Reflection – New and Emerging Technologies

August 18, 2010

As this course, New and Emerging Technologies, draws to an end it is easy to see how integrating effective, emerging technologies into the classroom can have a positive impact on the learning environment for everyone involved. When considering the learning activity I developed for the weeks 6 and 7 application assignment there are many ways that it demonstrates my learning throughout this course. The assignment I created was integrating a digital gaming activity into the classroom, in the form of a simulation. The simulation was done in conjunction with The Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University. After learning the necessary science curriculum, students would take that knowledge and apply it to a role-based game in which they had to calculate data given to them, assess a variety of situations and recommend what they think the astronauts on board the International Space Station should do to ward off a solar storm. They give their directions to a live astronaut via web cam, and their decisions determine the outcome of the simulation and the fate of the astronauts.

Taking part in this simulation allows students to have an authentic, real-life experience, one like nothing they would ever be able to do before. As Lemke and Coughlin (2009) point out, creating these authentic learning experiences for students is one of the four change agents that “empower 21st century learning” (pg. 54). This type of authentic learning, “increases their engagement and the depth of their learning” (pg. 56). The activity also allows students to participate in a “multimodal learning” environment that supports the needs of all the different learning styles in the classroom through use of visuals, video, hands-on computations, and a variety of text-based resources. Throughout the activity students are also self-directing themselves, and the teacher only acts as a facilitator to make sure that the activity is running smoothly and assist where needed to help with technical problems or questions. All of these factors combine to allow students to take responsibility for their learning and become self-directed learners. This trait is something that will allow them to be successful in the future and necessary to compete in the global economy.

The assignment also had us create a grant proposal to get the funding required to implement the activity into the classroom. This aspect of the assignment was something I had never done before, and found very interesting. What I found to be the most important thing I learned from doing the part of the assignment was the amount of both federal and public grants available to teachers and districts for a variety of topics relating to education. I even found a grant available by a company right in my hometown for using technology in the classroom. This just goes to show that teachers need to be proactive in their own quest to integrate technology into the classroom, and even though the funding might not be there through the district or school budget, there are many other places to turn to, to make sure students are getting the best possible education they can.

One of the immediate adjustments I will make to my own efforts to identifying emerging technologies with the potential to transform teaching and learning is to continue to seek out new technologies and tools, and not just sit by and wait for the tools to arrive. When trying to influence the adoption of new and emerging technologies in the classroom it is important to start slow and welcome resistance from others. Not everyone is going to want to put in the time needed to learn new skills and integrate new tools in their own classroom. Offer them help when needed, and listen to their questions and concerns about adopting new tools. One of the biggest mistakes educators make when trying to influence adoption of new technologies is setting unrealistic expectations. “Unrealistic expectations, both positive and negative, can become roadblocks to successful IT advancements. Realistic, informed expectations are crucial to bringing information technology more fully into the educational environment” (Gillard & Bailey, 2007, pg. 91). When trying to lead the adoption of new technologies make sure not to give up and be persistent in your push to integrate tools that provide meaningful learning experiences for children, because whether it be social networking, virtual worlds, digital gaming, or mobile phones, emerging technologies have the possibility to transform the educational world in ways that will engage, motivate and simply “make learning fun” (Hoffman, 2009, pg. 22). And making learning fun “is one of the main things that keeps them engaged and willing to persist in ways that many teachers only dream of” (pg. 22).


Hoffman, L. (2009). Learning through games. Communication of the ACM, 52(8), 21–22.

Lemke, C. & Coughlin, E. (2009). The change agents. Educational Leadership, 67(1), 54–59

Gillard, S. & Bailey, D. (2007). Technology in the classroom: Overcoming obstacles, reaping rewards. The International Journal of Learning, 4(1), 87-92.

Reflection – UDL and DI

June 21, 2010

As this course draws to an end, it is amazing to reflect on the amount of tools, resources and knowledge that I have gained in just eight short weeks of time. Although I can say that before the class began I was already differentiating my classroom to meet the vast array of needs present by all the students, I wasn’t using the terminology and all of the principles of UDL and DI that were presented throughout the course. Having learned the three principles of UDL (“providing students with multiple representations, multiple means of expression and multiple means of engagement”) along with recognizing student variances in the form of readiness, interests and learning profile I feel that I am much more equipped to take on the challenges of the ever increasingly diverse classrooms that teachers encounter (Laureate Education, 2009).

Doctors Stephanie Throne and Grace Smith (2007) gave a variety of great examples of how to incorporate technology into the differentiated classroom to provide students with meaningful and authentic experiences to obtain, process and express their knowledge and understanding of content as well as build upon necessary skills to be competitive in the global economy outside of school. One of the best ways to meet the needs of all of the students in the classroom is to really get to know who they are as individuals. In order to do so teachers must learn the strengths and weaknesses of each student, hobbies, interests, learning preferences, multiple intelligences, and their academic readiness levels. A simple way to do this is to have students take a variety of surveys including: interest surveys, multiple intelligence tests, learner profile inventories. There are countless inventories and surveys already created and available on the internet for students to take. With this information teachers are then able to create activities, lessons, and assignments that are specifically geared towards students’ individual needs. However, this does not mean a separate lesson for each student. Often just giving the student a choice as to how they would like to complete an assignment (group, individual, pairs, computer, paper and pencil, etc.) or what type of product they will create (PowerPoint, VoiceThread, essay, PodCast, etc.) is enough differentiation to meet the needs of all of the students in the class, because they will have the option of doing what they would like to do and learning material in a way they feel confident in doing so. Using this idea I will start next year by having my students complete a teacher-created interest/learner profile inventory and incorporate student choice in how they learn material and the authentic products they create to demonstrate that knowledge.

Along with the video and text resources we used to learn about UDL and DI throughout this course, it was also very beneficial to take part in a social network in which we shared resources, ideas and various tools with each other to further our learning and understanding of the course content. Not only was this a great way to interact with classmates on a level we do not normally get to do, it was an excellent way to share all of the great resources that we had found that related to using technology to create a differentiated classroom. The most beneficial assignment was the group chat in which we discussed the resources we had been gathering for one of the application assignments. We were able to share not only the resources we had found, but also discussed the type of projects we were creating, and many were using mediums we had not used before, and were able to explain to each other how to use them. This was a great example of how we could further differentiate our own classrooms by incorporating social networking tools into our own lessons. We were able to benefit from it, so we knew our students would benefit from it as well. As many of my group mates shared their resources and how they were going to use them, I too was able to instantly think of ways that these tools would be beneficial in my own classroom. For example, the tic-tac-to board presented by Smith and Thorne (2007) will be a great way to differentiate by multiple intelligences, having each square be a different activity that targets one of the nine intelligences. Another tool I definitely plan on utilizing next year is the UDL Book Builder. This seems like a very engaging tool that will not only help motivate students to advance their skills in reading, but provide students of different readiness levels another means of obtaining information. With the new resources I have learned from my group mates along with those found in course resources, I know that I will be much better prepared next year to take on the challenges of creating a differentiated classroom that incorporates both the principles of UDL and the ideals of DI.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). UDL. [Motion picture]. Reaching and Engaging All Learners through Technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Smith, G., & Throne, S. (2007). Differentiating instruction with technology in K-5 classrooms. Belmont, CA: International Society for Technology in Education.
Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Reflection – GAME plan

April 22, 2010

As this course comes to an end, and after completing my personal GAME plan for the NETS-T standards “designing and developing digital-age learning experiences and assessments and engaging in professional growth and leadership” (ISTE, 2008), I am able to reflect on the impact that the completion of these GAME plans have had on my professional growth as well as my instructional practices. In just the short amount of time that we had to create, implement, monitor and evaluate our plans, six weeks, I feel that I was very successful in achieving the goals I created. For my first GAME plan I learned a great deal about new technology tools to use in the classroom, and implemented a lesson using the classroom management software, Castle Learning. The students responded very well to this lesson, and were very excited to have a new resource to use both in and out of school. I don’t think I would have implemented this program into my lessons as quickly if I hadn’t created a GAME plan that gave me specific goals and action steps to achieve along the way. I will definitely continue to use this program in the classroom, and will continue meeting with the technology specialist for our district to learn of new tools that I can continue to integrate into my lessons.

For the second GAME plan I created, engaging in professional growth, I was able to gain a great deal of insight into the various tools that my fellow colleagues were already using in their classroom by partaking in a “book talk” workshop that discussed integrating technology into the classroom using research-based methods. I was amazed at the information we were able to share with one another and how varied our skills were in a variety of technology tools. I was able to observe one of my colleagues using a green screen in his classroom, and was able to work with him to integrate VoiceThreads into my classroom. Simply finding another resource in the building to learn from was a great outcome of my GAME plan, along with the building of skills necessary to make my lessons more engaging and meaningful for my students. Both of these GAME plans taught me a great deal about myself as a teacher, and definitely gave me a great start for integrating new tools into the classroom, and in finding resources both in and outside of school to help make myself a more effective teacher.

ISTE. 2008. “The ISTE: National Educational Technology Standards (NETS●T) and Performance Indicators for Teachers.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved March 11, 2010 from

Using the GAME Plan Process with Students

April 13, 2010

After creating, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating my own GAME plan based on the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers for the standards of: “Designing and developing digital-age learning experiences and assessments and engaging in professional growth and leadership” I have seen firsthand how successful this process can be (ISTE, 2008). Not only was I able to build skills in new technology tools to utilize in the classroom, but was also able to engage in many discussions with colleagues and received help and encouragement to try using other tools in the classroom to create a more meaningful experience for my students in order to enrich their learning.

As I reflect on the fact that I was able to achieve all of this in a short 6 week time frame, I know that the students in my classroom would benefit from creating their own GAME plans as well, based on the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for students (ISTE NETS-S). Even as I was working towards achieving the goals of my own GAME plan, by implementing my actions into the classroom I was meeting many of the ISTE NETS-S standards. For example having the students create a VoiceThread met the student standards of “creativity and innovating, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making, digital citizenship, and technology operations and concepts” (ISTE, 2007). This was just one lesson and managed to meet various indicators of all six standards. By having the students create their own GAME plans on a few of the indicators they would be taking more ownership of their learning and would gain even more from the activities.

For many of my projects students can choose between varieties of mediums to create a product with. This is a perfect opportunity for the students to set up a GAME plan of their own based on the standards they would like to improve upon, and the medium with which they want to work. For example, a student who chooses to interpret a poem using video editing software might want to create a GAME plan for “Standard 1: Creativity and Innovation; indicator b: create original works as a means of personal or group expression” (ISTE, 2007). On the other hand a person who would like interpret a poem by creating a VoiceThread that will be posted to the classroom wiki with a partner may want to create a GAME plan focusing on “Standard 2: Communication and Collaboration; indicator d: contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems” (ISTE, 2007). Even though they would likely be building their upon their proficiency in the NETS-S just by participating in these lessons that incorporate a variety of mediums of technology, creating a GAME plan would give them the motivation needed to make sure they were constantly monitoring their growth and evaluating their progress to ensure they were working as hard as they could to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

ISTE. 2008. “The ISTE: National Educational Technology Standards (NETS●T) and Performance Indicators for Teachers.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved March 11, 2010 from

ISTE, 2007. “The ISTE: National Educational Technology Standards (NETS●S) and Performance Indicators for Students.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved April 13, 2010 from

Continuing Evaluating my GAME Plan

April 6, 2010

During the past week I have been able to get a little farther in meeting the goals for both of my GAME plans. For the GAME plan addressing standard 2, indicator c, I have continued building the lesson using Castle Learning that my students will use next week to help them build upon their listening skills, which will be a major component of the upcoming State English Language Arts test. As discussed in last weeks evaluation, I created a quiz that incorporates a variety of listening selections into the program, that will allow the students to work at their own pace and receive immediate feedback on their progress and further chances to review and practice building their skills. At this point I have reached all of the goals I had set for myself, but have realized that I will have time to integrate and assess my student’s performance based on the integration of Castle Learning in the classroom. In order to meet these new goals I will implement the quiz next week, and help students determine how they can use the program on their own time to get further practice in a variety of skill areas, not just those relating to the listening skill that the lesson focuses on. All the students have to do to find other questions to practice with is choose a standard or content area, and the sub topic they wish to practice, and a quiz can be generated for them, and will give them immediate feedback once finished. The importance of student’s having access to Castle Learning will be the endless benefits it gives them towards achieving a sense of self-directed learning, and this is the ultimate goal I wish to achieve.

For my second GAME plan addressing standard 5 indicator a, I have continued attending the Marzano “book talk” workshop in order to “participate in learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning” (ISTE, 2008). I have met both the goals I originally set for myself in signing up for and attending this workshop as well as meeting with the technology consultant to integrate a new tool into my classroom. I have created a lesson using VoiceThreads that the students are currently working on. They have been really motivated during this project, largely in part to the integration of the tool itself. It I much more meaningful and engaging for them to create a VoiceThread that integrates pictures, words, and their own voice that they can share with classmates, than it does to simply create a poster on a piece of construction paper and get up in front of the room and talk about it. Last week I mentioned a teacher who uses a “green screen” in his classroom to have students do video broadcasts and is utilized in subjects such as science, where the students do weather reports. I would like to find out more about this program to determine if it is something that I could integrate in the future, and figure out the costs associate with it, and how to operate the program itself. I feel that the students would be extremely motivated and engaged in a lesson that integrates this type of technology, and was able to see this first hand when observing his classroom. There are a few more meetings for the workshop and I am hoping to be able to find other tools to examine that other teachers in the building are using in their own classrooms. The workshop has definitely been a great door opener to getting everyone talking and sharing what they are doing in the classroom and the successes it has brought them.

ISTE. 2008. “The ISTE: National Educational Technology Standards (NETS●T) and Performance Indicators for Teachers.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved March 11, 2010 from

Evaluating my GAME Plan Progress

March 29, 2010

As I progress towards completing the action steps of my personal GAME plans, it is crucial that I continue to monitor, evaluate and reassess my progress towards my goals. I have made some progress in reaching my goal for the first game plan which addressed standard 2, indicator c. In the past five weeks I have determined that in order to meet the varying needs of the students in my classroom through the incorporation of technology, I have met with our district’s technology consultant and decided upon utilizing the Castle Learning program that our school has a subscription to. This week I was able to spend time figuring out the program, and decided that I want to start using it to help students develop and practice their listening skills. Since my students are all at varying skill levels, having them individually practice their skills at their own pace, they will be able to diversify their learning to meet their own individual goals. In order to do this I have created a 20 question listening quiz, comprising four different listening selections that the students will take next week. Once they take the quiz they are going to be given immediate feedback on their answers, and be able to look at the answers they got incorrect to assess why they missed the problem. The program also offers them a flash card option to help them practice building the vocabulary necessary to perform well on this type of task. They can also go back to the home page and create their own practice assessments for listening (or any other standard area) to get further practice at home or in school. I feel that I have been very effective in meeting my goals so far, and in giving students this first quiz I am hoping to gain insight into how well this program will fit into the needs of my classroom, and how well the students feel it helps them meet their learning goals. If the students do not perceive the integration of this program as well as I think they will, I will have to adjust my goals and plan to meet these goals.

Below are a few screen shots from the Castle Learning quiz I created focusing on building listening skills:
This is the homepage the students see when they log on telling them they have one assignment to complete.
Screen capture 1 [2]

This is the first question of the quiz. The students do not see the listening selection (however in the teacher page, you would see the selection so that you can preview it without listening to it), they press play when they are ready and can pause and start over if necessary.

Screen capture 2 [2]

This is an example of the flashcards they are able to use to practice their vocabulary skills.

Screen capture 3 [2]

For my second GAME plan, that addressed standard 5, indicator a I have continued to attend the Marzano book club that I signed up for. Not only has this workshop been very beneficial at giving me explicit examples of how to integrate technology effectively into the classroom, it has also been a great way to engage in professional discussions about what my colleagues are themselves doing to integrate technology into the classroom in effective and meaningful ways. After one conversation with a colleague who uses a green-screen in his classroom to have students do “news” broadcasts, and to utilize in his weather unit, I was able to observe a lesson in which he used this in the classroom, and was amazed at how well the students worked during the lesson, and were motivated to continue learning the content because of the way it was presented. I have realized because of this workshop that we have so many more resources than I thought available right in our school, it is just a matter of reaching out to colleagues to see what they are doing, and allowing others to observe and share ideas with everyone. After meeting with the school’s technology support person, and deciding on integrating VoiceThreads into the classroom I have chosen to start using this tool in my poetry unit. I have designed a project in which students will analyze and interpret a problem of their choice, and using the voice threads describe their interpretation through the use of visuals and the recording of their voices into the VoiceThread. I am currently teaching the students how to use the VoiceThread program in order to do this project, and many seem very excited about it. I hope this excitement will help motivate them to do their best on the project when they complete it.

Monitoring My GAME Plan Progress

March 23, 2010

As I progress towards completing the action steps of my personal GAME plans, it is crucial that I continue to monitor my progress towards my goals. I have made some progress in reaching my goal for the first game plan which addressed standard 2, indicator c. After talking with the district’s technology coordinator and assessing the various classroom management programs that the district has to offer, I have chosen to incorporate Castle Learning into my ELA curriculum. In order to continue my action plan I will need to create a variety of activities that will address the diverse learning needs of my students and will need to choose a skill that I will want to work on to increase their proficiency and understanding in. After taking a look at the vast amounts of resource available on Castle Learning I will need to determine the best avenue to incorporate this into my own curriculum. I don’t like to be one to “teach to the tests” but my students definitely struggle with interpreting information on state test, and Castle Learning provides an extensive question bank tied to state standards using old state test questions. I need to determine if this is how I will utilize the program, or if it will be geared more towards a use as a pre-assessment tool to see where students are at, at the beginning of each unit.

For my second GAME plan, that addressed standard 5, indicator a I have begun the Marzono book club workshop, as we had our first discussion class today. After the first week of the class, I have already learned a great deal of new “tricks” to use in the classroom that integrate technology in meaningful and engaging ways. I have also met with the school’s technology support person and we have decided that he will help me learn how to integrate VoiceThreads into my classroom. Now that we have decided which tool I will be using I have to begin looking into information on VoiceThreads, and how they can be successfully integrated into the classroom. I will also need to determine which topic I would like to have my students try them out on, and how I will go about teaching them the skills necessary to use the program as well.

Action Steps for Completing Personal GAME Plan

March 15, 2010

In order to carry out the action plans of both of the GAME plans I created in week 2, I will take a variety of steps to meet my goals. For the first GAME plan that addressed standard 2, indicator c I have also contacted the district’s technology coordinator and have discussed with him some of the programs that other teachers already use in the district to help t hem manage their classrooms. Throughout the district teachers use a variety of different programs including ToolBox Pro, Moodle, Castle Learning and Ed Modo. I will need to take a look at all of these programs and evaluate them to decide on the one that will best fit my needs. Once I choose a program I will set up activities and assessments for students at a variety of learning levels. Once I decide on which program to use I will select the curriculum with which to integrate the program into first. I will start in my English Language Arts class and create a few lessons that can be posted to the classroom management program that will create differentiated instruction for the students, as well as tailor their assessments to their own unique learning goals and objectives.

In order to carry out the action plan of my second GAME plan that addressed the standard 5, indicator a I have already looked up the professional development courses offered by the district using the school district’s intranet. I have signed up to take the Marzano book club workshop that will use Marzano’s Classroom Instruction that Works, as a basis for discussing how to incorporate his ideas into the classroom using technology. I will also set up a meeting with the school’s technology support person to discuss how he incorporates technology into his own classroom, and together decide on a tool that he could help me build the skills in, in order to utilize it in my own classroom. While it is extremely important to incorporate technology into the classroom I find that it is more important to make sure that the integration of technology meets the goals I am setting for each lesson, and not simply integrate technology into every lesson just for the sake of bringing technology into the classroom. In order to comply to this idea when I am meeting with the technology support person I will also make sure that the technology tool that I choose to learn will address the diverse range of learners within my own classroom.

Personal GAME Plan

March 11, 2010

In order for teacher’s to be effective and to continue to reach the diverse needs of students in the classroom it is essential that they engage in self-directed learning in order to stay abreast to the changing pedagogy, curriculum, and tools available for use in the classroom. In order to be a self-directed learner, teachers must make sure they engage in “three key processes: planning monitoring, and evaluating their learning processes” (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009, pg. 3). Cennamo et al. discuss engaging in these processes by setting up a GAME plan, in which one “sets goals, takes action to meet those goals, monitors progress toward achieving goals, and evaluates whether the goals were achieved and extend learning to new situations” (pg. 3). Using the ISTE standards I have found two indicators that are areas in which I feel I could strengthen my confidence and proficiency in.

The first standard I will create a GAME plan for is “standard 2: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments, under indicator c: customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources” (ISTE, 2008).

• Determine the available resources and programs that my district offers in terms of course management software and choose one that best fits my students’ needs.
• Identify subject areas that will be supported well by customized and personalized learning activities for students at different levels

• Set up a meeting with the schools’ technology support person and discuss viable options for setting up a classroom management system.
• Weigh the pros and cons of each system (Moodle, Toolbox Pro, or Castle Learning) and choose one that best fits my needs.
• Decide on integrating program into science curriculum or English Language Arts curriculum.
• Begin creating activities for students to work on that will help them meet their own learning goals as well as ones I have created for them.

• Assess integration of new class management system based on student performance as well as student engagement and motivation.

• Conference with students to determine what they like/dislike about using the various programs, and ask them how they think it has helped them grow intellectually.
• Modify activities or program use as necessary to follow student suggestions and based on data gathered on student performance

• Determine whether or not the integration of a classroom management system was effective in building students’ understanding of content, as well as their ability to work at an individualized and customized level.

The second standard that I feel I can increase my confidence and proficiency in is “standard 5: Engaging in Professional Growth and Leadership, indicator a: participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning” (ISTE, 2008).

• Sign up for a professional development course relating to technology integration that would be beneficial to my classroom needs.
• Work with the technology consultant to develop the necessary skills to successfully integrate a new technology tool into my lessons.

• Locate two – three professional development courses related to technology integration that I feel could allow me to integrate creative technology applications into the classroom, and sign up for one of them. (For example, my school is offering a professional development course related to Marzono’s book Classroom Instruction that Works and how to build off of those tips using technology).
• Ask our building’s technology consultant how he is integrating technology in the classroom, and decide on a tool that he could teach me about in order to integrate it into my classroom, such as Voice Threads.
• Create a lesson integrating Voice Threads into the classroom.

• Assess the acquisition of my own skills throughout the process of building those technology skills in order to ensure that I am learning what is necessary to teach my students how to develop these skills in the lesson.
• If not gaining the skills necessary to integrate the tool into the classroom, discuss this with the technology consultant and see if there is a different way he could help me develop those necessary skills.

• Determine if I successfully developed the necessary skills in creating and implementing Voice Threads to teach my students how to use this valuable technology tool.
• Determine if my students were successful in building the necessary technology skills to improve their own learning.
• Ask for student feedback on how well they felt the use of creative applications increased their content understanding, engagement and motivation.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

ISTE. 2008. “The ISTE: National Educational Technology Standards (NETS●T) and Performance Indicators for Teachers.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved March 11, 2010 from