collection is intended to provide copyright friendly images for use by students and teachers in an educational setting. The original photographers of each image retain the copyright to these images and have graciously allowed their use in this collection.



Weel 7 Sticky Notes

Week seven was another week of exposure to new electronic tools.  I found the pre-writing with concept maps to be extremely useful in organizing my thoughts.  The quick writing was also useful.  Depending on the topic I could see either tool coming first.  For something you are familiar with and you want to write something to document the subject the concept map is an excellent way to outline your thoughts and graphically display the connectivity.  For a topic you are less familiar with the quick writing approach will allow you to free flow thought and come back a little later to add structure and organization.

I like Jing and see how it could be a useful tool in the classroom.  I could see development of several variations of the lesson to address different levels of instruction.  When reading through the potential uses of Jing or Screenr it was mentioned that it may be useful in flipping your class.  Thinking back to what I have learned so far on flipping you class it appears having the actual teacher on the video is important to ensure connectivity to the class.  For this reason I think I would limit Jing or Screenr to instructional videos that would be used during differentiation sessions in the class where I would be available to supplement the instruction.

I found the Kucha approach to presentations very useful.  I have seen presentation that were very wordy with limited illustrations and found it difficult to stay focused.  Twenty slides with a maximum of twenty seconds that demonstrate and encourage empathy will be quick moving with a focus of drawing the audience into the content of the presentation.

The jeopardy tool was easy to access and easy to use.  I believe I will be incorporating this learning game into many of my classes.

The shared sticky notes appear to be a good tool for building vocabulary based on reading assignments for my third grade class. The link to my wall is

I will be working with my students to give them access to the wall.

Week 6 Reflection Blog Post: To Flip or Not to Flip

Is transferring lectures to video and having students view the videos outside of class so they can spend class time working on worksheets and writing papers the true nature of flipping a classroom?  Given the limited scope of the definition I would say no.

Flipping a class is an extremely intriguing concept and I found the assigned materials quite interesting.  Obviously, appealing factors include the increased time for differentiation, student’s active involvement (collaboration), and ability to reach higher orders of critical thinking.  In addition to the material provided in this lesson there is a plethora of information, resources, and support networks available to assist in implementing a flipped classroom.  I was quite impressed with Mrs. Garcia’s 7th grade Pre Algebra site.  Watching a few of her instructional videos it quickly became obvious that a student could easily review the video numerous times to secure concepts they may not readily grasp.  I believe this to be a good pedagogy for many of the reasons stated previously.    What I like most is the ability to provide instant feedback and the avoidance of homework frustration.  Additionally, this construct will allow time to revisit concepts for specific students or groups as required.  I also believe this to be an effective approach to teaching and learning as it allows more time for interactive activities where the students can “do” rather than sitting in a receive mode.

I spent some time thinking about how this could be implemented into my current 3rd grade classroom.  I conducted a web search to locate other 3rd grades classes that have been successfully flipped and stumble onto some videos worth sharing.  The video link below is a You Tube video presented by a teacher who has been teaching math 8th grade for the past 5 years.  She flipped two years ago.  She does an awesome job of describing how she benefits from extensive differentiation time. If you are interest the link is provided below.

At the end of her video it directs you to

This site is particularly interesting as it discusses flipping a classroom with a focus on Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Dr. Lodge McCammon show a grid that he refers to as the  FIZZ professional development framework.  The grid shows Bloom’s taxonomy on the vertical axis beginning with the lower order thinking skills increasing to the higher order thinking skills.  Above creating, they add publishing as and additional higher order thinking skill.  Along the horizontal axis they indicate learning styles.  The goal is to develop your video lessons incorporating as many learning styles as possible while also addressing the elements of Bloom’s taxonomy.  I see this as a tool that would be extremely valuable in developing effective videos.

How can this approach be implemented effectively in my classroom?  Although I am a big fan we have some obstacles to overcome.  First of all, the third grade team at King George Elementary school is structured where each teacher teaches multiple subjects. Approximately 5% to 10% of my current students do not have a computer at home.  As noted by Katie Gimbar in the video above, she has students without electronic media replay capability in her classroom and has devised a workaround.  Her solution is to have them use school computers at lunch or other opportune times during the day.  Worst case, they can do it at the beginning of the session along with anyone else who did not review the lesson.  She knows who did not do the video lesson because she requires them to take some notes and write a few example problems.  She checks the notes prior to beginning the planned activities.  Using Katie’s proven strategy I believe I could overcome this hurdle.  Another very interesting point she makes in her Penn State session is that for the video to have the full effect it must be produced by the classroom teacher.  Some of her 8th fellow math teachers tried using her videos but the success was marginal.  In the video Katie discusses the teacher, student, parent, connection to her videos and the difficulty connecting to something like a Kahn video that has voice only.  If you have time these videos are worth watching.  I believe flipping is a very proactive approach and I would like to implement it in one of my subjects and if successful flip additional classes.

McCammon, L. Life is too short. Stop repeating yourself. Flip your classroom!.  Retrieved from

Gimbar, K.  Katie Gimbar’s Flipped Classroom – Penn State Skype Session. .  Retrieved from

Gimbar, K.  Why I flipped my classroom. .  Retrieved from

Week 5 Reflection Blog Post: Creating a Video

This past week I spent a great deal of time updating my professional website and can begin to see it all coming together.  I still have quite a bit of work to do on consolidating and aligning the data flow but the six modules making up the personal learning network will enhance my ability to effectively network.  Most of these tools are new to me so I think it may be taking longer than normal to get them up and running but as I said earlier I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

For my music video I decided to create a math lesson for my 3rd grade class focused on weight measurements.  Interestingly, I spent more time laying out the structure of the video than I did producing it.  I was quite pleased with the end result given this was my first video production.  I am planning to try it out on my class within the next week or so and I will let you know how it goes.  I was very concerned with the visual content and the timing.  I wanted the video to be quick enough that the students would not wonder but slow enough to allow them to read the entire screen.  For that reason, I minimize the words per page and adjusted the timing accordingly.  What I liked was the ease of production as Animoto was more intuitive than I was expecting.  I think the more you work with this video technology the more efficient and creative you will become.  The fact the video is rather short and intended to stimulate the class makes it easy to apply across all the classes I teach.  I believe using this technology at the beginning of a lesson will be an attention grabber and get the students ready to go.


Feb 10, 2013 - Instructional Technologies    Comments Off on Information Literacy and Creativity

Information Literacy and Creativity

The scratch effort was quite interesting.  Not having a programming background I spent some time researching scratch and reviewing numerous examples.  When looking at the code of some of the programs it became obvious I need to search out simple programs that would be somewhat easier to follow.  I actually found a scratch program that walked you through the steps of elementary scratch programming.  My biggest challenge was establishing an understanding of the flow and relationship between the available programming tools.  I decided to focus on the requirements of creating something involving images, sound and animation with two sprites and 10 lines of code each.  I must admit, I was more focused on learning the tool than I was with the outcome of my first effort.  Even with limiting my focus to the basic requirements, I found this task to take much, much, longer than expected.  I believe it is mostly due to dealing with it for the first time.  The more you use it the easier it will become and you will quickly be able to code more complex programs.  My take away with this tool would be that although I found it difficult, I believe our students today would find it quite intuitive.  I would like to expose my third grade class to this program to see how far they could go with developing a simple program.  Once these two classes are over, I would like to develop a simple code for my students and let them explore modifications.

In addition to the scratch program I found this week to present some very useful tools relative to the personal learning network.  I spent quite a bit of time getting up to speed on reader and establishing some rather nice feeds.  I was discussing reader with my husband, who is an engineer and considers himself tech savvy, but low and behold he was unaware of reader.  After I enlightened, him he quickly asked if it could import search results from something like Craigslist.  We took a quick scan on the web and found you can RSS the Craigslist searches right into your reader page.

INDT 501- Copyrights



Week 3 Reflection Blog Post – Copyright

capital at night

Capital at  Night

Stratton, Jeanne. 20110703_4164_edited-1.jpg. July 2011. Pics4Learning. 1 Feb 2013

After reviewing the multiple sites, I favored the pics4learning as it was quite easy to navigate and appeared to have good search capabilities.  I decided to look for a famous building in Washington DC so I started out by using the regular search with the key words “Washington DC building” and the listing was quite extensive showing multiple famous buildings.  I then decided I wanted to specifically search for the capital building and did so using the advanced search.  In the advance search I listed “Capital building” and “Washington DC”.  The advanced search returned numerous images of the capital building and I was quite taken by the capital building at night.

The image is free to use by students and teachers as outlined in the “image use” section of the pics4learning (2013) webpage provided below:

The Pics4Learning collection is intended to provide copyright friendly images for use by students and teachers in an educational setting. The original photographers of each image retain the copyright to these images and have graciously allowed their use in this collection. The images may not be sold as an image collection or partial image collection. Images in the Pics4Learning collection may be used by teachers and students in print, multimedia, and video productions. These could include, but are not limited to, school projects, contests, web pages, and fund raising activities for the express purpose of improving student educational opportunities.

As indicated above, Jeanne Stratton, the photographer, retained the copyrights to the image but has granted pics4learning permission to share the image with teachers and students on their website.

As a teacher I believe it is critical to ensure our student know and understand the requirements for using images found on the internet because it is something easily overlooked or not even considered by many of our digital natives.  Many students are under the impression that if it is on the web it is up for grabs. As teachers we can begin to expose the students by ensuring we incorporate proper citations in all of our classroom examples and exercises.  According to Coffman, citing sources is an effective way to model good internet behavior in your classroom (p. 78).  This assignment did spark my interest in copyright so I did a little side research to gain a better understanding.  According to Copyright (2013), copyrights are automatic and do not require the author to file special paperwork although registration is required to enforce the rights.   Once something is created the author has immediate copyrights.  As such, it would appear that if an image found on the web does not clearly indicate it can be used, that image falls under copyright protection and cannot be used.

Learning this information is especially important in elementary schools. Students need to know proper etiquette when using search engines.  As part of internet safety during the school year, our Instructional Technology Liaison provides a lesson in which each student participates in understanding the safety requirements as well as copyright laws when utilizing the internet. Also, each child must sign an Acceptable Use Policy form stating they will follow the school guidelines.


Coffman, T., (2013).  Using inquiry in the classroom.  Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield Education

Copyright, United States Copyright  Office, (2013).  Retrieved from

Pics4Learning, (2013).  Retrieved from


Week 2 Reflection Blog Post – 21st Century Skills vs Core Knowledge


What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st-century skills’?

The article does a nice job of introducing the position of the two sides when it comes to what should be taught and how it should be taught.  While P21 is a progressive move it does have some critics.  Most notable, according to Toppo (2009), E. D. Hirsch Jr., who believes P21 is an  ineffective use of school time and adversely affects disadvantaged students.  It could be Mr. Hirsch is viewing this as a one or the other scenario but it appears that core knowledge could and should be retained as a critical component of P21.  From my review of P21 it provides tools and processes to influence technology to expand core knowledge learning by instilling critical thinking & problem solving, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation. Reading this article before researching core knowledge and 21st century skills left me thinking we had to make a choice to support one or the other.  In reality it appears the two camps could benefit by using a critical collaboration skill.

Core Knowledge Foundation

The foundation motto of educational excellence and equality for all children is based on program developed using scientific logic, history, and research combined with the belief that knowledge builds on knowledge.  The balance between depth and breadth of knowledge are critical components of core knowledge.  Core knowledge attempts to define and outline precise content for every child, step-by-step and year-by-year.   According to Core Knowledge (2013), specific to reading, Mr. Hirsch believes students need to gain broad general knowledge so they are able to gain broad general proficiency in reading.  Trying to understand how effective this approach has been I reviewed the website “how do we know this works” page.  The published statistics were favorable as suspected.  Overall, I believe there is merit in this approach but I don’t think we can  ignore the need to provide our students with the required technology skill required in the 21st century.

How will Core Knowledge affect my teaching?

After reading this article, I take from this the concept of broad general knowledge enabling general proficiency in reading.  I have witnessed the influence of broad knowlege in my class,  but it was not something I was specifically paying attention to relative to improving reading skills.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Global competition and the decline of America’s academic rankings could be a motivating factor to implement Partnership for 21st Century strategies.  I agree it is critical to ensure students acquire cognitive and social skills in order to keep up with the rapidly changing world.  As outlined in P21 Common (2011), critical thinking & problem solving, collaboration, communication, and creativity & innovation are the 4 Cs that are needed to enhance the long standing 3 Rs.  The paradigm shift appears to be based on the rapid development of technology and how it has affected or changed what is required to be successful in college, life, and career in the 21st century (p. 4).  The old saying, the more things change the more they stay the same is appropriate to our assessment of educational strategies.  The course content remains somewhat unchanged but how the information is transferred and at what level the information is to be processed is changing.  Technology will continue to rapidly expand and therefore must be incorporated into our educational system at a very early age.

How will P21 affect my teaching?

To the extent possible I have been incorporating technology into my 3rd grade class.  P21 will prompt me to focus on the 4 Cs while implementing additional technologies.

21st Century Pedagogy

As I studied the website and the key features of 21st century pedagogy, I found it to be complex yet well structured.  Fluencies in technology, information, media, and even language is described as unconscious processing which indicates higher order thinking skills (HOTS) not consistently found in our current educational system today.  Having said that, as a third grade teacher I would need to modify the key features to an appropriate level and define expectations for the given age group.  The basic concept of knowledge acquisition, knowledge deepening, and knowledge creation is driven by the key features of the 21st century pedagogy features.   Implementing the 21st century pedagogy would require substantial changes to the current teaching methodologies and curriculum.  From a personal perspective I find this paradigm shift extremely exciting and look forward to the change.  According to Coffman (2013), the paradigm shift is one from solely directed instruction pedagogy to a thinking pedagogy.  The 21st century thinking pedagogy does not have one right answer but can be messy, just like real life (p. 39).

How will 21st Century Pedagogy affect my teaching?

The information provided by the 21st Century Pedagogy will allow me to focus on clearly establishing my higher order thinking skills (HOTS) across the subjects I teach.

Subject area important aspect.

I was very impressed with the WebQuest activity that accesses the internet as a primary resource as provided by Coffman (2013).  Chapter 1 of Using Inquiry in the Classroom explains how to apply WebQuests in a lesson on Explorers (p. 8).  I teach European Explorers in 3rd grade and would like to integrate something new and innovative for my students that involve the usage of critical  thinking skills.  The lesson incorporates various strategies that promote differentiation, collaborative learning, and problem solving. This lesson would allow for the students to explore so many concepts using a new and innovative learning style. In the past I have taught the lesson using multiple resources such as: websites, smart board, and CD’s to engage and motivate my students in identifying the European Explorers, but feel the lesson provided in the reading allows the students to develop a deeper understanding by gaining experience and developing expertise by sharing the knowledge they have discovered with their classmates.

Below is a link to one of our 3rd grade efforts on the useage of descriptive language.[/youtube



21st Century Pedagogy.  Retrieved from

Coffman, T., (2013).  Using inquiry in the classroom.  Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield Education

Core Knowledge. (2013)  Retrieved from

How Do We Know This Works?  (2004).  Retrieved from

P21 Common Core Toolkkit, (2011).  Retrieved from

Partnership for 21st Century Skills.  Retrieved from

Toppo, G. (2009, March 5). What to learn:’core knowledge’ or ‘21st-centry skills’? Retrieved from

Wolfolk, A.(2007). Educational Psychology. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Tag: EDCI 501

Jan 20, 2013 - Instructional Technologies    Comments Off on Technology Integration Matrix

Technology Integration Matrix

1.  I was extremely impressed with the 5th grade math goal-directed transformation video.  It was the one where the teacher started out recording his kids talking through the steps of doing a math problem involving decimals.  When the project started it was not goal-directed nor was it transformations.  What happened was the kids began to write scripts with the step by step instructions and after hearing themselves they made revisions until they became the expert (teacher).  The teacher edited the audio to a cd and then imported the audio and keynote slides into garage band.  Garage band 3 timed the slides and audio and produced an iTunes pod cast and an IWeb so the kids could access it from their iPods or the web.

This experience appears to illustrate extensive and higher order use of tools to plan and monitor as well as including a wide variety of technology which is consistent with the technology integration matrix goal-directed transformation.

Relative to the text readings it appears this exercise would be appealing to various learning styles by using methods of interacting, absorbing, and processing stimuli.  From an educational psychology perspective it provides a progressive educational setting.  From an overall learning perspective the students were exposed to a variety of new knowledge, behaviors, and skills in this assignment.

This is an example of a teacher who was willing to go the extra mile to incorporate numerous aspects of technology to foster learning.

The social studies collaborative infusion video using the internet and photo-booth had me raising my eyebrow just a bit.  I found the exercise to be a useful demonstration of using technology in a social studies environment but had a few issues with implementation.  In the video it appears the number of computers utilized for this exercise was extremely limited and only a few students were actively engaged.  The students operating the computer were gaining experience but those observing will not receive the same benefit.   While several groups of three were utilizing the laptops, other students were lying on the floor doing a separate assignment.  Our school is limited on certain resources; however, when it comes to technology we do have computers on wheels that can provide a computer for each child to be an active participant.

2.  One of my favorite technology integration tools to use in class is the interactive white board.  Typically, depending on the lesson it would fall into the collaborative-adaptation or the constructive-adaptation.  Unfortunately, the white board is a shared resource; if it were dedicated to my room I believe we could achieve higher levels of technology integration.

The white board allows cognitive apprenticeship where I am the master and the students are the apprentices.  For many of our activities I lead off and introduce the lesson and then the students engage in independent and/or collaborative learning by having responsibilities at the white board individually or in groups.  At this point I become a facilitator.  In a collaborative setting, the students are exposed to problem-based learning.  In addition to working as a team to solve the problem they reflect on their experience.  This exercise fosters communication, teamwork, problem solving, leadership, and self-directed learning. Also, this exercise allows for a quick formative assessment of the lesson being taught.