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January 12, 2011


The first standard I would like to strengthen is NET-S 3(c) “communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats.”  I believe this would be a good standard to improve upon first because I could use some of the tools that are already at my disposal. 

My goal would be to facilitate information to parents and students using a variety of technology.  My first goal would be to create an e-mail list with all my parents e-mail addresses.  I would then proceed to send out a weekly “newsletter” of everything that is going on in the classroom.  (Upcoming assignments, test, homework, etc…)  I would also direct the parents to my webpage, which is my second goal…

My second goal would be to start using and maintaining my webpage on the school website.  On this page is a calendar I could update so parents can stay up to speed on due dates and upcoming assignments.  I can also upload to the page previous assignments.  So when students are absent, they can simply go to the page and print off a copy or look at the assignment. 

There are some immediate actions I must take to be successful.  First, I must take the time to create a distribution list of all my parents e-mail addresses.  The only way I know how to do this is to manually go through and type in each one.  Once I am finished with that, I need to take the time to write the news letter each week.  My plan of action for that is to set aside 20 minutes every Monday morning to type up and send out the news letter.  After typing my newsletter, I will spend the rest of Monday’s planning updating, uploading and working on my webpage. 

The way to monitor my action is to keep a simple checklist.  “Did I send out the newsletter?”  “Did I update my page?”   These are two simple questions I can ask myself every Monday before I leave school.  If the answer is no to either one, I simply sit down and take care of it.  I will evaluate my goals by assessing the amount of feedback or interaction I have with both the parent and the student.  Am I making fewer copies?  Are students turning in their assignments on time?  Fewer questions asking for make-up work?  Improved test scores because parents are seeing, from the newsletter, their student has a test Friday and has them studying a little every night.  These are some of the questions I will assess and reflect upon when evaluating the strengthening of standard NETS-T 3(c). 

The second standard I would like to strengthen is NETS•S 2 (a) design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.  This standard deals with the direct implementation of technology into content learning.

My goal is to effectively use technology tools to expand content learning.  My first plan of action is to become confident with all the programs that are available.  If I strengthen my knowledge on technology I will be better suited to integrate it appropriately and not just use it for the sake of using it.  Through my Walden classes and my own exploration, I will develop a level of expertise in programs or technologies such as blogs, wikis, audacity, concept mapping tools, skype, voicethreads, etc…

After I have developed sufficient understanding of a technology tool I will implement it into my content mastery.  I need to be mindful about just using it to use it.  I need to make sure that the technology is expanding or strengthening the content mastery.  Through the implementation of the technology I can monitor and asses the success of it.  As with all lessons, I will evaluate and adjust after the lesson to ensure my goals are being met.



August 21, 2010

My personal theory of learning has stayed pretty much the same.  I still believe that the Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences is by far the most influential in my philosophy.  However, cognitivism and constructivism also play a major role.  Even though it is said to be “outdated” and a thing of the past…  Behaviorism is and will always be a part of my learning strategy.  (Mostly for classroom management)

Two immediate adjustments I plan to make with my instruction and technology is to use technology as a learning tool and not as an instructional tool more and use computer-based programs for immediate feedback which the research of Dr. Debra Pickering says is vital for effective classroom instruction (Laureate 2009).

I thought I was using technology in my classroom effectively because I was showing students power points or using websites like  This was instructional technology.  I was just giving the students the information in a different way.  No real substance.  I need to use technology in my classroom in way that the students are learning “because” of the technology, not “by” the technology.

Some tools I plan to use immediately are voice threads and blogging.  I am teaching one segment of social studies tis year and I see great use for these two tools specifically.  elections are in November and I have to teach the branches of government.  The television is going to be loaded with commercial with campaign ads.  This will work well with the “dual coding” theory of Paivo.  For example, they will have the picture of Governor on the television and we will discuss it in class.  We will set-up mock campaigns in the school (class).  The two technology tools will come in because I will have the students campaign for someone via the blogs.  They will do research and make decisions on who they support.  The voice threads will be used for students to ask the candidates questions…  The candidate will respond back and other students can  to te questions as well. 

Another way I plan on using the voice thread tool is by posting or creating a question that the students will have to research and provide their answer via the thread.  For instance, “What was the main cause of the civil war?”  

My long-term goals ae very simple…  I strongly believe that technology is the key to students’ success.  They live and thrive on it.  No one can learn better than when they are engaged in the process.  My long-term goal is to become an expert and not a novice about the uses of technology.  I have to keep practicing the and using the tools so I can be more confident in implementing them in the content.  I will do tis by creating blogs, creating voicethreads, keeping up to date on new technology available and try to use (experiment) with it in the classroom.

July 29, 2010  My voice thread about sites being blocked at school…..  How can I circumvent this problem??

Connectivism and Social learning in Practice

July 28, 2010

Dr. Orey stated that Social learning is when the students are actively engaged in constructing artifacts and conversing with others (Dr. Orey 2009).  Web quest are one of the instructional strategies discussed in this week’s resources (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K.  p. 145).  Web quest are an excellent tool that reflects the very definition of th social learning theory.  “A well designed WebQuest task s practical, engaging, and elicits student thinking (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K.  p. 146).  With a WebQuest, students have to do a specific project or solve a problem.  They will be actively discussing and creating whatever the WebQuest is asking for…

Communication software obviously correlates with the social learning theory.  What are we doing right now?  You are reading my thoughts about the correlation of strategies an the social learning theory.  You will respond with your input.  This is being done via blogging (a communication tool).  We are discussing issues and learning together.  Even more, this particular type of technology allows to communicate regardless of time and geography.  I want to ask a favor of each of you.  If you respond to my post, please tell me your location and time of correspondence.  {I am in Henry County Georgia~~20 minutes south of Atlanta.} 

Another great piece of technology would be the use of KeyPals.  I really think this would be great collaboration project for science and/or social studies fair projects…  I really think the students would get into the project when they find out there partner is half-way around the world!!!  

Wikis are very similar to the blogging tool, but I am very interested in this weeks tool, voice threads.  I truly believe the students would love this active learning tool and it could prove very useful in certain content areas such as debating causes of the civil war….  or demonstrating Newton’s Laws of Motion…  How about debating a Law…??  Could be very intriguing. 

All of these tools are excellent and can be used to support social learning.  The technology aspect of it makes it intriguing for today’s student and it also takes away geographical and time constraints for a truly universal approach to learning.      

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

Constructionism in Practice

July 22, 2010

Generating and testing hypothesis is a great strategy in getting the students engaged and active in learning.  This strategy also correlates well with the learning theory of constructionism. 

Piaget is known as the “Father of Constructionism.”  constructionism is a theory of learning that states people when they build an external artifact or something they can share with others (Laureate 2008).  There are four main mechanisms for learning that Piaget detailed.  They are assimilation, accommodation, equilibration and it stored into what Piaget called schema. 

When students have to create a hypothesis, they are trying to fit the information into their current understanding or view (schema) of the concept.  This is what Piaget called assimilation.  “From what I know and believe of the material I believe this will happen.”  Many times when testing the hypothesis, the students thoughts or predictions are incorrect.  This puts the student unbalanced and uneasy about their current knowledge.  Humans look for balance and strive for it (Laureate 2008).  Piaget called this balance equilibration.  With their new information, the students will either assimilate the new material or accommodate it into a whole ew understanding (or schema) in their comprehension of the matter.  “When students generate and test hypotheses, they are engaging i complex mental processes, applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K.  p. 202)

Technology can play a vital role in generating and testing hypothesis because of new developments in programs and software (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K.  p. 203).  Students today can spend more time interpreting data instead of gathering the data.  The theory of constructionism states that an artifact needs to be created for the student to learn best.  By using spread sheet software and data collection tools, the students can crate tables to not only show their fellow classmates, but also use the tables to study, make inferences, predictions and come up with solutions for the task at hand.  To relate it to constructionism… the students can use the artifacts to get back to equilibration!!! 

Dave McDivitt, a high school history teacher, used web resources to teach a unit on WWII.  At the same time, he used old-time, or more traditional methods to teach the same material.  The students who used the web resources scored higher on test and were also much more engaged in the learning process (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K.  p. 214).  In the web resources, the students were having to accommodate and assimilate repeatedly to find equilibration on the subject and content. 

Constructionism wants the learner to be uncomfortable in the process of learning.  It also wants you (the learner) to create something to show off or display.  Technology can provide an avenue for this theory.  I can give to great examples of this in my personal experiences…  I can remember being so frustrated with his new program several years back and struggled with it mightily.  I never would get the concept and should give up on it.  However, I now use Power Point routinely in my class and the students love it when they are permitted to use it on an assignment. 

My other example is when we had to create a wiki page in a class not to long ago.  That was an interesting experience to sa the least.  I just kept thinking about my Power point experience knowing I would get the hang of it eventually.  I am still working on it…. :0)

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2008). Constructivist and Constructionist Learning Theory. Laureate Education, DVD. 

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

Cognitive Learing Theory and Useful Strategies

July 15, 2010

In week one’s application I stated my philosophy on how students learn is by behaviorism and multiple intelligences.  However, after reading this week’s resources and watching the video clips I realize I rely heavily on the Cognitive Learning theory and useful strategies that match up well.

Cognitive learning theory or Information processing Model (IPM) generally deals with gathering sensory input and collecting it into the short-term (or working) memory.  Through the process of making connections, the idea is to store it into long-term memory.  There are several instructional strategies that facilitate creating a stronger connection for the initial sensory input to be stored in long-term memory. 

We want our student’s to remember.  To remember, there must be strong connections to the information.  Unknowingly, I have tried to make the strong connections using some of the strategies in chapter 4, “Cues, Questions and Advanced Organizers.”  I am a strong believer in the multimedia.  I use all the time just to get the students another avenue, or connection, to get the information. 

Dr. Orey talked about forgetting information.  He said, “We don’t forget the information, we just forget the connection tat can bring us to the information (Laureate 2008).”  I strongly believe in this.  How many times have you been asked a question (let’s say trivia night) and it drives you crazy because you know the answer, but you it seems as if you can’t find it.  The answer is revealed -and you go, “Oh yeah!” Then rant off four more facts about the same question.  Your mind was able to find the connection.

I had to teach my students about endocytosis, excocytosis, and osmosis this year.  These three terms deal with things passing through a cell membrane.  Osmosis deals with strictly water moving through the membrane.  I told my kids that whenever they see the word water and cell membrane in a question together, the word osmosis needs to pop up in their head. 

Now here is where the multimedia aspect comes into the lesson.  My students kept telling me about some movie called “Osmosis Jones.”  I was unaware of the movie, but apparently it is character, which is made out of water…..  I plan on showing parts of the movie next year to create another connection.  This one will be a strong connection because it is an “episodic memory from their childhood.  The movie Osmosis Jones~~made of water~~ cell membrane is the connection I hope to make using multimedia.

 Osmosis Jones~~water~~cell membrane is “network” connection inside the brain.  It can also be a concept map that students can create and use to get information into long-term memory.  Concept mapping tools replicate the “network” model of memory (Dr. Orey 2008).  They help students learn or organize information.  Who out there was taught when writing a 5-paragraph essay to “map” out your paper first.  You had the bubbles and lines going everywhere on your paper, but it made sense.  You had your main ideas down and organized.  I believe concept mapping tools are vital for IPM.

I have used concept maps every year.  They really work well.  I do both teacher constructed and let the students create their own also.  When the students create their own, I just give them a list of key terms and they generate the connections.  I feel this is good because they are synthesizing the information, but unfortunately, they synthesize wrong.  In my experience, teacher created concept maps work best because you are giving the students what I call the “Nuts and Bolts” of the content.

I only mentioned concept maps and multimedia relating to IPM, but in reality there are many strategies that work with the IPM.  I am going to stop here, but I want to share a thought or insight.  Dr. Orey talked about the short-term memory in the rule of 7 +/- 2 things…  Is this the reason for the lengths of phone numbers and social security numbers?????  Just a thought.

Instructional Strategies and Behaviorism

July 7, 2010

Behaviorism is based on what B.F Skinner called operant conditioning.  reinforcement of the desireable behaviors and punishment of the undesirable behaviors (Laureate 2008).  The goal of behaviorism is to use extrinsic motivators to get the desired behavior or output.  Overtime, the extrinsic motivators are phased out in the hopes of creating intrinsic motivators. 

The spreadsheet software mentioned (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. p.156) is a prime example.  Students are quick to blame outside (extrinsic) forces for their success or failure.  Having the students create and use an Effort/ Achievement sheet shows the student that it is in fact an intrinsic (effort) that has the greatest effect on their grades.  “Students need consistent and systematic exposure like this one to really grasp the impact effort has on achievement (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K.  p.158).”

Multimedia is a resource that students can use “to shape their individual learning style and increase their level of understanding to mastery (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. p.192).”  How did we learn to type???  How did we learn our math factors???  We learned these through multimedia programs. 

“Web Resources allow students to practice concepts and skills repeatedly from their house, during a study period, or even as an anchor activity in a differentiated classroom (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. p.195)”  Educational computer games provide immediate feedback and allow for students to monitor (an intrinsic motivator) progress. 

Web resources, multimedia, spreadsheet software are resources that can be used to achieve a desireable outcome.  Through monitoring and practice, students who need extrinsic motivation can slowly create an intrinsic motivation by using these type of resources.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2008). Behaviorist learning theory. Laureate Education, DVD. 

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