Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reflection on my GAME Plan

As this course comes to an end, I think about how my GAME Plan finally fell into place. Using the new technology that is available I understand how important it is to incorporate it into my everyday lessons. My students really enjoy using the SMART Response controllers because they get immediate feedback. These controllers really help to drive my instruction too. I have my students use them at the beginning of each class to review the lesson from the day before. If the majority of the class answers the questions correctly, I know I am safe to move on to the next lesson. If the majority of the class does poorly, I know I need to spend more time on that concept.

This course has also opened my eyes to a few new technological resources too. I really enjoyed learning about Digital Storytelling. This is a great way for students to present information and for me to present a lesson in different way. I could also create a Digital Story for a sub to use.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

GAME Plan ...... continued

Well as much as I love using the SMART Response controllers, I have run across a few things that could use some "tweaks". Besides not having a "math" toolbar to use to type in questions, my students have to be very aware of what they are typing into the controllers. The technology is not "smart" enough to realize that 4 and 4.0 are the same answer. If I type the answer as 4 and they type it in as 4.0, they get it marked wrong.

As much as I love the fact that the computer grades everything for me instantly, it doesn't leave much room for errors or differences in answers. If I were grading it myself, I would give students the benefit of the doubt. 4.0 and 4 in my eyes are the same answer.

Maybe I just need to stop giving students the benefit of the doubt. If the directions do not specify to round to the nearest tenth, then 4.0 technically is wrong. Maybe, I should just be happy with where the technology is at this point in time. It's funny, some people are so against moving along with the times, where others like me, want things to move along faster.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The continuation of my GAME Plan

Well I FINALLY got to use the controllers. THEY ARE AWESOME!!! My kids loved using them. They got their results as soon as everyone finished and I was able to use the instant results to guide my lessons for the following day. I realized that there were two types of problems that were the most missed, so I focused on those problems and made up some new study tools so my students could start to perfect their skills. I am going to give a quiz again on Friday using the controllers so I can get instant results again.

So now that everything is starting to fall into place, the only "problem" I have is we only have two sets of controllers in the building and 75 teachers that want to use them. I have been fortunate enough to use them quite a bit because not everyone has the software installed on their computers yet. As soon as they do though, we'll be "fighting" for control of them. Hopefully our principal will follow through on his word, and get more sets.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Snag in my GAME Plan

Well it's official ... Computers hate me. Obviously, I am being over dramatic, but sometimes I really feel like these inanimate objects, these machines, are out to get me and make my life miserable. I was all set to get my SMART Response controllers up and running and the software on my computer became inactive and I had no way to use them. Apparently the software was not installed correctly in the first place, this was after the update to the original software that I had to persistently beg for.

I had to put in another request to our IT Department (who is severely understaffed and in the middle of updating every computer in the district to Office 07) and explain to them that I needed them to uninstall the Response software and then re-install it. It took about 3 days for someone to finally get over to my classroom to fix the problem. As of 3:00 this afternoon, it was supposed to be fixed so I will be able to FINALLY use the response system tomorrow for the first time. I am super pumped about this. I know, it's the little things in life, but it's something new for me and my kids and it's instant feedback. We are also finally having an in-service on this product so I will be able to use even more effectively.

Here's hoping my computer realizes how much I really do love it and hopefully it will work for me from now on ..... wishful thinking?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My GAME Plan is falling into place

Well, I finally got the updated software installed on my computer. Now all I have to do is learn how to use the SMART Response controllers. I was messing around with them a little bit the other day and from what I was able to do, they seemed to be pretty awesome. The one thing I was a little disappointed with was that the controller program did not have a "math" toolbar. While I was able to do a lot, I was not able to put every type of problem in a question. I guess for the majority of the test I can use the controllers, and for the problems that I can't put into a question on the controllers, I can have the kids answer those on a paper test.

Overall, this technology will really help drive my instruction. We have a couple teacher's in the building who use similar controllers (CPS series) and the kids seem to really enjoy it. If nothing else it will break up the monotony of the day for my kids.

Here's hoping things go well. We have a training next week and then I'm sure it will be difficult to get a set of controllers to use because more people will be interested in using them. I hope I can at least use them once or twice so I know what I can do with them. My Principal said that if there is a good response from teacher's using the controllers, he would try to get every teacher in the building their own set. As awesome as that would be, I have a hard time believing it will happen until I see it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My GAME Plan in Action

As I work toward carrying out my GAME Plan, I realize there are a few things I need in order to make it work. First, some resources I need are the actual SMART Response controllers. Without them, my GAME Plan will be a bust. Second, a training session is something that would allow me to use this system to it’s fullest and third, I need the software to be installed on my computer. That will be the trickiest part because my IT Department has to do that, and I’m sure as we all know … they do thing when they want, not the other way around. It also doesn’t help that the IT Department is so short staffed and in the middle of updating the districts computers (9 elementary schools, 2 junior highs and 1 high school) so I am definitely not a priority. Being able to talk to my colleagues that have all of these things already will be something to keep in the back of my mind when I finally have all the pieces in place.

The additional information I will probably need goes along with a training session or two. Knowing what all this system can do will really help me not only use it to it’s fullest potential, but help me drive my instruction to really focus on the concepts that my kids are struggling with. From what I have seen briefly, it’s an awesome tool. I am a little concerned that I won’t be able to use it with everything I teach however, because I do not think it supports a math toolbar. There are quite a few symbols I use that are not available on a keyboard.

The steps I have take so far to get my GAME Plan underway is begging the IT Department to get the software installed. As soon as that is done (hopefully by weeks end) I can start exploring how it can be used. The other thing I have do is to get a training session set up. That will happen in a couple weeks. I am sure 2 hours won’t be nearly enough to really get into what I can do with this system, but it will be a start.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My GAME plan

G: The two areas of the NETS-T that I need to work on are “Designing and Developing Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments” and “Modeling Digital-Age Work and Learning.” Since everything is moving towards data collection to drive instruction, designing digital experiences and assessments is a must. SMART Technologies is making this very easy with the use of their SMART Response system. These tools will help to meet the indicators that incorporates digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity and provide students with multiple and varied assessments that combine technology standards. Using the SMART Response system will also help me work on modeling the work and learning for my students. More specifically they will help me communicate relevant information to my students, parents and peers.

A: What I am doing to achieve these goals is trying to use the SMART Response system as much as I can for quizzes and tests. Doing this is not only a different way for my students to take a test, but it will give me immediate feedback and results before my students even leave my classroom.

M: Monitoring will be a little more difficult because of time mostly. I really will not know how well using the SMART Response system will be until I can compare the results to my students next year. The data I collect will help me teach differently on a day to day basis because I will be able to see immediately if I need to spend more time on something, but the true data will come from the comparison from one class to the other.

E: Looking at the difference between classes is one way I will be able to evaluate the use of the SMART Response system. I will also be able to see if my students are really grasping a concept or just guessing on what they think the correct answer is.

National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reflection: EDU 6712

I have had many revelations while teaching new literacy skills to my students. The most striking one I can recall is the fact that most of my students know more about this topic than I do. When it comes to finding information, putting it into some kind of presentation and presenting it to the class, my students can do it very quickly and usually pretty effectively. My job is to help them refine their skills, but for the most part, they know where to go and what to look for.

The knowledge I gained from this course and from my students during this course has influenced me to become more fluent in new literacy skills. I realized that I need to be as good at these skills if not better than my students. I will also use more of these skills in my teaching in the future to not only refine my skills, but to also make my students skills better.

One professional development goal I would like to pursue is using different tools to present information. Currently, I use Power Point for most of my notes in class, and even though that is better than just typing them up in a Word document, it seems to not be enough to keep my students attention. I really need to learn how to do more with different types of technology. One way that I can learn more is to take advantage of local television stations offering classes on the uses of different types of technology.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Evaluating Research Methods

Being able to conduct different types of research in the field of education can be very helpful when looking for different approaches to teaching.

Scenario 1: Ten students are available for in-depth interviews. Participants will be selected based on their involvement with the peer mediation program. They will be observed over three weeks. Analysis will attempt to determine issues concerning peer mediation.

~This scenario seems to be more of the qualitative research method. This scenario deals primarily with collecting data as a case study through lived experiences, which makes it a phenomenology (McMillan & Schumacher, 2008).

Scenario 2: Two classrooms of students are selected. There are 30 students in each class; each groups will have similar demographics-age, sex, race, socio-economic background, etc. Classes will be randomly divided into two groups of 15 students. Of these two groups, one randomly selected group will get training on peer mediation and the other group will not. Thus in each classroom there will be one group that is trained in peer mediation and one that is not. Analysis will occur on which groups have the fewest office referrals.

~This scenario fits more into the quantitative research method. It has an experimental set up by using two groups; a controlled group and an experimental group. The person conducting the research has a handle on what can happen (McMillan & Schumacher, 2008).

Scenario 3: A school counselor is interested in knowing how student attitudes affect the value of peer mediation to decrease the number of office referrals that are being filed for inappropriate interactions.

~This scenario is more of a mixed method. The qualitative portion of this method would be the way the data is collected – the students in their natural settings. The quantitative portion of this method would be the way the data is used after it is collected.

Scenario 4: Peer mediation has become widely used in many schools. The feelings of those involved in the process are little known-either from those doing the mediation or those receiving it. The ZASK-R Acceptance Preference Survey will be given as Pre- and Post-tests to 40 students participating in mediation. Follow-up interviews will be conducted on a bi-monthly basis.

~This last scenario also seems to fit into the mixed method of research. The qualitative portion of this method would be the follow-up interviews that are being conducted while the quantitative portion would be the Pre- and Post-testing.

To be a better teacher, I need to understand and use the best method of research. Which ever method I choose to use, it needs to be as accurate as possible to better help my students.

McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Refining my Problem Statement - Week 3 App

Alright so I think I finally have my problem statement set. After a lot of "re-writes" my problem statement is: I plan to determine if the use of technology by teachers and students in a middle school math classroom will increase student GPA. Some questions I would like to explore are as follows:

1. Are students more inclined to participate in a lesson when technology is used? (Quantitative)

2. Does the use of technology help students retain the information longer? (Quantitative)

3. Does one type of technology keep students more interested in a lesson than another (such as Power Point versus an interactive website or a blog)? (Quantitative)

4. Will computer access at home make a difference in the completion of homework and studying for tests? (Quantitative)

I believe these questions are quantitative because they are pretty much experimental types of research and from what it sounds like, those that responded to my discussion post, agree (McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S., 2008).

If anyone disagrees, please let me know what you think.



McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Problem Statement

Third times a charm right? I am slowly narrowing my topic, but still on the hesitant side about being able to find the specific literature needed to do the actual research. If anyone has any suggestions I am all for them. Thanks in advance!

For my research project I plan to determine if the use of technology by teachers and students in a middle school classroom will increase student GPA. Who: Middle school students, What: Using technology to increase GPA, Why: Influences student achievement (McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S., 2008).



McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My "Personal Theory of Learning" has for the most part always been incorporate as many of the "Multiple Intelligences" as possible. It reaches more kids and makes the day more interesting not only for the kids, but for the me too. To ask about any modifications I would make to my theory, I would have to say that I would not change anything.

Adjustments are another story. Keeping the "Multiple Intelligences" in tact, I would like to try to incorporate a bit more technology. Two pieces I would really like to incorporate more often are webquests and anything done with PowerPoint. Fortunately, the math book we use has a webquest set up for each unit we cover. Before my kids take the Ohio Achievement Test, there is not enough time to work on a webquest, however, after the test the kids are pretty much spent. Taking them to the computer lab for a week or two to do a webquest is sounding better and better the more I think about it. The math teachers are always looking for something to do that's more "fun" than the normal day to day lesson, and the webquests from the math book incorporate everything we cover in those lessons. Working on a webquest from an early unit in the book would require a bit of review maybe, but the kids would already have the skills and understanding they needed to complete the tasks. As far as PowerPoint presentations are concerned, I am planning on using more for notes and examples instead of Word documents. I can bring so much more to the lesson with PowerPoint than Word, hopefully keeping my kids attention more and my sanity. I am also going to encourage my students to use PowerPoint for any kind of project presentation they may have to do for class.

The long-term goal changes I would like to make to my instructional practice with technology integration would be to integrate technology on an everyday basis. Right now I use a SmartBoard for just about every lesson, but it's not enough, especially from what I have learned about in my technology courses. I would really like to incorporate some kind of web page or blog in my classroom and I would like to have my students create and maintain a Wiki to use not only with them, but with students in the future. Obtaining these goals will take a bit of time, only because our IT department has put some restraints on us with what we can and cannot have access to at school. I figure if I can do a little at a time, maybe I will be able to incorporate more technology more often.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Social Learning Theory in Practice

I think social learning is a great theory because it allows students to not only work together, but really get the hands on experience. Peer interaction is crucial because it puts kids at ease when they do not understand something and they can ask someone their own age for help (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). I feel that the more questions a student asks, the more likely he or she is to succeed.

There are many technological tools that help support this theory. Some I am familir with and some I am not. The couple that I am familiar with include blogs and wiki's. These tools support social learning because they are completely created by the student. Already created wiki's also give the students the opportunity to correct someone else's work or add to it. Engaging in these types of activities helps the students remember so much more and much more easily. One tool that I am not familiar with at all but found interesting was keypals. This tool allows students to become actively involoved with other students from different parts of the world. Not only are they using technology, but they are working in groups with students who may be from a different culture or background in which they may never have the chance to work with without the keypal (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).


Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Huhn, M., and Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology iwht classroom insruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Voice Thread URL

Hope you enjoy the short math lesson :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The instructional strategies described in this weeks resources; the spreadsheet tools, the interactive savings and investment tools, the data collection tools and the web resources, correlate extremely well with constructivist/constructionist learning theories. All of the tools covered in this chapter allow the students to "create" their data for a very hands on approach. The teacher in most cases creates the "skeleton" of the tool and the students fill in the necessary infomation on their own.

These tools are a great way for students to get the hands on experience they need to really help them understand a concept. One thing that stood out was the comment that the teacher did not want to spend time teaching the students how to use a spreadsheet, the teacher wanted to use the spreadsheet to teach the students a certain concept (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski, 2007). That is a problem I have run into at times. Even though my students are probably more technological savvy than me at times, I have had to spend significant amounts of time getting my students to understand the tool instead of how to use the tool. Unfortunately, the computer classes that teach my students how to understand the different tools are being cut because of a lack of budget.


Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I took the most from the cognitive learning theories is that to really get a student to learn, you have to get the information to really "sink in" to the long term memory. The best way to do that is to use as many intellegences as possible (Laureate, 2008). Using such things as organizers and taking notes allows students to see, read, listen, and put pictures with what the lesson is trying to teach. The more ways to present a topic, the more the students will learn what is being taught and be able to recall the information. It will not just be remembered for a short time, but it will really "sink in."

As far as using virtual field trips, I just have to say that aside from actually going somewhere, these are one of the greatest ideas ever thought of. The virtual field trip allows so many more students to experience differnt things that would probably not be possible, especially since it is getting harder and harder to take "real" field trips. Talk about emerging students in a lesson. This is a great way for students to really learn about a topic and really get the information to move through the brain. I did not have time to really explore as much as I would have liked, but I definitely want to try to encorporate some virtual field trips into my lessons next year. Not only will it be something new and different for my students, but hopefully it will reach more of them and make the lesson more meaningful.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). Program one. Understanding the Brain [Motion Picture]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore: Author.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The instructional strategies presented this week correlate with the principles of behaviorist learning theory well.

The first strategy was using a spreadsheet to keep track of effort. This fits into the behaviorist theory because it allows the students to change their "behavior" on their own with the teacher not having to persuade them to change. Effort affects achievement and effort can be looked at as a behavior (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski 2007). With the students analyzing their effort they really have a good place to look to change what they don't like.

The other strategy was homework and practice and what will really help students to review and apply what they are learning. To make homework a meaningful review and extension of what goes on in the classroom, students need to have a connection to it and not feel like it is just busy work. Giving students options when it comes to homework results in a better understanding and participation rate from the students. Doing this will result in a more desired "behavior" for doing homework.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Final Thoughts

As this course commences we are asked to reflect on some things. The first being in what ways this course has helped to develop my own technology skills as a professional teacher. I have said it before in other classes, but this is the first class that has actually allowed me to learn more about technology and not just writing papers about very non-technological things. Had it not been for this course, I would not have learned how to set up a BLOG, or a WIKI and I definitely would not have made a PODCAST. I don’t know how much I will use the podcasts, but I feel very comfortable with blogs and wiki’s that I can not wait to use them in my classroom.

The next thing we are asked to reflect on is the way we have deepened our knowledge of the teaching and learning process and the ways I have changed my perspective from being teacher-centered to learner-centered. The one thing we had to do for this class was to survey our students on the kinds of technology they use on a daily basis. I knew my students used more technology than what I did at their age, however, this survey really showed me just how much and what types they liked to use the most. Having this information will hopefully allow me to incorporate the right kinds of technology to really reach my students. I am not to the comfort point of letting go completely of teacher-centered, but understanding the types of technology my students like to use will allow me to let go completely and make my classroom a learner-centered environment. The more technology I can incorporate, hopefully the more interest my students will take in learning the Math skills essential to moving effortlessly through school.

Another part of our reflection explores the ways in which we can continue to expand our knowledge of learning, teaching and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement. One way that I am expanding my knowledge of learning, teaching and leading with technology is by taking these master’s classes. This class has begun to help me gain the comfort needed to lead my students into the 21st century. Without the push to try new things technologically, I can not increase my student’s achievement. I will also expand my knowledge of learning, teaching and leading by using the 21st century skills myself. I can not expect my students to be experts if I myself am not comfortable using them in my everyday life.

The last part of our reflection is to set two long – term goals for transforming my classroom environment and overcoming obstacles in order to achieve these goals. My first goal is to create a working blog strictly for my classes to use. I want to make it as easy as possible for my students and their parents to keep up on what we are covering and from what I have seen, posting everything we do and use on the web is the best way to do it. My second goal is to convince my administration to trust us enough to use blogs in our classrooms. I am not sure how well this will work, but if I can show them just how much access during school helps student achievement, then maybe they will lift some of the bans they have on internet access and allow all of us as a district to move forward and really start using 21st century skills.

At first, when I started this program, I constantly asked myself if I made the right choice choosing this program. I really wanted to gain the skills necessary to bring technology into my classroom, but the first two classes dealt entirely with writing papers. I understand that this is graduate level work, and writing just comes with the territory, however, I thought for the money I was spending, I would actually get to learn about some different types of technology. It was not until this class that I actually got to do that. I am very excited to use what I have learned to advance my students into the 21st century technologically. I hope that in the seven classes I have left to take that I get to learn more and use more technology instead of writing so many papers. I am constantly being told that my students learn better by doing, and with technology, that is entirely the case. If this program is going to help me incorporate technology into education, I need to actually “do” instead of write about what I could be doing. The professor for this course has been one of the best professors I have had the pleasure of learning from; undergraduate or graduate level. It helps tremendously when the she understands that sometimes our knowledge level is not as high as hers and really does an excellent job of explaining and making resources available to help us. I am becoming more confident in using technology in my classroom and hope that this becomes more prominent the further I get into this program.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Are Today's Students Ready for the 21st Century?

While exploring the website "The Partnership for 21st Century Skills" I found myself very overwhelmed with the amount of information provided. I had a very hard time concentrating and thought the information repeated itself somewhat. It was useful however in the sense that it gave a good outline of what students today should be focusing on. One thing I was surprised to see was the very long list of sponsors. With so many major technological supporters, you would think this curruculum would be incorporated more so than it is, especially since the Department of Education is also a sponsor.

I agree that our students are not being prepared properly for the work place they are going to face when they graduate in five years or ten years. This website devises a good plan to allow educators and administrators to see where curriculum needs to be directed. As an educator, this site helps me see where education is heading or at least needs to head. Knowing this informaion allows me to "try" to get a head start to preparing my students for the 21st Century workplace.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Using Blogs in the Classroom

I have never really had the desire to blog before, mostly because I never really found the time to do it. I have a "MySpace" page and a "FaceBook" page, but unless it is June, July or August, I never look at them. Does it take a long time to post a blog? No, not really, but when there are a million things to do for work, and at home and soon with a baby, I find very little time to spend on "fun" things.

One reason I am enjoying this class I am taking so much is because I am being "forced" to make time to see and use all the resources available on the Web. As I was reading through "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Pwerful Web Tools for Classrooms" by Will Richardson, I found something that really caught my interest. In the six years I have been teaching, I have wanted to start some kind of Webpage or something that I could allow my students to access to get notes they missed if they were absent, links to helpful Websites, our book is on-line so having one place where they could access that would be very beneficial. He brought to light something called a "Class Portal" type blog and I instantly thought, "this is exactly what I have been wanting to create for a long time now."

There are many different things I could do with this portal. One would be a daily homework calendar right in the center of the page. Parents especially would be able to look here to see what was assigned for homework everyday and there would never be a question as to what was supposed to be finished that night. Another thing I would like to use this blog for would be to post all the notes we take in class, any examples we do that go along with the notes and possibly record the lessons and post it as a podcast. We are constantly being told to "CYA" especially for legal reasons and this would pretty much take care of every legal aspect of 504's, I.A.T's, I.E.P's and so forth. There would be very little way to blame a teacher if all of this were available to parents and students.

Would it work? What do you think?


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Frustrated :-(

As I read more about using blogs, wiki's podcasts ect... in my classroom, the more frustrated I become. I see that it will be harder and harder to "keep up with the technological times" if my current school district stays away from providing the technology needed for every student. For one, not everyone of my students has internet access from home. How can I incorporate these new practices into how I teach if I can't have 100% participation from all of my students?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Time Blogger

This is my first time creating a blog, so I'm a little behind the times.

I hope this is easy to use and useful.