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.