Monday, April 23, 2018

Final Thoughts: Edtech 541

Part One: Reflection
When I look back on this course, I realize how much it helped me implement technology into lessons that I already use without technology. This is very beneficial as my school will be going one to one next year. I’ve learned that not only can it be beneficial to include technology in my lessons but to make sure that technology is used in a way to help my students learn. Not only do I feel this course helped me learn how to implement technology in a way to benefit my students, it also helped provide examples of mastery of the AECT standards.

When I look through my final project website, I can see evidence of the standards throughout. It is clear that within my assignments I was able to show my skill and knowledge on how to design, develop, utilize, manage, and evaluate assignments that will benefit all learners. My assignments also show materials that I have developed that use audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies. Not only do these assignments show my mastery of the standards, but I could also implement all of them in the classroom tomorrow.

Professionally, I think I have grown more confident in my design and implementation of technology into my math lessons. This will allow me to not only successfully use these ideas in my classroom, but will also give me the opportunity to share with my coworkers and help them come up with their own ideas for their classrooms. This course has allowed me to see how easy it can be to use technology in my math courses in a way that can impact my students’ learning in a positive way. I look forward to implementing these ideas more and more as my students gain more access to technology themselves.

Part Two: Assessment
When looking back on my blog for the semester, I will say that I could have done a lot better. Personally, this has been a very busy semester for me at work and that can be seen in how I handled this specific assignment weekly. After looking through the list of required blogs, I’ve found there was ten total we were required to do before this week and post on our blog (The overview of instructional software was not required this semester). The 11th requirement did not have to be on our blog, but we still had to give feedback on two other students’ final projects. With that said, out of the 11 required posts, I completed 6 of them. Five of these were actual blog posts and the sixth was the feedback on the final projects.

As far as grading myself on my blogs, I do believe I met all of the requirements in the rubric. The posts I completed were rich in content, they had clear connections, resources were used and cited, posts were done on time, and I responded to two others in all of the weeks I did them. If I were to have done the other five required posts, I would say I deserve full credit. However, I did not. Considering that I did right over half in a timely manner, but because of not doing all of them I would propose a grade of an 80/140. Since I did a little more than half of the required posts, I do feel I deserve over half the points, but I do not feel I deserve any more than that. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Acceptable Use Policies

An acceptable use policy or AUP for short is a policy that outlines rules that have to be followed while using forms of technology. As Mitchell states, it also includes unacceptable uses and the consequences that will take place if the technology is used inappropriately (2016). According to Getting Started on the Internet, some AUPs also have students and parents sign the document stating that they understand and are aware of the policy (n.d). The overall idea of an AUP is the safety of those using technology.

Within an AUP, multiple things should be included. Mitchell goes through what should be contained within his article. Some of the information that should be included he states are the policy owner(s), the rules and examples to relate the policy to “real life”, and consequences if rules are broken (2016). The more thorough the policy is, the better all who will be held to it will understand.

Having an AUP is extremely important especially when it comes to students. They have grown up around technology and know many ways to use it that are not appropriate to benefit their learning. Having a policy that makes them aware of what is acceptable for school purposes and what is not is needed. I also like the idea mentioned above of having both students and parents sign in agreement with the policy. This not only might help them all read the policy and be aware of them but also make it easier to hold students accountable if they break the policy rules. With a signature, there is no denying that they knew what was allowed and what wasn’t allowed. Examples relating the rules to a real-life situation can also help in explaining to students what each rule really means when it comes to their use at school.

Below you will find four AUPs that relate to my educational area. I am a high school teacher and tried to find different policies that could easily be incorporated into my classroom. One of these policies is the one for my school district. I think it’s great to have a district and/or school policy, but individual classroom policies are great to consider as well.

Example Policies

School Districts:

High Schools:


Getting Started on the Internet: Developing an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2018, from

Mitchell, B. (2016, October 19). What is an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)? Retrieved February 24, 2018, from

Monday, February 19, 2018

Benefits of Multimedia in the Classroom

I was able to interview five teachers that I work with who all teach different subjects. You'll hear from a math, Spanish, special education, science, and social studies teacher below on how and why they use video in the classroom. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Relative Advantage of The Basic Suite

The Basic Suite is a combination of three different programs: word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations (Roblyer, 2016). One software that has these three programs and has been used for years at home, at work, and in schools is Microsoft Office. Microsoft has Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as their specific software for the programs listed above. These three software tools are what I grew up using in school. It wasn’t until I got to college that I instead started shifting to another version of these tools known as Google Apps.

Before being introduced to Google Apps, I found that the use of the Microsoft software was a great tool to incorporate technology into the classroom. However, I found two concerns when using it. One of those was that I had to make sure I saved my work every few minutes so I wouldn’t lose it. The other concern was making sure I save it on a USB device to take to and from school so I could work on it at either place. Within that second concern, I also I had to make sure I saved it correctly so it could work on any version of the Microsoft software.

Luckily by college though, I didn’t have to worry about this as much as Google Apps was becoming even more popular. Google Apps tools that represented The Basic Suite are Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Even though Microsoft allowed you to use all three programs in schools, Google Apps has taken it to a whole different level. The concerns I mentioned above with Microsoft disappear when it comes to the Google Apps. All of the Google Apps automatically save your work and allow you to access it from any device as long as you’re signed in to your account. These apps also add other capabilities within them that make it even a greater tool to use in the classroom, the biggest of those being collaboration. Within Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can collaborate on one assignment at the same time from different devices as long as all members are given editing rights.

The capabilities Google Apps offers makes it the perfect tool to use in the classroom. Students can collaborate to write a paper on Docs, they could make a presentation for a project on Slides, or could even represent data within Sheets. Another advantage is that students can share their work with the teacher by simply hitting the “share” button. They can choose to give the teacher editing access or just viewing access as well.

Not only are these tools great tools to use for collaboration reasons, they also give students more room for creativity. The students I teach today have grown up around technology and are very good at using it. Giving them the ability to take advantage of that to benefit their learning allows them to take their learning to a whole new level because they are able to use tools they’re confident with.

Now that I’ve discussed the overall advantages of The Basic Suite of Google Apps, I want to specifically address advantages they have in my math classroom. I’ve personally used Google Docs within my Geometry classes in a variety of ways. One way that my students have used it was to make a quadrilateral scrapbook. Students had to list the properties of each quadrilateral we talked about, give a picture of the quadrilateral with the properties labeled on it, and provide a real-world example. Student creativity was encouraged by encouraging them to find real-world examples not online, but in actual real life and to take a selfie with it to add to their project. Students completed this project on a Doc but could have just as easily used Slides. Another way I’ve had my students use Google Docs is by the use of a hyperdoc where students read and/or watched videos on new topics, filled in some notes, and then tried practice through Quizizz and Google Forms. In both of these ways, I found students really enjoying the ability to use technology to show their understanding. With both of these assignments, students were able to share it with me online and I even allowed them to share it with me before the due date if they wanted some feedback on it. I was able to highlight and provide comments on the side of areas I thought they should go back and look at. Not only was this a way students could get feedback, but it was a way I could give it to them from anywhere. I could access their work at school or at home, but no matter where I was, they got the feedback right when I added it. There was no waiting process for when they came to my class again to get that feedback. I find this to be a huge advantage not only for the student but the teacher as well.

As you can see above, there are great advantages to the use of The Basic Suite in the classroom. I would encourage all teachers to try and incorporate them in one way or another. Give the students the ability to collaborate and be creative using tools they’re already so comfortable with. Not only will they learn, but they may even surprise you along the way with the outcome they give you from it.

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Horizon Report Trends in Education (2017)

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” This quote from Benjamin Franklin is one of my favorite quotes. It inspires and encourages me while also reminding me what the ultimate goal of being a teacher is: to involve students in their own learning. It’s so easy to get caught up in the standards of a class and making sure you’ve “taught” it all instead of focusing on really promoting student learning. The Horizon Report discusses six trends that can really help teachers involve students in their learning and help them be successful in school and life. Below, you will see how specifically, three of those trends currently or in the future will influence how I present and teach math to my high school students.

Advancing Cultures of Innovation and Deeper Learning Approaches
Both the advancing cultures of innovation trend and the deeper learning approaches trend are concentrated on building critical thinking skills in relation to the real world. Examples of this in action are collaboration, project-based learning, problem-solving, and creativity. These two trends I believe are really important in a high school math class setting. Critical thinking is an extremely important part of understanding math. With that said, I try to incorporate critical thinking into my math classes in a variety of ways. One example of this is by having students complete discovery lessons. Since there is a lot of rules and formulas in math, students tend to want to memorize them and not actually understand them. Having them complete discovery activities allows the students to solve problems and work through scenarios that allow them to write the rule themselves. This also puts their learning in their own hands instead of having me up at the board just telling them the rule and them copying it down. Another way this trend influences my teaching is in the creativity aspect. I used to think it was hard to incorporate creativity into a math class as it’s mostly numbers. However, through projects I’ve given my students, it’s allowed them to really bring their own creativity into their understanding. From having to find examples in the real world of shapes for Geometry and take selfies with them to having them write a trigonometry storybook and draw out their story with it. This gives students the opportunity to take what they’ve learned in my classroom and creatively apply it on their own.

Growing Focus on Measuring Learning
Within the growing focus on measuring learning section of the Horizon report, the statement about there being an overemphasis on state and standardized tests that take away from the instructional time really hit home for me. One of the math courses I teach is Algebra 1 which in the state I teach in, has a state test at the end of the year. If I’m being honest, this state test does add a lot more pressure to the class. Throughout the year there is this battle of trying to cover all the standards before the state test while also trying to go at a decent pace that focuses on the student’s understanding of the concepts. With this being a freshmen course, a lot of times it’s difficult to start where we are supposed to because of the lack of information they have retained from middle school. I always find myself having to reteach material that according to the standards, they should already know how to do. This tends to add a lot more stress to the planning.

All of these thoughts influence my plans on how I teach and present the math material to my students. With every day being so significant in a class that has a state test, it’s important for me to measure my students’ learning in a way that is beneficial for both them and me. I want to be able to see what knowledge them come to me with, how they’re retaining the material I teach them overtime, and overall to monitor their progress. A way I’ve been able to do that this year is through two programs my school has started using. The first one is called Algebra Nation. Within Algebra Nation, there is something called the “On Ramp” which allows students to answer questions that place them where they are at within the curriculum. From there, they are able to watch video lessons and answer questions to move up through all of the material. This has been a huge help specifically in my class that I teach that has students who struggle with math. It’s a way that they can all learn at their own pace and gives me a way to measure their learning at the same time. A second program my school has been using is Mastery Connect. This program has a question bank that makes questions very similar to state and standardized tests. I can choose multiple standards to give them and test them on. After they take a test I’ve made on it, they are placed into one of three levels on each standard assessed. The three levels are needs remediation, near mastery, and mastery. This allows both the student and myself to see what standards they grasp fully and what standards we need to discuss more. Both of these programs have influenced the way I monitor and measure student progress this year and is also allowing the student to monitor themselves as well.

Rise of STEAM Learning
The rise of STEAM learning trend definitely is important within my content area since mathematics is a part of the name (STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). I find STEAM learning to be such a great way for students to learn within in my content aread, however I find it hard to do within my classroom right now. The school I teach at is not a 1:1 school, but as of next year all students wil have their own chromebooks. I believe that once students all have their own form of technology to use within my class, it’ll make it a lot easier to incorporate STEAM learning strategies. Through reading this report though, it is reminding me of ways I could promote this type of learning without using technology when my students don’t have access to it. That is through the integration of visual arts. I have students draw out representations of math problems that we do, but to have them take it a step further and visually create something of their own to represent a topic they have learned in my class seems like a great thing to try in the future.

In the end, I think all six trends are great ways to influence my classroom in a positive way and I hope I’m able to incorporate the four I discussed above in even more ways than already listed. I didn’t specifically discuss the influence of two trends above as they aren’t able to influence my teaching as much right now or in the near future. Those trends are the redesigning learning spaces trend and the coding as literacy trend. There are small ways I redesign my students’ learning space, but with my classroom being so small and only having access to students’ desks, there is only so much I can do as of now. We have them in rows some days, in groups/stations other days, and sometimes we even make a circle with them. However, I wouldn’t relate those being what the report described as “mobile, flexible, varied, and connected.” In the future though, I would love for my classroom to move that way. The coding as literacy trend I didn’t specifically discuss either because as stated above, my students don’t have much access to technology yet. After we go 1:1 next year, in the years to come maybe that will be one trend I will be able to try within my classroom.

All in all, these trends relate to the quote I started this post with. They all are ways to help involve students in their own learning and understanding. I strive to continue to incorporate ways to do this within my own classroom using the trends discussed above.

Freeman, A., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., and Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). 
MC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K–12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Mission and Vision

In our world today, technology is seen everywhere. It’s seen in our homes, at our work, and it’s showing up more and more in our schools. Today’s young generation of students has not grown up in a time without technology being a part of it. Not only has technology always been around, but it’s been an important part of their lives since they’ve been here. This alone is reason enough to show how important and impactful technology can be to help our students learn and succeed at their highest capability.

As Roblyer states, educational and instructional technology isn’t just the devices or equipment that is used in the classroom. Some people think that educational technology is all about pulling out a device to use within a lesson and checking that checkbox off, but not making the technology use effective and meaningful. Though these devices are great tools to use, it should be more about how they are being used in the classroom. As teachers, we need to be sure to use technology to help our students become productive members of society and to help enhance their 21st-century skills. The goal shouldn’t be to check a box off but to use the technology to enhance and transform their learning and allow them to take control and ownership over their own learning. As the Framework for 21st Century Learning states, “to be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information, media, and technology.”

In order to do this effectively, as Roblyer says, “teachers need system-wide support.” This means everyone involved from the school to the state needs to be committed to using technology as a way to support the teaching and learning of students. With the correct support, it will give teachers the opportunity to use technology in meaningful ways to help their students. Roblyer also explains there are two perspectives on effective instruction, direct instruction, and inquiry-based learning. The direct instruction perspective is based on the objectivist theories while inquiry-based learning perspective is based on the constructivist theories. The objectivist theories are based on students needing individual learning and practice in order to learn the material in an efficient way. Whereas the constructivist theories are based on promoting collaboration between students and having students explore and discover as they learn. Teachers should balance both the direct instruction and the inquiry-based learning within their classroom in order to help all students to learn in varying ways.

There is far too much inconsistency in the classrooms today and educational technology is a tool that can help. From checking off the use of technology just to say it's been used, to teaching to solely prepare for a test, to lack of engagement from our students. It's our job as teachers to not only prepare students for tests, but to prepare them for life. It's our job to teach them in a way they will learn and in a way that engages them. Students need to be able to learn to work individually and be able to succeed that way, but it’s also important for students to explore and discover together what they’re learning about. If there is a balance of both, the learning will go much further. The same goes for technology use in the classroom. Their needs to be a balance of how it is being used. As it can be seen in the Technology Integration Matrix, there are five characteristics of the learning environment: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed. The matrix also lists five levels of technology integration: entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation. If teachers and schools were to focus on educational technology use to allow students to be active in their learning, to collaborate with one another, to be constructive, to be authentic and to be goal-directed, then that is how we will transform the classroom. This is how we will transform our students. This is how we will transform their learning. And by doing that, it will, in turn, help them transform the world.


Framework for 21st Century Learning. (2016, January). Retrieved January 19, 2018, from

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.

The Technology Integration Matrix. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2018, from

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Social Networking: Final Reflection

Final Reflection:
When reflecting on this course, I quickly realize how much more beneficial it was than I ever expected it to be. I originally chose to take this course knowing that I was pretty familiar with a lot of social media sites, but knew I wasn't quite sure on how to successfully bring them into the classroom. This course was able to really help my confidence with that and I'm excited to try using some social media in my classes in the future.

Even though I came into this course knowing how to use tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google apps, I also realized that there was a lot I didn't know or had never considered. One huge takeaway for me was the importance to create a positive digital footprint. Not only is this important for me as a teacher, but it is also important for me to teach my students. I can learn even more myself by growing my personal learning network and being a positive member online. Through doing this, I can be a positive influence for my students for their own social media usage as well. I also was able to see how much help virtual professional development can be compared to just a few years ago. Technology is becoming so much more prominent in schools that it is also allowing virtual professional development to be given the opportunity to help teachers by giving them an easily accessible place to encourage one another and share thoughts or ideas with each other.

The assignment that required us to make our own social media policy was also extremely beneficial. The school I work in will have a Chromebook in every student's hand in two years time. With that said, it's extremely important for me to begin to think about the policies that will need to be in place as we continue to use technology more and more. Whether that's just a policy for my class or even for the school, it definitely needs to be a subject that is brought up within the staff over this coming year. This assignment will give me the opportunity to bring ideas to the table and just allow me to remember the importance of safety on the internet for students as I begin to use it more in my own classroom.

Overall, I feel there are huge benefits from all of the assignments we had. They allowed me to learn a lot of things I didn't know and they also give me ideas on how to incorporate social media into my classroom while still allowing learning to go on. Some ways I see me using what I've learned in this course within my own classes are with the use of Twitter, Google Apps, Google Classroom, and blogging (just to name a few). All of these platforms allow students to share their own work, collaborate, and give feedback to one another. I've found with teaching high school students, Facebook really isn't "in" anymore, but using these other platforms could definitely work and allow them to have fun while learning. 

I would also say my main goal from this course to take back into the classroom is the student creativity and reflection pieces. When looking back on this course, I see how beneficial the blogging portion has been. It's allowed us to show our creative side with making our PLN diagram and creative expression while also letting us reflect on our own work. These are huge components of the learning process and could allow students the ability to think more on their own about the material and express their thoughts in writing. Considering that I'm a math teacher, getting students to write about their work and enjoy doing so could be a huge benefit for them. 

In the end, I'm more thankful for this course than I could have ever imagined being. I truly can't wait to take and apply what I've learned within my classes to benefit my students' learning while also making the learning fun.

When assessing my own blog performance for this course, I would give myself 75/75 points. I may not be the best writer (again, remember I'm a math teacher), but I posted on time every time I was supposed to. I also made sure to include all components that were required of me. 

Final Thoughts: Edtech 541

Part One: Reflection When I look back on this course, I realize how much it helped me implement technology into lessons that I already us...