Wednesday, April 24, 2013

EME 2040 Reflections

Previous Thoughts About This Course...

     Introduction to Technology for Educators was not a class I was looking forward to taking.  I honestly thought it would be a waste of my time.  I know technology pretty well, so I did not see the point in having to take a class that focused on using technology in order to teach.  I also plan on being a math teacher, so again, the only technology I planned on really using was a calculator, and even that would barely be used.


     Transforming Learning with New Technologies by Maloy was a very easy to read textbook.  It has many images and is formatted in a way that allows for easy navigation.  It is very straightforward, which made using it for assignments very simple.  It was not an interesting read, however.  I found the text very dreary overall, and found very little of it actually thought inspiring.  It made good points however and covered all the "need to knows" for this course.


     The five discussions that we had throughout the duration of the course gave us the chance to express our own ideas and reflect on other students' opinions.  I enjoyed discussing the given topics with my fellow classmates, however I feel that there should have been more thought provoking questions that we should tackle within the discussion.  At times I was struggling just to meet the minimum word requirement.

Activities and Assignments

     Throughout the course, to be honest, I did not learn much given the activities we were assigned.  I already knew PowerPoint, WikiSpace, and GoogleDocs.  I enjoyed learning how to do the WebPortfolio, however.  I had never made a website before, and I found it quite interesting.  I personally used Weebly, which was very easy to use and was in fact an educational experience.  This assignment I found the most useful as far as good technology resources for teachers to use.  In creating our own website, we can interact with our students on a closer level and it also organizes class so much better. This assignment definitely helped us reach our syllabus goal of creating a "portfolio with samples reflecting ways technology can support classroom management, administration, and teaching in a K-12 classroom."
     Our weekly journal post assignments were a nice way to keep our heads in the class.  I enjoyed learning how to incorporate links, images, and videos into a blog post.  I especially like being able to incorporate videos.  Videos help to keep the page interesting.  Such as this random video about quicksand:

Ah, Bill Nye the Science Guy.  That's an easy way to keep kids interested!  The blog posts also forced me to look at the book a bit more closely, which I have to admit, I may not have done so otherwise.

After thoughts...

     Now that the class has ended, I am very happy.  I enjoyed some of the work and dreaded some of it as well.  Bits and pieces I found useful, as mentioned above, while other parts I felt to be a bother.  Overall, however, I did enjoy the class and feel I am walking away having learned some valuable information.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Quicksand.  (23 June 2007). Web. 22 April 2013. Retrieved from:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chapter 11: Engaging Teachers and Students in Learning and Self-Reflection

Focus Question:

What is performance-based assessment for teachers and for students?

     Performance based assessment is an evaluation based on work completed rather than on tests taken.  Student writing, group projects, presentations, homework, open-book exams, student self-assessments, and teacher evaluations are all performance area evaluations.  Teachers continually evaluate their students while their supervisors are continually evaluating them.  
     Technology plays into all of this because it allows real-world learning to be displayed.  Performance-based assessments are very handy in that they allow for the performance to be judged in another way that is not only based off of an exam.  Some students perform well on other things but terribly on exams, so these assessments work to their benefit.

Tech Tool Link: Zoomerang

     Zoomerang is a website that provides online survey tools.  This meaning that it provides "prompts and templates based on themes that help make the purpose of the survey clearly apparent to" those people taking it.  It is free for basic use.  Zoomerang follows these basic principles:

  • "Easy Our intuitive interface makes it easy to get started, learn & use
  • Fast Enter your questions, send out, & monitor responses in real-time
  • Flexible Send an unlimited number of online surveys & polls"
     The website overall is very plain, but easy to navigate.  It seems that Zoomerang has been taken over by SurveyMonkey, so it may be beneficial to simply start at SurveyMonkey.
     Zoomerang would be useful in a classroom in the sense that it can be used to create surveys of students or by students.  Students can have assignments that require them to gather information.  Zoomerang would allow them to organize it neatly.  Teachers could do a survey of their students to find out how they feel they are progressing or to find out what the students think is helpful that the teacher is or is not doing.  

Summary and Connections:

     The section on student participation systems was the most interesting.  These participation systems use remote control devices to allow students in the classroom to respond collectively to questions posted by teachers.  These devices are widely known as "clickers."  These systems allow for students to actively participate during class time rather than sitting idle.  They force students to think on the spot and therefore allow the teacher to know how many of their students, and which ones, know what exactly is going on in the lecture.  I find that asking general questions that have no correct answer is a good way to engage the students with these systems.  This leads to discussion that engage the students and teacher and causes deeper critical thinking to occur.  In my classroom, I would use the clickers constantly so that the students are continually engaged and participating throughout class time.  This way, I would be aware of who knows what and it would also keep them on their toes.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Zoomerang. (2013). Survey Monkey.  Web. 11 April 2013.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter 10: Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

Focus Question:

What are differentiated instruction (DI) and universal design for learning (UDL)?

     Differentiated instruction (DI) is "an instructional approach that gives students 'multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas'" (p. 277).  In this way, educators create different educational experiences in order to meet the specific needs of students.  This approach takes into account the differences in the students while trying to create curricula that is both challenging and engaging the students' interest.  
     Universal design for learning (UDL) is "the application of universal design principles to educational settings" (p. 279).  UDL considers how the brain takes in and applies information.  Taking this into account, teachers design curriculum that can accommodate student needs.
     For both DI and UDL, the students benefit from a wide range of educational experiences that can lead to learning success.  The teachers are the ones who determine how students learn and succeed in these situations.  Teachers can maintain a class curriculum and order that activates and promotes learning success, or they can maintain a drool classroom that does not do much to inspire learning in their students.

Tech Tool Link: Jim Martindale's Calculators On-Line Center

     Jim Martindale's Calculators On-Line Center is a website that has links to over 22,000 calculation programs.  These calculation programs have simulations and teaching modules that allow for both student and teacher entertainment.  The site enables a student to calculate many random things, from the storage capacities of an iPod to wind chill factors.  It is very handy for finding a calculator for any situation.

     Overall, the site is not very visually appealing, which may turn off some students.  Above is the first thing you see when accessing the site.  Scrolling down, the sea of royal blue continues.  It is very easy to navigate, however, which may make up for its boringness in color and images.  It divides the links into categories such as "Agriculture" and "Chemistry Center" which makes it easy for students to browse by specific topic.  

Summary and Connections

     I found the section discussing calculators the most amusing in this chapter.  It says that "Calculators are a topic of sharp debate among educators" (p. 287).  I can easily see why.  Many calculators nowadays can solve a complex problem in one step.  Students are becoming too reliable on calculators and are therefore not learning the actual processes that lead to an answer a calculator will just spit out for them.  According to the Education World website, there are the "Calculator Champions" who claim that calculators:

  • allow students to spend less time on tedious calculations and more time on understanding and solving problems.
  • help students develop better number sense.
  • allow students to study mathematical concepts they could not attempt if they had to perform the related calculations themselves.
  • allow students who would normally be turned off to math because of frustration or boredom to increase their mathematical understanding.
  • simplify tasks, while helping students determine the best methods for solving problems.
  • make students more confident about their math abilities.
On the other side of the argument are the "Calculator Critics" who claim that calculator use:
  • produce students who can't perform basic tasks without a calculator.
  • encourage students to randomly try a variety of mathematical computations without any real understanding of which is appropriate or why.
  • prevent students from discovering and understanding underlying mathematical concepts.
  • keep students from benefiting from one of the most important reasons for learning math -- to train and discipline the mind and to promote logical reasoning.
  • inhibit students from seeing the inherent structure in mathematical relationships.
  • give students a false sense of confidence about their math ability.

I see the sides of both arguments, however I often favor the side of the "calculator critics."  It is more than just the calculator use itself, it is how a teacher implements calculators into their agenda.  The way most teachers teach proves the calculator critics correct.  


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Martindale, J. (2013). Martindale's Calculators On-Line Center.  Web. 3 April 2013.

Starr, L. (2002).  Educators Battle Over Calculator Use: Both Sides Claim Casualties. Education World. Web. 4 April 2013.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chapter 9: Creating and Sharing Information with Multimedia Technologies

Focus Question

How can teachers use video resources in their teaching?

     Teachers can use video technology to further solidify certain knowledge within the minds of their students.  Videos and DVDs convey important information.  They can also be used to simplify or summarize certain topics.  Many teachers include a "follow-a-long" worksheet to be completed while watching the video in order to make sure the viewing is not a passive experience.  I personally have found that videos are a good way to stimulate interest in dull subject matter.  A video can easily take the viewer out of the classroom and into the real world, to a place where they would not normally be able to visit, such as the inside of a volcano.  Videos are therefore a great supplement to in-class learning.

Tech Tool Link: The Futures Channel

     The Futures Channel is a collection of short video movie clips that are related to jobs, careers, and future opportunities available in the areas of mathematics, science, technology, and engineering.  The site also includes a collection of lesson plans and related teaching resources.  The clips and other resources give students an idea of how subject areas such as math and science are applied in everyday life by people working in very diverse fields, from theatre to marketing.  The website is very diverse.  Students can see videos about animals, such as this one about the Black Footed Ferret, and just a few clicks away they can see videos about space science, such as this one about Revisiting the Moon.   
     The Futures Channel is a visually appealing, easy to navigate website that seems to be very useful to teachers and students alike.  It allows teachers to create stimulating curriculum that will engage the students. This website can easily be used as a supplement to subjects in order to solidify information and stimulate further interest in a topic.  This website can be used to inspire interest in certain careers.  Therefore it can inspire determination and the desire to continue with schooling. 

Summary and Connections

     This chapter was full of information on using multimedia within the classroom.  I found the section on photo taking and movie making by students the most interesting.  Having student make their own videos is a way of having students show their teachers and their peers what they have learned and how they perceive certain topics.  I personally have found that movie making by some students is effective, whereas movie making by others is not.  This all goes back to what type of learner the student is in particular.  I find watching a video, rather than making my own, is the most effective way of instilling a concept.  Others find that while watching a movie, they cannot concentrate and therefore cannot grasp the concept, where on the other hand, if they make the video themselves the desired concept is solidified.  


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

The Futures Channel. The Futures Channel.  Web. 24 Mar 2013.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chapter 8: Communicating and Networking with Websites, Blogs, Wikis, and More

Focus Question:

How can teachers use wikis to promote collaborative learning?

     Wikis are created and maintained by multiple users from different computers.  Due to the fact the users can use different computers to work on the same "project," wikis allow for collaborative learning. Students and teachers can work together and at a distance.  Wikis make collaborative projects easy to accomplish.  They also allow for the educator to step in at any step of the project to make comments and suggestions. 

Tech Tool Link: Moodle

     Moddle is an online Course Management System, or CMS, also known as a Learning Management System, LMS, or a Virtual Learning Environment, VLE.  Moodle is free and provides the user with an email, online discussion boards, instant messaging, and discussion forums.  Moodle allows for grade record keeping and posting, selective content releases, and filtering options.  
     The site its self is visually appealing.  It is easy to use and free to access.  It provides demonstration websites and videos to allow for easy use, such as the video below:

Summary and Connections:

     Though the entire chapter has useful information on communicating and networking, I found the section on strategies for using email and IM with students the most interesting.  Email is already a very useful way to communicate with students.  Email can be used to give students reminders or documents that they did not receive in class.  Email can also be used for students to turn in work that they could not turn in by hand.  Email also allows for accountability.  Emails are recorded and easy to look back on over time.  
     Instant messaging, or IM, is useful for quick interaction between students and teachers.  This encourages informal interaction, which, while it might not help students when it comes to grammar, is beneficial to building relationships.  IM allows for fast and easy interaction.  IM is also beneficial for online "office hours" in which the students can quickly get answers for questions they need answering.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Moodle. Moodle Trust.  Web. 11 Mar 2013.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chapter 7: Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools

Focus Question:

What are intelligent tutoring systems and how can students and teachers use them successfully?

     Intelligent tutoring systems, or ITS, are software programs that promote inquiry learning by students through computer responses to student actions.  This means that the software records the students responses to questions and then makes predictions about what users know and do not know.  Then, the software focuses on the types of problems that it determines the student needs the most help with.  
     Students and teachers can use the ITS just as they would a normal human tutor.  Teachers can assign students to use a ITS in order to help evaluate where that student is as far as understanding certain subject matter.  Students themselves can take advantage of the very convenient tutor.  

Tech Tool Link: Scratch

     Scratch is a website that allows the user to make his or her own games, animated stories, and interactive art.  Scratch is useful for both students and teachers.  Scratch allows students to "follow their own initiatives, learning from those activities with feedback and support from the teacher."  The site is useful in that it allows for students to learn by doing.  Students are in effect teaching themselves while being imaginative and creative.  The site itself is very inviting.  It is colorful and has some of the most popular games and videos posted right on the home page.  The viewer can also look through the gallery or forums to find something of interest.  If the viewer is having trouble getting started, there is also a link on "Getting Started" so any confusion is quickly cleared up.

Summary and Connections:

     This chapter was full of useful information on learning tools that help students grow.  I found the chart on Digital Games for Learning (Table 7.5) the most interesting.  This chart provides a list of useful digital learning games and a description of each game while listing potential grade levels.  On the list, there are games such as Quest Atlantis, Restaurant Empire, and River City.  All are interactive games that students can enjoy.  SimCity Societies is also a game listed.  I found this funny seeing as it is a game that I know myself.  I never thought of it as an educational game, but now I see its relevance.  SimCity allows the player to "Play God" or "Play Mayor" and see the outcome of their decisions.  The player is also able to build the city in such a way as to inspire lawfulness or lawlessness.  I found the chart quite enjoyable.  

Above is a short (10 minute) video on how to get started with SimCity Societies.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Scratch. Lifelong Kindergarten Group.  Web. 24 Feb 2013.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chapter 6: Teaching with Educational Websites and Other Online Resources

Focus Question:

What is information management and digital content?

     Information management is a term used to describe the way in which "organizations and systems keep track of data for making decisions and setting policies."  In the educational realm, "information management means organizing and utilizing all the different kinds of electronic information one must handle professionally and academically." 

     Digital content is a term that simply means online information.  Digital content is a term applied to all information found online.  Digital content is used by both students and teachers to get information to further teach and learn information. 

Tech Tool Link: Goodreads

     Goodreads is a website that is designed to let its users organize their favorite books online.  In order to organize them, the users can create bookshelves by topic.  The user firsts picks books that he or she has read, plans to read, or wants to remember and places them on the bookshelf.  The user may add titles to the bookshelf through or by entering the book title manually.  The user may rate the books once they are entered on their shelf, he or she may join a book club, or even connect with people who have similar interest in books.  

     The site is visually pleasing and easy to figure out.  It seems to be a very useful website for teachers and students alike.  Students may form a book club and discuss books assigned to them.  Teachers may search for books based off of ones previously chosen.  There are also online quizzes for certain books and there are trivia questions as well.  The website can also be used recreationally by students.  After being introduced to the website, students may use it to find books to read for their own pleasure.  Overall I find this particular website to be quite useful. 

Summary and Connections:

     This chapter was full of information that focused on useful educational websites, such as bookmarking websites and webquests to find useful websites.  In particular, I found the section on interactive video conferencing quite interesting.  Videoconferencing is a form of distance learning that allows the student to have real-time access to people and places that students cannot easily go.  

     I personally have experience with videoconferencing in the academic world.  At the University of Miami, I used to work in the Modern Languages Laboratory, which is a computer lab for students and teachers in the language classes to utilize.  On certain days, we would have a specific class come in to do a Skype session.  For example, the Portuguese class would come in and Skype with students in an English class in Brazil.  The students would take turns practicing their language with the native speaker.  For ten minutes, the students would converse in English, and then for the next ten minutes, the students would converse in Portuguese.  It was a great way for the students to teach each other and make new friends along the way.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Goodreads. Goodreads, Inc.  Web. 20 Feb 2013.