Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reflecting on My Game Plan

In the beginning of this course, I set a GAME plan to strengthen my skills in integrating technology in the classroom. As an educator it is my responsibility to my profession and to my students to stay up to date on the technologies out there and provide my students with learning experiences that allow them to use those technologies.

I set some goals I wanted to accomplish by the e nd of this class. They were to improve in the following areas of the NETS-T indicators: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and Model Digital-Age Work and Learning. In addition to setting goals, I implemented an action plan. My  plan of action was to design and develop digital-age learning experience and assessments by:
  • Continue with my current Master’s Program at Walden University, and take information gained from the resources, my professor, and my colleagues back to my school and staff to begin implementation of some of the technologies introduced and taught in the program
  • Create a consistent, calendar giving students computer time weekly to use different technologies to create different types of projects used for assessment and to show mastery of concepts taught
  • Commit to creating a minimum of one lesson focused on students using technology as a learning tool, including but not limited to podcasts, blogs, glogs, wikis, educational social networking (edmodo)
Throughout this course, I have learned a great deal of how to integrate technology within the classroom. I realize that students respond better when they are true participants of their education. I know that I must incorporate technology into my instructional practice, but this is easier said than done. The only way for me to be successful with integrating technology within the classroom is to practice it in the classroom. Problem-based learning and online collaboration will play a vital throughout my instruction and class. Problem-based learning will require me to put more thought into my lessons and online collaboration will keep me on my toes as far as communicating with my students.

This course was extremely vital in my learning process, considering it forced me to develop lessons including a problem-based learning unit, incorporating digital media, social networking, and digital storytelling.  Even though I use for social networking in my class, and have students create digital posters on, I have never incorporated digital storytelling in any lesson...nor have I completed a unit study incorporating several different types of technologies in one unit.  The week 5-7 culminating project was very thought provoking and an experience for me, as well as I know it is a unit my students were very engaged in and excited about.

Learning from  my colleagues all of the ideas discussed on our discussion boards and from feedback from Professor Kirk, was imperative for success in the course.  I find this part of the Walden courses most beneficial to my own reflection of teaching, and what I can and will take back to my colleagues on my grade-level and in my school.
Although I use a great deal of technology in my classroom for both teaching and student learning, I have not completed my GAME plan for this course. It is my expectation to have it fully implemented by the end of the school year.  Once state assessments have been completed mid-March, I will be able to take more time with the implementation and begin incorporating the piece of including parents in the process.  I will continue to do everything in my power to stay up-to-date and continue learning about the new technologies, and exploring as many as possible over time.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monitoring My Game Plan

I have made progress with implementing my Game Plan.  My action plan consist of many things including but not limited to creating a classroom webiste, planning weekly lessons with technology incorporated in them, and involving my parents more,

I am making some progress towards full implementation, but find that time is the biggest constraint I have.  We are currently pushing our indicators for the standardized state testing that is coming in March, and with my school being in it's fourth year of not making the AYP target, we are also in the process of beginning Alternative Governance from our district.  Therefore, the actual implementation of the GAME plan is sitting on the backburner pretty much for the next few weeks.

There is significant process I have made with implementing more technology in my weekly lessons.  The resources found in this course are extremely helpful with this, and I look forward to the digital storybook lesson that is coming up. 

My action plan for my GAME plan is still a work in progress, however, I know that there are some things I will have to tweak to make it work for my classroom.

I will continue to move forward development and implementation of my GAME plan.I welcome any and all suggestions. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Carrying Out My GAME Plan

To prepare for the development of my GAME plan, there are different resources needed.  I will also need to obtain additional information, and there are some steps I have begun to implement already.

One of the steps I would like to take, which would be a valuable resource for my students and parents is a classroom webpage.  I would like to do this so I have open communication with my students and  parents, allowing them to become familiar with Web 2.0 tools.  This would be very beneficial for me because currently I have a twitter account that I use to connect with my students about homework, projects, etc…  However, I feel that the classroom webpage would be more effective for students and parents and would be a good demonstration of my skill level and ability to use digital tools..

About a year ago I really began designing lessons that allowed my students to use technology as learning tools and to demonstrate their understanding  and mastery of certain skills and indicators they were taught.  I began with for my students to create digital media posters, and then also use as a social networking site for education, and set the assignments up similar to the way our courses are setup for Walden.  My students are very engaged with any of these assignments and projects, but I know there is so much out there to offer them.  I would really like to start designing lessons with digital storyboards and give them experience with voicethreads and wikipages.  What I really need to do as a teacher, is practice and play around with these tools more to get comfortable with them so that my students can be successful with these tools as well.

The biggest resource I need for my GAME plan to come into full action is time.  I find that my time or lack of time, holds me back from doing so much.  There are so many wonderful tools out there, but finding the time to become knowledgeable to the point of using it successfully in the classroom is a big drawback for me.  One of the things I plan to do to help with this, is dig deep into the technology tools I want to use over the summer so that I can plan ahead for next school year..  

I love using any Web 2.0 tools in the classroom with my students.  To see my students so engaged in their learning process, is one of the most exciting feelings in my experience.  I am taking baby steps, but continue to work towards full implementation of my GAME plan.  It is a process, and I am confident in the steps I continue to make towards being an innovative educator and preparing my students for their futures.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Developing My GAME Plan

As an educator, I know it is my responsibility to prepare my students for the work force they will be entering when they graduate from high school and/or college.  I was a career changer, so I also know the importance of being able to use technology, be creative in dealing with problems and situations, and being able to use higher order thinking skills to make sure things are done in a proficient manner for a business to be successful and run smoothly with its’ day to day operations.  I plan to enable my students to be prepared by giving them the tools they need to become proficient with 21st Century Skills.  The NETS-T for teachers gives a very clear indication of what I need to do as a teacher to prepare my students.  I would like to improve standard 2; design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessment.  I would also like to improve standard 3; model digital-age work and learning.

 GOAL: My goal is to improve in the following two areas from the NETS-T indicators:
  1. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments which state that teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitude identifies in the NETS-S.
  2. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning which state that teachers exhibit knowledge, skills and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. 
I.  My plan of action for standard 2 – design and develop digital-age learning experience and assessments is to:
  • Continue with my current Master’s Program at Walden University, and take information gained from the resources, my professor, and my colleagues back to my school and staff to begin implementation of some of the technologies introduced and taught in the program
  • Create a consistent, calendar giving students computer time weekly to use different technologies to create different types of projects used for assessment and to show mastery of concepts taught
  • Commit to creating a minimum of one lesson focused on students using technology as a learning tool, including but not limited to podcasts, blogs, glogs, wikis, educational social networking (edmodo)
II.  My plan of action to model digital-age work and learning is to:
  • Incorporate Web 2.0 technology into my lessons as much as possible, encouraging students to go to the library outside of school to use computers for weekly projects on, and    
  • Communicate with parents on technologies being used and make an effort to educate them on how to use digital tools used inside and outside of the classroom
I will monitor my plan by analyzing the work my students are completing with the technologies I use, to see what worked and what doesn’t, what gives the best evidence of mastery of standards taught..
I will keep and monitor data on students progress from use of technology.  I will conference with students to see how technology has improved their learning experience, and inquire about their likes and dislikes.  
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Final Reflection on Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology

When I began the Masters of Integrating Technology in the Classroom
Graduate program in January, I knew I would gain irreplaceable knowledge to take back to my classroom and improve the awareness at my school for the importance of the use of technology to educate our students.  My first course in the degree program was so insightful and exciting because it gave me an introduction to technology tools I never imagined using in the classroom, wikis, blogs, and podcasts. This course has helped me deepen my knowledge of technology skills, but also how to bridge the use of technology learning and instructional tools with learning theories and my instructional planning. Throughout this course, I obtained valuable information through all of the resources; the textbooks, journal articles, video programs, discussion boards, and my professor.  I can use the information gained from this course and effectively incorporate technology in my lesson plans, using technology to engage my students’ and teach them the concepts, as well as, allow them to gain experience using the 21st century technology skills they need.  By gaining a better understanding of all of the learning theories and learning strategies that support them, I will provide my students with confidence and experience in the area of technology, and be able to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all of my students.
During the first week of this course I was required to complete an application discussing my own personal views on my own personal learning theory.  At that time, I stated that I construct my lessons and my views demonstrate that I support a combination of the learning theories for my students to get the best instruction possible and produce the best outcomes.  I gained a better understanding of how the learning theories work with the integration of technology as learning and/or instructional tools in the lesson.  I still believe that a combination of the cognitive, social, and behaviorist theories, incorporated together are best practices for classroom instruction and management.  However, I have definitely gained a deeper understanding of how they work in connection with learning strategies, and technology tools to enhance and engage student learning.  The learning theories promote using technology as a tool to help our students learn. Wolfe states that the brain is visual and remembers what it sees (Laureate, 2010). If we provide learning experiences in which students use all of their senses (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) simultaneously, the brain will process and retain the information (Laureate Education, 2010).

By using technology in our classroom, we give our students the opportunity to view content we teach them, so that they will be able to remember it.  Also, before this course I had heard and believed strongly in the multiple intelligences of students to differentiate instruction, this course strengthened my beliefs int his area.  Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences based on brain research, recognizes 9 intelligences that all people carry to some degree (Orey, 2001). Teaching to the intelligences support the use of educational technology to enhance student learning in the classroom, however the importance for teachers to carefully select activities that not only teach to the intelligences, but also agree with the subject matter of the lesson or unit (Orey, 2001). He goes on to say that the multiple intelligences theory should enhance, not detract from what is being taught. I found the table in this selection extremely beneficial for teacher’s to help with planning toward the multiple intelligences because it gave great examples of how to plan for each of the intelligences. For example, teacher-centered lessons for visual/spatial learners would benefit from power points, cartoons, videos, smartboards, etc… and student-centered activities could include the same along with concept maps. Also, intrapersonal intelligences activities could include web blogging, and creating student portfolios (on the internet or not).  Effective instruction relies on the knowledge of learning theories since the theories tell us how learning might occur. (Lever-Duffy & McDonald 2008). This is required for teachers to plan effectively.

The immediate adjustments I have made due to this course are using technology tools more for learning tools rather than just instructional tools.  Orey explans that when a teacher uses technology to present information, this is an example of an instructional technology tool and when students are actively using technology in a "hands on" way, to learn or expand their knowledge on concepts being taught, this is when technology is being used as a learning tool.(Laureate Education, 2010).  Two technology tools I have begun to use as a result of this program are blogging through the social network site of, and creating digital multi-media posters through  These tools are engaging to the students and enhance their learning through cooperative learning and collaboration which supports the social learning theory.  My repertoire of technology skills has been expanded greatly due to the ideas and feedback from my colleagues and professor throughout the entirety of this course.

Two long term goals are to have my students use technology tools weekly as a learning tool inside and outside of the classroom, incorporating them into my lesson planning regularly, and to have students engage in more meaningful conversations and discussions using higher order thinking skills when working in small groups and pairs, and engaging in whole group discussions as well.  I plan to do this, by planning over the summer and revamping my lesson plans to incorporate the technology regularly with school work and homework and long term projects.  Also, I plan on scheduling two days or more a week to spend in the smart lab with my students to specifically work on technology projects or assignments.  I plan on modeling for students beginning on day one of the school year, and training them how to engage in meaningful discussion encouraging them to use higher order thinking skills, asking and answering “why” questions, more than they do now.

In conclusion, this has been a valuable course for me as an educator.  The information I have gained is priceless, and will prove to help enhance my professional career as an educator.  The textbook and journal articles provided information to help me in all areas of my profession.  Also the video programs provided valuable information as well. My classmates gave the most insightful and creative ideas to expand on what was taught in the resources, through intense communication on the discussion boards.  My professor provided me with feedback on my applications to help me broaden my thinking and responded to my discussion posts so that I could engage effectively in the conversation that was going on.   To sum up this course, it broadened my knowledge and ability to bridge learning theory, instruction and technology in the classroom.  I will continue to grow as an educator, and by using the methods and strategies taught in this course I have already become stronger as a teacher, and by taking what I learned from this course, I will become a leader in my school.  I just did a presentation this week for my principal and reading specialist on the use of in the classroom as a learning tool, and they are going to have me present to other classes in the school, as well as the area teamleaders.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program Number 1: Understanding the Brain [Webcast]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program Number One: Technology: Instructional Tool vs. Learning Tool [Webcast]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundations. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from on March 2, 2011. Section: Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

In week 3 of my graduate cource, EDUC 6711I-3, I learned valuable information on instructional strategies which supported Orey’s cognitive learning theory.  Two of the tools that I found very beneficial to allow my students to be engaged and to benefit them by having a visual tool to help them learn and retain information are concept mapping and virtual field trips.  Both of these are tools that lend to a students visual and auditory senses, and allows them to organize their information and transfer it from the short-term memory to long-term memory.
Concept mapping allows students to organize their thoughts, and make connections between what they know, and determine main ideas and supporting details.  They can be used as excellent tools for review of concepts also.
Virtual field trips allow student to visit places and times that they would not normally be able to.  Rather than reading about it, they can go on a trip and see for themselves places, and times in history like never before. 
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program Number One: Cognative Learning Theory [Webcast]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social Learning in the Classroom

Humans are social creatures.  From birth we begin learning from our social interactions with others.  As students enter our classroom, we need to allow them to continue with what they do best – learning through social interactions.  As teachers it is our responsibility to provide them with the knowledge they need to expand on what they already know, and begin to grasp new concepts and work together with classmates in order to continue the learning process.  Orey, 2010 explains how students who are working together constructively on projects or in small groups, they are engaged in conversations which help them learn (Laureate Education, Inc, 2010).
Our learning resources this week gave us valuable information on how technology can enhance student learning through collaboration and social learning.  This is supported biy (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007) who state “technology facilitates group collaboration, providing structure for group tasks, and allowing members of groups to communicate even if they are not working face to face”  They explain how the interaction during cooperative learning enhances what is being taught.
My students use blogs and wikis, as well as a social networking education site to complete assignments ( They also create posters online through  They can be assessed, by showing what they have learned and how they mastered the indicators they have been taught, they also have to provide feedback on each other’s work, and this makes them not only more engaged, but more responsible in the work they turn in, knowing that everyone can see it.  Social learning is a key component in my classroom, using these technology tools has not only made my students more engaged than I have ever seen before – it also has improved their test scores on the indicators they are taught.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010) Program Number 8: Social Learning Theories [Webcast]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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.