Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reflection on Integrating Technology into Content Areas

Reflection on Integrating Technology into Content Areas

Throughout this course of integrating technology into the content areas, I have learned a variety of ways to include technology into the classroom. In this process, I created a few GAME plan goals to help me learn technology better. According to Cennamo, Ross and Ertmer (2009), “The GAME plan requires you to think about and take steps to direct your learning process, specifically while learning about technology and how to integrate it into the curriculum.” (p. 3). During these past seven weeks, I have been working on a couple of Game Goals to aid in my learning process.

The first GAME plan I have worked on during these last few weeks was to use Google Forms more in my classroom. In this goal, I really wanted to start using Google forms as a way for my students to reflect on their learning. Reflective thinking promotes development and growth (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). I have used Google Docs in the past for collaboration, but I have not used Google Forms. Since beginning this goal, I learned how to create a form and send it out as a survey to students. One way I have used this form was to survey my Technology Club students to see what they are interested in learning about while in Technology Club. I also intend to give these students a reflective form asking for honest feedback and reflection on learning on Technology Club on the last class. This is the first year I have done Technology Club and I am interested to see what students liked, learned and thought could have went better about the club so I can improve this club next year. I have yet to implement this into my regular classroom, though I intend to use it as a reflection on a future book project. I see Google Form as a wonderful resource to help analyze students’ results. I really like how it is easy to look at the forms and see the results. Not only can I use these forms as a survey, but I would also like to use them as pre and post assessments of units, and check in with students to see how they think things are going in a variety of areas in the classroom. I see this improving my instructional practices by giving me timely feedback to adjust my instruction to better meet the needs of my students.

My second goal was to learn how to use wikis and implement them more in my classroom. At the beginning of this class, I was excited to explore and learn more about wikis. I created a school wide wiki to promote communication with my colleagues. This wiki,, has not been much of a success. Only about one fourth of my staff actually has joined. I discussed this with my principal and we talked about maybe implementing this more next school year as a beginning of the year objective. I work with a staff that is not very technological and who tend to be resistant to any need tools or changes.  I still intend on pursuing this as a way to promote communication and collaboration among my colleagues.

After using wikis more, I realized that it might not be the best reflection tool for me to work with my students. First of all, I found with Google Docs that my students often deleted each other’s work. Most of this was not intentional, but by editing a page at the same time, students would overlap each other and sometimes delete each other’s work. This could really be a problem with a wiki. I have found two people cannot edit a wiki page at the same time without overwriting and deleting each other’s work. I really see the potential of this tool with students working together on a wiki page to collaborate ideas. I think I may even start different wikis for students when we begin our ancient civilizations literature circle groups. When doing this, I will make sure each group has it’s own page or even one wiki with different pages to avoid too many students trying to edit one page at one time. In my attempt to do more of a collaborative reflection process: however, I have actually strayed a bit from this goal and begin working with blogs with my students.

Since I realized that wikis might not be the best tool for students to reflect and respond to each other, I went on a search for a tool to better meet my needs. After some research I came across the site What attracted to me to this site is that it was an easy to use blog that allowed teacher control over students’ blogs. All of the students’ individual blogs are under the teacher’s account with access to all blogs on the same home page. Another bonus is that if your students do not have email, this site does not require student emails. Our classroom blog site

This GAME plan process has been successful in helping me improve instructional strategies into all subject areas. I would like to use a similar strategy next year with monthly goal setting with my students. By having students actively work on and reflect on their goals, I believe they are more likely to achieve their goals. Not only do these technology tools help improve my instructional practices, but they also motivated my students and helped establish a stronger community in my classroom.

It is this enthusiasm that really helps me see the benefit of integrating technology into the classroom. According to Vicki Davis, technology tools give students an authentic audience, collaboration opportunities, a voice and added excitement for learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). I foresee myself continuing to work with blogs, wikis and Google Forms in my classroom. I really see wikis and blogs as excellent ways to promote collaboration among students, especially as they work on Problem-Based Learning projects. This will also give them the skills to contact experts via blog or wiki to get additional information during research projects. I also see Google Presentation as an easy to use tool to help students collaboratively work together to do digital storytelling. All of these digital tools I have used throughout this class can easily be used to better implement successful teaching practices into all subject areas. Therefore, making technology a helpful tool, not just another thing we have to teach our students. I look forward to learning more ways of implementing these tools in my classroom in the upcoming years.

-Jill Morris


Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful
classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Spotlight on technology: social networking, part 1. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

GAME Plan Update

GAME Plan Update

When creating a GAME plan it is important to take steps to implement that plan (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2010). Honestly, I have had some difficulties taking steps to implement both of my GAME plans. First of all, these past two weeks have been report card weeks. I just sent students’ mid-year report cards home today. Also, I have been planning outdoor school. This has taken at least 40 hours of my time in the last three weeks since we will be gone most of next week to camp. Yes, these are excuses, but this is the reality of an educator. We often spend many hours outside our workday to do the work we need to do. Alas, I have yet to discover how to clone myself and thus my GAME plan has been neglected.

At this point I began using a Wiki,, for my school building. I have hit a few snags in this process. The first snag is that I have timed starting a Wiki during a time where all of my coworkers are only focused on report cards. Thus, out of the 30 plus staff members I invited to the Wiki, only six have joined. Those who have joined have not had a chance to explore the wiki yet. Also, a few staff members have had issues creating accounts and logging into the wiki. I am still trying to figure out how to fix some of these issues. I have learned how to format and adjust the wiki and to create new pages. I am excited about the potential the wiki holds and look forward to learning more and continuing with my wiki GAME plan.

As for my second GAME plan of Google forms, I have not worked a great deal with this yet. However, today in computer lab, I worked with several students on using Google Presentation. Together we figured out how to do a presentation simultaneously by sharing the presentation with partnerships. I think from this experience, I would like to adjust my GAME plan to include learning how to use all of the Google Document options better. I intend to use Atomic Learning to figure out how to best use these tools. I also still want to find videos and create my own online learning on these tools.

Overall, I have obtained new information and skills on both wikis and Google Documents. I still have a huge learning curve and look forward to explore both of these digital tools more and follow through with my GAME plan.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making my GAME plan work!

Making my GAME plan work!

According to Dr. John Ross, technology provides a way to reach more students with a variety of needs, talents and backgrounds (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). As a teacher, my primary purpose is to better meet the needs of my students. In my previous post, I listed two technology goals I wanted to work on to help me reach more students.

My first goal was to better utilize Google Forms to promote student reflection. To learn how to better use Google Forms, I need to do many things. The first thing I need to do is experiment with forms. At this point in time, I have made a survey for my technology club students, but have yet to implement this into my classroom. I also want to use my Atomic learning account to watch a tutorial on how to use Google Forms. Since I am in the middle of report cards, I have yet been able to do this. Once I have figured out how to successfully use these forms, I need to research practical and academic usages. I intend to use Google Forms to help me analyze student feedback to better meet the needs of all of my students.

My second goal was to use a wiki to promote collaboration with students, coworkers and parents.  Communication is important to me as an educator. Currently in my school district, we are focused on promoting positive student talk where students have time to process and learn from each other. I believe that a wiki could be a great way to promote student talk using technology. I also think a wiki is an excellent way to facilitate collaboration among colleagues. Currently, I am planning outdoor school with four staff members. I am constantly sending emails to communicate all of the details that go into science camp. I wish at the beginning of this process we had used a wiki. This would be a great way to have facilitated important discussions without having to take too much time.  In my school building, we are going through many changes. The biggest change is that my building may be closed by the school district. This has left a lot of miscommunication and rumors. To promote positive communication in my building, I just began a school wikispaces account . After explore wikispaces, I was able to get a wiki started. I still need to watch help videos and find ideas on how to successful implement a wiki with my students. However, I think this is a good start to my goal of using wikis to promote collaboration.

I am excited about these goals and looking forward to learning more and making these technology tools common in my instructional and professional practices.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Meeting students’ needs with technology, part 1. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Teachers

The main reason why I decided to work on integration of technology in the classroom for my master’s program was because I knew I had a lot of growth opportunity in that area. I often feel as if I tiptoe into the technology realm, but never really fully immerse myself into fully integrating technology into my classroom. Also, one of our primary goals as a district is promoting student talk and collaboration. Since this is a goal I am currently working on in all areas of my classroom, I wanted to focus on these goals to better meet the NETS indicators.

The goals I want to focus on are:

Goal #1-

NETS 1.            
Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity, promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes (ISTE, 2012).

GAME goal-

G (goal)- I want to learn how to better utilize Google Forms to promote student reflection.

            A (action)- To learn how to use Google Forms, I will:
·      I go through Atomic Learning to see if there any instructional guides on Google Forms
·       I will look for tutorials on YouTube and other websites.
·      I will practice and create a weekly reflection form for students.

            M (monitor)- To monitor my learning, I will:
·      Check to see if forms actually work, but creating simple forms initially
o   I will adjust my forms as I practice forms
o   I will ask a focus group of students to give feedback about format and give suggestions of any changes.

            E (evaluate)- To evaluate my learning, I will:
·       I will have students evaluate form and analyze their feedback on forms
·       I will then incorporate forms into other content areas and part of the curriculum.
·       I will write a reflection and keep notes through the process to help me evaluate my learning.

Goal #2-

NETS 3.            
Model Digital-Age Work and Learning, collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success
and innovation.

GAME goal-

G (goal) I want to use a wiki to promote collaboration with students, coworkers and parents.

            A (action) To learn how to use wikis, I will:
·       Research different wiki sites available.
·       Practice using these sites to determine which would work for me.
·       Use Atomic Learning to develop skills to using wikis.
·       Do research on how to best use wikis in the classroom.

            M (monitor) To monitor my learning, I will:
·       Do a test wiki with grade level coworkers to experiment with wikis and see how it can promote collaboration and communication.
·       Start with a fun basic wiki about students’ thoughts and feelings about going to outdoor school camp. Invite parents to join conversation as well.
·       Create an assignment for students to collaborate wikis on a research project on ancient worlds.

            E (evaluate) To evaluate my learning, I will:
·       I will have students evaluate wikis and analyze their feedback on Google Form.
·       I will then incorporate wiki into other content areas and part of the curriculum.
·       I will write a reflection and keep notes through the process to help me evaluate my learning.


ISTE (2012, March 6). The ISTE NETS and performance indicators for teachers. Retrieved from

Monday, February 27, 2012

The next few week blog posts for EDUC 6713I

For the new few blog posts, I will be fulfilling assignments for Walden University course: EDUC-6713I-4 Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas. I look forward to blogging back and forth with many of you!


Saturday, October 22, 2011


Throughout this course, we have examined a variety of learning theories. Each learning theory has its distinct characteristics; however, all focus on student learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010d). At the beginning of this course, I had basic knowledge of many of the learning theories presented in this classes. At that time, I contended that I held an eclectic philosophy on how students learned. I believed that there was not one right learning theory and that most had some very important components that educators much be aware of. Through this course, I believe my knowledge about different learning theories and how they relate to technology has deepened dramatically. Even though I still hold an eclectic viewpoint and do not subscribe to one specific theory, I do tend to lean more towards the constructivist and social constructivist learning theories in my instructional practices.  I truly believe it is essential for students to construct their own understanding and be responsible for their own learning. Even though I may lean more towards this theory, it is essential for me to really understand all learning theories to best meet the needs of my students. “It is imperative that teachers begin the transfer process with a full understanding of learning so that they can plan and implement appropriate instruction that will result in learning success.” (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008 p.10).
 Through this course I am getting a deeper understanding of learning and I am now at the stage where I really need to transfer this knowledge into my teaching practices.

            With the knowledge of how different learning theories really fit into a classroom, especially in regards to technology, I have some adjustments to do in my teaching practices. First of all, I need to use technology more as a student-learning tool more than a teacher instruction tool. According to Dr. Orey, it is essential to use technology as a tool to help students be active learners by having them create and work with the technology tools (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010d).  One way to do this would be through cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is when students interact with each other in groups to enhance their learning (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). One learning tool we used in this class that I think has the potential to really create a powerful cooperative learning environment is Voice Thread. Since learning about Voice Thread, this has become one of my favorite web 2.0 tools. In the video, “Spotlight on Technology: Voice Thread,” Kevin Jarrett specifically talked about how Voice Thread can bring a class into a conversation (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010c). I am still exploring with this tool, but am excited about the possibilities to have students use this as a way to demonstrate their learning and have students comment, compare, question, and contrast ideas of each other’s work. I believe this will help students critically think and take more time with projects since their work will have real audience critiquing it. The possibilities of Voice Thread are exciting and I look forward to using this tool more in my classroom.

            Other technology tools that I intend to use more since rediscovering them in this course are Virtual Field Trips and web quests. There are so many amazing resources on the Internet and I want to take more advantage of digital tool. I often get into a routine where I just use the curriculum my school district provides. I sometimes forget about the other rich and useful sources available outside mandated curriculum. I find when I use Virtual Field Trips and web quests to enhance the state standards and district curriculum, student interest is greatly intensified and students retain so much more of the information than if they just had used a textbook. One example of this is when we were studying about early human cave art. We did fun and engaging activities from the district curriculum. However, until we went on a specific web quest at about cave art and toured the Lascaux caves ( in France, I do not think students really grasped the importance and purpose of this prehistoric art. One piece of evidence was when students created their own cave art. Most of the students really seemed to grasp the important components of cave art. This can be view on our Voice Thread (although this is still a work in progress). When a few 6th grade teacher did the same lessons, but without the Virtual Field Trip and web quest, her class did not demonstrate the same learning as my class did. Many of her students were drawing basketballs, flowers, houses, etc. This fellow teacher expressed her frustration on how her students really did not understand the point of the lesson. I shared with her how I enhanced the lesson through these technology tools. She was not only impressed that so many more of my students demonstrated understanding, but also at the idea of using Virtual Field Trips and web quests to add to student learning. I plan on continue using these tools, as well as so many other amazing digital tools, to enrich my students’ learning experiences through technology.

            To continually enrich my students learning experiences, I have two long-term goals. My first goal is to use technology more as a learning tool than an instructional tool. I often use technology to help improve my instructional practices, but tend to forget to make technology more student centered. To do this, I want to become more of a facilitator and allow students to direct their technology learning more. I will do this by having more technology projects and use problem-based learning where students have more opportunities to use and learn with and from technology. By using more of the problem-based inquiry process in my classroom, students will be able to use the higher-order thinking skills and be engaged in activities that are authentic and meaningful to them (Orey, 2001).

The second long-term goal I have to improve student learning through technology more in my classroom is utilizing my SMART board and student response system better. In the past year and a half, I received a SMART board and student response system from a technology grant. I have been briefly trained, but have been so overwhelmed that I have not really learned to utilize this technology to its fullest potential. Currently, I use the SMART board a few times a week and I have not even began using the student response system this school year. Part of the issue has been because my computer did not have updated software and my district has a new technology group that has not been able to fix my many issues. However, they are currently working on this and my ability to use these tools is slowly improving. Now that I can use this technology, I want to use it throughout the day and make it an important part of our classroom. To help me meet this goal, I will be attending a SMART board training this week. Through this training, I hope to obtain new skills and ideas on how to meet this goal. I also want to make sure I do not just use these technologies as instructional tools. I want this to be more of a learning tool. One way I intend to do this is have students rotate more into using the SMART board as a learning station while I work with small group instruction. Not only will this be a powerful tool to aid in student learning, but it also will be motivating for students so they will strive to be on task to use this tool well while I work with small groups, or they will not have the opportunity to use it at all. Thus, making this tool an example of how technology can be an important behavior modification and instructional tool (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b).

            This course has shown me what a powerful instructional tool technology really can be in the classroom. Technology tools can be a fantastic resource in most instructional strategies and learning theories. Admittedly, I am a bit overwhelmed by all of the amazing things technology can be utilized in the classroom. To make it a little less overwhelming, I plan to take Dr. Pickering’s advice and take a couple of ideas each year and focus on those specific tools and instructional practices (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010a). One of the great things about technology is that it is always changing and ever year I will be able to learn more great resources and skills. Technology really is a tool that makes everyone be a life long learner. As a teacher, this idea makes me love and want to use technology even more in my classroom.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program eleven: Instructional strategies, Part one [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011b). Program four: Behaviorist learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011c). Program ten: Spotlight on technology: VoiceThread [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011d). Program thirteen: Technology: Instructional tool vs. learning tool [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Teaching and learning with technology (3rd ed.pp. 2–35). Boston: Pearson Education.

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: 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Social Learning Theory and Cooperative Learning

Social learning theories basically state the learners create their own understanding through social learning experiences with others and creating artifacts that demonstrate learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). One way to incorporate social learning experiences in a classroom is through cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is where students interact with each other in such a way that they obtain more knowledge working with each other than on their own (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Along with cooperative learning is collaboration. The difference between these two social learning strategies is that in cooperative learning, each students is responsible for group work and individual contribution to the group. In collaboration, students just work for the group (Orey, 2001). With either strategy, students fundamentally have an opportunity to work with each other in social learning communities.

I believe when students work in cooperative learning groups, they are more able to process and understand information. By working together, students are able to use each other’s talents and brainstorm and bounce ideas off of each other. It goes back to the old saying, “Two heads are better than one.” I completely believe cooperative learning exemplifies this. I group my students into pods and they often reflection, discuss, and work with each other throughout the day in their pods or in partners. With technology, students are now able to cooperate with individuals outside of their classroom. Students can talk to people all around the world with free digital tools such as Skype. I also love the idea of keypals and giving students the opportunity to work with and get to know others around the world. What a powerful way for students to begin to see how we are truly a world community. Even within the classroom, students can use digital tools, such as Google Docs, to create projects together, but not necessarily on the same computer or at the same time. There are dozens of ways students can be part of an online cooperative environment. These are just some ways in which cooperative learning can incorporate social learning into the classroom.

-Jill Morris


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program eight: Social learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

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.