Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Discovering Technology

Throughout this course, I have had the opportunity to implement a couple new technology activities in my classroom. The most successful activity was having students to create a tutorial video using a HoverCam to record images and audio. Students enjoyed creating these short videos and sharing them with their peers. Other activities included students learning to use social networks as an extension of the classroom, as well as students learning to use visual presentations to communicate a story properly to their peers.  All of these technologies engaged the students and helped promote a better understanding of English skills. Moreover, I became more comfortable with them as an instructor.

The immediate impact on my classroom has been a positive interest from my students. They have started to want to expand on projects now, and they are always wondering what the next big assignment will be. Although students enjoy working with the technology, they really enjoy doing something different. Several students, who at the beginning of the semester were not excited about the prospect of filming this year, are asking if they can create screenplays that can be double the amount of time required. This genuine interest from the students has motivated me to push my own comfort level to try new activities and ways to use technology.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Program number 10: Spotlight on Technology: Social Networking and Online Collaboration: Part I [DVD]. Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monitoring My GAME Plan...

Monitoring My GAME Plan

This past week I have begun to implement a grammar lesson that I created with the Honors English teacher in my department.  I have observed him several times, and I am fascinated with his ability to make activities on the SMART board aesthetically pleasing.  We met and discussed the idea of expanding students understanding and implementation of figurative language devices in their writing.  Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer support this type of interaction stating that it can be motivational for students (2009, p.93).  This last week, I had students begin learning different figurative language devices.  Once they understood the definitions, I began having them incorporate them into their writing by having students use images—all of the images were taking from Reuters—to elicit stronger writing.

My students had been struggling with expanding their writing, and after the activity, students were more comfortable in implementing figurative language devices into their writing.  Most of my students were struggling with when and how to implement figurative language into their writing.  By introducing the definitions and providing examples, students were able to view the images and apply figurative language devices into their writing.  This skill was strengthened by the SMART board skills the teacher showed me.  I was able to manipulate the clauses and phrases on the SMART board and rearrange them into coherent sentences.

Next week, I am looking to have my students use the same concepts of figurative language, but learn how to break the rules of grammar to make their writing stronger.  I will be using the same SMART board techniques, but will also be implementing the use of the HoverCam as a tutorial device to demonstrate to students how to properly break the rules of grammar.

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 19, 2012

Updated: GAME Plan...

When reviewing my GAME plan I understand that I will need a few different resources in order to accomplish my goal.  The first step I am taking to accomplish my GAME plan is to start collaborating with a few of my colleagues.  I will focus our work together on designing new activities that focus on student centered technology integration.  I have begun talks with the Honors English teacher in my department on new technologies that he has used that have yielding positive results in his classroom.

Furthermore, I am in talks with an old professor from my undergrad with whom I worked with on two publications on folklore and music to improve student writing.  He introduced me to the idea of using technology as a teaching tool and when teaching in high school he focused always having students present their work in a visual art form using technology.  He has agreed to help me accomplish my GAME plan goals.

Finally, I will need to complete more research on my own to discover new activities that our student centered and integrate technology.  I will conduct my research through educational websites and blogs.  I will also utilize my learning community, as well as the message board for NCTE.  My research has not begun yet since I have focused on contacting the aforementioned individuals.  Once our schedules are set-up to conference and share ideas, I will then begin my own research and focus on finding new activities to implement in the classroom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

GAME plan...

While reviewing the indicators of the National Education for Teachers there were a few that were intriguing, but two indicators in particular really made me reflect on my style of teaching and overall philosophy.  The two indicators were found in the Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments standard.  The first indicator states teachers should be able to “design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).  The second states that educators should be able to, “customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).

My GAME plan in making the move towards mastery of these indicators is outlined with reflections on certain ideas and concepts presented in the standards.

The first goal I will begin to implement in my classroom is student-centered technology in my lessons at least once a week.  If I am to implement this type of technology more often I will.  However, I want to make sure that the technology used is beneficial for the student and not just an activity using technology for the sake of technology.  Secondly, I want these lessons to offer multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate content knowledge and skills and to incorporate multiple styles of learning.

I will collaborate with fellow English teachers to learn of activities that incorporate technology and are driven by the students.
I will collaborate with the Science department to learn of activities that incorporate technology in my class.
I will research through National Conference for Teachers of English (NCTE) for activities, plans, and topics that can be incorporated in my class.

After each technology lesson, I will reflect on the overall quality lesson to help myself gain insight on how to properly implement student-centered technology lessons in the classroom.  I will reflect by asking myself “are the students engaged in the activity?”  Did the technology help deepen the students understanding in comparison to past years (Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer, 2009)?  Have my students effectively demonstrated learning?

After several lessons, I will determine if the implementation of the technology centered lessons are in fact effective in enhancing my mastery of the above indicators.

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


Reflection on Learning Theories

Several weeks ago I described my personal theory on learning. My theory included aspects of behaviorism and constructivism. Students assimilate knowledge that they can connect to their everyday lives and receive feedback as to whether or not the knowledge is applied correctly.  For much of my teaching experience I have designed lessons and units around these two theories and only these two theories; however, I have begun to implement more learning theories into my classroom in order to reach all students.

While I still strongly believe that these two aspects hold true, social constructivism also fits into the picture. With this addition, students are aided by a “more knowledgeable other” who can help the individual acquire more knowledge than they could alone (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). Technology aids in this as communication can occur over long distances more quickly and the Internet through tutorials and demonstrations acts as a “more knowledgeable other.” A combination of these three learning models is representative of how students learn.
Two technology tools that I have already integrated in my classroom are VoiceThread and Webspiration. I have used VoiceThread in one activity with my students in which they discussed the social significance of the Max Schmeling vs. Joe Louis fight and the Jack Johnson vs. James Jeffries fight. Students were asked to read an article about the Joe Louis fight and compare the information presented in the article with the previous knowledge they had of the Johnson fight and discuss the overall significance each had in the advancement of black athletes in America through VoiceThread. This activity was a direct result of the shift in my personal learning theory as I have attempted create more social activities with my students. Together, students were able to think through the question, apply what we have learned, and made logical conclusions to answer the question.

The second technology, Webspiration, I have used twice with my 10th grade English class, which happens to be a survey course with no set curriculum. In one activity, students created concept maps that categorized the character development in the novel A Walk in the Woods. This allowed students to see how the juxtaposition was set-up between Bill Bryson and Stephen Katz.  It also allowed students to view why certain characters are placed in a book to move the plot forward and why we attach ourselves to certain characters rather than others. In the activity, students provided feedback to one another, leading into the behaviorist aspect of my personal learning theory.

One change that I would like to include in my class is to incorporate more hypothesis generating and testing. With this instructional strategy, students applying what they know, experimenting, and adjusting their hypotheses based on the experiments (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). To accomplish this goal, I first will include a couple small activities in class in which students will generate and test hypothesis. I would eventually like to team up with our science teachers to create and implement more in depth activities, especially when completing the unit I implement where students create their own civilization. A second change that I would like to continue to work on is cooperative learning. While I have students work together on activities, I need to improve the types of activities that I am asking students to complete together. The ideal cooperative learning situation includes challenging scenarios that students individually could not complete (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

With my increased use of technologies such as VoiceThread, the difficulties of problems I am asking students will also increase. Over the summer, I would like to sit down with other teachers teaching the same subject to create weekly challenging scenarios for students to work together to solve through a VoiceThread discussion. This would be implemented at the beginning of the next school year and will help to develop a learning environment that utilizes multiple learning theories.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program eight. Social learning theories [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Screwed Up First VoiceThread

I messed up my first VoiceThread so I had to repost another link.  Sorry.

Voice Tread...

I forgot to post my voice tread on my blog.  If you are able to respond to it that would be great, if you are unable to respond I understand completely.