24 Jun

Screenshot 2014-06-24 23.10.55

As technology progresses, so does the world around us.  People are more connected now than we ever have been, and this can be to our benefit or our detriment.  In his article “It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q.”, Thomas L. Friedman (2013) suggests the following about those who advance professionally and financially in our hyper-connected world:

The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.

With this knowledge, educators must now become even more aware of the role that technology is playing (and is going to play) in our lives, both personally and professionally.  We must not only harbor passion and curiosity for our pedagogy and content, but also for technology as well.  Along with this, we must also work to promote passion and curiosity in our students.  When reflecting on the question, “What am I passionate about?“, I came up with the following response:

I want students to see themselves as collaborative contributors to society.  And I want them to do this in an authentic way that utilizes technology and promotes student-centered learning.

Following that question, I asked, “What am I curious about?”  Logically, the response that followed was a follow up to the previous question I had developed.

How do I integrate technology in a smart, authentic, and meaningful way that facilitates student learning by making students collaborative contributors to society?

The answers to these questions lie in four documents I created using Smore.  These documents serve to demonstrate my passion and curiosity as an educator, as well as culminate the knowledge I’ve gained as a result of the MAET Educational Technology Certificate Program (CEP 810, 811, 812).  The first document, linked here, points out three areas that I am both passionate and curious about.  Then, there are links within this document to the three other documents, which point out specific areas and ways in which I can use my passion and curiosity to instill passion and curiosity in my students, as well as ways in which I can continue to pursue my passions and curiosities.

As Friedman (2013) says, “the old average is over.”  We must be willing to progress alongside technology, using it to aid in the student-centered learning that will help promote authentic and collaborative learning experiences for our students.



Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000).  How people learn:  Brain, mind, experience, and school.  Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368

CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Friedman, T. L. (2013, Jan. 30).  It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as much as I.Q.  The New York Times.  Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html?_r=2&

Gee, James Paul.  (2013).  The Anti-Education Era:  Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.  New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

Gentry, J. W. (1990). What is experiential learning? In Guide to Business Gaming and Experiential Learning. (Ch. 2). Retrieved from http://www.wmich.edu/casp/servicelearning/files/What%20is%20Experiential

Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Mishra, P. Teaching creatively: Teachers as designers of technology, content, and pedagogy [Video file]. Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/39539571

Pariser, Eli.  (2011, March).  Beware online filter bubbles.  [TED video file].  Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

Smith, M. K. (2010). David A. Kolb on experiential learning. Retrieved fromhttp://infed.org/mobi/david-a-kolb-on-experiential-learning/

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

 References for Digital Images

Feedly.com. (2014, Mar. 31).  Feedly-logo [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twitter_icon.png

Feinberg, J.  (2013).  Wordle [Digital Images].  Retrieved from http://www.wordle.net/

Ferriera, D.  (2012, Jan. 17).  Twitter icon [Digital File].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twitter_icon.png

Forsythe, G.  (2013, June 21).  Universal Design for Learning from Center for Applied Special Technology [Digital Image].  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/9101797199/

Fryer, W. (2013, Feb. 16).  Kidblog [Digital Image].  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/8478930729/

Google.  (2013, Sept. 8).  Hangouts Icon [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hangouts_Icon.png

iTunes Preview.  (2014, June 2).  Baiboard – Collaborative Whiteboard [Digital Image].  Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/baiboard-collaborative-whiteboard/id490534358?mt=8

Juancameneses11.  (2013, Nov. 29).  New Logo Gmail [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_Logo_Gmail.svg

Koehler, M. and Mishra, P. (2012).  TPACK model [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://tpack.org/

LoboStudioHamburg.  (2014, Mar. 22).  Twitter Facebook Together Exchange of Information [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://pixabay.com/en/twitter-facebook-together-292994/

Marce79. (2012, Feb. 18).  Google Drive Logo [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Google_Drive_Logo.svg

McCormick, M.  (2013, July 1).  Edmodo [Digital Image].  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/mike_mccormick/9179952841/

Padlet.  (2014).  Padlet.com [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://padlet.com/

Sarisalmi, T.  (n.d.).  Exploiting Web 2.0 – eTwinning and collaboration [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://learninglab.etwinning.net/web/exploiting-web-2.0-etwinning-and-collaboration/welcome

Veluben.  (2013, Aug. 2).  YouTube Square [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:YouTube_Square.png

Wikipedia. (2013, Dec. 21).  Michigan State University [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universit%C3%A9_d’%C3%89tat_du_Michigan

ZyMOS.  (2010, Jan.)  Diigo [Digital Image].  Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diigo.svg


Is a problem born wicked?

22 Jun

image obtained from http://www.wikipedia.org and shared under Creative Commons License

The world is constantly changing; that is a fact.  And as the world changes, so does education.  While this makes the life of an educator much more complicated, it is of the utmost importance that educators continue to adapt to this ever-changing world of education.  And to toss one more complexity into the mix, we find that the world of education is continuously becoming more and more integrated with technology.  This is especially evident with the increase of students involved in online learning.  This continuously changing, difficult to describe, increasingly intertwined problem of online learning makes it a “wicked problem.”

As Koehler & Mishra (2008) state, “wicked problems…have incomplete, changing and contradictory requirements.”  Finding a solution to a wicked problem is difficult because the solutions are intertwined with so many other factors.  And in education, when you toss social complexity into the mix, the problem becomes even more wicked.  Due to the ever-changing nature of wicked problems, there is no single solution.  Online learning is just that–and more!

The world of online learning is growing in popularity, challenging to implement, difficult to regulate, and (of course) continuously changing.  In fact, online learning is so new, and changing so frequently that it is entirely a wicked problem.  But to ensure that students who seek an online education receive the best education possible, we must ask ourselves, “How do you make online learning realize its full potential?”  According to the New Media Consortium (2013), “Simply delivering content is no longer enough. Students expect learning that matters; learning connected in timely ways to the real world; learning that engages their interests; and learning experiences that see them as entire persons, not just consumers of content.”  After much brainstorming and collaboration, one possible solution to this problem is to make sure that online learning is student centered.

When we look at student-centered online learning, we must ask four critical questions:

  1. How do we make it relevant to the learner?
  2. How do we ensure that the pedagogy is sound?
  3. How do we develop assessments that are authentic?
  4. How do we take into account the socioeconomic status of all students?

For the full details of how online learning can realize its full potential by focusing on student-centered learning, check out this curation on Blendspace.  You’ll notice three key components:

  1. a multimedia summary, documenting the process by which this wicked problem was resolved (or at least, sort-of resolved)
  2. a white paper, providing the details of this wicked problem and justification of student-centered learning as one possible solution
  3. a visual infographic, addressing the four key components of student-centered online learning and subsequent questions for each component


Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPCK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (Ed.), Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) (pp. 3–29). New York: Routledge.

New Media Consortium (2013). The Horizon Project. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/horizon-project

Wicked Problem Project

17 Jun

As educational technology progresses, the prevalence of online learning.  The very concept of online learning is a Wicked Problem.  There are an infinite number of variables, and those variables are constantly changing.  A group of colleagues and I have been focusing on Reimagining Online Learning.  We’ve met multiple times to discuss this Wicked Problem, done an abundance of research, and really collaborated together as a team to tackle this problem.  We focused on the question “How do we make online learning realize its full potential?”  Our answer to this question was to recognize the importance of student-centered learning.  From that, we developed four key questions to focus upon in order to ensure that learning is truly student-centered:

  1. How do we make learning “matter” online, and what does that look like?
  2. What learning strategies work best in the online environment?
  3. What forms of authentic assessment should be developed?
  4. How can online learning reach ALL students, regardless of socioeconomic status?

To find out more about our solution to this Wicked Problem, check out our documents in Blendspace.

Meaningful and Purpose-Driven Technology Integration

15 Jun

“Look Up” by Gary Turk, retrieved from youtube.com

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

And sitting by desolate streams.

World-losers and world-forsakers,

Upon whom the pale moon gleams;

Yet we are the movers and shakers,

Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world’s great cities,

And out of a fabulous story

We fashion an empire’s glory:

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three with a new song’s measure

Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying

In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

And Babel itself with our mirth;

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

To the old of the new world’s worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,

Or one that is coming to birth.

“We are the Music-Makers” by Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessey


We’ve all heard the phrase “technology for technology’s sake.”  We’ve all lamented the loss of face-to-face interaction.  Gary Turk’s “Look Up” video leads us to believe that we are living in a society in which interaction doesn’t occur.  Where the Internet is the player, and we are the mindless pieces, powerless to the whims of those who are in control.  In fact, this mentality should be completely reversed.  We are (or should be) the ones in control of technology.  We create; we collaborate; we combine, discuss, demonstrate.  But what role do schools play in this creator mentality?  Do we hold back, allowing others to take the reigns, or do we take on the role of digital citizen, and instruct our students in the meaningful use of technology to shape the world around them?  We must actively incorporate technology in a purpose-driven manner that demonstrates thoughtful use of technology.

After surveying a group of 25 high school teachers, data was obtained that led to the formation of 5 critical questions for technology integration:

  1. Is technology being used to its full potential?
  2. Are colleagues truly using technology in a meaningful way?
  3. What is the best method of encouraging meaningful incorporation of technology?
  4. Is technology being implemented in a purpose-driven fashion?
  5. How do we encourage a culture of attitude that embraces technology?

These questions can be used to shape the incorporation of technology in a purpose-driven way.

For the full analysis, click here.

To see the survey, click here.

For a brief review of trends and important data, click here.  (Infographic created using infogr.am)

Assistive Technologies to Improve Literacy Development for Students with Dyslexia

8 Jun

Dyslexia is defined as a “neurobiological disorder that causes a marked impairment in the development of basic reading and spelling skills” (Mather p. 3).  Specifically, it affects a student’s ability to decode (pronounce) and encode (spell) words.  However, the main complication with dyslexia lies with written language, not spoken language.  In fact, listening comprehension skills, for students with dyslexia, tend to be higher than their reading and spelling skills (Mather p. 3-6).

To assist students with the task of encoding and decoding, two assistive technologies can be used in conjunction with one another.  Dragon Dictation (free on the App Store for the iPad) is a type of speech recognition software in which students are able to speak directly into the app, which translates their speech into text, thereby aiding a student in the encoding process.  This text can then be copied and pasted into a word processing app for editing.  In order to assist with decoding, Word Talk (a free text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word) can be used to read a created document back to a student.  So, the text that was dictated through Dragon Dictation can then be read back to the student through a few simple steps.

(video created using Screencast-o-Matic)

For a brief demonstration of this process, please view the screen cast above.  For a more thorough explanation of dyslexia and these assistive technologies, please read “Assistive Technologies to Improve Literacy Development for Students with Dyslexia.”


Lawrence, D.  (2009).  Understanding dyslexia:  A guide for teachers and parents.  Maidenhead:  Open University Press.

Mather, N. & Wendling, B. J.  (2011).  Essentials of dyslexia assessment and intervention.  Hoboken, N. J.:  John Wiley & Sons.

Smythe, I.  (2010).  Dyslexia in the digital age:  Making IT work.  London:  Continuum International Publishing.

Thomson, M.  (2009).  Psychology of dyslexia:  A handbook for teachers with case studies (2nd ed.).  Hoboken, N. J.:  John Wiley & Sons.

My Information Diet

1 Jun

In a culture that is becoming increasingly focused on maintaining a healthy diet, full of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins, there is another diet that needs focus as well—our “information diet.”  Maintaining a healthy diet of various opinions, ideas, and knowledge is important as well.  This is especially true in the ever-changing world of an educator.

As a teacher, it is important to continuously open myself to new ideas to incorporate into my teaching, pedagogy, and content knowledge.  In addition to browsing, or rather mining the Internet, as Gee (2013) would suggest, I also “like” some pages on Facebook, follow people and groups on Twitter, and use the news aggregator Feedly to narrow my focus to specific blogs.  Within this affinity space, I am able to find information on a multitude of education related topics such as incorporating technology, collaborative learning, professional development, lesson planning, engaging students, and flipping the classroom, just to name a few.  While these affinity spaces can help to inform my teaching in positive ways, the practice of living solely within these aggregated affinity spaces is not necessarily a good thing either.  There are some limitations to this narrowed focus or, as Eli Pariser (2011) calls it, “filter bubble” in which I’ve placed myself.

According to Gee (2013),

It is crucial to the empirical game to pool as many diverse sources of information and viewpoints as we can. […] one problem with narrow experts is that, faced with complexity, they often pool sources of information and viewpoints that are not wide or diverse enough.” (Gee, 2013, ch. 18)

Faced with the complex problem of educating today’s youth, it is essential that the expert educator gather knowledge from various sources.  That being said, I cannot say that my current “information diet” is as healthy and wholesome as it should be.  As a matter of fact, I find myself to be un-opinionated on many education issues.  Therefore, I’ve adjusted my palate, and added some new sources of information in order to push my thinking in new directions.  It is my hope that these new “feeds” will help to educate me on some topics I had previously never before pursued.

Dangerously Irrelevant is a blog by Dr. Scott McLeod.  His in-your-face approach to discussing hot topics in education are not only eye-catching, but informative as well.  He addresses topics of education policy (a topic I would typically avoid) in a way that makes it easy to understand and entertaining.

Mindshift addresses the topic of gamification, a topic I had previously avoided, believing it distracts students from more worthwhile tasks.  While my opinion on gamification is slowly weakening, thanks to Gee (2013), perhaps the articles from Mindshift will enable me to see new ways of incorporating games into education.

The Innovative Educator is a blog by Lisa Nielsen.  According to her blog bio, “Lisa Nielsen found school boring and irrelevant” (Nielsen).  For that sake alone, I felt the need to add the Innovative Educator to my list.  The Innovative Educator will hopefully help me learn how to reach the students who don’t see school as meaningful or useful in real life.

Prior to adding these new sources, my information diet primarily consisted of straightforward, practical approaches to teaching.  These new sources should serve to broaden my palate, thereby helping me solve some of the complex problems that teachers face on a daily basis.


Musings of a dark overlord: Leveraging 21st-century education with open source


Gee, James Paul.  (2013).  The Anti-Education Era:  Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.  New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

McLeod, Scott.  Dangerously irrelevant:  Technology, leadership, and the future of schools.  [Weblog].  Retrieved from http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/

MindShift:  How we will learn.  [Weblog].  Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/

Nielsen, Lisa.  The Innovative Educator.  [Weblog].  Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/

Opensource.com.  (2011).  [Digital Image], Retrieved June 1, 2014,  from https://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5538035618/

Pariser, Eli.  (2011, March).  Beware online filter bubbles.  [TED video file].  Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles


Letting Go of Frozen Teaching Practices

25 May

Letting Go of Frozen Teaching Practices

Letting Go of Frozen Teaching Practices

As educators, we are constantly faced with problems that are complex and possess multiple conditions that are constantly changing.  A broadly complex problem that every school faces is how to teach the modern student.  So often, schools will find a solution to a problem and stick to that solution because it works.  The problem with this is that the world around schools changes; the students we are teaching change; therefore, the practice of educating a student should also change.  Our teaching practices should never remain frozen.  Rather, we should continuously refine and adapt our teaching practices to meet the new and growing needs of the modern learner.  Awareness of our limitations toward solving complex problems will enable us to solve complex problems in an intelligent way.  In other words, being aware that many of our teaching practices are old and out-of-date will enable us to teach the modern student in a way that is intelligent and effective.