Thursday, March 29, 2012

EDLD 5364 - Course Reflection

When previewing this class I was overwhelmed by the amount of group work required and understanding where the group project was supposed to end.  The final product was not clear to me and frustrating.  I was finally able to relax and let each week’s assignment be the building tool it was intended to be.  Working as a group allowed us to work collaboratively to create and produce a quality unit on teaching technology.  My most significant frustration and stress with group collaboration was some members were procrastinators and I am not.  Several members preferred to wait and do all of their work on the weekend when the assignment was due on Sunday.  I know many procrastinators and they do create their best work “under the gun”.  Although I am not a procrastinator I will readily admit that those few in my group did come through with flying colors showing creative and quality work. 
This class took lesson planning to an entire new and higher level than I was familiar with.  Universal Design for Learning was a new concept for me.  Rose & Meyer (2002, Chapter 6) argued, “We can accommodate diverse learners by using a repertoire of teaching strategies suited to each of the brain networks.  My knowledge of UDL was broadened along with learning to focus activities on brain networks. The UDL lesson that I created can be found using the following link: The CAST eBook Builder was also a new tool introduced to me in this class. My CAST eBook Builder project can be found at  This is an invaluable and simple to use tool that allows an educator to meet the needs of many diverse learning groups. 
As a library media specialist, I collaborate with many teachers of different grade levels and my focus is always curriculum first and technology second.  Pitler (2007, p. 217) states “Using technology for technology’s sake isn’t a good application of instructional time or funding and it is unlikely to improve student achievement.”  The UDL lesson design and eBook Builder works with that concept of curriculum first, technology second while continuing to meet the needs of every learner.  Using our collaborative group’s Google site allowed me to share some of the ideas into projects for professional development that I have offered to teachers on my campuses.  Pulling in and using previous knowledge with new tools learned in this class made my personal experience very positive.  I was able to take all tools and expand them to include activities that would meet the needs of more diverse learners. 
The most important goal while completing this class was to create a cohesive group project that addressed multiple technology tools learned in this class along with personal individual experiences.  I followed the rubrics and used those to try to keep my group members on task using our Google document.  I do believe my team worked well together and we all stayed professional.  We were able to get our individual ideas to “gel” together for a common goal.  Our biggest obstacle was in Week 3 as many of us were on spring break and were traveling.  However with dedication and hard work were able to get our work completed.  This online collaboration gave me the unique experience to share first-hand knowledge of using Google documents and Google sites with both students and teachers. 
This class challenged me to move past my comfort zone of available technology tools that I was familiar with.  Sprague & Dede (1999, p. 7) stated, “Teachers sometimes are concerned about such a shift; they worry about losing control, not fulfilling their role or being seen as less effective by parents, principals, or supervisors.”  I plan to continue my quest to help teachers feel comfortable giving over some of the control to the power to technology and understand students understand technology and we need to guide the curriculum since that is our specialty.  I look forward to taking what I have learned in this class and share it with my educational colleagues. 

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Department.
Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web Site. Chapter 6. Retrieved on October, 5, 2009, from
Sprague, D. & Dede, C. (1999). If I teach this way, am I doing my job: constructivism in the classroom. Leading and Learning, 27(1). Retrieved January 28, 2011 from the International Society for Technology in Education at

EDLD 5364 - Week 5 Reflection

Several of the readings and videos emphasized the concept of using games in education.  “Video games put you into worlds where you have to solve problems. A video game is just an assessment” (Gee, 2009).  I am an experienced 20 plus year educator, however I have always embraced gaming.  I have recognized the problem solving skills, reading comprehension, vocabulary building adeptness that comes from games.   The thought that many of my digital immigrant colleagues cannot embrace this concept is frustrating.  Education is power and that is how I continue to encourage all technology with reluctant educators and even parents.  Many parents I feel think that education wasn’t “fun” for them so why should it be “fun” now.  A huge impact on educators comes from the new generation of teachers who are digital natives.  These educators “get it”.  It is through their technology integration and successful student achievement that will encourage and have a great impact on older digital immigrant teachers who have not fully embraced gaming and other technology integration.
Pitler (2007) discussed the connection between student effort and their academic success.  This text made me see the importance of helping students realize how to apply more effort to their work.  Pitler (2007) readings included an Effort Rubric and other ways to help students recognize how to improve their effort in academics.  This impressed me with that we should be giving them examples of how to do this and allow them to be engaged and a part of their progress in improving their effort.  The formats are visual and allow students personal ownership in the academic success. 
Today’s students have a wide open door of technology opportunities.  Technology makes it easier for students to show what they have learned along with allowing teachers to set expectations and grade these students product with flexibility and ease.  It is vital that this type of authentic assessment be given immediate feedback by the teacher to the student.  There are a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools out there and many are free.  It is our responsibility as educational technology leaders to continue learning and allowing our students to share their technology tools with us as we guide them in the educational process preparing them for the workforce of the 21st century. Big thinkers: James Paul Gee in grading with games. Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2009 from
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 156-157.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

EDLD 5364 Week 4 Reflection

There were many thought provoking quotes this week in our readings and videos. “We have not seen a real difference in the ways technology has been integrated into the classroom” (Solomon, 2007) is a quote that has gnawed at me all week.  I feel like many teachers want to use technology but simply are not well trained.  My district for many years has offered “band-aid” trainings.  Only those teachers who have a burning desire to integrate technology pursue the practice and skill to become comfortable using new technology with their students and the learning process.  I am an advocate of students teaching / sharing technology skills with both the teachers and students.  As an educational leader if I try to communicate with teachers that it is acceptable to use technology they have not “mastered” and allow students to step in and help / guide us and other students then technology integration will be more successful in all classrooms.
A classroom using collaborative learning is exciting.  In Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat (2005), we are reminded of the exorbitant possibilities when communicating locally as well as globally with the use of technology.  There were abundant suggestions of ways to teach using collaboration methods that were described in Pitler’s book. There was mention of using videos and presentations as an effective group activity.  Other techniques discussed by Pitler (2007) include “web resources, Ask an Expert, Keypals, ePals, Web Quests, collaborative organizing, web enabled simulation games and communication software.”  Website creation can be used in various ways.  Examples that were explained included a “5 phase plan to build websites for cities to promote tourism by including a proposal and presentation (Pitler, 2007).  Students can also work with “students in a class around the world” on “projects, calendars, blogs, wikis and with collaborative organizing” (Pitler, 2007).

Incorporating projects into curriculum was a topic in the videos this week.  “Students are the center of the learning environment and they use the knowledge as the need it,” is annotated in Project Learning: an overview video (Eutopia, 2009).  Students do feel empowered when given a choice and work harder to produce quality work.  The excitement show by the students was apparent on the videos.  I found it interesting when students used “project based learning to mimic what scientist do” (Eutopia, 2009).  This hands on learning reminded me of my districts Global High where students utilize hands on learning and technology to learn engineering skills. 

As an educator, I am excited about collaborative classrooms that fully integrate technology.  Our public schools are now in financial struggles and cost prohibits many things.  I agree with Pitler (2007) that teachers must think about curriculum first before thinking about technology.  Technology must be based on what to teach prior to the technology tools that can be used in teaching the curriculum. 

Solomon, G. & Schrum, L (2007). Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 99-116.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 139-154. (nd). Project Learning: An Overview. Retrieved on October 5, 2009 from

Thursday, March 15, 2012

EDLD 5364 UDL Book Builder

A Divided Nation

This was a very enjoyable assignment. This was a technology tool that I will actually use and share with teachers. This format allowed me to use a variety of representations including pictures, sound and narration. These tools are inclusive of more styles of learning which is what we read about from Rose & and Meyer (2002). I never could figure out how to have a colored background. I would have liked to have had that option. I believe this type of book will help all learners even those with visual and hearing impairments. I can even see assigning this task for students to use. I believe they would enjoy using their own content and feel like they had a part of a project that would all everyone in their class.

EDLD 5364 Week 3 UDL Lesson Reflection

The most significant difference in the UDL Lesson Plan is that it incorporates the different learning styles along with the way student’s process information and makes sure that the teacher incorporates the three primary brain networks. Educators can provide individuals with the appropriate instruction for their levels by using Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Rose and Meyer (2002) state that the goal of UDL is to provide each student with a tailored learning experience that adjusts and moves with their needs. Pitler (2007) suggests feedback is a key component in the progression and growth of students learning. The use of student-student feedback and utilizing that component in the classroom really intrigues me. The use of blogs and wikis are also two ways that allow students to evaluate each other as well as explain their thinking and reflect on learning.

The key to UDL is planning and implementation. This week’s readings stress that student centered activities and learning along with feedback is the key to understanding and retention of knowledge. Giving students choices allows for different levels of knowledge, as well as different learning styles, interests and abilities. This includes according to Rose and Meyer (2002), different learning methods of recognition, strategic and affective networks.

The biggest issue I see with the use of UDL is time. UDL lesson planning is more intense and takes hours creating lessons. Classroom teachers that I have contact with all discuss how overwhelmed they are with “more to do”. I would hope that a team of teachers could work together to maybe create two UDL units a year, one in the fall and the other in the spring semester. I believe this would allow teachers to see how powerful the use of the UDL plan can be. I am sure that the more an educator uses the UDL plan the easier it would become and probably less time consuming. I believe UDL is not only a change in the way lesson plans or written but also a shift in how teachers think in regards to reaching every student in their classroom.

Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web Site. Chapter 6. Retrieved on October, 5, 2009, from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Department.

 Amy Clark's UDL Lesson Plan: A Divided Nation 

EDLD 5364 Week 3 Reflection

The focus this week was on creating learning activities that are flexible in presentation, learning and assessment. Rose and Meyer (2002) says, “Today’s typical classroom might include students whose first language is not English; students who are not reading on grade level; students with behavioral , attention and motivational problems; students from varied cultural backgrounds and students classified as gifted. In addition there are students with particular needs such as limited vision, motor disabilities, emotional difficulties, speech and language difficulties and learning disabilities.” With the vacillating levels of abilities both physical and mental along with larger class sizes teachers must work harder for each student to achieve classroom success. Rose and Meyer (2002) recommend creating lessons that have students access the three learning networks in the brain: recognition, strategic and affective.

The recognition network is used to discern patterns in information as well as relate it to patterns students are already familiar with. For all students to distinguish and recognize the “pattern” information may need to be demonstrated in multiple ways that can include visually, kinesthetic, physical etc. Digital media provides teachers the ability to reach a wide variety of resources in order to reach all students.

The strategic network focuses on the problem solving area of the brain. In this part of the brain students learn new information and relate it to previous knowledge. To develop this area teachers should provide many examples of the correct process as well as incorrect so students can learn the correct way. There are models of the processes that can be explained using digital media. Students can use the Internet to read, watch, talk and even play with other people about the processes.

The affective part of the brain during learning connects students to the “why”. “Giving students choices of content and tools can increase their enthusiasm for learning particular processes” (Rose and Meyer 2002). Linking a student’s interest to a skill they need to build is key. When a student is actively engaged in the learning focusing on their interests allows them to sustain focus and create a better understanding of the lesson being taught.

Technology and other digital media is an important part of the UDL lesson. Focusing on the structure and strategies of teaching the lesson, educators can use technology that allows them to meet the students’ needs for each network of learning. This is a process that allows all students regardless of their abilities to be able to achieve educational success.

Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web Site. Chapter 6. Retrieved on October, 5, 2009, from

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Week 2 Reflection Assignment for EDLD 5364

The information covered this week focused on the goals and objectives in learning along with strategies that clearly impact student learning. Accountability for student learning continues to be at the forefront in education. The importance and recognition of student engagement and motivation along with achievement can be gained through the use of technology. “Children in technology-enriched classrooms appear to score higher on standardized tests in mathematics to take control of their own learning environment, to work well in cooperative groups to accomplish a common task and to place worth in their ability to be productive students and citizens” (Page 2002). I feel like many have overlooked the power of technology in math, including myself. This week gave me the opportunity to reflect on this and has had a powerful impact on how I look at using technology for mathematics. Technology is a major factor in today’s schools. I thought Page did a great job explaining how technology integration improved student attitude and self-concept. Technology gives students opportunities for collaboration and interaction with their peers. More group projects with students using individual strengths allow each member to grow and learn. Technology in education is best served when it reaches out to a diverse range of students. The readings and videos this week focused on how we can use different technologies to have a positive impact on that diverse student population. I also gained information about how technology can improve self-esteem. The Schacter (1999) article made the point in saying, “students’ attitudes toward learning and their own self-concept improved consistently when computers were used for instruction.” Before reading this statement I had never considered how the role of technology in improving student self-concept and attitude.

Technological advances have given educators many powerful resources. As educations we have the opportunity and power to use these tools. These tools should be especially considered to have major implications when working with students with disabilities. More students with disabilities are being served in the regular education classroom. These students along with other at-risk students, including low income will benefit tremendously from a technology rich classroom environment.

Page, M. S. (2002). Technology-Enriched Classrooms: Effects on Students of Low Socioeconomic Status. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34 (4), 389-409. Retrieved October 5, 2009 from the International Society of Education at

Schacter, J. (1999).The impact of education technology on student achievement: What the most current research has to say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Education Technology. Retrieved on October 5, 2009, from

Sunday, March 4, 2012

EDLD 5364 Webconference March 4, 2012 Reflection

Welcome to the world of technology!  There were lots of glitches!  There was a lot of conversation going on but very few answers. Someone asked for anyone to explain what we were supposed to do in Week 2 and that question which I also needed answered.  Cindy Cummings had been kind enough to allow me to call her on Saturday.  After that conversation and reading some of the upcoming assignments I still had questions.  My daughter had pictures planned for this afternoon and I rescheduled them so I could be a part of this web conference.  Obviously, I was disappointed and left the webconference feeling more confused than helped. I was also disappointed that none of my group members were attending the conference.  With that said, I understand that with technology there are always glitches and I am still a supporter!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

EDLD 5364 Week 1 Reflection Assignment

This week three different learning theories were introduced. From reading the different articles and watching the videos my motivation and belief that technology needs to be integrated more into the 21st century is validated. The readings and videos opened my eyes to how I need to be aware of the different theories as I work with a variety of teachers and students as a library media specialist.

The three learning theories discussed this week were constructivism, connectivism and cyborg. Constructivism is based on the belief that learners construct meaning themselves building on previous knowledge. The teacher uses real world context for instruction. The ideas and interests of the learners drive this type of learning process. Technology in this theory allows students to work at their own pace and become actively engaged. Connectivism is founded on learners making relevant connections to facilitate learning. With connectivism knowing where to find the knowledge becomes as important as knowing what and how as well as when it is needed. In connectivism nurturing connections and facilitating connections allow continual learning. The Cyborg learning theory presented by Kevin Warwick involved using an implanted computer chip in humans to enhance or upgrade their mental abilities. I found this bizarre and science fictionish. Learners with these implants would have amplified memory, senses and mental abilities.

In the book Web 2.0: new tools, new schools by Gwen Solomon and Lynn Schrum (2007), “Today’s students know that they are tech savvy and report that their schools are not.” (p.31). The implications of this quote have been a concern of mine for the last few years. This quote is repeated in similar words across various texts. I fear schools are not staying on cutting edge technology. By the time the technology department and administrators decide on “appropriate use” of a new program or device4 it has lost its cutting edge and is old to the students. Teachers are also resistant. However, we must allow students to sometimes teach us and guide us in technology as we guide them in the learning of subject matter.

There has been much to digest and reflect on this week. I am looking forward to working with my group and learning new ways to bring technology into student learning. The 21st century classroom must prepare students by using technology in a collaborative environment.


Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 1999). Learning as a personal event: A brief introduction to constructivism. Retrieved on October 4, 2009 from

Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: new tools, new schools. International Society for Technology in Education.