Saturday, October 20, 2012

Class Reflection

In reflecting on my GAME Plan for this course, I have realized that time management is huge factor.  Because of the timeline of this course, I felt pressured to get lessons done within a week’s time with my students.  This does not always work with elementary students. While I may have planned for an activity to only take a day, sometimes it took longer which through off deadlines for this class.  I feel that with the younger students, I have to spend so much time  teaching the technology as well as the content material.  Half of my class had never created a PowerPoint before.  In addition, none of them had used a wiki or Movie Maker before.  Teaching the technology alone takes days.  I felt this may have been too much technology to teach them all in one unit or in a three weeks’ timeline.  

I would like to revise my plan for next year by introducing wikis towards the beginning of the year before they get to this unit. I need to spread the technology integration throughout multiple lesson and different subjects instead of teaching them all in one unit. In addition, I tried to get a field trip to the zoo planned or for a speaker from the zoo to come to our school.  Because my unit was mainly done in October, the zoo could not accommodate because of preparation for an event at the zoo this month.  Next year, I would like to incorporate my unit at a different time when my students will have a chance to visit the zoo and ask questions of a zoo keeper.  I also tried to get a Skype session with another zoo but these are very expensive so this also did not work. 

My next step in using the GAME Plan will be incorporating it with my students.  Some of the them are having a hard time reaching goals in the classroom. Students say they want to accomplish a certain task but then are not sure how to do it.  I am going to create a student friendly version of the GAME Plan and have them complete it based on a classroom goal they have. I will work will them on coming up with the Actions they need to take to obtain their goal.

My next step in integrating technology into my classroom is to teach all of my students how to use Movie Maker for a digital story.  We are working on an election unit, and they will create an ad for their campaign in a couple of weeks. I would also like to introduce KidBlog.  I had great success with it last year but have not introduced it yet because of all the technology I have already tried to teach this year.  I felt it would overwhelm them if I tried to add something new. I feel that KidBlog will be easier for them to use as a social network/online collaboration than a wiki.   

In conclusion, this course was eye opening with the learning the variety of ways technology can be incorporated into one unit.  I learned that implementing so much technology into one unit and at the beginning of the school year can actually detract from the content of what I want my students to learn.  I feel technology is crucial in today’s world but feel that it should be spread out and integrated based on student readiness.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monitoring My GAME Plan

Keeping up with my goals has been a difficult process.  I have been trying to stick with the philosophy that I have read so many times over this course, technology needs to become a part of the curriculum and not just included for the sake of adding technology.

As with any goal, it is always a work in progress.  My goal of using more virtual tours and Skype sessions is starting to take shape.  I was able to have students take a tour of Yosemite National Park for our reading story.  So far, I have learned that it is very difficult to find exactly the type of tour I want.  Getting the right connection at school has also been a challenge.  In the next couple of weeks I will be using the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill website for virtual tours as my students start studying the southeast region.  As for the Skype sessions, it seems that most organizations want a fee so that will probably not be possible. However, I am looking for a classroom from the southeast region to communicate with via Skype.  (Kelly B., I sent you an e-mail!)

My global experience is coming along much slower.  I have not heard from my Russian teacher partner for ePals in a couple of weeks.  I tried to e-mail him two days ago but have not received a response back.  I may need to adjust my action plan.  If I do not hear from him soon, I will be looking for another class partner.  Due to this, I do not want to spend too much class time studying Russia if they will not be our partners.  I am wondering if any of my Walden colleagues are from another country or know another class that would be interested in using ePals?


Macmillan/McGraw-Hill (2006). Macmillan/McGraw-Hill social studies-virtual field trips and state resources.  Retrieved from

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Continuing My GAME Plan

Continuing my GAME plan is taking careful planning.  I want to make sure that I am adding meaningful technology to my curriculum.  Last week, I stated that my goal was to incorporate virtual field trips into my curriculum. The first topic I choose to start with is animals because this is our current study in science.

Resources- I will need my SMARTboard to start my virtual tours to model for my students.  Then I would like them to explore the websites on their own in our computer lab.

Additional Information- I am still trying to find a website that will allow us to actually talk to an expert through Skype or web conference.  Most of these conferences have a fairly large price tag.

Steps I have taken- So far, I have found three websites that will at least give my students a glimpse into an animal’s life. 

Last week, I discussed incorporating the website ePals into my curriculum for promoting cultural understanding and global awareness.  I was enlightened this week in reading Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  I have learned that cultural understanding requires more than just e-mailing students from another country.  While this is a good start, I will need to take steps to help my students understand another culture and just like in America, not everyone has the same upbringing, views and beliefs.

Resources-On my path to promoting cultural understanding and global awareness, I will have my students create a voice thread about their own lives.  This will give students from our corresponding country, Russia, as chance to see, through text and pictures, and hear about the lives of my students.  I will need access to a scanner, computers, and will need to make sure our global partners will be able to access our presentations when finished.

Additional information-I would also like my students to research about the area of Russia our friends are from.  Cennamo et al. discuss at length the various aspects of another culture that could be different from our own. I do want my students to learn mainly from their e-mail partner but I also do not want to offend anyone right off. I would also like to talk to the other teacher and see if their class can create a presentation about themselves.   

Steps I have taken-In the last week, I have found our global partners.  We will be communicating with another fourth grade class from Russia through ePals hopefully starting next week.


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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The GAME Plan

Being a reflective learner is an important quality for people to have. It is equally important to model this quality for students.  One way to do this is what Cennamo, Ross, and Etmer (2009) have named the GAME plan.  The GAME plans stands for “set Goals, take Action to meet those goals, Monitor progress toward achieving goals, and Evaluate whether the goal were achieved and Extend your learning to new situations” (p.3).  Reflecting on my own teaching, there are two goals I would like to focus on. One is ISTE Standard 1D Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity- model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.

 Goal- My goal is to incorporate virtual field trips and more Skype sessions into my classroom to inspire student learning.

 Actions- I need to evaluate my curriculum to determine which lessons lend themselves to virtual fieldtrips. I need to research the Scholastic website, historical and science museums, zoos, etc. to find resources geared for elementary students. Many of these places also provide Skype sessions.

 Monitor- Monitoring the quality of information on the virtual field trips is important for establishing factual information. It is essential that the field trips or Skype sessions actually engage my students since my ultimate goal is to inspire their learning.

Evaluate and Expand-I can evaluate the factual information my students gain through assessment and observation.

 Another standard is 4D: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility.  This is to develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools

 Goal- My goal is for my students to have an understanding and global awareness of other cultures.  Also, I would like them to learn how communicate respectfully through e-mail.

Actions- I plan on incorporating ePals into my curriculum. It is essential that I thoroughly investigate the ePals program to make sure that it is has the approved settings set by my school and is safe for my students.  Another step is to connect with administration and parents on communicating globally through e-mail. I also need to find a classroom through ePals that is willing to be partners with my class.

Monitor- I need to monitor e-mails that are going through to students of another ethnicity.  Students should be respectful at all times. I also need to make sure students are not putting any personal information on the web.

Evaluate and Expand- I will evaluate the activity through discussion and parent feedback. It is important for students to understand and be respectful of other cultures and customs. This is the best way I know for students to establish global awareness when they do not come in contact with other ethnic backgrounds in their daily lives. Hopefully, students and parents have a wonderful experience and I will be able to expand this into a yearly communication project.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Final Reflection

When I reflect over my classes, I am always amazed at the amount of information I learned. This class focused on learning theories and how the brain processes information.  Although I studied many of these learning theories in undergrad, it has been much easier to comprehend and apply since I have my own class.         
At the beginning of this course, I had to determine my own personal theory of learning.  In my first paper I wrote, “I do not feel most people fall under one specific theory of teaching.  I think to be a highly effective teacher you need to be well-rounded in many areas.  I am a firm believer in visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinetic learning styles, or the VARK theory (Orey, 2001).  I do not believe that a person has to have one learning style but I think many people have a dominate area.”  After learning more in depth about different learning theories, I feel even more strongly that teachers need to use a variety of strategies to meet the needs of all students.  Each student has their own learning style.  To accommodate each style I need to make sure that I have students work individually, in pairs, and in groups.  I need to teach concepts in multiple ways so that students can transfer new knowledge to their long-term memory.   

This class has introduced me to technology learning tools that I have already implemented or will in the near future. One tool that I would like to use is a VoiceThread.  I have applied this twice as an instructional tool with my students.  However, I would like to use it as a learning tool with them creating the artifact.  Using a VoiceThread allows my non-fluent readers a chance to express themselves.  They can easily upload the pictures and verbally express their thoughts.  For my students that are more timid, they can use words to type their ideas.  Another technology tool I would like to use more often is the concept maps on websites such as SpiderScribe.  Concept maps allow students to organize the information in a way that is easiest for them to understand.  In addition, they can upload pictures to enhance their understanding of the material.

Throughout this course, I have learned the difference between an instructional tool and a learning tool.  I realize that standing in front of a Smartboard is simply an instructional tool.  It is not until a student interacts with the board or creates an artifact that it is considered a learning tool.  In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Work, we learned about nine cluster strategies that are proven to help students learn.  These nine strategies gave multiple examples of how I can incorporate technology, thus expanding my repertoire of tools.

One long-term goal I have for myself is to use the microphones that were just purchased for my school.  By the end of the year, I would like my students to create a VoiceThread and use Audacity.  Students will create a VoiceThread about a state they will research including points of interest, historic events that took place, etc. My second goal is by the end of April, students will use Audacity to record themselves reading and then listen to the recording. Many times students do not realize that they are not using expression or pausing for punctuation until they hear themselves read aloud.  Another goal I have it to implement more learning tools instead of instructional tools.  I think that by students creating blogs, VoiceThread, podcasts, and wikis, I can reach this goal.

In conclusion, this class has helped me to better understand how my students learn.  I have already begun to change my current lessons to be student center opposed to teacher centered.  I have also starting adding more technology based projects.  

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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social Learning Theory

Cooperative learning is just one of the many strategies that fall under the category of the social learning theory.  The social learning theory allows students to work in groups for a common goal.  According to Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology, cooperative learning is actively involving the student in their learning. It is a process for students to discover their own learning opposed to hearing a lecture from a teacher.  Students may create a project together or apply the jigsaw method.  The jigsaw method is where each student learns about a particular topic and then teaches or shares it with their group.    

Technology can be used in multiple ways with the social learning theory.  A class blog allows students the opportunity to write about something that is meaningful to them and have their classmates give feedback.  See my posts on Kidblog from January for more information. 

Skype is another tool that I use in my classroom.  My students have Skyped with two veteran marines and twice with classrooms around the country. This was a great opportunity for them to learn what it was like to be in the military.  We also learned what other schools and states are like.  My students may never have an opportunity to visit these states and this gives them an experience to learn about other children their own age.  My students worked together to create questions to find where in the United States another class was located. 

In addition to blogging and Skype, students can also create a Voice Thread.  Voice Thread is a tool that can be created individually or as a group.  What makes this a strategy for the social learning theory is that once posted, people can comment to the author or anyone else to watches it.  This is a great learning tool to gain additional knowledge on a topic. This is my first Voice Thread and it is on the Titanic.

In conclusion, there are many activities students can utilize while working together.  Technology definitely lends itself to the new era of online collaboration. Whether it is blogging, Skype, podcasts, or Voice Thread, students are gaining knowledge at a rapid speed by working together.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The constructionist learning theory is based on the idea that students learn best when they build something. Students investigate, create, and solve problems to further there learning. This can be anything from building a website to a drawing.  Dr. Orey states that the idea is for students to be engaged and active in the learning process. This week we studied problem-based learning, project based learning, and inquiry based approaches to learning.  These ideas all coincide with the constructionist learning theory because students are creating something. To further the learning process, using real-world applications will give students a sense of purpose that can they use the information they learn outside of school.  This week we were asked to compare generating and testing hypotheses to the constructionist/constructivist learning theories.

According to Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, there are six tasks that teachers can use to help students generate and test hypotheses.  These include system analysis, problem solving, historical investigation, invention, experimental inquiry, and decision making. These six tasks all fit into the idea of students solving a problem and building something to show their results.  The book mentions having students make predictions about what would happen to an ecosystem if a species of animals was removed or numbers altered.  This is a real-world problem that some areas face when animals become endangered or even when there is an overpopulation of a species. Students could research areas that have been affected by this type of problem and work to come up with a solution to solve it.  Afterwards they could create a PowerPoint or some other project to display their findings and solution to the problem.
Another example given from the book is of a fifth grade teacher that told her students they inherited $10,000 from a relative.  She then had them chart in a spreadsheet how compounding interest and saving money can lead to larger earnings over time. Learning how to invest larger sums of money is something that students may encounter in life.  These types of skills will be beneficial in their lives as they get older.

In conclusion, it is important for students to confront real-world problems in the classroom. They will be more engaged if they have a set purpose to what they are doing.  In addition, students are actively involved when creating projects.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2010) Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Retrieved from

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